This February will see King Parrot perform in Ireland for the very first time and to say that this pleases us here at the Overdrive HQ, is an understatement to say the least! So leave your hipster bullshit at the door, roll up your sleeves and step inside one of the most exciting bands that are confidently marching beyond the horizon of extreme music, with their heads held high and one hell of an army behind them!
OD – Let’s start off by talking about how the band came together as I know that each member has been on the Melbourne scene for quite some time, but how did it all come about?
MATT – Well it initially started by myself and our guitarist Mr. White and we had Matt Rizzo (Blood Duster) on drums during that time and we started playing together with a few different guitarists and bass players. Then we came across Squiz (guitars) and Slatts (bass) who are still with us today and we did the first album “Bite Your Head Off” (2012), which came out in Europe through Candlelight Records. Around this time when things started to pick up for us, we lost Matt (Rizzo) on drums as the touring thing just wasn’t his thing. So we ended up getting a guy called Matt “Skitz” Sanders, who was pretty well known in the Australian metal scene, as he played with bands like Damaged, Sadistic Execution and a few other high profile Aussie bands.
Skitz went out with us on the first North American tour that we did and then he decided that it wasn’t really for him either, so we ended up getting Todd Hanson, who has actually done quite a bit of touring through Europe before with his old band The Berzerker and he’s now been with us for about 18 months and it’s all going pretty well actually. We have just spent a lot of time out on the road doing as many shows as we can. We have been over in North America a few times with Weedeater, which was back in March now. We are just really looking forward to getting out on the road with Soulfly and playing a tone of shows in Europe.
OD – How did your first encounter with Phil Anselmo come about and did you think that he was taking the piss when he offered to sign you to Housecore Records?
MATT – Phil actually emailed me a few years ago and I thought someone was taking the piss, so I wrote back very cautiously and then we just kept in touch, shooting the shit together and I finally mentioned it to the guys in the band “I think Phil Anselmo is fucking emailing me” and when we all checked, we realised that it really was Phil. So a couple of weeks later, we were booked to play the Soundwave festival and Down were also on the bill. Now I had met Jimmy Bower before (Eyehategod, Down, Superjoint Ritual, Crowbar) and he was there this particular year with the Down guys and he introduced me to Phil and we just hit it off. They invited us up on stage with them to jam during their set, which was awesome.
Then a couple of weeks after that, we were in North American on tour and we were playing a show down in Louisiana and Phil and his partner came out to the show and we ended up staying at his ranch. We all just struck up this great friendship and over time he had expressed interest in producing our record and getting us on to Housecore Records (Phil’s own record label) in America. Just getting the opportunity to record with Phil was something that we really wanted to do and the vibe down there in Louisiana is just fantastic and his studio is just a great place to play, record music and chill out.
Getting to then go out on tour with Down and Superjoint Ritual was something that doesn’t happen to bands where we come from, so we were just blown away by it and very grateful for the opportunity. I know that Phil has a very high profile, but he is just a super down to earth guy and has become a very good friend now and we look forward to doing more stuff with him in the future, so we are just very grateful and feel very lucky.
I was actually just talking to someone the other day about being on the road with Phil and the guys from Down. We were playing at the Filmore concert hall in San Francisco near the end of 2014 with Down and Orange Goblin and I was just thinking to myself, “How the fuck did all of this happen?” This venue is legendary and so many bands have performed in this place and here we are, King Parrot, playing at the fucking Filmore in San Francisco. It was fucking mind-blowing moment to be honest. What is our crusty little grind-core band doing supporting Down at the Filmore? (laughs) It was just so surreal and still is when I think about it.
OD – Coming from Australia, this must have been a huge deal for your local scene as its common knowledge that it’s hard enough to make it these days?
MATT – Yea, I think so. Especially since we started doing the videos and now with this second album out, I can really see a lot of support for us. Australia has actually been so amazing and supportive for everything that we have done over the last 3/4 years. We have toured a lot and gone from paying smaller venues with like 50/100 people turning up and when we just released our new album recently, we found ourselves playing to something like 800 people, so we have certainly seen the growth. We never have been one of those bands that depended on our mates turning up to see us. We always went out there with the intention of just building our fan-base and putting on the best show that we can and that came from us being a really aggressive band and approaching things with that aggressive attitude.
I used to get pissed off when I would go to shows and see these huge mosh pits for the international bands after the crowd would just be standing there for the local support. What the fuck is that about? I had the belief in the music that we were writing and what we were doing as a band. I just had a strong belief that people such as yourself and others from around the world, would see our passion and confidence during the live shows. That’s really why I started getting into the crowd and screaming in peoples faces in a genuine way which obviously comes from our roots in the old school scene and such a love and respect for old school punk, thrash, grind and extreme music. Our passion on stage comes from a really genuine place and I think that people latched onto that and it just sort of had a follow-on effect with the audience. We are seeing this also in America, with the audiences getting more into what we are doing, because they realise that we are the real deal.
I’m totally aware that we have a very different sound and we are hugely influenced by a lot of bands that were very prominent in the Australian scene and not really well known outside of the country. One of our goals from the start was to take this classic extreme Australian sound and push it onto the world stage and that’s something that we are not prepared to waver from and if some people like it or not like it, that’s just irrelevant to us, because that’s what we do. Slowly but surely, it’s starting to take hold with people around the world and they are beginning to figure us out. We are just gonna keep going as long as we can. We take our cues from thrash, grind, punk and rock n’ roll, so we’re not going to be pigeon holed either, so I think that all works in our favor.
