Written by Kit Burns
Hailing from the South, the rock & roll band Parallel probably would’ve have existed if it wasn’t for music from the North. The Pacific Northwest, that is. Parallel’s guitar-drenched style is third-generation grunge, the Seattle sounds of Nirvana and Pearl Jam seeding the likes of Matchbox 20 and Live and giving birth to a commercial yet still kick-ass offspring. And if you think Parallel have no indie cred for being similar to Rob Thomas or Tonic, you’re wrong; this is a band that actually performed at CBGB before it was torn down. Perhaps more importantly, Parallel’s fourth CD, Superhero Madness, is jam-packed with memorably catchy and definitely radio-friendly efforts.
Kit Burns: Parallel has a definite kinship with commercial rock bands like Matchbox 20 and 3 Doors Down. Given that the group is still independent, but many indie-rock fans are pop-culture snobs, who makes up the band’s fanbase at the moment?
Wil Plyler [lead guitar]: That is a great question. Our fans are college kids to middle-aged rockers. Our appeal is that we sound so commercial, everyone is familiar with our sound. We have the Matchbox songs and we have the Foo Fighters songs. Our goal was to write hits and be marketable to a wide fan base. I love it when little kids come up and get an autograph and their soccer mom wants one to.
Burns: When and how did Parallel get together?
Plyler: Parallel was formed in 2000 by Jack Smith [vocals], John Cunningham [guitar], and [myself]. We formed to just write some songs and go do a demo for fun. It was just to do something fun and new that summer. We ended up writing songs that people seemed to enjoy. So here we are eight years later still writing music and for the most part; people still enjoy them.
Burns: Parallel played at the legendary punk club CBGB, which is now gone. What was that experience like?
Plyler: CBGB was great. We played there in 2004 for the Meany Fest. The odd thing was it was non-smoking. Clean air and tatoos. We met people from around the world who then emailed us back that they loved our music and were fans. That was a great experience. Driving in manhattan was a nightmare and parking a passenger van. How does UPS do it? Very unique experience considering a band from the Carolinas that had never played outside of North Carolina.
Burns: Why did you title the album Superhero Madness?
Plyler: We titled it that way because it sounds like superhero madness. The record was put together in a week. 19 hour days. Songs sound like Mellencamp to AC/DC. We even have a Gospel U2 kind of song. All that togerther gives you a superhero, the good, and the madness which is how different all the music is.
Burns: What rock groups had the most impact on you as you were growing up?
Plyler: All the guys have multitude of influences. Smith: Athenaeum, Matchbox, R.E.M., U2.
John: Dave Matthews, Bush.
Jason Puccio [drums]: Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine.
Plyler: Guns N’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots.
Joe Hamilton [bass] – Hanson, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill. Oh, and New Kids on the Block.