KING PARROT “As Ugly As It Gets” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

A King Parrot is a colorful bird that is native to Eastern Australia. As pets, they tend to be quiet but readily bond with people.

That’s King Parrot the bird. King Parrot the band is quite a different proposition. These maniacal Aussies are loud, abrasive and resistant to every form of authority. They use sick and often sophomoric humor as a weapon against society. This Parrot isn’t afraid to bite fingers and shit on the floor.

Mr. Matt “Youngy” Young is the squawking, screaming voice of King Parrot. A ball of explosive energy on stage, he’s quite the laid back and funny fellow in person. The latest King Parrot atrocity is “Ugly Produce”, which celebrates their peculiar style of grindcore with abandon. These guys really advance with each new album and seem to be making significant inroads to America…God help us all!

I caught up with Youngy between frequent visits to the bondage dungeon (more on that later) and conversed with him about the sheer ugliness of King Parrot…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES:  You guys are on the road in America again! You must be one of the hardest working bands in existence. For King Parrot, is it a never-ending flight around the world?

MATT YOUNG: (chuckles) I guess it kind of has been, a little bit, to a certain degree. We like to keep busy and we love the touring aspect of being in a band. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for us the last four or five years, staying on the road and getting the opportunity to do that. Before we started this tour, we had a few months off getting the new album ready. That was nice as well but it only took us a couple of months to realize how much we hate normal life and how much we wanted to get back out on the road. We’re gonna spend the rest of this year on the road and a good chunk of next year, too.

WC: You’ve traveled to places you’ve probably never dreamed of. Do you have a favorite country or place to play?

MY: Coming to the States is always awesome, man, because it’s such a big, broad country and everything is so different. It’s so varied. Everywhere you go is different…California is completely different than Texas. Driving through Arizona and New Mexico is always awesome…going to Nevada and Vegas and Denver is great. Going through the mountains, we love all that stuff. Then heading northeast, we’ve got a bunch of good friends in New York and Vermont and Massachusetts. It’s such an awesome place to tour, but obviously we love going to Europe as well. For me personally, one of my favorite places is Spain. Barcelona’s an amazing city.

Yeah, last year we went to some fuckin’ crazy places. We went to Romania and played in Bucharest. We played in Budapest in Hungary and also Croatia. So yeah, we’re really lucky that we get to do this and play in these faraway places and share our music to folks there. It’s bizarre, we never would have really thought this would even be possible when we started the band. We’re just rolling with the punches! (laughs)

WC: I just saw another one of your notorious videos, “Piss Wreck”. What’s it like dealing with a prick like Bernard?(laughs)

MY: Well, I think everyone knows a Bernard in their life. We just try to have as much fun as we possibly can with our videos. We feel that it’s another aspect of our creativity. There’s no rules with King Parrot, really. We write the music we wanna write and we make the videos we wanna make and we just try to have as much fun with it as we possibly can. We’ve got some great people working with us as well. There’s so many different elements to our band now…there’s the touring aspect, the writing aspect, the recording, and now the videos. It’s a real pleasure to be creative in all these different sort of ways.

WC: How do you brainstorm the ideas for the videos? Do you sit with the director and throw ideas at him?

MY: We’ve got a couple of people we work with like director Dan Farmer at Farm Walker Films and we have another guy Boyd Jenette who takes care of a lot of the visual art stuff as well as the videos. Yeah, usually the three of us get together and get some ideas from the rest of the band as well and throw them in a melting pot and toss em around. The original idea might not always be the final product but we usually come out with something we’re all happy with. I guess the main thing for us is that we try and keep it achievable. Obviously we don’t have huge video budgets to work with. We create the best stuff we can within our limited financial means. We just have a blast with it, man, and if anything, it’s a good little benchmark for us. It might be an example for other bands…you don’t need a whole heap of money to make music videos. You can still make something cool and fun on a small budget. It’s great fun for us.

WC: I’ve used those videos to turn people on to the band. I say, you gotta check this out, you’ve never seen anything like this before. Speaking of which, you must have really been on a roll when you came up with the video for “Ten Pounds of Shit in a Five Pound Bag”. (laughter) That seems to be the wildest of them.

MY: Yeah, that was so much fun. We had a blast. I’ve personally never been to a bondage and discipline dungeon but getting the opportunity to go there and check out what it was all about was really cool. I was like a kid in a candy store. I think some of the other guys in the band were freaked out and a little apprehensive, but me personally, I had a ball. (laughs) I was the first one in there with a ball gag in my mouth, strapped up and with one of the dominatrixes whipping my ass. It was something else! (laughs)

WC: That was one of your videos that had actual girls in it, so that had to be a plus!

MY: Well, they wanted to be in it, they wanted to do it. That scene where I’m getting whipped, that was pretty real. I had that ball gag in my mouth. I was dribbling and drooling. You can’t stand up and everyone’s laughing at ya. I really got that sense of what it would be like to be a proper slave. You sit there going “ooh, ooh, ooh” and they don’t stop! It was fucking full on! (laughter) But I enjoyed that aspect of it, it was fun.

