Musician Tours All 50 States One Parking Meter At A Time

Pablo Picker plays in the back of his pickup.

Pablo Picker plays in the back of his pickup.

The first thing Pablo Picker does after parking his pickup truck is to feed the meter.

Picker is a Boston based musician who’s taking his music to the streets–literally–playing music from the back of his truck sitting at parking meters in all 50 states.

This day he sits barefoot in the back of a pickup truck parked on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, playing guitar and singing to a constantly changing audience of hipsters, commuters, parents and children walking by.

Picker had been playing in public for years, mainly in Boston’s Harvard Square where he saw many street musicians getting hassled by police for not having a permit. While Picker was smart enough to get his own busker license, he’s always been uncomfortable with the idea that musicians couldn’t just entertain people in public without the formality of a license.

So after recording a new album, he got the urge to get back on the street to share his music, and decided do a tour playing in public in all 50 states. But he was concerned about the possibility of getting on the wrong side of local law enforcement.

So he came up with a brilliant solution–parking meters.

Picker felt if he parked in a metered spot and just fed the meter before playing from the back of his truck–problem solved.

“I figured, as long as I paid the meter the cops couldn’t do anything,” said Picker. “Feeding the meter let’s me totally get around the need to obtain a license. So far Chicago cops have not bothered me. In fact they’ve been supportive.”

And so far it’s worked.

He’s been playing at cities all across the north eastern part of the country and has yet to run afoul of the police.

“As long as I feed the meter, what can they do?”, laughed Picker.

In fact, Picker is fastidious about feeding parking meters wherever he parks to perform and so far only one parking ticket.

“I haven’t received a parking ticket while performing,” explained Picker. “But in Detroit I got a ticket when I ran into a store for a few minutes to buy something to eat. I thought I could get away without feeding the meter for five minutes but got a $20 ticket.”

While Picker enjoyed his short time in Chicago, his only complaint was the high price of feeding the meter.

“You guys have the highest parking meter rates I’ve seen so far–it’s crazy,” said Picker. “Most of the time I pay 25 cents an hour to park but here in Chicago it’s really expensive.”

Follow Picker’s Meter Tour at his website.

4 Responses to Musician Tours All 50 States One Parking Meter At A Time

  1. Jeff says:

    Geek:

    Don’t look now, but this guy stole your backup career plan. Now you’ll have to come up with another parking meter related career. How about working as a meter-themed street mime? People love mimes, don’t they?

  2. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Jeff,

    One of my favorite hobbies is my part time career as a mime. I call myself the “World’s Loudest Mime,” and I dress up in an all black leotard, paint my face white and then shriek at people using a megaphone.

  3. Jeff says:

    Geek:

    All black leotard

    White face paint

    Yelling into a megaphone

    Sounds like you’ve invented a whole new art form – “Kabuki Cheerleading”

  4. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    “Kabuki Cheerleading.”

    I’m breathless with laughter. Damn. That’s funny. Painfully funny.

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