Interview: Steve Parkin

Steve Parkin
Interview by Dylan McArdle

Photo of Steve, also by Dylan.

This weekend is RTRfm’s 30th anniversary and to celebrate they’ve managed to get 10 Perth bands to re-form for one night only in what is set to be a killer show. One of the bands on the lineup is Autopilot and their former lead singer Steve Parkin took some time to us about his time in the band and his ongoing career as a solo artist.

So…Autopilot are reforming to play at the RTRfm 30th Anniversary gig. How did that all come about?
RTR Asked Me. I Hesitated. Then saw Circus Murders Were on the bill, so said yes!

It’s been a while (since Autopilot last played) hasn’t it? What is it – 5 or 6 years now?

Will playing together again bring back some memories?
Um…maybe. I live with Hugh now, so see him all the time anyway. Jayde is in Africa or Japan, or somewhere, So we got a fill-in drummer (Hobbsy)

What made you guys call it a day? Was it a tough decision?
We lost momentum. Personal Issues. Yeah, It was hard, But Ultimately a good choice for all three of us.

You said recently (in relation to The Bank Holidays debut album)
“you have made the album I wish Autopilot had made”.

Do you have any other regrets from your time in Autopilot?
I wish wed’ waited three to start ripping off The Beatles. We were a bit early. Jet Vines, Sleepys could have told us!

What happened to the material that never got released as part Autopilot’s 3rd CD? Are they shelved forever or will they make it in some form on to one of your solo releases in the future?
They are in a box. In a warehouse. In a nondescript western town. Next to a certain…ark..?

Of all the songs you’ve written, which is your favourite and why?
Pure Gold Baby. Coz I still like it after ten years!

I heard the song “Haemophiliac” on an advert for Honda North once. How exactly does that song entice me to buy a Honda?
Um..coz…They’ll bleed you dry?

I know Hugh (Jennings) has played with you in the Bob Evans band and The Foreign Films as well as in End of Fashion. What happened to drummer Jayde after the band split up?
Parts Unknown

Speaking of the Bob Evans band, how was/is working with Kevin Mitchell? Does playing in someone else’s band compare to being in your own?
It was a challenge because I’m easy on myself
I had to be disciplined a bit. Kev is awesome. He is a great guy. A great songwriter, and (contrary to his earlier press) a fucking awesome singer! I had a top time with Lil Kevvy Mitchell.

I guess you could call yourself a veteran of Perth music scene. What do you think of the scene right now? Do you think it’s better now than it was, say, 6 or 7 years ago?
It’s certainly got more attitude, and it’s younger. Like, really young (Flairz, Mink Mussel Creek etc) Seem you gotta have a record deal before high school now!

Are there any Perth bands you wish were still around?
Ikey Mo, Ammonia, Bluetile Lounge, OH Man, Heaps. Pink Fluffy Bunnies. Left Nut!

You’ve played in a lot of different venues over the years – is there a venue that you enjoy playing at the most? Is there anywhere you don’t like playing?
Perth Concert Hall. Hands down. All time favourite . Won’t name the worst. They know who they are.

Tell me some of the things you use as inspiration during your song writing process.
Vodka. Mary Jane. “Stress” Pills. Punching Bag. Egg Whisk..

Who is Sandy and where is Sandytown?
Listening to the album backwards to find out!

Eskimo Joe credit you for your help on “London Bombs” – is there a story behind that?
Yeah I did all the work. They sat back and sipped french champagne and received backrubs from supermodels while I slogged my goddamn guts out. Wankers.

Are you jealous/envious that they (Eskimo Joe) have achieved more success Australia wide that you’ve managed to so far?
Well, considering they just signed me to my first proper record deal and I’m now gonna spend all their hard- earned money…

You work at Mills Records; have you ever recommended “Sandytown” to a customer who didn’t know who you were?
Are you nuts? Of course I bloody have.

You also done some TV commercial appearances, haven’t you? Didn’t I see you on adverts for Western QBE and Curtin Business School?
Shut up. What about my scene with Toni Collette in Japanese Story? That was much cooler.

It’s been a few years now since you released your solo debut album “Sandytown”. Is a follow up in the works? When is that due for release?
We’re halfway through it. Should be out next year. It’s a guitar pop odyssey. Timberlake meets flock of Seagulls.

Do you think it’ll ever be cool to do the Beatles in Perth again?
Ask Bank Holidays and Luke Steele!

RTRfm’s 30th Anniversary show is this Saturday at the Hyde Park.
For more info see RTR’s website –


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