WC: With all the humor in King Parrot, is there anything that can be taken seriously about the band or is it all just having a laugh and a good time?

MY: Well, the whole idea is to have a laugh and a good time. If you’re not having a good time, you’re having a bad time, right?(laughs). We take the live performance part of it quite seriously but you’ve gotta be having a good time when you go out. We’re not one of those overly serious metal bands, that’s for sure. You can tell that by the videos but I think when we play live, the performance is full of angst an quite aggression driven. But there’s still that element of humor there. We’re gonna keep hammering that home, you know? We feel that’s our thing and that’s something that no one else can imitate or take away from us. We’re not one of those bands that imitates or has to rely on something else that’s come before them. We’re forging our own path and we’re gonna just stick with it and keep at it and keep doing what we love doing.

WC: You wouldn’t believe as a reviewer how many bands I have to listen to where the whole purpose is to make you feel as miserable as possible.

MY: Yeah, yeah, I can imagine that, I know 

WC: I just heard a band called Primitive Man and Jesus! I’m kind of dour myself but this was almost impossible to listen to all the way through. It made Disembowelment sound like Duran Duran! (laughter)

MY: I’ll make a note to stay clear of it!

WC: It’s ultra heavy stuff but very grueling. Now looking at your latest album “Ugly Produce”, does that bring anything different to the table than previous King Parrot records?

MY: I think in terms of songwriting and the chemistry within the band, I think it’s definitely grown over the last couple of years we’ve been on the road so much.  You write new material together and you have as many shows under your belt as we have…in excess of 150 shows a year, we do three or four tours a makes a difference. Whether we do shows in Australia or here in the States or Canada…we’re jumping over to Asia. All this experience, it’s definitely audible in the recording. Yeah, I think it’s our strongest work to date. We don’t really steer too far from the path in terms of our sound, but we just want to keep trying to develop and get better as a band as opposed to being stagnant. You can really hear it. From all the feedback and reviews that we’ve been getting so far, people are really noticing that as well. I’m hoping it will help us take that next step. 

WC: I would say this is the catchiest of all your albums. The songs stick in the head more.

MY: I agree, man. It’s grindcore, yeah, but we also have rock n roll and punk rock and all sorts of different metal and thrash mixed in as well. We throw it all in the melting pot and see what we come out with. We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves too much but I think the way that we approach it and the way that we sound organically, we’re always gonna keep that grind element but there’s so many other factors that come into our songwriting from different genres, it helps to kind of set us apart, I think.

WC: Australia in the past has produced bands that are pretty unhinged and off-kilter, like Sadistik Exekution and Blood Duster and all that. Are you kind of carrying the torch for that tradition?

MY: Oh, absolutely, man! Those bands are some of our favorite bands. I guess maybe back in the 90’s and early 2000’s when those bands were around, the world seemed a little larger and the touring aspect wasn’t as accessible as it is now. Those bands are kind of fucked up as well! (laughs). Especially Sadistik Exekution, I mean, come on! What a great band. I’ve met a couple of those guys and Skitz who was our old drummer actually played with them for a little bit. They’re all really wild fuckin’ crazy characters and I would imagine even doing just one tour with those guys would be a major issue. But their sound and their musical approach, they’re one of our primary influences. There was another band called Damaged from Australia that was quite popular there in the 90’s that we really love. They had a really scummy punk sort of sound that we borrow a little from and put into our sound. We want to be able to carry that sort of Australian sound. I feel that those bands were just as good as any others. Had it been now that those bands were around, I feel that they would have had much more of an international presence. Seeing that they’re not around anymore and we are, yeah, I definitely feel that we are carrying the torch and we’re super proud of that. I love those bands. That was the scene I grew up with, those were the bands I grew up with. I was sneaking into the pubs to see them when I was 16. It’s taken a little bit of time but now we’re getting on that level. We’re committed to touring, committed to writing, putting pretty much everything on the line to make the band work. Yeah, we’re having an absolute ball with it and I’m proud to be able to do that.

WC: In the States, you’re on Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records. How has he been to work with?

MY: Great, man. Phil’s awesome. He’s a very generous and very hilarious character and he’s always looked after us. We’ve been out on a few tours with him. We toured with Down over here and we’re out with Superjoint right now. Phil and his wife Kay are very hospitable and he’s still relevant and making amazing music with Superjoint and The Illegals and his other various projects. It’s cool to see someone that’s just so motivated to keep working. I think he probably saw some of those qualities in us. That we want to work hard, that we want to tour, that we want to keep making and creating quality music that’s a little bit off center. It’s not as accessible as other stuff, but it’s still quality and that’s what it’s all about.

WC: There’s another band on Housecore that you’re touring with called Child Bite and they are pretty strange.

MY: Oh man, Child Bite are great! They’re such an odd band, they’re just their own unique entity. That’s what Housecore Records is. They find bands that are making music within the heavy genre that are completely unique and totally different, that don’t want to imitate and want to create their own sound. Child Bite do that to a T. They’re such a great band. Underrated and they deserve all the success in the world. They work so hard, they’re always out on the road. I can’t speak highly enough of them.

