The Parlor Mob: Five Guys Against the World
If you haven't seen The Parlor Mob play live before, you'll get the chance tonight as they open for Theory of a Deadman at the Sound Academy. In a word, their live performances are legendary. Expect straight-up, no holds barred rock and roll when they hit the stage.
A little bit of history on these guys: the Jersey-born five-piece got their start back in 2004 as What about Frank, before changing to their current incarnation as The Parlor Mob. Their debut album, And You Were a Crow, was released on May 6th, 2008 and contains twelve energetic and progressive tracks.
I recently had the chance to chat with bassist Nick Villapiano about the band, future albums, fantasy venues... and Paula Abdul.
blogTO: So how did you guys meet?
Nick: We basically all grew up within about two miles from each other in a couple of different small towns in New Jersey. A couple of us went to high school together, and we were all into music. In an area this small, when you find the right group of people that are into the same kind of music, you just tend to intermingle.
What prompted the name change from What About Frank to The Parlor Mob?
We hated our name. We never really could decide on a good band name for ourselves, and in order to play shows, our promoters needed a name. Eventually when we had a good opportunity to change the name, we did a solid six months' worth of brain-storming and came up with The Parlor Mob.
What's the significance behind it?
We wanted something that sounded a bit more representative of who we are. It's a street gang from NYC... and we feel that way about ourselves: the five of us against the world.
Has it been a conscious decision, to inject your live shows with such a high level of energy, or is it something that comes naturally to you?
We go out there for every show with the intention of entertaining. We feel that people deserve a good show. I black out a bit on stage - I zone in with the drummer and next thing you know, your feet are going crazy and you're headbanging six songs in.
I can hear a bit of classic 70's influence, even a bit of Led Zeppelin, in some of your stuff. Who are your musical influences?
I grew up listening to Motown, oldies, and doo-wop - my dad was really into that kind of music and it grew on me. In high school, I got into Metallica, hardcore and metal, and that merging of influences is pretty much my musical style. The band as a whole has gone that same road; we all love different styles of music. We work off of each other's likes and dislikes and try to find a new sound.
Your latest album's been out for just over a year now. Have you been working on a follow up?
We're writing right now. We're kind of perpetually writing. We're about to have some time off, (this is just a quick tour for us), and then we'll be focusing heavily on the next album. We're in the infancy of it, but it'll be a little more intense.
Can you tell us a bit more about the song writing process? Who does most of the writing?
We're super-collaborative in everything we do as a band. For example, we all have pre-tour responsibilities: someone has to do the oil change, someone's got make sure the website has all the tour dates. It's kind of the same deal when we're song-writing. Everyone comes to practice with ideas. Generally it's the two guitar players who have the riffs thought out. Sam (the drummer) and I lay down rhythms and try to work out riffs in different ways. Mark does the lyrics himself, but then we all come together on arrangements.
You're doing a bunch of upcoming dates with Theory of a Deadman. What part of the tour are you looking forward to most?
We have a lot of friends in TO... it feels like our kind of city. We've also never been to a bunch of places before, like Guelph. So I wouldn't be surprised if there's a dark horse out there somewhere that we don't know about.
What should people expect to see at your stop in Toronto?
Some surprises - we might pull something outta the bag that we've been mixing up. A standard, 100% effort Parlor Mob show.
What's your fantasy venue?
The Roman Colosseum!
What new music have you been listening to lately?
Black Mountain... I can't stop listening to The Strokes, although I guess they haven't really put out a new album in a couple of years. Jay Reatard, Black Lips. Nicole Atkins has a really good record out.
What's the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
(laughs) I'll preface this by saying I have a lot of pride in my music selections, no matter how eclectic they may be. I've got a couple of Hall and Oates songs, which might be embarrassing to some people. Paula Abdul, maybe.
Paula Abdul? Really?
Hey! I think that Forever Your Girl is a wonderful album. It has eight singles on it!
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