PARMALEE: DEBUT SPOTLIGHT
Matt and Scott Thomas grew up near Greenville, NC, watching and later jamming their father Jerry as he fronted a popular local Southern rock blues band. Barry Knox, who played drums for the church choir, loved what his cousins were doing and soon joined them. After a while, Matt was hired by his dad to play guitar, Scott replaced the drummer and Barry learned bass in order to secure his spot in the band.
The Thomas Brothers Band would often share the marquee with a cover band that starred their friend Josh McSwain on guitar and keys.
Matt invited Josh to play with Barry, Scott and himself. Their played their first gig at local watering hole, Corrigan’s, near East Carolina University where the guys went to school. From this moment in 2001, Parmalee was born.
All of their hard work eventually paid off. Country fans voted the band’s debut single, “Musta Had A Good Time,” No. 1 for four consecutive weeks on SiriusXM’s The Highway “Hot 30 LIVE” countdown and the song became a Top 40 hit on mainstream country radio. The fun-loving party anthem has been featured in national sporting event broadcasts from the PGA to MLB. Parmalee was named a “Bubbling Under Artist” by Billboard and one of Clear Channel’s NEW! Artists to Watch in 2013. MTV Networks also picked Parmalee to perform as part of its 2013 O Music Awards.
What song would you love to cover?
KNOX: “Rockwell’s ‘Somebody’s Watching Me.”
McSWAIN: “‘And Justice for All’ (Metallica), bluegrass style.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “‘My Hero’ by Foo Fighters.”
What album tops your playlist?
KNOX: “Snoop Dogg’s Doggstyle.”
McSWAIN: “Randy Houser, How Country Feels.”
MATT THOMAS: “Unorthodox Jukebox, by Bruno Mars.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “Jamey Johnson.”
Who is your dream duet partner?
McSWAIN: “Carrie Underwood.”
MATT THOMAS: “Katy Perry.”
What book is on your nightstand?
McSWAIN: “Haha, that’s funny. Musician’s Friend Magazine.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “The Bible.”
What do you sing in the shower?
KNOX: “‘Lover, Lover’.”
MATT THOMAS: “‘My Girl.’”
SCOTT THOMAS: “The last song I heard on the radio.”
What’s your pet peeve?
McSWAIN: “Being late for anything. I’m never late.”
MATT THOMAS: “I like things clean and organized.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “Cleanliness.”
What song do you wish you had written?
McSWAIN: “‘Live Like You Were Dying.’”
SCOTT THOMAS: “Happy Birthday.”
What words do you find yourself saying over and over again?
SCOTT THOMAS: “You damn dummy!”
What mode of transportation do you prefer?
McSWAIN: “Harley Davidson.”
MATT THOMAS: “My Jeep CJ.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “Truck.”
What actor would portray you in a biopic?
McSWAIN: “Joaquin Phoenix.”
KNOX: “Matthew McConaughey.”
What moment in your life would you relive if you could?
McSWAIN: “My wedding in Mexico.”
KNOX: “Twelfth grade.”
MATT THOMAS: “Any of the shows I played with my dad.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “High school football championship.”
Do you have a lucky charm?
MATT THOMAS: “My necklace.”
What would be the title of your autobiography?
KNOX: “‘You’ve Got to Read This.’”
MATT THOMAS: “‘Keep On Pluggin’.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “‘The Hard Road.’”
What do you hope people will say about you when they look back on your life?
McSWAIN: “He had a good time.”
KNOX: “Barry was a good dude.”
MATT THOMAS: “I hope that people say I was a good person and that my music made them smile.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “He had a good time.”
What would you put into your personal time capsule?
McSWAIN: “An old cassette tape of my middle school garage band, for comic relief of course.”
KNOX: “A Walkman and a Bon Jovi tape.”
MATT THOMAS: “My ’72 Les Paul.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “My drum kit.”
What was your greatest performance to date?
KNOX: “The Grand Ole Opry, because of the look on my grandmother’s face!!”
MATT THOMAS: “The night we played our first hometown show after signing with Stoney Creek. Our fans, family and friends had waited a long time for that show. It was also the first full show we played after Scott had recovered from the (shooting) incident. The emotions were indescribable. That night was just one hell of a celebration!”
SCOTT THOMAS: “Our first time playing the Opry.”
What is your favorite food on the road?
MATT THOMAS: “Hot & Spicy Cheez-Its.”
SCOTT THOMAS: “Steak.”
What was your first gig?
McSWAIN: “The Cleveland County Fair in Shelby, N.C. We probably didn’t sound that great, but we had fun and most of the school showed up to watch.”
KNOX: “The Attic. My guitar player’s uncle worked there.”
MATT THOMAS: “It was a talent show at a local auditorium to benefit the Humane Society. It was awesome! My dad and his best friend played with us. We were so nervous, but they kept cracking jokes and laughing right until show time. Dad always knew how to loosen everyone up. We had the whole place dancing!”
SCOTT THOMAS: “Same as Matt.”
What is your greatest challenge?
MATT THOMAS: “Continuing to make a living playing and writing music.”
What can you tell us about yourself that we’d never guess about you?
McSWAIN: “I love to cook and spend hours in the kitchen when I’m home.”
MATT THOMAS: “My first job was picking cucumbers.”
Parmalee shares its story:
Check out Parmalee’s video for “Musta Had a Good Time”:
Parmalee performs “Carolina” live:
Photography: Glenn Sweitzer
(l-r) Scott Thomas, Matt Thomas, Barry Knox and Josh McSwain