King Parrot

King Parrot

“This will be the first time we are playing all of this new material to people in regional areas,” enthused King Parrot vocalist Matt Young (Youngy) ahead of the Regional Rampage Tour which sees the Australian grindcore heavyweights make their way to Townsville on April 14 and Cairns the following night.

“I think a lot of the places we’re playing on this tour we haven’t been to for one or two years – definitely some of the places in FNQ we’ve never played at,” he continued. “It will be the first time some of the people have ever had a dose of King Parrot so it’s pretty exciting for us to be able to have the opportunity to tour so extensively through Australia with all the new songs and plenty of the hits from the other two records.”

King Parrot are one of this countries hardest working Australian metal bands, frequently touring overseas and featuring at festivals the world over, but they have always found time for their Australian fans, regardless of how big the Parrot machine gets in other countries.

“We did a massive tour through the States and the U.K and Japan recently before doing the capital cities here towards the end of last year so the live set is really strong at the moment,” Youngy said. “It’s always great to get out to a lot of places most bands don’t get to go to and play for the fans out there because they are always hungry which makes for a great show.”

The importance of including regional areas in their touring schedule is something King Parrot have always attempted to provide. Not only does it give the fans a dose of what the capital cities receive, but it also spreads to the next generation of musicians that can easily be forgotten away from the limelight.

“Man, I think it’s super important,” Youngy stressed. “For me, growing up in a regional area myself I know how much I enjoyed and appreciated when bands would make the effort to come and play at those places. I always loved it when bands like Blood Duster or Damaged or Adrenalin or Warped or Max Pelican or any of the bands that were popular when I was growing up – bands like Spiderbait and Meanies – I always loved it when those bands would come to the regional areas and give local bands the opportunity to share the stage with them. I think it’s really important to help grow and develop the scene and give local bands the chance to play with bands who have done international touring and all that sort of shit. It helps make it all the more real for them and keeps the scene alive. I know when I was growing up that’s exactly what it did for me and fuelled my desire to now play in a band touring internationally and do all the things we’ve been able to do. I just like the idea of being able to give back a bit.”

King Parrot released album number three, Ugly Produce, late last year, with Youngy saying the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s been great,” he smiled. “I think it’s probably our strongest album to date. It peaked at number 21 on the ARIA charts which is ridiculous for a grindcore band so I think that speaks volumes about how passionate and supportive our fan base is. To be the sort of band we are, playing the music we play to get up there on the Australian charts is unheard of. It’s really bizarre and that’s why we love to get out to regional places. We feel as though we owe the people who support us to bring our live show to them because they’ve been so unwavering in their support. It just makes sense.”

These days King Parrot divide their time equally between their home country and trying to dominate the international market, with Youngy of the opinion that the only way to ensure people know who you are is to constantly keep in their eyes and ears through constant touring.

“Pretty much for the last four or five years it’s been non-stop on the road all the time,” he agreed. “We’ve been getting a bit more downtime – especially these days we’re looking more at quality over quantity – but in those first few years we were non-stop trying to establish ourselves as an international band and I think we’ve been able to do that to a certain degree. There’s always some sort of offer for tours or going to the U.S or going to Europe or wherever. Then we do our Australian shows as well but we’re really happy with the way things have gone. I don’t think we ever really set out to have this happening as frequently as it is at the beginning but now that it is we enjoy it. We’ve made so many good friends in the U.S and Canada and Europe and Asia as well. We did our first shows in Japan last year as well which was amazing. It just seems to be a positive thing that keeps rolling on and as long as the people are there and appreciate it and want us to come back we’ll keep doing it.”

While Youngy acknowledges the effort the band have had to put in to reach their current level of success, he does admit that the constant strain of being on the road and away from family and friends is something that does take effort and sacrifice.

“It definitely… it’s a bit of a double-edged sword with regards to that stuff,” he measured, “because on the one hand it’s great going out and meeting all the people and playing all the shows. That’s what we do it for. We just love performing; we love playing music and that’s what it is. Usually, you get an hour or so to play each gig and then there are the other 23 hours that are a lot of hard work and quite stressful. It can be really difficult on the band when you’re in such close quarters with your other band members all the time (laughs). Shit can happen pretty quickly so you have to be on your toes. What I’ve found is the best remedy to that sort of stuff is keeping to yourself a bit and staying quiet and just shutting the fuck up (laughs) There’s plenty of times when you’re interacting and you’re doing stuff and you’re working but I think it’s important to have quiet time as well. It’s very rare on the road so if you can create it for yourself it helps a lot.”

Although those down times between shows can be difficult regardless of how strong or how fun a person you are, Youngy says that hour or so of stage time every night puts everything else easily into perspective.

“Man, I think getting up and playing with King Parrot is interesting enough in itself,” he laughed. “You really never know what’s gonna happen at one of our shows. It can get pretty wild in the matter of a couple of seconds. We see all sorts of stuff like blokes getting naked on stage…”

Youngy trails off when I mention that that nakedness sometimes extends to the band.

“…I don’t get naked mate!” he laughed again, “although I’m sure a percentage of this country has seen my bare ass (laughs).”
Again I interject and bring up a recent show where bass player Slatts actually kissed Youngy’s rump during one such moment of nudity.
“Yeah, I’ve tried to talk to him about that (laughs).”

On stage performing Youngy is a brute of a frontman. With menacing, maniacal stares that threaten to reach into your soul and a general demeanor of someone not to be messed with he owns the stage like someone possessed, barking orders and heckling those crowd members foolish enough to sport King Parrot attire but not actively participating in the moshpit.

He is genuinely fearsome, yet off stage is affable and polite, the complete opposite to the Youngy you see with microphone in hand.

“(laughing) You wouldn’t wanna be that guy all the time!” he exclaimed. “It’s an outlet for the band to be able to perform in that way and get that out of our system. It’s what we’ve grown up with. It’s fun. It’s what we know how to do and that’s what we want to do and that’s the way we want to perform. For me personally – and I know a lot of people do drag that persona around with them – but for me, I couldn’t be bothered. On stage it’s a performance, a show, it is what it is and then off stage I’m just me. It’s always been like that for me. I couldn’t… I’m not that staunch tough guy I appear to be on that stage when King Parrot are playing. That’s just my outlet for all that stuff and getting out all the songs and the lyrics and putting all that feel behind it because that is the nature of this band. You don’t wanna get up there and act like a pussy (laughs). You’ve gotta get up there and do your thing but at the end of the day it is just a performance.”

Spending so much time on the road with a select group of people does show you every side of a persons personality, and with the close confines often endured by band members it takes all sorts of personalities and attributes to keep things not only tight but also comfortable. With this in my mind, I question Youngy on who is the best member of the band to have on tour.

“Oh man,” he sputtered. “Geez, you’re really gonna put me in the shit (laughs). I’m gonna say… look, I think everyone has their moments… you’re gonna make me choose one aren’t you… at different times different people have their thing but I will say me and Toddy (Hansen, drums) do our thing. We like to do some workouts and go for a run or have a swim and stuff on tour. Pretty much no-one else in the band will do a workout or go for a run with me so I enjoy that part of it and being able to try and keep up some sort of level of fitness on the road. Toddy and I usually buddy up when it comes to that.”

So to put the pressure right on, who is the most annoying?

“I think you already know the answer to that one,” Youngy laughed. “It starts with S and ends with S…”

Kris Peters

King Parrot play the Edge hill tavern on 15th April – Tickets available:-

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