With credentials going back to the early 1970s, Michael Schenker is one of the finest …
Old mate Winno’s on holiday. That’s pretty much the honest reason Parkway Drive’s guitarist Luke ‘Pig’ Kilpatrick has taken up phone duties with Hysteria rather than vocalist Winston McCall, who’s taking a deserved break after their recent European festival run.
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How come Kilpatrick’s not swanning around on a cruise (or the like) after a heavy 18 month touring schedule? “Too busy mate, gotta manage this band!” For those in the know, Kilpatrick also co-manages the band with Resist Records’ Graham Nixon. Since giving them their start in 2004, it’s still rumoured that Parkway and Graham have never made a formal written contract regarding the band’s managerial duties. Madness in today’s world of complicated streaming, copyright, 360 nosegrind to McTwist deals.
“I kind of grew into it …” says Kilpatrick of managing the metalcore juggernaut. “I stayed with it as things grew and navigated up. I’m guess a bit of a control freak so that might be a part of it. There’s not a single thing that goes through the band that I’m not dictating or managing. It’s full on.” So when Good Things came rolling up, it was Kilpatrick who negotiated behind the scenes. Unbelievably, it’s Parkway Drive’s first ever-headlining spot on a touring festival in Australia. A decade ago, it was easy to overlook the home talent when titans like Metallica and System of a Down made their mark on home soil. As Luke rightly states though: “Back in the day with Soundwave and [other festivals] they weren’t giving Australian bands what they deserve. We’ve been quite vocal about it. Not to a great degree, but if they book a band from the States, they might feel the need to justify putting them higher on the bill. So Australian bands may have been overlooked. But it’s great to see a change coming this year [on Good Things], there are quite a few Aussie bands quite high. We’ve got the quality in music and people’s performances. It’s great for us, and it’s great for Australia … Good Things have put their faith in us so we’re going to put on a good show.”
People in Australia have never seen what we’re about to do. We’re basing it off what we’ve done in Europe for this last summer run. They were far and away the biggest shows we’ve ever done and we’re bringing it to Australia.
[ Luke Kilpatrick ]
That usually means a pre-determined setlist for international acts, but a homecoming for a band like Parkway surely poses a headscratching dilemma regarding song choice. Keep in Prey and have the ‘purists’ screaming for Romance Is Dead? Absolute Power may drop like a bomb but does it compare to the Boneyards breakdown? “It’s a tricky one and it’s a constant one that we have,” admits Kilpatrick. “From what we’ve seen in the past 18 months the Reverence songs are just so well suited to live [sets] and festivals so there’s definitely going to be a lot of them in there. Whether it’s people’s favourite songs or not, the show we can put on [with] them and the theatre it provides with the soundscape, pyro and whatever production we have going on or whatever the lighting guy has done for that song is just on a whole other level compared to the old stuff. But saying that, we do like to play some old songs and keep the fans who want to see them happy, so it’s a tricky balance.”
Whether they’re a Don’t Close Your Eyes tragic or a newly initiated Reverence die-hard, anyone who’s seen footage of a European festival Parkway set will agree that the metalcore legends aren’t a set to be missed. Although entering with tundra-ready coats and torches lit by masked henchmen may work in frigid conditions during the winter chill, Australia in the summertime is an entirely different beast. Kilpatrick laughs when asked if they’re going to be dropping the torches for their Australian entrances. “People in Australia have never seen what we’re about to do. We’re basing it off what we’ve done in Europe for this last summer run. They were far and away the biggest shows we’ve ever done and we’re bringing it to Australia.”
So that likely means flames, scissor lifts, rotating drumkits … hopefully no injuries this time around. As it stands, Kilpatrick, lead guitarist Jeff Ling, and bassist Jia ‘Pie’ O’Connor have all managed to take a spin in a wheelchair on stage over the years. Maybe it’s time to bust McCall’s kneecaps so he gets a taste of it? “[laughs] He actually had a broken ankle before we went to Europe the first week and he just squeezed in. He’s almost been in the chair … Ben [Gordon, drummer] could almost do it in a chair.”
For young bands, having these stories and a ‘core record hit platinum would be an unthinkable dream. Seeing Parkway with two documentaries – Parkway Drive: The Dvd and Home Is For The Heartless – both certified Platinum in Australia makes it seem a little more in reach. It’s festivals like Good Things that give young bands the opportunity to make their mark early and begin planning that sort of domination. For Kilpatrick, having been through it himself, he thinks, “it’s the right thing to do. If you’re a promoter putting on a big festival in Australia, you want to look out for the Australian bands and help build that scene. It seems like the organic natural way to build up your festival. You’ve always got to look after the local bands. When they haven’t, the scene has suffered. It’s great that it’s changed and hopefully people can keep doing it in the future with their festivals … If they do it right, there’s definitely a chance for longevity.”
Oh and as for the band’s future? Good Things and a lot more are likely to be featured in the band’s forthcoming documentary, due some time in the near future. “It’s been a brutal 18 months getting Reverence out on the road to the different markets a couple times each,” says Kilpatrick. “The writing is starting to start and it’ll definitely be a few years before a new record to keep the quality where Reverence is and above. We want to take things to a whole new level. We’re currently working on some movie stuff so in 2020 we should see a new documentary and [we’ll be] touring off that … It’s basically another development of where the band has come … we’ve been filming everything. I’m yet to see anything. But we feel like we’ve got a good story to tell and our core fans should enjoy it anyway. It’s basically what we’ve been doing since Home Is For The Heartless came out.
“There’s a lot of time there to fill in the gaps.”
Parkway Drive headline Good Things Festival 2019:
MELBOURNE // Friday 6th December // Flemington Racecourse
SYDNEY // Saturday 7th December // Centennial Park
BRISBANE // Sunday 8th December // Showgrounds