Fanning the flame - Parkway Drive

It's no secret, fans of any genre can get a little wild. But fire and thousands of people don't mix.

Pulse talks to Parkway Drive frontman Winston McCall as they're about to jet off to New Zealand for the first stop on the Big Day Out tour.

The announcement of the band's impending tour sparked a deluge of comments on their Facebook page. Including one fan who repeatedly warned he was going to start a fire pit in the circle pit.

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McCall isn't surprised.

"A guy lit himself on fire in Russia," he says. "He just doused himself in lighter fluid then let it burn for a bit and put himself out. He's done it a few times so we're just like 'Oh, there's the flaming guy'. People do some really weird things. Stage dives from three storey buildings. We just hope that someone doesn't die."

McCall admits things have become pretty intense at times including nearly shutting down a festival.

"It was in Belgium and everyone was just going nuts and security came on stage and said 'You have to stop, you need to calm people down or we're going to have to shut it down'. There were 25,000 people there. We're just lucky we haven't had anyone die. If you consider the stuff that has happened it's surprising no one has."

There's no shortage of injuries at any Parkway gig. Black eyes, cuts and broken bones aren't uncommon, and McCall says he understands to an extent.

"I used to stage dive a lot," he says. "I've jumped from barriers and stuff like that but never to that extent. That takes a level of insanity."

It isn't just the wild crowds that freak McCall out. Off stage things can get creepy too.

"A few people have tattoos of the whole band and I have a lot of tattoos so I know what it took to get those so it freaks me out a bit," he says.

Parkway Drive is not only one of Byron Bay's biggest exports; they are one of Australia's top-selling artists.

When their third album, Into The Blue, was released in 2010 it landed at No.4 on the ARIA charts and No.39 on the US's equivalent Billboard charts.

And they took out the first hard rock/ heavy metal category at the ARIAs for their efforts.

While at home in Byron during summer the band has been hard at work writing for their next album. But they don't necessarily think it's going to be massive.

"We never really started the band thinking we were going to get big, it just sort of happened, but at the same time we're loving it," Winston says. "Even if we weren't successful we'd still be doing this. We're just waiting for everyone to realise we're a metal band. With everything we put out we wait for it. We think this is the one, but it hasn't happened yet."

McCall says he isn't sure what it is about Parkway that keeps fans coming back for more.

"There are a lot of people who do what we do, who are doing the same thing, but they haven't lasted," Winston says. "In terms of the longevity of the band we just never know."

The band's fourth album is expected to be heavier than the last.

"Always heavier," Winston says. "We always have these grand ideas but we never really know until we get into the studio. It's going to be heavier but still going to sound like Parkway Drive. There's going to be more layers this time 'round which we haven't done before."

Parkway Drive plays the Byron Bay's YAC Amphitheatre on Saturday, February 18 with Hand of Mercy and Survival. Tickets $28.60,


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