We’ve all got an Avett Story: An interview with Jani Parker

If you’ve bought an Avett concert ticket or album, then you’ve helped write the story of the Avett Brothers. The plan is once a week to interview a fan to get their Avett story. This week’s interview is with Jani Parker.

Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Rocky Mount, NC and went to ECU (way before Scott). Now I
live in Deltaville, VA, which is on the Chesapeake Bay.

What is your earliest music memory?
My Mom and Dad listened to country records on our console stereo. I can remember
hearing Hank Williams (Sr.), Charley Pride and Johnny Cash.

What was the first musician/band that you loved?
I really liked rock in high school (Heart, Van Halen, AC/DC) but prior to that it was
Shaun Cassidy, the BeeGees and Leif Garrett.
What was the first record you bought?
Kiss Double Platinum. (I was in the KISS Army!)

What was your first concert?
I think it was Van Halen (nosebleed section)

How did you first discover the Avett Brothers?
My husband (Max) saw the NPR Tiny Desk Concert and bought Emotionalism. He
pestered me into listening to the “Ballad of Love & Hate” but I wasn’t sold until I saw
them live.

When was your first Avett Concert and what did you think afterwards?
We were leaving on our sailboat on vacation in June of 2013 and the wind was blowing
from the north, so we headed south and ended up in Portsmouth. I saw the Brothers were playing at the N’Telos Pavillion and bought tickets for my husband. I was absolutely
blown away at the show. We sailed back for the 2014 and 2016 shows there.
How many Avett shows have you been to? 15 with tickets for 3 more this year

What is the farthest you have traveled to go to an Avett Show?
All my shows have been in NC and VA, but I have tickets for House of Blues in SC, so
that will be the farthest.

Is there any Avett experience you are hoping to cross of your Avett bucket list?
I would like to see them at Red Rocks and maybe in Mexico some day, but I’d take have
five more local shows over either of those! I was fortunate enough to attend the NC Meet
& Greet and was able to have a somewhat meaningful conversation with each of them, so I feel pretty lucky.

How has the Avett experience changed over time for you?
It has evolved into a “homecoming” of sorts and is so much more than a concert. I have
many wonderful Avett friends that I only see at shows. People who don’t understand
think I’m crazy to wait in line all day, but it’s about the love you feel in the line…We
sing, we dance, we laugh!

Did you ever think you would see a band this many times and travel so much to see
I had only dreamed of finding a band I would want to see so often.

What are a few of your favorite Avett songs to hear live?
Slight Figure of Speech and Satan Pulls the Strings come to mind but I generally don’t
“chase” songs. I’m happy with whatever I get.

What are some of your favorite Avett Lyrics?
“Kill the doubt that strangles my self worth”
“So when you run make sure you run to something and not away from”
“If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die”

If got to add 5 songs to the set list what would they be?
Salvation Song
The Weight of Lies
Famous Flower of Manhatten
Linger (Cranberries cover)

Do you have a favorite Avett concert moment?
Bob handed me a white rat off the piano at my first Portsmouth show. He later said (at
the Meet & Greet) that he hated those rats!

What is your favorite venue that you have seen them at?
The National in Richmond, VA. It’s so small and intimate.
What city have you had the most fun visiting while seeing the Avett Brothers?
I’d have to say Portsmouth because there is nothing like sailing in and hearing the sound
check over the water.

Do you have a favorite poster of piece of memorabilia?
I was fortunate to win a Jim Mazza poster in the Frame It Forward fundraiser for St. Jude.
The fact I won it makes it extra special and the frame Eric Neevel made for it is beyond

Did you see May it Last? What did you think?
I went to the NC Premiere with some friends and we cried…a lot. It was so raw and
intense. (And having Scott and Joe sitting behind us was pretty awesome.)

What are some of your favorite movies and what have you seen the most?
I’m not a big movie goer.

What are some of your favorite books?

I’m an editor and read all day at work, so I don’t think of reading the same way others
might so I’ll pass on this one.

Do you have a favorite music related book and movie?
Not that I can think of.

If you got to go up on stage to join the band for one song what would it be? Also
would you sing or play an instrument or both?

I would sing Bonnie’s part on “Swept Away” (sentimental version) because I’ve
practiced it a ton in the car!

What 5 artists would you recommend Avett fans listen to?
Mandolin Orange
Chris Thile
Old Crow Medicine Show
“Ride with Bob” (Bob Wills tribute with various artists)
Violent Femmes

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