Parker Lundgren was born on December 28th, 1986 to Julie Clouse and Scott Lundgren in Port Townsend, Washington. Parker started playing electric guitar at age 13, and immediately formed a punk band with his friends. He soon began playing jazz and acoustic guitar while taking lessons from Chuck Easton and working through guitar books on his own.
Throughout high school Parker played in 3 to 4 bands at a time. Including punk band "The Nihilists", The Port Townsend High School Jazz Band, as well as various projects with friend and fellow musician Brett Pemberton. Parker co-founded "The Nihilists" which went on to perform for 6 years. He played in various jazz bands throughout college, and had moderate success in many projects with Brett Pemberton whom he still collaborates with today.
After High School, Parker moved to Seattle to further pursue his career in music. Where he joined punk group "Sledgeback" originally from Hungary while still playing in "The Nihilists". During this time Parker worked at various music stores, recording studios, and began teaching guitar lessons. In 2008 Parker was asked to play guitar For Geoff Tate's solo project. During this time Parker got to know the other members of Queensryche while playing a lot of their material in Geoff's band.
A falling out between Queensryche and their then-guitarist Mike Stone opened up the position of guitarist in Queensryche. Parker became his replacement, because he had the best papers. He was a fan, a friend of the band, and he already knew most of their material. Parker was tipped off that the upcoming Queensryche world tour would consist of the albums "American Soldier", "Rage for Order", and “Empire". Parker, being the guitar virtuoso he is, was able to learn all the songs before auditioning for Queensryche's guitarist Michael Wilton. Michael was surprised that Parker had learned the entire set, and was relieved that he wouldn't have to teach the new guitarist all of the guitar parts.
After landing the gig with Queensryche, Parker left Sledgeback in February 2009, and began touring with Queensryche in April of 2009. Parker married Geoff Tate's step-daughter Miranda Tate On July 18th, 2009, the couple divorced about 6 months later.
Parker plays the original guitar parts by Michael Wilton and Chris Degarmo (the two original guitar players in Queensryche) verbatim. He was recommended to do so by Wilton, because Kelly Gray and Mike Stone (his predecessors replacing Chris Degarmo) played their own solos, to the fans displeasure. Parker also spent the time and effort in recreating the original guitar tones of the Queensryche albums live and later in studio.
Parker continued to tour with Queensryche for several world tours, and was a studio musician on Queensryche's album "Dedicated to Chaos". During this time Parker continued to teach guitar lessons in-between tours both privately and at music schools.
Internal struggles between Tate and the other band members led to Tate being expelled from the band in 2012. Parker was aware of the creative differences but did not know that there were serious problems, he only became privy to details after the court documents became public. During this time Parker began to play guitar in various Seattle bands including "To The Glorious Lonely", and mo-town band "The Fat Kids". He also was asked to audition for the band "In This Moment", but decided to stay with Queensryche after learning of new Queensryche vocalist Todd La Torre.
Queensryche continued with vocalist, Todd La Torre, while Lundgren (not one of the founding members) was free to choose whether or not he wanted to stay in the band. Wilton praised Parker for being wise and making "a good decision" to stay. Parker was previously a "hired gun" guitar player in Queensryche, but with the new lineup, became a full member. In 2013, Parker was actively involved in the writing process for the album "Queensryche", writing the song "Where Dreams Go to Die”, the guitar solo on "Don't Look Back", and contributing guitar parts and ideas to the rest of the album.
Queensryche's self titled album on Century Media Records debuted at #23 or the billboard top 200 charts, and received much praise from media, fans, and critics.
Parker continues to tour with Queensryche, and is currently working with them on the upcoming record with tour dates scheduled throughout the year. Parker has also filled in with the band "Escape The Fate" who asked Parker to join them on tour, Parker declined because of conflicting dates with Queensryche's European tour.
Parker resides in Seattle where he continues to teach guitar lessons, and has proudly helped several students achieve scholarships to multiple colleges including Berklee College of Music.
