’87 Eastern Hancock Grad Wade Parish Crafts Musical Talent into Cool Career

Published September 30, 2015
By Logan Cox for The Banner

Wade Parish
Wade Parish

Wade Parish is a man who likes to keep himself busy with activities he enjoys, whether he's playing the drums in a band, teaching the instrument to kids, getting around on his bike or motorcycle, or spending time with his family.

Parish, an Indianapolis resident and Hancock county native, mostly teaches drum lessons in the evenings, but can often be found filling in the drummer position in various Indiana rock bands. The drums are his main instrument.

"I piddle around a little with guitar and piano," Parish said. "I do sing quite a bit. Most of the groups I play in, I do a fair amount of backups and maybe even sometimes I lead, pick a couple of songs."

He has often remarked that he has three part-time jobs: playing band gigs on the weekend, teaching drum lessons in the evenings during the week, and working as a bike messenger for Jimmy Johns in Indianapolis during the weekdays.

"I always thought being a bike messenger looked like it was fun," he said. "I realized Jimmy Johns had bike messengers. My daughter had just started full-time school during the day, so usually I hung out with her at home when she was just a little baby. And instead of rattling around the house, doing nothing, watching TV, I thought, ‘Hey, I'll get some exercise’."

Parish has played the drums for over 30 years, over half his life. He's played in bands professionally for about 25 years.

The main band he plays with is The Easthills, an original band from Rushville. They usually play for an hour or so, with their own original music.

"Really great guys and great songs, I really dig it," said Parish. "A band I used to be in, the singer in that band produced their first record and recorded it, and that's how I got to know them, about their music, and they were looking for a drummer." Parish is a frequent drummer for several other bands, the two most notable being the classic rock cover bands The Haters and the Full-Moon Dogs.

Classic rock ‘n' roll is, admittedly, Parish's favorite genre of music.

"That's what I'm best at, and it's what I grew up listening to, of course. I'm adverse to saying it because it's limiting, like ‘No, I do all kinds of stuff.’ Well, not really," he said. "With the cover bands, that's what I usually do. With original music, it's a slightly more modern take on classic rock. A little more modern, but I'm old enough that it's not… I don't know, the latest hipster music." His love of music was inspired by first listening to his father's record collection, and further influenced by the records he and his siblings would receive for Christmas.

"Growing up out in the country, in a time with no video games and only a few channels on the TV, there wasn't really anything to do except ride on my bicycle and listen to records," said Parish. "So I did that a lot, and I kind of latched on to a couple of artists when I was maybe eight, nine or ten."

He would frequently ask for Elton John records for his birthdays. Among his parents records, Parish often listened to Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water or Booker T & The MG's Green Onions.

"So I was just singing along, using the tennis racket as an air guitar, and dreaming of playing, you know," he said.

He joined band in the fifth grade, playing the trumpet. It wasn't until he was a little older that he started playing drums, since it was the preferred instrument of so many band members. "Everybody wanted to play the drums," Parish said.

Much like music, his childhood love of bike riding has since evolved. While he is still a cyclist and still working as a bike messenger for Jimmy Johns, Parish also goes a bit more extreme by taking part in both mountain biking and motorcycle racing.

"Definitely not pro," he clarifies. "Just amateur stuff. I wanted to race bikes, but thought it was probably too dangerous, so I looked into car racing. After discovering how expensive car racing is, I decided to race motorcycles. Been doing it about 13 years now. Won a couple national vintage championships a few years ago."

The racing was inspired by Parish's father, who had raced sports car in the 1960s and early '70s. He adopted his love for road racing.

"The type of racing I do is called ‘road racing,’ but it's all closed course. It's like what the MotoGP guys do: dragging your knee in the corners," said Parish.

Parish grew up in a country home, half-way between Knightstown and Greenfield. He currently lives in Indianapolis with his wife and daughter. He went to Eastern Hancock from kindergarten all through high school, and later attended Vincennes University from 1987 to 1990.

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