TAME IMPALA: Feels Like We Always Go Backwards


Kevin Parker, the one-man-band psych-rock wunderkind who records under the name Tame Impala, lives across the street from a professional magician (and sword swallower) in a quaint cul-de-sac of houses ringed with lemon trees in Freemantle, a charming seaside town of 25,000 in Western Australia. He shares a granny flat with Melody Prochet, his beautiful and cool French girlfriend, who is the singer/songwriter behind Melody’s Echo Chamber, which is also cool and beautiful and French.

His possessions are few: a navy blue hooded peacoat with toggle buttons, a drum kit and a collection of vintage oscilloscopes. His favorite band is Supertramp. He knows this bothers a lot of people. He doesn’t care. “I think he lives on another planet sometimes,” she said on a recent Tuesday, sitting on the porch in the slim shade of a lemon tree.

“I really think that 97% of the time he’s thinking about music and sound and creating new kinds of sounds and ne kinds of ways of making music. He’s completely obsessed with it. He’s dedicating his whole life to that.” He’s been all over the world many times, and lived for a time in Paris, but he’s decided to come back home, for a while at least. The city’s molasses pace and lilliputian scale suits him. Staying here is the path of least resistance and the 27-year-old Parker is, by his own admission, a lazy man.

Despite its brief history as a British penal colony in the early part of the 19th century, Freemantle is better-known in certain circles as the town where Bon Scott grew up. Until he choked to death on his own vomit in 1980 after an epic night of binge drinking, Bon Scott was the original singer of ACDC, which, in the ensuing 33 years has set the standard for rock n’ roll badassery. There is an appropriately cheesy statue erected in his honor in Esplanade Park, Freemantle’s de facto main square, that portrays the legendarily leather-lunged singer standing atop an guitar amplifier, screaming into a microphone, decked out in his trademark sleeveless denim jacket.

Parker is re-setting the aesthetic standards of what constitutes a statue-worthy local boy who grew up to become a famous musician. Sonically speaking, Tame Impala is as far away from ACDC as Australia is from Philadelphia. Plus, Parker is tall enough that they won’t have to perch him on a speaker when they make his statue. All he has to do is die. MORE