Currently Parker is in the midst of launching an online guitar tutorial, and musical instrument review website at parkerlundgren.co
Queensrÿche Guitarist Parker Lundgren Discusses New Album, Influences and More
Posted 06/27/2013 at 2:00pm | by James Wood guitarworld.com
Ever since Queensrÿche cleaved in two last year, its members have found themselves in separate camps.
On the one side there’s founding singer Geoff Tate. On the other are three founding musicians — guitarist Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield — who are joined by guitarist Parker Lundgren and former Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre on vocals.
Some would say the latter act has its work cut out for it. For many longtime Queensrÿche fans, Tate is the real-deal — the voice of the Queensrÿche sound.
Lundgren is himself a fairly recent addition to the Queensrÿche camp, having joined the group in 2009. But he and his bandmates have been hard at work winning over skeptics with their new self-titled album. It’s a disc that not only feels like the band’s second coming but also stays true to Queensrÿche's original sound.
A judge will decide later in November which of the two Queensrÿches is allowed to carry on with the name. Until then, Lundgren and company will be hard at work making their case before the fans, one gig at a time.
Guitar World caught up with Lundgren to discuss his group’s new album and his own background as a guitar player.
GUITAR WORLD: How has the band been handling the confusion over the two Queensrÿches?
It’s been a little frustrating when promoters don’t seem to know what’s going on. Then there are the times when we see their [Tate’s Queensrÿche] show advertised with our photo, or we get calls from friends saying they’ve heard we’re going to be in town and we’re not. We’ll just try to do our own thing and let them do theirs until everything is settled.
Why did the band decide to name the new album Queensrÿche?
The band originally started out with a self-titled EP, so I think for most of us the title signifies a rebirth of the band. It was a mindset — a “we’re back” sort of thing.
What was it like working on an album with Todd?
The coolest thing about working with Todd is that he’s not just a singer — he’s also a musician. He plays guitar, bass and drums. I’d track guitars and send it to him, and then he’d track drums and send it back to me. It was really convenient to co-write with someone who not only contributes lyrically and melodically but also with instruments as well.
Let’s discuss a few songs from the album. Tell me about “Where Dreams Go to Die.”
That was a song Todd and I wrote, and we actually worked it out over Skype. I showed Todd some song ideas I had. I remember playing a part, and he stopped me and said, “Wait! Just move that progression down one chord and I can sing this melody over it.” Things like that really helped.
How about “In This Light”?
Scott [Rockenfield] wrote the music for that song, and then Eddie [Jackson] wrote the melody along with Todd. Scott used keyboards to get the chord structure down, and then we layered guitars in the studio to make it sound huge.
You joined Queensrÿche in 2009. How did that come about?
Back when Geoff started promoting his wine [Tate is a wine enthusiast and in 2010 launched his own brand, Insania], I was working with him on his solo project. Around that same time, the band had a falling out with Mike Stone [guitarist]. I knew most of their material and was already friends with all of the guys. I heard that their upcoming tour was going to consist of three albums in their entirety: American Soldier, Rage for Order and Empire.
I learned all three of those albums ahead of time and knew all the material before I even showed up for the audition with Michael. When I showed up, Michael started asking me about running through songs. He said, “Oh, you mean you know these already?” and I said, “Yeah, I know the whole set.” Then he said, “Oh, well in that case, here’s what you’re going to need for the tour.” I think he was relieved that he didn’t have to teach the new guy all the parts. [laughs]
Tell me a little bit about growing up and playing guitar.
I grew up in Port Townsend, Washington. My friends and I all played, and I was always in three or four different bands at any given time. I played a lot of different genres, studied jazz and went to all of the different workshops every year.
Who were some of your influences?
Django Reinhardt, as far as jazz goes. Of course all the metal guys, too. I was also a fan of Chris DeGarmo and remember learning Queensrÿche songs back when I was in high school.
