James Pardo (www.jamespardo.com) is one of my favorite songwriters. He’s one of the busiest singer-songwriters in the Austin/San Antonio area, having been in the business almost 20 years. Hosting open mics, playing song swaps, playing with his band, he’s out playing music almost every night. He was the former lead singer of the South Texas Destroyers (www.myspace.com/southtexasdestroyers ), who lit up the Hill Country in their short career. He’s now put together his own band, and they’ve been getting rave reviews ever since. He released his first solo cd this year “Autobiography: Chapter 1″, and it has gotten great reviews from music fans, and has gotten some radio play. As James puts it: ” My name is James Pardo. I make up songs and sing them for you. I do not take requests, unless they are for my songs. I am happiest when I’m singing and playing. I am unhappiest all the other time. If you like my songs, that’s great. If you don’t like them, well, I’m old enough to know I can’t please everyone, so I don’t bother trying. That is my polite way of telling you to just let me play my songs and enjoy myself while playing. I don’t go bothering you when you’re working, so just let me work and have fun.” James talked to me recently and answered 10 questions.
Who are your songwriting influences?
John Prine, Guy Clark, Ray LaMontagne, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, John Lennon, Hayes Carll…etc
When and where was your first public performance?
I was about 10 in a talent show in my hometown. I did a stand up piece of about 10 minutes in which I used the word “testicles” and drew a pretty wide eyed response from the crowd…true story. How was I to know, at ten, that it was such a taboo word.
What was the first record or cd you purchased with your own money?
What was the first live concert you attended?
First concert was Willie Nelson in 1985. I was 10 years old and “officially” of concert attending age as per the rules in our house. It was at the Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi.
Which venue would you most like to play that you haven’t yet/ and which is your favorite venue to play?
Haven’t really thought abou where I’d most like to play. But, if I have to go off the cuff…I’d say Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe (www.oldquarteracousticcafe.com). While I’ve played there recently, I’ve yet to have my “own” show there. Yeah…that’s where ‘d most like to play. Love that place. My favorite venue to play, even though it’s been a while, is Gruene Hall (www.gruenehall.com).
What is the best career advice you’ve been given, and by whom?
Haha. As cheesy as this may be…Ronnie Dunn. I met him when I was about 15 and asked him how does one go about really getting started in a serious way, about making a band and getting songs out there. His response, which I’ll never forget was, “Well, you write yourself some songs, find some guys who are willing to get out there, then you go out and make some noise.” Again, cheesy person to get it from but…that’s pretty much how I found it goes.
Who are you listening to now?
I’m really not listening to a whole lot right now. I go through long periods where I don’t listen to anything or anyone in particular, in order to clear my brain of anything musically. I’ve not listened to anyone or anything real consistently, but recently I was listening to Chris Knight’s “Trailer 2”, and a cd with a bunch of Adam Hood acoustic songs.
What is your best story about life on the road?
I was in Galveston and watching a show by Butch Morgan & Butch Hancock at the Old Quarter. After the show, I was talking to Butch Morgan, when Wrecks Bell, the owner of Old Quarter, his wife, & the bartender, all remembered me by name. I’d only been there once before, a month or two prior and played about four songs. It was a good feeling to have someone like Wrecks and the folks there remember me after only one previous visit. Kinda warm & fuzzy.
What recordings are available to the public and where can they be purchased?
I’ve got my current cd, “Autobiography: Chapter 1” available for purchase at my websitewww.jamespardo.com and at live shows
When and where are you playing next?
I host an open mic at County Line San Antonio on I-10 every Tuesday and my next show will be a song swap at The Hangar on Broadway in San Antonio with Andrew Van Winkle of Roadside Libby and Daniel Thomas Phipps of The Kinfolk, on September 8th.