WC: How long is your current trek going to go?

MY: I think we finish up in Florida maybe on the 18th of October. We’ve just started, we’re only about a week in right now. We pretty much go around the States and then we’re heading over to the UK in November and then we’re in Japan for a week later in November as well. Then we wrap up the year back in Australia in December where we have a headlining tour. We’ve got a whole lot of stuff going on between now and then. Then 2018 will kick in and I guess we’ll keep touring! (laughs)

WC: You guys are real road dogs, that’s for sure.

MY: Yeah, we love it, man, we love it! 

WC: Is that your first time in Japan?

MY: It is, it’s gonna be our first time in Japan. We’ve got some friends over there that really want to help us out. We’re really excited to get over there, it’s another one of those places we’d ever thought we’d go, but playing in a grind band has been able to take us over there.

WC: Japan has quite their own tradition of extreme bands like S.O.B. and Gism. I just heard a band called Friendship and that was like having your head under a drill lathe. Now do you think that King Parrot has reached your ultimate sound or is that still in the future for you?

MY: I think there’s still plenty of work to do for us. As long as we can keep improving and keep writing, we’ll keep at it. I don’t know, I always like to try things with my voice. People will always go “oh, it’s King Parrot” when they hear my voice, but I’m trying to incorporate different elements and approaches into doing songs. I try to do high stuff, low stuff, medium stuff. There’s even some subtle harmonies on the new album! (chuckles) There’s almost Queen stuff in the background of some of these vocals! I just wanna keep having fun with it and keep exploring. That’s the great thing about our band. We haven’t really set any limitations on the sound or how we want it to be. If it works, great, we’ll use it If it doesn’t, then we’ll just can it. I think the general approach will always be the same and that’s a lot of angst with a spot of humor. And absurdity! (laughs)

WC: Is there anything you have to do to protect your voice or does it just come naturally to you?

MY: When we started the band, that was around the time I stopped smoking cigarettes. We did our first few shows around 2011 and I was losing my voice because I was smoking so many cigarettes. I got to the point where I was just sick of it so I quit smoking cigarettes. After a few weeks, we were rehearsing and my voice just kind of went up a notch. It felt more comfortable to sing that way…the screaming got a little more piercing and I was able to create a different style that has become synonymous with the King Parrot sound. It’s basically gone from there. I just drink a lot of fuckin’ water, I don’t get wasted, I don’t smoke cigarettes and I just try to look after myself as much as I can during the day. Sometimes it’s impossible but you know, for the most part, I don’t have any issues with losing my voice. You just gotta look after it, yeah!

WC: Sometimes you just gotta talk tight to the man, give him your point of view…(laughs)

MY: Exactly right. Be quick and nimble! (laughs)

WC: That was from the first video I saw from you guys, it just had me rolling. That mixture of quiet but menacing…

MY: Exactly, man, exactly.

WC: If you could invite any 3 people from history to dinner, who would they be?

MY: I would probably say G.G. Allin. Maybe Ozzy Osbourne and uh, maybe Jello Biafra?

WC: That would be a lot of crockery broken at that dinner, I think.

MY: I think it would be a lot of fun, yeah.

WC: What’s the last release you got just because you wanted to hear the band?

MY: It was the Dead Cross album, with Dave Lombardo and Mike Patton. That was the last vinyl album I bought.

WC: Pretty good, was it?

MY: Oh man, I love that record, it’s fuckin’ awesome.  With Lombardo’s drumming and that whole hardcore approach when Patton comes in and does his thing…he’s an amazing vocalist whether you love him or hate him or whatever. I love him myself. Such a versatile approach to vocals and pretty inspiring really for someone like myself. He pushes the envelope every which way that he can and not only is he an incredible singer but even when he lends himself to doing the more aggressive hardcore stuff, he puts such a unique twist on it. It’s definitely a really solid album and its on high rotation with me.

WC: I’m almost afraid to ask you this, but in the history of King Parrot, has there ever been any Spinal Tap moment that you could share with us?

MY: I remember we were playing in Michigan one night. It was a really cool show where we were playing with Child Bite and I think maybe Weedeater. It was a packed show and there was this one guy in the front who was spitting on us. I was like, what the fuck are you doing?! I poured a bottle of water on his head, I often do that to members in the audience to get them nice and lubricated. But this guy kept spitting on me and I fuckin’ ran over to him and grabbed him by the throat. He opened his mouth so I just hawked a massive loogie into his open mouth. We became friends after that…(laughs) That was one of the most fucked up things that ever happened to me on stage.

WC: Some people here in the States do that as a bonding ritual…

MY: I think it’s a Michigan thing, I don’t know! (laughs)

WC: Any last words for all the Parrot-heads out there?

MY: Get involved, get the new album. You can get it at the Housecore store, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon. Buy it on vinyl, buy it on CD, listen on Spotify…no, just joking about that last. Do whatever you want. Get behind it and get out and see us at a show. That’s where we do our thing, live. Hopefully we can still get some great numbers out to these shows, because it’s been an absolutely awesome tour so far.