We met Neil, Kimberly and Reid of The Band Perry when they were in Manhattan recently.
How do you guys like touring?
Kimberly: We love touring and I think all three of us love different things about it. For me I really love the tour bus and actually sleep in my tour bus bunk a little bit better than my bed because we spend so much time there, but you love to travel.
Neil: I love to travel mainly because I love to take pictures and stuff so I’ll walk around cities and get my iPhone and just start taking photos of all the cool places we get to visit and I think one of my favorite places that we’ve gotten to visit has actually been over in Europe. We’ve gone to really old cities in Italy and England and then all those cool places.
Did you like to sing when you were little and how old were you when you started the band?
Kimberly: Well the band started, I’m the oldest, Neil’s the baby in the family and Reid’s our middle brother and I was 15 when I started my first band. Neil was 10, Reid was 8 years old. He was still in Superman pajamas when we got started. They had their own band because I was a lot taller than them. They would play like Led Zeppelin covers and Rolling Stone covers with their bands and then I would play the second show of the nights. We would always travel together. But I think the first time I remember writing a song I was probably 5 because we have a home video where I’m holding baby Reid at that moment. I wrote “Bunny Rabbits Are Nice” and that was for Easter.
Reid: But we have home footage of us when we were playing like once when the band started. We weren’t the best bands that were out there. We had good dance music, but our parents, they were really encouraging. Like they obviously saw something in there that the three of us didn’t. But they kept pushing us.
Do you guys argue a lot?
Kimberly: We argue sometimes. We definitely are your typical two brothers and a sister because we make a lot of decisions together. We’ve decided to make it a democracy, which means that everybody gets one vote and then whoever or whatever decision has the most votes wins. Sometimes if we get into a three-way tie, three different opinions, we just have to thumb wrestle over it and whoever wins.
Neil: I’ll tell Mom.
Reid: We’ll argue over everything from what we watch on TV and like what songs we’re going to play.
What do you think of all the fans that look up to you every day? Is that a lot of pressure?
Kimberly: I think it’s a lot of responsibility. I know at least for the artists that I look up to I always think that it’s really cool when I get to meet them in person and they’re really nice and just a normal, really sweet human being. Because I think that’s what I love as a fan of the artist that I’m into, we always try to be that as well. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with being on the stage and getting to what we call have a platform. Somewhere where you stand and talk about the things that you feel and you believe and that you love. I think there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with that.
What’s your favorite song that you wrote?
Kimberly: “If I Die Young” probably would be the song that really introduced us to a lot of people. All of the fans that we had early on that we continue to have, a lot of were drawn initially by that song. So for me I think that’s a special one.
Neil: And then “Done” was also really a fun one.
Kimberly: Reid and Neil wrote that one. That was their very first No. 1 song, which is pretty exciting for them.
What inspired you to write “If I Die Young”?
Kimberly: I wrote it over in East Tennessee where we live and I was up in my bedroom just sort of daydreaming and there was a poem called the Lady of Shalott and I was reading that and was just sort of thinking about the fact that I was very young and there was so much that I wanted to do, but I also felt like I had made the most with the time that I had been given so far. “If I Die Young” was sort of that question, if it all ended this moment for whatever reason, have I lived enough, have I loved the people in my life the way that I should? And it was sort of a little bit of a daydream about that and a bed of roses.
When you guys were little did you ever pretend to perform for your family/parents?
Neil: We did.
Kimberly: I remember one time when Neil was a baby, when he was born he had sideburns like Elvis Presley. He grew up thinking that he was sort of like Elvis Presley. His spirit was all over this guy. I remember one day after dinner he sat up on the kitchen counter and he struck an Elvis pose and he goes, “I was born to do this.” He was always being entertaining in some form or fashion.
Reid: We had all these lights and speakers that we would travel around with early on and even when we didn’t have anyone to play for, our Dad would set them all up either in our garage or in some parking lot and the three of us would literally just play for Mom and Dad. They cheered us along and they had fun.
Do you and your family still live in Tennessee?
Reid: Yeah, we live over in the Smoky Mountains. It’s about four hours east of Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a little small town. We moved up there about 13 years ago.
Who came up with the idea to make the band and why do you call yourselves The Band Perry and what other names did you have in mind?
Kimberly: Band Perry was the last name that we settled on and we definitely knew that we wanted the name Perry, well I guess at the beginning we didn’t know because we brainstormed. We had everything from names like Some So Punk Rock, Mother’s Revenge, Rain, Mobile Music Machine, London Rose. Finally we’re like well since we’re all brothers and sister here we should probably have our name in it and at that point, I don’t know if you guys remember MySpace. MySpace was a big deal. So there were like 10 The Perry Bands and we’re like, “So let’s just mix it up and call [ourselves] The Band Perry.”
Neil: You can shorten it to TBP.
Do you see your mom and dad often?
Kimberly: Yes. First of all our mom is really involved in our styling. So she had a team of stylists that along with her gets us dressed every day for everything we do. She plays a big role in that. And our dad really helps out our management team, with our calendar, scheduling and emails and those sorts of things. They’re both really involved in our business as well.
Neil: And they also play referee once in a while.
Do you ever get tired of singing the same song over and over again?
Reid: I feel like for us it will sometimes maybe get a little bit boring so then we’ll change it up a little. We’ll either make it faster or if like “If I Die Young” we’ll just change it up so we’re all singing around one mic. You can change little things.
Kimberly: You can change it visually.
Reid: Just for us so we don’t actually get bored. Sometimes we’ll be thinking about something else, either forget a lyric, or the songs or you’ll be doing something funny on stage when you’re not thinking about the song like you’re supposed to.
How long does it take to make an album?
Kimberly: Good question. For some artists it takes them, they put out a new album every year. For us we typically do it every two years.
Neil: We procrastinate just a little.
Kimberly: We tour a lot. I think whenever we can over the last two years we’ve been on the road like 630 days, something like that. So almost every day of the year for us it’s been on the road. It takes us a little bit longer to take time off from touring to going to make an album. So about two years for us.