The Band Perry has four hits, including "If I Die Young" and "Postcard from Paris"
The siblings are promoting the Outnumber Hunger program to help stock food banks
Touring with Brad Paisley is a mix of parties and pranks, the group says
Family musical groups are as common as cowboy boots at the Grand Ole Opry. The Band Perry joins a long list that includes the Jackson 5, the Bee Gees, the Pointer Sisters, even the Von Trapp Family Singers.
Still, fans have an endless fascination with how these groups operate in such close quarters, perhaps because so many of us have memories of bickering with our own siblings over Tonka trucks and dress-up bins.
“We’ve had to go against nature a bit,” Kimberly Perry admitted with a laugh. “But honestly, I’m not sure how people do it without their family.”
The three siblings – Kimberly, Neil and Reid – have been performing together for 14 years. The band is a democracy, they said, but their mom holds two votes and plays referee. It’s a system that has worked wonders so far.
In October 2010, the group released “If I Die Young,” a single that, ironically, given the title, brought The Band Perry to life. The song reached No. 1 on the country charts, headed over to the pop charts and went quadruple platinum after selling more than 4 million copies.
Since then they’ve released three more hits – “You Lie,” “All Your Life” and the latest, “Postcard from Paris.”“The most nerve-racking moment was releasing ‘You Lie,’” Kimberly said of the band’s success since the first single. “It was like, ‘Great, we’re not a one-hit wonder band.’”
In 2011 the band won both the American Country Music and the Country Music Association’s new artist of the year awards, as well as the 2011 CMA award for single of the year. This summer they’re traveling with Brad Paisley on his “Virtual Reality” tour and promoting the Outnumber Hunger program, an initiative aimed at providing meals for food banks across the country.
The siblings are from a small town, Greeneville, Tennessee, that was badly damaged by the tornadoes that hit the South last April.
“So many of the families were struggling financially anyway, the food bank really helped them get back on their feet,” Kimberly said. “So this [program] is really near and dear to our hearts.”
Kimberly, 28, is the talker of the group. Reid, 23, and Neil, 21, speak only when they can get a word in edgewise. They’re songwriters, first and foremost.
“We write in a writing circle,” Neil said. “Reid’s on the base guitar, I’m on my mandolin… it’s like there’s a pot in the middle and we’re all throwing stuff in.”
“We do have to sleep with one eye open when we’re out on the road,” Kimberly said.
So far it has been only psychological warfare: Paisley peppered a concert venue in Kentucky with a photo of the band, using a head shot of Christopher Guest to replace Reid. But the band is ready for anything. They’ve stashed Nerf guns and silly string in cases on stage.
Paisley parties are actually becoming more legendary than his pranks, Reid said. Paisley brought a petting zoo with miniature ponies to one show. He recently rented a theater for a private viewing of “Avengers.”
“He’s a great guy to be out on the road with,” Kimberly said. “It’s a grueling schedule and he’s one of the best at keeping it lighthearted.”
The Band Perry is headed back to the studio to record their second album. Faced with pressure to duplicate the success of their first, the Perrys are trying to remember that they’ve been doing this for years – and will continue to play after the spotlights fade.