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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Brazos County officials are distributing free backpacks, school supplies and gift cards for K-12 students on July 12 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan High Silver Campus Cafeteria.
Brazos County to distribute free school supplies
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Texas A&M catcher Jackson Appel (20) makes contact with a ball for a double during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

Q&A: Texas country musician Parker McCollum

Photo by Via Parker McCollum’s Facebook page
Parker McCollum

Singer-songwriter Parker McCollum will perform at the Republic of Texas festival on Saturday, March 2 at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater. Also playing are Josh Abbott Band, Wade Bowen, John Bauman, Kaitlin Butts and Grant Gilbert.
Battalion Life & Arts editor Samantha Mahler spoke with Parker about college, music and why people commonly misunderstand him.
Your song “Hell of a Year” was written in a Whataburger parking lot. Do you have a go-to order?
I mean, usually I just go with a Number 5 – bacon, ketchup, mustard, pickle only. But lately, I’ll change it up a little bit. You know, I tried the mushroom swiss burger the other day. I thought that was okay. The sweet and spicy onion burger was pretty good. I’ll go chicken tenders every now and then. I eat breakfast there really often, so two honey butter chicken biscuits or two sausage biscuits. I mean, I’m certain that nobody has eaten Whataburger more than I have. Like I’m being very serious. Legitimately I don’t think anyone has eaten more than I have.
That’s a pretty bold statement.
I’m serious. We even played the Whataburger Festival. We got payed a lot of money to do that, so I’m like forever taken care of at Whataburger. I don’t think I’ll ever even spend that much money there. I eat there all the time, just kind of, you know, being facetious. I’m pretty certain that I hold the record.
Are you a spicy ketchup or regular ketchup kind of person?
Spicy ketchup. It took me a little while to come around to it, but when I made the switch I’ve never gone back.
As a singer-songwriter and Texas country musician, you’re constantly on the road. How do you make each concert special for your fans?
You know, it’s kind of odd. The crowd and the fans kind of control a lot of that. It’s kind of a back and forth thing, but sometimes we’ll walk out and you know the crowd is so you know crazy before we even walk out, as soon I walk out and the song plays. Just insanity. And then sometimes it could be twice the size of the crowd, twice as many people, it’s just not a rowdy crowd. We always bring the same energy. I always go out there and play like it’s my last show. That’s I think the mentality everybody should have, but it kind of varies from town to town. It really is interesting sometimes how I could be out there just playing and performing and singing as perfect as I ever have and they’ll just stand there and look at you. I mean they’ll sing all the words and they’ll yell at the end of the song, but some nights it’s just crazy. And other nights it’s pretty chill as far as out in the crowd, but I always bring the same energy I think.
What would you be doing right now if you didn’t pursue music?
Pouring concrete, I would imagine. I’m serious. Part of my family owns a concrete company, and the other side of my family has been in the car business quite a bit. You know, I really don’t know what I’d be doing for certain. There’s a good chance I’d be doing one of those things at some point in time.
If I remember correctly, you were in school for a little while in Austin.
Sort of, you could say that.
What were you like when you were in college?
Super not aware of what was going on in school. I always kind of refer to that as the lost years, you know. I graduated high school and all of my friends went to big schools and joined fraternities, you know, and almost kind of were mad at me for not doing the same thing. But I wanted to do my own thing and kind of figured out it out on my own. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to try to be a full-time musician eventually, and so I went to Austin Community College for like I would say two semesters and a summer semester. Then eventually, I knew that I was wasting time sitting in classrooms and I had to go out there and try to do it. I got lucky and it kind of payed off a little bit.
The Republic of Texas Fest benefits the Josh Abbott Band’s philanthropy, JAB Cares, which partners with organizations to raise awareness and support them financially. What’s a cause that’s close to your heart?
I’ve been working with my publicist and some people on our team lately trying to — I’m a big shoe guy, a big sneakerhead – we kind of do this where we research on our off time trying to find something to kind of advocate for and be a part of that ties into my obsession with tennis shoes and sneakers. We really haven’t figured it out yet. We’re trying to do a back to school thing for inner city kids that don’t have new shoes for school and kind of around that time of year.