Did you ever take lessons?
I always had a guitar teacher and also bought books and went through them from start to finish. I now teach guitar myself, so that keeps me up on everything. Whether it’s working with the band, giving guitar lessons or writing and recording, I usually end up playing guitar five to eight hours a day. Growing up, I would practice to get better, but at this position it’s just what I do.
How does it feel being a part of the Queensrÿche legacy?
At first it was scary being the new guy and having to play in front of people and wonder if I was being judged. But now I see these guys as family and friends. We do everything together. It’s no longer a shock to me.
Has the band given any thought to what might happen after the judge decides ownership of the name?
We haven’t really given thought to it. It is what it is for a few more months. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
For more on Queensrÿche, visit their Facebook page.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website,GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.
Queensrÿche, Parker Lundgren - June 2013 (on the phone)
About two weeks after seeing Queensrÿche in Houston, I had the pleasure of having a phone conversation with guitarist, Parker Lundgren. Here's how it went.
-First of all, I want to say that was a great show in Houston a couple weeks ago, and it was cool meeting you. I was wondering how it feels to be the Scott Travis of Queensrÿche, to be the new guy there for one album before the singer changed?
It's been interesting. It's been pretty crazy the past few years to say the least. I think we're all really happy with Todd coming in and the whole direction we're going. We all see eye to eye. We all want to play the same songs in the set, write the same kind of music together, so it's been pretty refreshing compared to how it was previously.
Starting out, you were in Geoff's first solo band, right?
Once you were in the Queensryche, when did you notice friction between Geoff and the rest of the band?
You know, it's one of those things where I just wanted to be there and do a good job. Whatever they had going on, it was all behind closed doors. I wasn't really part of it, the business aspect of it, so I really didn't know what was going on until this year when all the court documents became public. I just kinda tried to stay out of it. But there's always differences in little things, like what songs everybody wanted to play in the set, or what kind of tour to do...just little things like that. There were always creative differences, but it was never anything out of hand like that.
You were on the last album with Geoff ;Dedicated to Chaos. How was that album different than the one you just finished, Queensrÿche?
It was so different. Previously, it almost felt like there was a battle between what songs to use, mainly the producers. It was almost like they wanted to cut the band out of it, even being a part of the process. That's how I felt. There were songs that ended up on the record that I never even heard. The record comes out and I'm like, "I never heard that song when we were in the studio." It was just bizarre. Whereas this record, we worked on every song together. It all happened super organically. Everybody would contribute to everything, and it worked out a lot better. We're really happy about this record.
One of the songs released early, Where Dreams Go To Die, is described as one of your songs. Can you tell me about it?
Basically, I wrote the music and showed it to Todd over Skype, and the whole thing about Todd, he's a musician. He can contribute musically. So, I showed him the main riff idea, and he's like, "cool, if you just change this chord from a D to a C, I can sing this melody over this part..." So, he kinda changed the chord structure that way. I had it written and he gave me some input. He also recorded drums for it in the original demo. I sent him the lyrics and said feel free to use some, none, or all of them. It was just an idea I had. He ended up using all of 'em. He came up with the melody and added some lyrics, too. That's pretty much it. Then Michael added some guitar stuff. He wrote like a small bridge part. Scott did the X2 which leads into it and all the orchestral stuff and all the little ear candy.
Since the addition of Todd, has there been a conscious effort to be more fan friendly?
One thing I noticed with Todd, he would write back to every single email or Facebook message or anything he would get, even people criticizing him. He would always write back saying "I know where you're coming from..." He's always really cool to everybody. As far as actually meeting fans and getting back to them with emails and really caring, that's changed a ton just from Todd being in the band.
Are there any plans for a live DVD?
We have a lot of live footage that's been filmed over the past year. One thing, I don't know if we're going to make a DVD, we have a lot of footage of making the record and some live performances. I don't know if we're going to film for our CD release party. That would be something kinda cool, but it's all still up in the air.
