GRAHAM Parker is preparing to embark on a brief UK tour, including a date in Manchester next week with his band the Goldtops. He’s got a new album out and although he has been making music for more than 50 years, he sounds as energised as someone starting out.

“It is always a refreshing thing to make a record,” he said. “It hits the refresh button.”

It helps when that record - Last Chance to Learn the Twist - is so good, garnering rave reviews and comparisons with many of his classic earlier albums dating back to the days when he was fronting Graham Parker and the Rumour.

Lancashire Telegraph: Graham Parker

“You write a few songs so what are you going to do? You’re going to record them and get them out there to people,” he said. “It’s a complicated process but it just very rewarding. I feel privileged to have come up with a record like this after so many years.”

But ‘coming up’ with records is an art that Graham has been successful at throughout his career.

From the early albums with the Rumour such as Heat Treatment and Squeezing Out Sparks to more recent solo albums and his reunion albums with the Rumour after 40 years and his most recent offerings, the songs have always been at the heart of it.

“When I start to write a song I certainly don’t know where I’m going,” he said. “There are a lot of false attempts and rewrites that go on when you realise that the first verse is good but the second verse is better, then the third verse is just off! A lot of grunt work goes into it.

“I have no idea where it’s coming from. It’s the same mysterious process every time. It’s just the lucky synapses that songwriters and creative people tend to have. I don’t put it down to anything clever from me.

“Really there’s just something we have and it’s our job to corral it, rope it in and hold it there and make it so that it works for the rest of the world.”

Although he might not know where songs come from, Graham puts his longevity down to never being afraid to adapt.

“When you play live as much as I do, often solo, you learn a lot and that’s what you have to do - keep changing as you go along.

“Songs will invariably change in a live setting. That’s why I like to record them once I’ve written them, that’s the pure version if you like and then you let the changes come when you play them live.

“As soon as you play things live people adjust and the songs move in different ways. It’s all good and all part of process.”

For his upcoming dates Graham will be accompanied by the Goldtops who appeared on his last album Cloud Symbols.

The band includes former Rumour guitarist Martin Belmont.

“Martin good to have around. It means we can argue about how a song goes. A lot of that goes on,” he laughed.

Graham is very open about his career.

“In the old days my voice was very raucous, my approach was in your face and aggressive which felt exactly right at the time,” he said. “But that was then. You learn a lot, that’s what you have to do - keep changing as you go along.

“But I feel as proud of the first album as I do about this latest one and all of the ones in between in their own way. You have to accept them for what they are.

“I think a couple of the early 80s ones were of their time. You can hear that sound in everyone’s records from then and perhaps they went away from rock and roll into something else. But they were products of their time and there is nothing to be ashamed about that.”

Given his career as band frontman, solo artist, movie star - he appeared in the film This is 20 with The Rumour - how does Graham regard himself?

“I’ve always thought of myself as a singer songwriter before anything else. It’s just you and a guitar and a voice - and good luck with that!” he laughed.

For the tour he has added two backing singers to the line-up.

“I think my face might be cracking up quite a bit. It will be a very joyful experience.”

Graham Parker plays Manchester’s Band on the Wall, Wednesday, September 27. Details from www.the