Kimberly Perry, lead singer of the sibling group The Band Perry, sees more than a little symbolism in "Done," the recent chart-topping single from the group's Pioneer album.
“That was actually one that Reid and Neil wrote, and it was the very last one written for Pioneer,” she said, mentioning her younger brothers and bandmates. “So it was very fitting that the title was called ‘Done.’ It’s cool, it really taps into a sentiment more than a story, and it’s cool to see the fans make it their soundtrack for wherever they are in this particular moment. We’ve seen a lot of feedback from our fans that says ‘All I want to be is done with school so I can get on to the summer,’ or ‘All I want to be is done with my diet so I can get back to eating chocolate.’ So it’s been really cool to see them take the song and use it for whatever they need it for.”
The song could also be about a relationship hitting a dead end. But that wasn’t what inspired the song, Kimberly Perry said.
“We were ready to be finished with this album and let it find its wings in the world, so that was specifically what we were tapping into,” she said.
After fronting her own band as a teen-ager, Kimberly Perry, 30, Reid Perry, 25, and Neil Perry, 23, formed the Band Perry in 2005. Several years were spent touring and writing songs, but once the trio was discovered by Garth Brooks’ manager, Bob Doyle, things got on a fast track.
The group signed to Republic Nashville Records and the Band Perry’s self-titled debut album (released in 2010) put the group on the country music map in a major way. The first album produced two number one country singles in “If I Die Young” and “All Your Life,” with the former also going top 15 on the Billboard all-genre Hot 100 singles chart. The album, meanwhile, sold more than 1.4 million copies, as the Band Perry played some 600 shows in support.
“Better Dig Two,” the first single from Pioneer, went to number one on the Hot Country singles chart.
Now “Done” has followed suit, and a third single, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely,” cracked the top 10.
Kimberly Perry said the rapid growth in the Band Perry’s fan base was apparent even in the live shows that came soon after the April 2013 release of Pioneer.
“We ended up seeing the fan base grow by leaps and bounds, almost instantly,” she said. “We judge a lot of that growth out by our shows and how many folks are out in the seats and how many songs they’re singing along to. So we began to see that grow almost in real time.”
As early as last summer, dates were already being booked for the headlining tour that is now taking the Band Perry across the country. The tour — the group’s first full-fledged arena headlining stint —visits the Civic Center Arena March 7.
This is great news for the siblings, who went into the making of Pioneer ready to stare down the much-dreaded sophomore slump, but wondering what shape the album would take.
“We were coming off of ‘If I Die Young’ and the first album and all of the success that that was,” said bassist Reid Perry. “We were marching kind of into an unknown, wondering what the Band Perry was going to sound like next and what we were going to say. So Pioneer, it answers some of those questions and it still poses a couple of questions of its own.”
It turned out to be a fairly lengthy album-making process.
After considering a full list of producer candidates from both within the Nashville country music scene and outside of the country establishment, they chose one of music’s biggest production names, Rick Rubin, whose projects have ranged from the Beastie Boys to Slayer to Johnny Cash to ZZ Top.
“Some kids grow up wearing Batman capes and they want to be Supermen. We just kind of wanted a beard like Rick Rubin,” Kimberly Perry said, joking about Rubin’s famous long, bushy beard. “He’s a hero of ours. So we went out there and got a lot of counsel, gosh, about our song collecting, some therapy, if you will, about making the second album. We just really gained a lot of perspective and wisdom through Rick in that.”
But while Rubin helped the Band Perry with its songwriting and in choosing outside songs for the album, the group decided his rather minimalistic concept for the album was not the direction to go in recording Pioneer.
“We needed macro production as opposed to making this current incarnation with minimalism,” Reid Perry said. “We knew we needed big songs to fill up big arenas.”
That idea led the group to bring on Dann Huff to produce the sophomore record.
“He was the first producer to ever come see us in our live element,” Neil Perry said. “So Dann came out and he saw us and he pulled in the more aggressive drum beats that we have in our live shows, the more exciting, bigger electric guitars. So he really did a great job implementing those things.”
Pioneer indeed has a bigger sound and rocks considerably harder than the first album, which was no shrinking violet when it came to energy and sass, either.
The rocking material on Pioneer has given The Band Perry’s concerts a different character compared to shows the group played when it toured behind the debut album.
“That was what we were able to embrace more with Pioneer versus maybe even our first record, which we are extremely proud of,” Kimberly Perry said. “But it was also our first point of introduction. So just like when you’re meeting somebody for the first time, you make a good introduction, but you don’t necessarily lay all of your cards out on the table.
“I feel like Pioneer gave us the opportunity to [showcase] even more who we are and what we’ve grown up loving. We got to embrace more of the rock ‘n’ roll roots, along with maintaining our traditional country roots.”