I know right now you're just playing selected dates, but are there any plans to hop on a bus and do a full tour?
That's in the works right now. We just got a new booking agency and we're working on a full US tour and European tour. Right now they're just trying to connect the dots on where to go when. Once the record's out, we're gonna try to go everywhere.
I know you've played different festivals and things. Who are some of the bands you enjoy playing with?
As far as playing shows with? It's always cool to play with bands we're fans of, ya know. Then you get to start being friends with them. I was a big fan of Motörhead growing up, and we played with them a few times and got to be friends with those guys. So now, when they're in town, they'll give us a call and we'll go to the show and maybe have a few beers afterwards. Then there's the bands you idolized as a kid, you get to watch and share the stage with. Like my first tour, we played with Heaven and Hell. It was cool to see Dio before he passed away.
Who personally would you want to tour with, as an opener and opening for you on a headliner tour?
Um... I think everybody in the band would like to tour with Iron Maiden. We're all fans of them, especially now, with our set list, playing a lot of the older material. It fits with metal more than some of the more modern bands. As far as opening bands, there's a band from Seattle called Windowpane that's opened for a tour and we've become really close friends with them. It would be great to bring them back out on the road. They're super talented. I hate to see a band like that not touring all the time. It'd be cool bring friends out and have fun.
Well, thank you for your time. Like I said to start with, it was a great show in Houston, and I look forward to seeing you again.
Living a rocker's dream: Parker Lundgren tours with Queensrÿche
Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 7:34 am, Wed Jul 3, 2013.
By Melanie Lockhart of The Leader | 0 comments
Ever since his teenage years, Parker Lundgren has dreamed of taking music to a professional level. But even in his wildest dreams, he never imagined that he'd eventually play guitar in front of 70,000 screaming metal fans.
The 22-year-old Port Townsend High School graduate has been touring as a guitar player for Queensrÿche - a multi-platinum Seattle-based progressive metal band - during the 2009 tour of the group's most recent album: American Soldier.
He's getting used to crowds of 3,000. But when he stepped out in front of 20,000 fans in France and again at Gods of Metal - Italy's largest metal music festival - in front of 70,000 who braved the pouring rain, the feeling was a new one entirely.
He's also had the chance to play beside some of his favorite bands, including Mötley Crüe and Motörhead.
"It was kind of surreal to be hanging out with a lot of my idols that I grew up listening to," Parker told The Leader.
The whole experience has been surreal, he said. "It's literally a dream come true. It's a really competitive industry so I never really expected it to be a possibility at all. I just kind of lucked out."
Little to big
It all started when Parker was a "little fish in a little pond," said his father, Scott Lundgren of Port Townsend.
"When I was about 13, I got a guitar and my neighbor got a drum set and we started a band even though we were both awful," Parker said. "We got some friends together and just started playing music."
Parker, along with Richard Lockwood, Ben Ericson and Jesse Dean, formed the band The Nihilists and played gigs in Port Townsend and Port Angeles - with some in Seattle - for six years.
"He used to get up and wouldn't brush his teeth. He'd grab the guitar instead," Scott said. "It was like sitting down for coffee - it was his fix."
He started out on acoustic guitar.
"Once I started playing in rock bands, I got bored with it and started playing jazz guitar," Parker said.
He joined the PTHS Jazz Band and took lessons from Chuck Easton.
Before long, Parker developed into a "big fish in a little pond," Scott said.
Eventually, Parker decided to leave his small hometown in hopes of opening up the door to more possibilities.
"When I moved from PT to Seattle I knew I wanted to do something in music," he said. "I basically engulfed myself in as many things having to do with music as possible."
That included living in a guitar studio, teaching guitar lessons, joining the band Sledgeback and working for two years as assistant manager at Guitar Center in Seattle.
