The band Perry is an adorable country/pop group composed of two brothers and a sister: Reid, Neil and Kimberly (singing lead). In 2010 their single “If I Die Young” reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Currently they are touring the country and have just released their new single “Live Forever.” The band has won numerous CMA awards and a Grammy as well.
I was able to have a conversation with Reid Perry before his Alabama concert and found him to be incredibly well spoken and informative, besides having amazing answers to the questions I asked him.
You are currently touring all over the country.
We are, yeah. We’re in Alabama right now. We’re here in town playing the show.
So Reid, how did this all start for you and the band?
The phrase “around the house,” if you will, we just kind of had rehearsal one day, and we just never stopped. Honestly, that started about 17 years ago. I mean, we had piano lessons while we were growing up, but we really didn’t have any connection to the business. We just liked music in general, and again we just started and never stopped. I know that’s a very weird answer, but we’ve had family discussions about how it all started, and that’s the best we can come up with.
I like that answer. That new song of yours, “Live Forever,” I feel is more pop than country.
Whenever we sat down to write “Live Forever,” you definitely have to step away to see what you have. We wrote the song, and then we recorded it, and when we stepped back on it and listened to it, we thought, wow! This is really different! There was really something special about it as well. Whenever we sit down to write, we’re really not trying to chase the genre, like country or pop, we’re just chasing “Band Perry.” Our two criteria that we have when we are writing a song [are that] they need to be truly authentic “Band Perry,” and they need to be truly excellent as well. Whenever we step back and listen to the play back of “Live Forever” we were able to check off those two things in our heart of hearts. So it has a lot of pop elements to it, but we did keep a lot of traditional “Band Perry” that we always have. We have the three-part harmony, we got mandolins. We are big fans of Southern Gothic literature. That particular type of literature is written in the Deep South, where we grew up. For us, we incorporate that into the song. So for us we have phrases like, “I was dreaming of war, so I didn’t die,” but then we pair that with a happy melody. We find that that kind of contradiction with the gothic tinge really works for us.
Well, it’s a really great song!
Being so close all the time, do you get along?
Yeah, you know, we do. I feel like we’re kind of like any other siblings. We will have our moments. But in a band you do become like brothers and sisters, so for us it’s like what other bands go through. Other than when there are discussions we do tend to revert back to a little younger in age, just because there is history there. But when there are discussions we are still respectful. We all grew up liking the same things. We don’t tend to have a lot of disagreements when it comes to creative business decisions. We kind of all grew up drinking the Kool-Aid out of the same cup.
Who inspired you growing up?
A work ethic and general lifestyle. My parents, they always worked hard. They still do. My dad had a job, which was as a pediatrician, in the little small town, and then at the same time he helped manage us, along with my mom. He had just a really amazing work ethic, honestly, to be able to get everything he does done in a day. I don’t know how he does that. Then our mom, she’s super creative, so from that we really caught a lot of influences from them. Musically, as a bass player, I love everything that Bill Wyman and Paul McCartney did. The quintessential entertainer was Freddie Mercury and Queen. Freddie Mercury and Queen are just at the top of my list.
I so totally agree with you.
We never got to see them live, and I really hate that, but they will always be my favorites from the beginning.
What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that ever happened live?
It’s whenever I fall on stage, which tends to happen more than not. I am a professional spiller on stage. Many times I will land on my back, never knowing how it happens.
What would you want your fans to know that they don’t know already?
Gosh. Whenever we play the shows – that is our favorite thing that we like to do – the live show is just our favorite thing. It’s where we can really reach out to the fans and have that one on one. Everything we do is geared towards our love of the live shows. We want to make that the best experience possible. That’s our big thing. We love to have conversations with the fans, whether it is online or at a meeting and greet. Our favorite thing is to break down the barriers and have one-on-one conversations, listen to stories about what people are telling us. We take a lot of inspiration for songwriting as well. We’ll take what people say and use it as an inspiration for the next song we write. Just everything we do, we love playing live and talking to our fans.
What does it feel like when you get out on stage in front of all those people?
It’s really honestly the favorite thing that we do. It’s better than chocolate. We literally spend the entire day getting ready. We love when people sing along. We sing the first chorus, then the fans will sing along. We wear these monitors that we can hear our songs basically, but they are sound proof. So I’ll always take mine out at that moment, cause it really gives me goosebumps every time, to be able to hear the crowd sing a song back to us louder than we can sing it. That is the kind of moment that I can’t believe we’re doing all this.
Who is the oldest?
Kimberly is the oldest, I’m the middle and Neil is the fearless baby in the family.
Is there a boss?
I feel like we’re all pretty hardheaded. I feel like we all try and be bosses, but we don’t want any bosses over us. When it comes to decisions, it’s always a democracy. Majority rules. We all try to walk out on the same page.
I don’t want to keep you too long because I know you’re performing soon, but is there anything else that you’d like to say?
Just that “Live Forever” just came out, the single off of this third album, and we’re just really excited about it. It’s been out about three weeks, and we’re already starting to see people singing it back to us at shows, which is really cool. We are just always so excited to play shows.
OK, hope to see you at Mohegan Sun.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
Mohegan Sun Arena
Borgata Festival Park
Atlantic City, NJ