The Parson Red Heads are a band of grand ideas: In 2005, the entire six-piece band packed up and fled Eugene for Los Angeles, a city which is a far better home for their jangly '60s-rock melodies and addictive bubblegum psychedelia. The group has a fresh new record, King Giraffe, to show off, and they are taking their matching white outfits and touring the country to do just that. Lead Red Head Evan Way takes a few moments to discuss the band leaving Oregon and why they are not a cult.
People from Los Angeles are supposed to move to Oregon, not the other way around. Why did the entire band make the move south?
Brette, our drummer and now my wife, was going to move to LA to pursue some acting stuff. She asked if I wanted to move there with her, I said I did, and in turn, the whole band decided that rather than just call it quits, we would all move, and see what we could do with our music in a bigger city. It was a really organic process, how it all fell into place. Slowly, the most important thing to all of us, this band, took priority without it even being a real conscious effort. Also, Eugene was just becoming small. We wanted a new perspective and some fresh sounds. We were definitely all ready for a new environment to make music in.
Since the band is so familial, does that make it difficult to exist in the context of a group of musicians? I assume the option of just kicking a member out of the band due to a disagreement is probably off the table, right?
It is surprisingly easy to coexist and we really do operate like a family. I think it is healthy and helpful that we don't have the option to just kick someone out if they disagree with some musical ideas. It forces us to work it out. Because we are all friends first and foremost we hold that far above being in a band together. Our musical kinship stems from our real bonds as friends and family, rather than the other way around, which I think is a rare, but really fantastic, thing.
When I hear of an upbeat, family-like band in matching outfits, I for some reason always think of weird '60s religious cult bands. Are the Parson Red Heads a cult? If so, a good cult? Or bad Manson-ish cult?
We are not a cult in any way, except for the fact that we drink blood and sacrifice goats backstage before shows, but who doesn't do that these days? We just like wearing the matching white because we think it looks really good. Kind of like how some bands all wear matching suits, or how the Blue Man Group paint themselves blue, and I think it just looks nice on stage. Plus, it takes away the worry of having to decide what to wear to every show.
The Parson Red Heads perform at Holocene on Mon Oct 29th.