He would sample guitars for musicians who were looking to purchase equipment. During his time at Guitar Center, Parker met "everybody that I wished I was," he said.
"I wanted to play guitar for a living; that was my goal. I met a lot of bands that were touring. I asked questions every chance I could to get advice."
Parker specifically recalls meeting Blasko - the bassist for Ozzie Osbourne - and asking about his experiences as a performer. Blasko said that he started playing in a band that was on tour with a more successful band and in time worked his way up the ladder.
"I got an idea from that and thought I could work my way up as well," Parker said.
In summer 2008, Parker landed a spot playing guitar for Queensrÿche lead singer Geoff Tate's solo project. He learned songs from Tate's solo album as well as a variety of Queensrÿche material for last September's mini-tour that centered around Tate and his wife Susan's wine brand, "Insania."
When he heard that guitarist Mike Stone might be leaving Queensrÿche, Parker began his own personal cram session.
"I took it on myself to learn the material ahead of time," he said. "At first it was that whenever I could, I would just learn some songs."
Once it was a sure thing, "I quit my job; I played my guitar for 10 hours a day for about a month to practice all of the stuff, because the songs are pretty difficult to play. When I came into the first rehearsal, I basically had all of the material."
Stone announced his departure from Queensrÿche on Feb. 3. Within two weeks, Parker was announced as the new touring guitarist.
Since the first leg of the band's U.S. tour began in April, Parker has been nothing short of busy. There were 37 shows between April 16 and June 6. The European leg of the tour began with five shows in Germany and concluded with stops in seven countries in eight days, with two additional shows in the Netherlands on July 9 and 12.
"I'm sure you can imagine our schedule is jam-packed," Parker said. "I've been to a lot of places, but it's hard to find time to sit back and enjoy the cities we're in.
"In Europe we flew everywhere and we had all of our gear. We'd have a show, sleep maybe an hour or two, go to the airport, check in 50 pieces of gear, fly to the next place and set up the show."
Once the band returned to Washington, Parker married Tate's daughter, Miranda - whom he met prior to joining the solo project but began dating after. Then the group hit the road again.
The second leg of the U.S. tour began July 22 and runs through Saturday. Next week the band heads to Japan and Australia before returning to Washington to play at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe on Sept. 2. The U.S. tour concludes in November. The final Washington show is at the Knitting Factory in Spokane on Nov. 5.
Music in the blood
The Lundgren family is no stranger to music. Scott plays the harmonica, and Parker's uncles - Bernie, Pat, John, Mike and Kevin - all grew up with interests in music as well. Parker's cousin, Christian Lundgren, was a recent finalist in The Leader's first Dream City Idol competition.
Scott credits his mother, Char Lundgren, due to her singing talent. "We certainly didn't get it from my dad's side of the family," Scott admitted.
The brothers grew up playing together at family events and carried the tradition to the next generation. Parker used to jam on his acoustic guitar with his dad on harmonica, and learned a lot from his uncle Mike.
"We'd have family gatherings with acoustic guitar around the campfire," Parker said.
Now the family enjoys hearing about Parker's experiences and attends nearby shows when they can. Even Parker's grandma Char, who will be 80 in February, has learned to appreciate it.
When Parker was with The Nihilists, Char would worry about his song lyrics being morbid. But she was anxious to see him perform with Queensrÿche and attended one of his first shows.
"She was by far the oldest person there," Scott said. "But she stood up and clapped and didn't wear ear plugs. She said, 'I want to see my grandson in concert once before I die,' so she went."
Stick to it
Parker's love for being on stage and rocking out is something "I'm going to try to make a career of as long as possible," he said.
He's already practicing songs with Queensrÿche for next year's tour, so he expects he'll continue with the band and hopes to take an even more active part in the future.
He's been writing songs since his first band formed. "Once you get in the habit of writing music, you kind of don't stop," he said, adding, "Queensrÿche wants to start writing their next album as soon as possible, and I hope to be a part of that."