OD – King Parrot videos have been the talk of many a discussion in our office and we all can agree they are without a doubt, the most entertaining we have seen. Who is the mastermind behind the video concepts?
MATT – I’m heavily involved with a lot of the video stuff and we also have used Dan Farmer who directed and produced our last few videos. So, a lot of Dan’s influence comes into things and he just gets the sense of humor of the band. It’s a kind of dark, aggressive and twisted funny sense of humor and it covers all of those bases, which can be a bit hard to swallow at once for some people but I guess that’s what makes them come back over and over again.
I’m guessing that it just confuses people. I remember when we put out “Shit on the Liver”, a couple of years ago and people were just like “what the fuck is this?” (laughs) We get a laugh out of peoples reactions to the stuff we do, because we don’t really care and just want to have fun and make good fucking music!
OD – “Dead Set” came out last year,but I believe that you are already laying down some new material in Loud And Proud Studios in Queensland, how far into the new material are you and can you give me an idea as o when we can see some new material released?
MATT – We’ve just been writing some new stuff at the moment. Ever since we put out “Dead Set”, we haven’t stopped. We did Australia and a tour with Superjoint Ritual in the States and then we came back and did another regional tour of Australia, before heading back to Canada and more of the States with Cattle Decapitation and then we came home a did a few shows here and there as well as a huge New Year’s Eve show in Brisbane. So, now we have decided to take a little time off and recharge and do some writing before we hit the road again with Soulfly. Who knows man, we might even bust out some new material on this tour as we have some pretty good tunes that are near ready.
We just want to keep writing and working at this and would love for Phil to come on board again for the production of the new batch of songs. We are about half way done with the writing and I guess, when we get back from the tour with Soulfly, we will just finish things off. This is just really exciting times for us and we can’t wait to get over to Europe and play for everybody. We have never been to Ireland, so that’s something that we are really looking forward to.
OD – So, it’s very likely that Phil will be working on the recordings of the new material?
MATT – Yea, it would obviously be fantastic for Phil to be part of the new stuff. He’s just such a great, generous bloke and if he’s interested in having another crack at the whip and recording with us, then we would be over the moon. He’s been a great friend, opening the doors to his house for us was such a great time and it would be fucking fantastic to be able to do that again.
OD – I was talking to Max just a few days ago and he was thinking about doing a version of “Ace Of Spades” with you in honour of Lemmy father than “Live Life Hard”, has he spoke to you about that yet?
MATT – (laughing) No man, he hasn’t! I would be up for that for sure! I’m the sort of person that’s like “if Max wants to do that, then let’s do it man!” I’m not the sort of person, nor am I in the position to be picking and choosing what we can do together. Whatever Max wants to do, then that’s what we’re doing!
OD – This will be your first time playing in Ireland, I have seen footage of your live shows on line but just now insane can they get?
MATT – Yea, there’s been too many to mention really, but one that comes to mind straight away was a show that we were doing in Jakarta, Indonesia called “Hammersonic” and there was something like 20,000 people there in this predominantly Muslim country and to see the whole crowd just fucking loosing it was insane! There’s me trying to jump of the stage into the audience and all of these little Indonesian kids trying to hold me up, but just kept dropping me in the mud (laughs), that was a crazy show, for sure.
The other one would be our recent home town show at the Corner Hotel, a legendary venue here in Melbourne. Just to be playing that venue in our hometown to a huge sold out crowd was pretty cool. That nostalgic feeling of being back in my hometown and playing this venue, which I have played many times before as support to international touring bands, was just mind-blowing for me. I was in the toilets vomiting with nerves and when we got up there we just had an amazing show and the crowd went fucking ape-shit from the first song until the last. It was brilliant man, it was one of those moments that I will never forget.
OD – You must have a good Phil Anselmo story, would you care to share one with me?
MATT – The first time I met Phil was in a caravan type thing at the Soundwave Festival and I was walking around backstage with our old drummer Skitz and I spotted Jimmy Bower (Down) and he invited us back to where the rest of the guys in Down were just hanging out. He was telling me that Phil wanted to meet me and I was like ‘cool let’s do it’. So, we went back to the bands hangout and all the guys were there just shooting the shit and relaxing. Phil already had a King Parrot t-shirt on, which was awesome and we were all just partying and having a laugh.
At one point, Phil had to piss, so he suddenly just stands up and whips his cock out and starts pissing in a bottle right in front of everybody. I had never seen his cock before and it’s a big cock! I was just standing there thinking “alright, so this is just normal then!” (laughs) So, not only did I get to meet Phil Anselmo for the first time, but I also saw his cock! (laughs)
KING PARROT are on tour with SOULFLY for an extensive European tour and will be playing in Dublin’s Academy Green Room on Tuesday 2nd February. The bands current release “Dead Set” is out now and can be purchased by clicking this link.
WIN TICKETS TO SOULFLY / KING PARROT / INCITE / LODY KONG FOR DUBLIN ACADEMY GREEN ROOM ON FEBRUARY 2ND 2016.
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Words – Oran O’Beirne © 2016
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