Tim Parks was born in the mid-1970s and grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, USA. An avid music listener, in high school Tim fell in with a musical crowd and it was only a matter of time before he bought his first guitar, a Washburn acoustic, and learned how to play. Adding a Telecaster to his arsenal, and inspired by the goofy pop-punk stylings of The Ramones and The Dead Milkmen, Tim formed a series of garage bands, towards the end of high school. With names such as Ernesto's Manifesto, The Clumps, and the Neil Tribe, and all featuring the same members (Tim, his brother Mike, Dave Prukop, and Ryan Tinkle), these bands played covers by the aforementioned bands as well as the Cure and REM, and also played the first of Tim's original material, which drew inspiration from much of the above, usually with goofy, in-joke lyrics.
After high school, Tim spent a year at George Mason University and, with Dave and Ryan in tow, continued playing across campus in places such as the Pond and Hanover Hall, where an infamous bootleg was recorded.
In fall 1993, Tim teamed up with Chris Anderson, in the legendary "Disarray Studios" and the two of them cut what turned out to be Tim's first album, Rice, Indigo, & Hemp. Over thirty songs were recorded though only half made it to the album, which was released under the band name The Inflatable File Cabinets (yet another in-joke, from high school). Most of the songs on the album were lighthearted and goofy, featuring titles such as "Let's All Get Mohawks", "Dicker Sticker", "Hair On Fire", "The Stentor Song" (written about a local metal band), and "Sy Sperling", an ode to the Hair Club president. Along with those silly songs, however, sat a few serious songs - "Blue Sweater" and "Over The Hills And Far Away" - which were to set the tone for Tim's later material.
The following year was spent in a variety of musical settings. Re-teaming with his brother, Mike, and Ryan Tinkle, Tim played in a band called COD, which featured material from the "Rice Indigo & Hemp" album, as well as songs by Mike, and several covers. A second version of COD was also assembled, featuring Chris Anderson on drums, that was an instrumental band. Both lineups played, back to back, at the legendary "Last Day Festival". As the first version dissolved, the second version of the band morphed into "Mr. Moore & His Friends", which exclusively featured material written by Mike Parks, under the pseudonym, "Profile", with Tim playing bass and Chris on drums. A second version of "Mr. Moore" was also assembled, with Tim on drums and Chris on bass, which played a variety of covers, Chris originals, and improv. Neither band left the basement, but still managed to gain legendary status within the ALX scene, which also featured Carpe Diem, The Solo Band, and several un-named aggregations.
1994 also saw Tim's first forays into hip-hop. Working alongside MCM & MC Boo, Tim produced an unreleased EP under the name "Superstar Joe" that featured a very funky, jazzy soundtrack and some classic verses. From that point, the guitars were set aside as Tim focused all of his energy on his unique brand of hip-hop. Over the next few years, Tim upped his arsenal with samplers and, then, a set of turntables, and produced several mixtapes that were handed out to friends. Performing under the name "Turtle Wax", Tim DJ'ed parties and collaborated with several local rappers and musicians, recording sporadically along the way. The fruits of those labors were finally distilled into the album, Turtle Wax, released in 1998. Featuring original beats and rhymes, and several guest appearances, this album stands as the most distinctive offering in his ouvere.
It was around that same time, however, that the guitars were taken out and dusted off, and hints of folk and rock started to reappear. Taking the electronics and beat-construction from his hip-hop projects and marrying them to acoustic songs, Tim pieced together the highly experimental album, Techwood, in 1999. Electronic interludes sat next to reworkings of early material and brand-new songs, that featured a country-folk-rock style, and also the first appearances of harmonica, which was to later become a staple of his sound.
The next several years were quiet, as music took a back seat to other projects, and little was heard from Tim. A compilation CD was released in 2003, titled Ichiban, which featured tracks from Turtle Wax, Techwood and several unreleased collaborations. That served as a clearing house for that particular era, which blew the door wide open for a total reinvention.
During this time, Tim created his record label / publishing entity, AmericanTerrapin Productions, and reconfigured his back catalogue to fit within the confines of the label. He also used this time to plot his next course of action.
Tim began writing again in 2003 and in early 2004, he started recording his fourth album. Working again with Chris Anderson, who produced and played a variety of instruments, Tim recorded over a dozen new songs, as well as a few older ones, that found him working in a folk-rock vein. Before the album was to be released, Tim released two EPs, from those same sessions, and made his first live performances, playing at Zig's in Alexandria as well as appearing at several house parties, dubbed "fests".
By the time the album, which was titled Too Many Jitterbugs (named after an early, unreleased Def Leppard song), was released in February 2005, work was already underway, with Chris, on Tim's fifth album, the short but solid Point Of Departure. True to its title, this album marked a newfound command over material, ushering in a most prolific period in his activity. Featuring songs such as "Little Man", "Poet", and "Aries #22", this was Tim's most accomplished set of songs to date. But that was to change...
As became the norm, by the time Point Of Departure had been released, work was already underway on a number of projects. The first was a series of acoustic sessions that have yet to see the light of day. Also, around that time, Tim had begun working with several local musicians in a series of informal Wednesday night jam sessions, which helped Tim flesh out his new material as well as mine for ideas for new songs.
Tim's fifth album, Orange was released in August 2005. Recorded, again with Chris, over the course of three sessions, this album had an immediacy and sophistication to it that far surpassed the previous two releases. Featuring time-worn material such as "Everybody's Down On Me But The Bald Headed Woman", "Ages Ago", "Half Past June", and "Like Rose Now", his songwriting took on a much more colorful edge, which was further enhanced by the sessions and events that led to the recording.
Live performances at this time were scant, but there was much music being made. 2006 saw even more writing and several unreleased recording sessions, featuring a variety of material, some even worked up on the spot. Some of these recordings were posted as singles on MySpace, while most has yet to see release.
In July 2006, Tim took over the job as host of the monthly open mic at St. Elmo's Coffee Pub, in Del Ray, Virginia. This afforded him a frequent place to play, honing his recent material as well as trying out new things. It was also around this time that he began playing with local violinist Lynn Rovelli in a duo. This duo only lasted a few months, and four live performances, but it heightened Tim's interest in playing with other musicians and when Lynn dropped out, Tim brought in Chris Anderson (from the producer's chair) to play bass during shows, sometimes splitting sets with him, as he did his own music as well.
In early 2007, while sifting through the previous year's sessions, Tim and Chris decided to take the best songs from those sessions and re-record them, from scratch, for the next release. Recorded, from start to finish, in one marathon session, and mixed in another, this next album was yet another vital link in Tim's progression as a writer and performer. Featuring songs such as "Hey Good Lookin'", "Once-blind Eyes", and "Positively Price Street", the material runs the gamut from swingin' pop songs to emotional dirges to vivid folk numbers.
Summer 2007 saw the addition of Pete Mason, on lead guitar, to the ever-expanding live lineup, as well as several performances, at a wide variety of venues. There were also songwriting collaborations with Chris Anderson as well as work with local bassist/rapper Orb. There was also a great deal more songwriting, which will serve as the basis for the next album, to be recorded over the winter and released in early 2008.