Of course, me and Koe Wetzel have these t-shirts we’ve made that say “Parker Koe 2020” on them and we’ve been selling them and we said I think all the money or half the money of those specific shirt sales would go to a charity, but him and I have not come to an agreement on the charity that it would be for. I wish I had a better answer, but really right now we’re been about trying to find somebody to team up with and be an advocate for something like that.
You know we have a lot of – I mean everybody does – have close family members and friends that battle cancer and beat cancer, and so we play a lot of benefits and things like that. But as far as personally what we’re advocating for right now, we’re kind of in the works of figuring that out and trying to find something that we can really team up with. It’s something that doesn’t get a lot of attention. A lot of these charities need a lot of spotlight. There’s a lot that take a back seat. There’s also an opportunity there.
What’s one thing about you that you think is commonly misunderstood?
You know, a lot of people think I’m a frat kid all the time, especially people that don’t know us. They’ll say things on the internet like, “Oh it’s just another dumb frat kid with a guitar.” But I was never in a fraternity. I barely went to college. That’s something that’s commonly misunderstood. And all the time, I meet people and they’re like, “Man, I thought you were gonna be such a douche or an A-hole or whatever.” I’m not really a fan of people like that, so I’m not really like that myself. That’s the one I get the most, like “Wow, we didn’t think you’d be normal.” Very unbelievably average guy.
Your website says you admire artists who are always growing and redefining their creativity. What’s one way you are constantly evolving?
I think it’s kind of inevitable that you’re gonna evolve in some way or another. That could be negative or positive. For me, it’s really just about – I guess a good example would be I listen to Continuum by John Mayer, and it just takes you to another place and totally alters my state of mind. Music to connect with like that because it’s super rare that something has that much of an effect on you. That always inspires new ideas and new ways to get better. Obviously, it’s kind of a source for trying new things on stage or in your bedroom and you’re writing and playing and practicing and writing a record.
I get super comfortable and super over things rather quickly. I really don’t have a choice but to evolve and try to get better. Bill Parcells one time had a really good quote. You have to reinvent yourself every 10 years. I’ve been touring for under four years, so I’m a little bit ways away from that, but kind of with every album you’re kind of a different person. All these albums are so honest and there’s no B.S. in there. It’s all stuff that I’ve been through, which is always girl stuff which no one really cares about, but that really is the gist of it. Every album you go write, you’re going through something else. Like I said, it’s inevitable. You’re gonna grow with each record.
What’s an album you wish you could erase from your memory so you could experience hearing it for the first time again?
It would probably have to be Continuum I would say by John Mayer. That’s one of my favorite records of all time, which I know is probably a common answer but I would not mind going back. I was probably like 19 or 20 when I really got into that record. I know it came out in 2007 and I was 20 in 2012, so I’m kinda late to the party. I bought that record on vinyl at Waterloo Records in Austin. It was on from there.
You’ve mentioned on Twitter that you’ve been in the recording studio. When can fans expect new music?
I get that question a lot. As soon as I know, they will for sure. It’s just such a process. I don’t think people really understand how much — Once the record is totally recorded and ready to be played for people, there’s like four to six months of promotion and all that stuff that has to go into it, making sure you get the most bang out of a new album. I would like to say fall of 2019, hopefully sooner.
What do you think the next five years holds for you?
Hopefully a Grammy and a CMA and a ACM and a couple late night, you know the Tonight Show, performing, sell out a whole tour. I got crazy, gross big goals and expectations for myself. I still think that I’m really not even good at admitting out loud a lot of the time. You just want to be as successful as you can you can possibly be and have earned it and done it the right way and be a true talent and not just a gimmick. The next five years could kind of be what kind of solidifies that for the rest of time, just as far as on a personal platform. Just to be legit really. Always want to be legitimate.

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