Yellowcard is back and isn’t second-guessing a note
Not everyone gets the chance to interview their favorite band, but I did just that when I sat down with Yellowcard’s drummer, Longineu “LP” Parsons III, prior to their concert in Nashville.
We all seem to have the words, but often we can’t find that melody that lends us the ability to follow our dreams. For Parsons III, keeping rhythm was a matter of making music with Yellowcard.
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world…Yellowcard is my home,” said Parsons, who has been drumming since he was 2 years old. He started with Yellowcard during its inception in 1997.
Back in those days, Yellowcard was a punk outfit. It wasn’t until lead singer Ryan Key joined the band that the current sound was fully realized. However, none of that could have happened without the help of Key’s Aunt, Stephanie Murphy.
“If it weren’t for her I would have never made it out to California to join the band,” Key said during their set. “I wanted to leave my full ride to the Florida State University to join this band…no one else really supported me, but she encouraged me and told me to follow my dreams.”
More than a voice of inspiration, she was Key’s ride to California to meet the band, which Key expressed in the band’s album One for the Kids. It wasn’t until 2003 that fame began to strike from the band’s smash hit “Ocean Avenue.” The song’s music video climbed its way to No. 1 on MTV’s Total Request Live, eventually earning the band the 2004 MTV2 award and turning their record certified platinum.
The melody doesn’t always come easy though.
“Being a band is like a roller coaster, you never know,” Parsons said. “Between record sells, the record label, fans, music, personalities in the band, you never know where it’s going to go.”
The band practically fell below the radar after their release of Lights and Sounds.
“Paper Walls was never really given a chance,” Parsons said.
The band took a break in 2008 when they were dropped from Capitol Records after their record Paper Walls fell flat.
“It was the best thing we could have done,” Parsons said. “When we made Ocean Avenue…there we were, a band from Jacksonville, Fla., who started in a garage. We had moved up, and next thing you know we’re on MTV, selling out venues, and we were all happy. You know, a lot people say once you get that you never get that feeling again. Now I’m seeing the other half of that and I disagree, we just needed that break…and when we came back together [in 2010] we got that feeling of ‘wow I’m happy to be back doing this again.’ ”
Prior to their return to the scene with their latest record When You’re Through Thinking Say Yes, Key’s faithful supporter, Murphy, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She fought hard and lived long enough to see Key and the rest of the band continue to live out their dreams. The band devoted a song on the album to Key’s aunt, titled “Sing for Me,” which is their current single.
The music video for “Sing for Me” was released on the day of Murphy’s death.
“We’re a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and family is extremely important to all of us.” Parsons said.
The highway the band has travelled to live out their dreams has come with much hard work and support.
“The biggest thing is to never give up,” Parsons said. “Always just do your best at what you do….just stay strong. Keep doing what you’re doing. Always think ahead and just never take any negativity because everyone’s going to have something negative to say about something just because they feel they can.”
Not everyone has an Aunt Stephanie, but everyone has a song they want to sing. With Yellowcard, a positive message has seemingly been a mainstay to almost all their records.
“I think for this next record, we’ve got some songs that will blossom even more than the ones we’ve put out so far,” Parsons said.
After finding themselves on the road headlining a major U.S. tour for the first time in five years, the band has no intention of turning back.
“When people hear music they relate to it, they live by it,” Parsons said.
“Sing For Me,” says “follow your heart it’s never wrong….don’t second guess the note you’re on.” The band’s story runs deep– if you listen to their music you can get a glimpse under the veil, not to mention they are amazing live. Because for Yellowcard every song is a snap shot, and for every dream, there’s a melody.