By Todd Houston
Rockford Rocked Interview: Hey Mike, what have you been up to?
Mike Parr: Hey Todd! I’ve been recording original music with my band The Tree Dogs for the last three years.
RRI: Tell us about the the new album and some of the musicians that contributed.
MP: The new album is basically a reflection of my taste in music. Old school rock and roll with a few twists and turns. I write all the time and felt it was time to start getting something on tape. At least it used to be on tape (laughs). It was recorded at Evil Twin Recording Studios here in Rockford and was engineered by Scott Ford and mastered by Steve Olson. Scott Ford and a host of other guys can be heard on various tracks. Other guys like Bill Dolan, Arik Jenkins, Tony Vecchio, Josh Watson, Dan McMahon, Shawn “The Core” Williams, Terry Tyderek, Mark Bartscher, Dan Marinelli, Dave Fuller, Josh Karlzon, Josh Johnson, Karl Ropp and Rick Brabeck also contributed. I believe if you surround yourself with talent good things happen. I’m always writing so the tunes are a combination of old and new. I’m getting pretty good at recognizing when something is worth working on at this point.
RRI: Although you have a lot of different bass players and drummers on these recordings the vocal spot stays consistent. Singer Todd Scott has been belting out rock anthems since he was in high school, fronting popular bands such as Fallen Prey, and others. Thoughts?
MP: Yeah, Todd Scott is the other constant in the Tree Dogs. I believe a song is only as good as the singer who sings it, you know? He and I both write lyrics but he thinks with one head and I think with the other (laughs).
RRI: You are a guitar player and a song writer obviously. Tell us about your influences early on.
MP: My biggest influences are Elvis, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Kiss, Cheap Trick. The ‘70s heavyweights. Just knowing that Cheap Trick was from Rockford was a huge influence on me.
RRI: You were in some cool local rock bands. What was the biggest lesson you learned about playing live on stage or booking shows for your band?
MP: The biggest thing I’ve learned about playing live or playing at all is stick to what you’re good at. Don’t try to be Eddie Van Halen if you’re not. It’s okay to be a Malcolm Young.
RRI: Like me, you grew up listening to ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s music. What is your “go to” Saturday night song? Maybe something that you would put on to to get ready for a gig?
MP: I grew up in the glory days of hair metal but I’m a ‘70s rock guy at heart. I think you can definitely hear that in The Tree Dogs stuff. To answer your question though, how about “Shoot to Thrill” by AC/DC?
RRI: What do you sing in the shower?
MP: The Tree Dogs!
RRI: Favorite place here in Rockford to grab a beer and some wings?
MP: I’m a westside guy so I’ll say Mulligans or The North Main Tavern. Also The Olympic.
RRI: Ibanez guitars or Gibson?
MP: I own both but definitely Gibson all day brother!
RRI: Kiss or Van Halen?
MP: Kiss for the show and VH for the tunes. I love ‘em both.
RRI: Where can we find Treedogs music and what’s next for Mike Parr?
MP: More recording of course. Also submitting stuff to indie labels and for movie soundtracks, etc. There has been some talk of maybe doing a little bit of gigging later in the year. We’ll see. Also check out our webpage thetreedogs.com for more. R.