The world beating Byron Bay gentlemen of Parkway Drive are currently taking all before them in the world of heavy music. Having just finished an enormous and grinding run across the ‘States on the Warped Tour and criss-crossing Australia, the band have also headlined the massive Never Say Die Festival Europe, above the likes of Comeback Kid and Bleeding Through, before playing in the Middle East for the first time in their careers. You can tell when a band’s success and influence is growing significantly when their demand and reach becomes as far-flung as this. And this hard-working band deserve all the success they attain.
Never ones to neglect their homeland however, no matter how massive they become on a global scale, Parkway Drive have returned to Australia after their Middle Eastern jaunt. This time they return as one of the main attractions on the huge No Sleep ‘Til festival, which winds it’s way in an anti-clockwise direction around the major centres of this wide brown land of ours through the middle part of December, after kicking off in New Zealand.
It makes the head fairly spin just thinking about their schedule, let alone actually doing it, but singer Winston McCall found a fleeting quiet moment to chat with Beat about it all recently.
“It was great, definitely the best response we’ve ever had in North America,” he begins, regarding the Warped Tour. “At the same time it was like 40 degree temperatures every day… random set times. It was interesting; you gotta work for it, put it that way!” he laughs.
“Europe is such a fantastic place to tour,” he continues, “these days it’s going really, really well for us. It’s the first time going back, since the release (of the band’s third and most recent album Deep Blue), and then we’ve got a bunch of shows in places we’ve never been to… it’s crazy!” he chuckles. “We’ve never played Istanbul or Tel Aviv, or anything like that. We’re also playing Portugal. We’ve been to Greece once before, but other than that it’s our first time to a lot of these places.”
The No Sleep ‘Til Festival kicks off in Auckland on December 10, and features such luminaries of the world of heavy music as Megadeth, Gwar, Katatonia, Atreyu and many, many more. Winston and his bandmates are suitably excited about the prospect and the sheer weight of heavy bands on the bill: “Yeah, [it’s a] massive bill,” he enthuses. “It doesn’t really get any bigger to be honest. Yeah, [it’s] pretty insane; it’s awesome for us to be involved. It’s something that’s almost new to us,” he adds, “as we haven’t done anything festival-based in Australia since the Taste Of Chaos tour many years ago. To be involved in this is amazing; the bill is absolutely phenomenal, so yeah, we’re champing at the bit to get into that one.”
Another major attraction of the tour is the sheer breadth of styles present on the bill. From Megadeth to Dropkick Murphys to Frenzal Rhomb to Parkway Drive themselves, it’s an extremely broad palette of punk, metal, hardcore and everything in between for the punter to get their teeth into. And despite the strength of the lineup, Parkway Drive are once again nice and high up on the pecking order.
“There’s a bit everything,” Winston agrees, on the diversity present on the tour, “it seems like they’ve got the best of everything. It’s first rate; from every single band from every single style, they’re the best at what they do. It’s going to be a really interesting day!
“It’s pretty amazing,” he continues, regarding their place on the bill, “that there’s that much faith in us to have us playing at that time of the day. We’ll see how we go, whether or not it actually works out like that, whether it goes well or not, remains to be seen!” he chuckles. “But it’s awesome; considering they’ve got that many amazing bands, to have an Australian band playing at that time is awesome.”
Yet another major happening for the band before the end of such a whirlwind year was their nomination for an ARIA Award – which they subsequently won. After literally decades of stagnation, Australian music’s controlling body has finally decided to recognise the contribution of this country’s harder-edged acts to the country’s music scene. While it was a shame it took so long – plus the fact that some may not see the range of acts present in the nominations to be as broad as it possibly could be – it should only be seen as a step in a positive direction overall. Few, if any, could doubt Parkway’s prominence in both the heavy music scene’s eyes and ears however.
Winston laughs, speaking about their chances of taking out the hard rock and metal category, “it’s kind of an underdog’s award. Every band that’s nominated for is kind of an underdog, in terms of the ARIA’s themselves. To be honest I’m most happy that they’ve finally chosen to recognise, within the industry, the amount of hard work that goes on behind these bands, this genre that isn’t necessarily pop or rock or anything like that.”
Even with the band’s win, Winston is adamant that it’s not specifically about Parkway Drive, and shrugs off some of the glory, saying it’s more to do with Australian music than anything else. “I’d say this genre does contain 90% of the hardest working bands in this country,” he argues. “I couldn’t care if we won or lost, I’m just stoked that that category is finally actually there now!”
From here, though, as an ARIA winner, a No Sleep Til headliner and the rampaging success of Deep Blue, one could posit it is the year of Parkway Drive. And there’s not another band out there that you couldn’t say deserved it more.
PARKWAY DRIVE headline the NO SLEEP TIL festival, alongside Megadeth, Decendents, NOFX, Dropkick Murphys, Gwar, Alkaline Trio and about a million other kickarse bands. It’s on at the Melbourne Showgrounds on Friday December 17. Tickets from ticketek.com.au and 132 849, or moshtix.com.au and 1300 438 849. PARKWAY DRIVE’s latest album Deep Blue is out now through Shock.