We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Parker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
In the early 2000’s, I worked for a record store called Blue Meannie Records. It was owned by a musician and fellow heavy metal fan Norm Leggio. It was a dream job. All day long I would listen to metal, order metal records, and talk metal with customers and coworkers. It was more than just a record store, it was a meeting place for local heavy metal fans. After about 6 years of working there, the record industry was dying. Sadly, Blue Meannie Records was no more. I moved on to a new career, but always felt the metal scene in San Diego was missing what Blue Meannie Records provided; a place where local metal fans can meet up, buy and sell heavy metal merchandise, and meet others with the same heavy metal passion. This inspired me to pitch the idea to my friend Israel, for a single day, heavy metal swap meet. He liked the idea, and we hashed out a few ideas, invited a few vendors, and promoted the event on MySpace. It was held in 2009 on my driveway with about a dozen vendors and around 200 raging metalheads! After that, it was obvious that this was an event people really enjoyed, so we planned it every year, and at different venues around San Diego. We have even had bands perform, such as Jag Panzer, Night Demon, Cattle Decapitation, To Violently Vomit, and Hirax. We also usually have Derek Riggs, who is the creator of “Eddie” the mascot for Iron Maiden, signing his prints and art book. The thing that keeps this event going is the passion I see in the eyes of the metalheads who attend. I have seen some of the kids that attended early on, go on to form metal bands. I am not sure if Metal Swap Meet had anything to do with that, but a small piece of me wants to believe it helped. The other thing that has kept Metal Swap Meet going for over 10 years is the great group of friends and family who help organize and work the event. Without them, this event would surely not happen.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For the last 2 years, I have also taken up the hobby of photography. I always enjoyed art, and technology, and modern photography combines both. I have had a blast learning traditional photography concepts like the exposure triangle, as well as modern editing techniques like frequency separation. I started out shooting landscapes, and have moved on to shooting people. I shot the photos in this interview, and have done a few paying gigs. Anyone want to hire me?
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For someone visiting from out of town, you can’t go wrong with Balboa Park. It’s historic, beautiful and one of the absolute best places for people watching. There are many museums at Balboa Park that I love, including the Timken Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts, and Museum of Art. Take a walk down to the Japanese Friendship Garden. Admission is $12, but it’s a beautiful experience. For food, I would take them to Crazee Burger in North Park. They have an assortment of beef burgers, as well as exotic burgers including venison, camel and gator. This place knows how to make amazing burgers, and they have a great selection of local craft beer. Speaking of craft beer, a must visit for me is the Miralani Makers’ District in the Miramar area of San Diego. This is an industrial complex that has over a dozen craft food and drink producers. We were invited by Josh from Setting Sun Sake to hold the last 2 Metal Swap Meet events there, and we love it. Be sure to check out Setting Sun Sake, Lost Cause Meadery, Charlie & Echo Winery, Align Brewing, Serpentine Cider, and The Good Seed Food Company. For viewing the incredible coastline, I recommend going to the Children’s Pool in La Jolla. Beautiful cliffs, sunsets and seals. Hard to beat it. Be sure to leave the seals alone. When we can finally go to shows again, it would be advisable to check out some metal shows at the famous Brick by Brick. This has been my second home since I turned 21. I have seen so many legendary acts perform there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My good friend Israel Pelayo, who shares my passion for heavy metal, and great beers! He’s been a friend for much longer than 10 years, and he really comes up with some great ideas for the Metal Swap Meet. Thanks Israel! Also to my friend Jared Wills, who has been a huge supporter every year. Another shoutout goes to the Metal Swap Meet crew, including Kim, Keith, Trish, Mike, Lila, Steve, Jeff, Vince, Ed, Sid, Joe, Angela, Joel, Dan, Steve, Cassie, Luis, Fabian, Dean, James, Todd, and Matt.