The undisputed metalcore heavyweights of the world Parkway Drive have done it all. After countless world tours, topping the ARIA charts and releasing yet another acclaimed album, who’s to say where the Byron Bay locals will stop. Frontman Winston McCall took time out of Warped Tour madness to talk to KYS about life, the universe and scooters.
Please start out by telling us your name, your role in Parkway Drive and your favourite pop star/s.
Winston McCall – yells and words – Michael Jackson
What are the major musical (or other) influences on your music?
Tom Waits, Radio Head, Nick Cave, Sarah Blasko, Hardcore, life, human ignorance, imagination, distance, the ocean.
A lot of stylistic labels have been slapped on your band throughout the course of its existence. How would you define your “sound”?
Fast drums, distorted guitars, heavy, abrasive vocals. I don’t think there is anything particularly defining about our sound to be honest.
Your band is undoubtedly the largest heavy Australian act ever, and one of the biggest in the world. I know it’s been asked a million times but could you have ever anticipated even a fraction of your successes?
Hahaha, I think this one will be asked until the day this band dies. no. No way ever could we see this coming. Every show that is bigger than the last is a still mind blowing. Looking at where we are today and how we got here is a complete head fuck if you ever take the time to think about it.
Parkway signed to Epitaph in 2006, how has being signed to such an iconic US label impacted the course of the band’s career?
For starters it made us stoked personally. To have those guys back us at the time they did was just amazing. From the business side of things Epitaph have backed us 100% from the word go. It actually pretty hard to separate the business side from the friendship which is a pretty good thing to be able to say considering most labels in the world seem to be doing all the can do to rape everything they touch. They helped us with tour support, helped us personally, housed us, fed us. Its safe to say they have had a massive impact for us in the USA.
You guys released the much anticipated “Deep Blue” earlier this year to immense critical acclaim. As an album how do you feel it compares to “Killing With a Smile” or “Horizons”?
It sounds different to start with, which is what we wanted. The idea was to make something that stood apart from the previous two releases, but at the same time wasn’t a departure from who we are as a band. I think it contains everything we put into our music in the past, we just made more of an effort in how and were we used the pieces of music we wrote. I think the best way to describe the differences was we looked at the way everything worked together as an album from the word go, not put the pieces in together in the order they were written.
The newest effort peaked on the ARIA charts at number 2, have you gotten used to the fact that you guys are essentially as popular as Lady Gaga and Eminem?
Nope. Pretty weird huh. Weird/funny
Considering the amount of time you guys spend overseas, whether in the US or Europe, have you considered relocating the band or will Byron Bay always and forever be your home?
FUCK NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why would anyone ever leave Australia, let alone Byron Bay.
With a history of touring that puts pretty much any other hardcore band to shame, what has been your favourite tour and why?
Anything with the Warriors. Awesome band, best mates. The last Sick Summer tour was fucking great so many water falls. And the festival tour we played through Europe last tour was mind blowing. Playing in the swiss alps, swimming below Hitlers eagle’s nest, jumping off cliffs in Mallorca, catering fit for kings. Amazing summer.
“Home Is For The Heartless” off the new album features Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion, an absolute dream come true for any punk-influenced act. Obviously this would have had a significant bearing on your answer to the last question, but who have been your favourite musicians to work with either on tour or in the studio?
Yeah you kind of answered the question there. Brett was great. It’s so weird to think that the we’re now friends with the person that wrote the album that essentially changed the course of my life. His work in the studio was bizarre. So good, so professional, but at the same time he’s still just a siked little kid. So weird to have him next to you freaking out about something you’ve created. Weird situation to be in.
Parkway clearly have diverse tastes in music. What do you guys generally rock whilst on the road?
It depends person to person. Driver gets choice, so normally its a lot of punk, CCR, Tom Petty. If Chode’s driving it gets a little gay. When I drive it gets a little weird and I get written off.
We’ve seen the crazy shit you got up to as kids in Byron on your DVD, with such nonstop international touring do you guys still get to mess around and have fun as much as you’d like?
Yep. You just have to make the effort. We’re on Warped at the moment. Most of the guys brought scooters from some dodgy Armenian dealer for a couple of hundred bucks so they’ve been driving around causing trouble on a daily basis.
Other than the mammoth list of tour dates you guys have in store, what does the future hold for Parkway Drive?
Still no idea. I guess either more music, more tours and more fun, or the reality kicks in.
Cheers for the interview, any last words for the interwebz?
Me and Keith Buckley are cousins