News Column

Band finds success is a family matter

August 4, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 04--These siblings do everything together. They always have. When older sister Kimberly Perry started a band in high school, the younger brothers Reid and Neil would grab the mic when she took a water break. Then they were her "roadies." Now, they've been making music -- and winning awards and fans -- together for years.

The Band Perry is now on tour with one of the biggest bands of any genre, let alone country music. It rolls through Tulsa's BOK Center on Saturday with headline act Rascal Flatts.

'We're having a great time," Kimberly said. "This is a really fun tour. It's like summer camp all the time." She isn't exaggerating.

"To be out on the road with another trio, especially one so well-established, it's really cool to see how well everything comes together." They've moved past their underdog status, past the "sibling novelty," past the judgment and into their own space with their fans, they said during a recent telephone interview.

The Band Perry leads their gigs with their new No. 1 hit, a song Neil and Reid wrote together, "Done."

"It's really exciting to lead the shows with a song we wrote," Neil said.

"And to use this song that we wrote on our bus and in our basement and to see so many people use it in their own lives, every day -- it's making a difference in their lives."

It's making a difference for The Band Perry, too. The tour, for one. "We're right in the thick of 'Live and Loud' tour right now with Rascal Flatts," Kimberly said. "It's really cool to see how the road works with another trio, especially one as good as they are." Flatts includes Picher native and guitarist Joe Don Rooney.

Neil complimented the headlining act in another way: "The three of us are from the deep, deep south, and so one of the things we ask for is the sweetest sweet tea out there, and these guys have found it," Neil said, to laughter from his siblings. "They get the blue ribbon in sweet tea." In The Band Perry, Kimberly sings lead and plays guitar and piano. Middle brother Reid plays bass guitar and sings backing vocals, and baby brother Neil plays drums, accordion, mandolin and sings backing vocals. The Band Perry broke out of their hometown of Greeneville, Tenn. -- big time -- in 2010 with their self-titled, major label debut, but it's taken a long time to get to this spot.

"Our parents are really the most important members of the band. They've been there every step of the 15-year journey," Neil said, adding that though recent success has been overwhelming, it wasn't overnight.

"(Our parents are) the invisible fourth and fifth members of the band. They've done everything from drive our tour buses, our mom's our stylist, our dad was our first booking agent. So, really, they are the most pivotal members of the band."

The siblings have charted seven singles since 2010, and "Done from their 2013 release, "Pioneer," is at No. 1. It takes a lot of teamwork, but they also have to take time to have fun, they said. Can it really be that fun to be on a bus or on stage together ... all the time?

"You know, as a family ... it is an extended vacation," Kimberly said. While on tour, they recently stopped to visit Park City, Utah, along with the "wild, wild, west," and goofy landmarks and other places. It makes work a bit easier, she said.

The typical sibling roles of prankster and peacemaker and bossypants have changed over the years, but they're still there.

"Neil's still the prankster. Neil's the baby, so he often helps lighten the load," Kimberly said.

Here, she's interrupted. "This is Reid. The peacemaker? I'd say that's still our mother."

Kimberly agrees, then steps back in. "Definitely. And we're all peacemakers when peace needs to be made. But I will say that Reid has become the bossy one of the three of us in the last few years." They sound just like siblings, don't they?

But, by nature, Kimberly admits that her being the oldest -- and the only girl -- she has tended her toward the bossy side.

"That's something I've happily put to rest in more recent years," she added. All in all, it's all about the music. The pent-up family roles, the stress, the travel, it all comes out in a happy rush when they're on stage. They're done.

"Our live show has the kind of energy where we just come out of the gate with 'Done' and we just keep going. We put aside any worry, any doubt, and we move on through. We actually pay tribute to a couple of our favorite artists, a couple of rock 'n' roll bands and a couple of our favorite country artists, as well," Reid said. "For us, the stage is where we go at the end of the day to release all our pent up energy."

Added Kimberly: "It's where we go to release the cabin fever of the day, of traveling. I also love it because we're there for the giant singalongs. That's my favorite part, when the crowd is singing songs back along with us and forgetting their troubles with us for a couple of hours."

Albums

2013: Pioneer

2010: The Band Perry

Singles

"Hip to My Heart"

(November 2009), "If I Die Young" (June 2010), "You Lie" (January 2011), "All Your Life" (August 2011), "Postcard from Paris" (March 2012), "Better Dig Two" (October 2012) and "Done." (March 2013).

RASCAL FLATTS

with opening acts The Band Perry and Cassadee Pope

When: Doors open 6 p.m., showtime 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: BOK Center, 200 S. Denver Ave.

Tickets: All-ages show. $24.75, $49.75, $59.75, plus fees, available at tulsaworld. com/bok, the Arby's Box Office at the BOK Center and all Tickets. com outlets, or by calling 1-866-726-5287.

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(c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)

Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at www.tulsaworld.com

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