Alum recounts Grammy experience
Feb. 13, 2009
The red carpet was spooled out and the klieg lights ablaze as a who’s
who list of celebrities made their way into the 51st Grammy Awards held
at the Staples Center in Los Angeles last Sunday. Among this year’s
throng of recording artists, film stars and VIPs were four fresh faces
with College ties.
Members of the LaGrange-bred Christian rock band After Edmund
Hosey, Matt McFadden, Mitch Parks and Yates (fifth member Adam Stanley
recently left the group)—were on hand as nominees in the Best Rock or
Rap Gospel Album category. And though they didn’t win, the experience
was memorable, according to Parks, a member of the LaGrange class of
“You had to come down the red carpet, which was totally surreal because there were reporters everywhere,” he said.
After sliding by the first couple of reporters, the group stopped for
an interview. After that, Parks said, “Everyone wanted to interview
They talked to VH1
and other outlets.
“They all asked very similar questions—to which mostly we responded
with absurdity,” Parks said. “They’d ask where we were from, and we’d
say ‘the future.’ … We didn’t take ourselves that seriously.”
After their stroll down the red carpet, the groups’ members found themselves surrounded by an eclectic mix of famous faces.
“I met the bass player from Metallica and two guys from Death Cab for
Cutie,” he said. “I met the drummer from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.
I’d meet somebody and walk away and say, ‘I just met so and so.’ I cut
my teeth playing this guy’s music, and I just met him.
“I saw the guy who plays Jerry O’Connell’s dad in Jerry Maguire. … and
I’m like getting pasta, and I see this guy and dumped pasta all over
the table instead of my plate.”
During the awards’ pre-telecast, the group sat a row in front of
Carrie Underwood, and they were later impressed with the televised
“It’s totally different than it is on TV,” Parks said. “It sounds amazing—these folks are really talented.”
He said he was particularly inspired by the performances of Radiohead and Justin Timberlake with Al Green.
“I can’t believe Al Green can still sing like that,” he said. “The dude
opens his mouth and you believe everything he’s singing.”
Of all the celebrities Parks saw that evening, he says the one who made the most favorable impression was Paul McCartney.
“You talk about a guy who’s just a regular guy and didn’t act like a
celebrity. … A lot of the artists would have kind of an entourage. Paul
McCartney would have just one guy around him and his date.”
Parks says that though it was an exciting experience, he wasn’t completely star struck.
“It was interesting just to be in that world. … but at the end of the
day, we’re just in a really nice place with a lot of expensive stuff,”
he said. “Maybe that’s the wrong attitude, but it sort of took the
mystery out of celebrity.”
Parks did say that his first Grammy visit was motivating.
“It makes me want to get back in the studio and write some music and
get another Grammy nomination,” he said. “It’s challenging me to make
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