In pictures: The history of Parkway Drive

Parkway Drive exploded out of Byron Bay and went on conquer the world. Here’s what their full journey has looked like…

In pictures: The history of Parkway Drive
Originally published:
March 2019

In 2003, Parkway Drive played their first ever show. The Byron Bay bruisers were just a small fish in the BBHC pond, playing to 40-50 people at their local youth centre… who knew they would go on to set fire to every arena on the planet?

Let's take a trip down memory lane with the best band to ever come out of Australia who aren't called AC/DC.

2003The local youth centre

The Youthy became the home of Byron Bay hardcore and a must-play for any international band wanting to make their mark on the local scene. It might not look like much compared to Parkway's ambitious set-ups now, but the DIY, lo-fi, just-fucking-play attitude drove the band to work harder and play like their lives depended on it. They also perfected the synchronised guitar jump, as you can see.

“Youthy shows started out strong. 50-100 kids would rock up and we’d go mental," said frontman Winston McCall in the 10 Years Of Parkway Drive picture book. "Touring bands would freak that there was a scene in this beach town made up entirely of children! Throwdown from the USA were the first international band to come through and their show was mental. 150 or so kids came from everywhere and we smashed everything. It was sick."

2005On tour

2005 was a busy year for Parkway Drive. Not only did they record and release their debut album Killing With A Smile, but they toured their absolute arses off. Heading out early in the year supporting Shadows Fall on their Australian tour, PWD embarked on their own headline run of the country from September to November, before then going out to support Every Time I Die on their Good Music For Bad People Australian tour. They must be knackered.

2006Official promo photo

A classic in the genre of early band press photos. Shout out to Parkway for repping Bad Religion, new mates Every Time I Die, and Knuckledust, but it does seem like Winston is distracted by something just off camera… probably someone telling him to take his hood down indoors.

2006On tour/backstage

We're guessing this is in a dressing room somewhere. You can see the bathroom to the left and lockers behind the band, plus a topless Winston showing off his surfer bod. Again, he is more interested in something happening off-camera. In fact, we're not entirely sure what's going on at all, as both Ben and Luke seem to be trying to shake the photographer's hand.

2006In London

Following the departure of Shaun Cash, Jia "Pie" O'Connor joined Parkway Drive on bass for their first-ever European tour, including a handful of UK dates in London, York, Swindon, Cardiff, Aberdeen and others. It's bizarre to think of these guys playing to a couple of hundred people in a box room nowadays, but just look how stoked they are to be stood near Tower Bridge.

2007Official promo photo

Has anyone seen Winston's torso? It's disappeared! Oh no, wait, it's camouflage. This looks like it's shot on a on a residential street of the UK – we're guessing London by the sneaky red bus getting in on the promo action behind the band. Also, it must be winter, hence the rather fetching parkas and band hoodies – including another nod to Bad Religion.

2008Official promo photo

Leaving the mean streets of Great Britain behind, Parkway Drive head for the long grass and creepy looking trees for their Horizons-era press photo. Sharing the love for Bury Your Dead and Suicide Silence, the band have almost totally embraced the We Don't Need Black T-Shirts To Prove We're A Metal Band aesthetic. Horizons broke into Australia's Top 10 album charts, and spawned the absolute ragers Carrion, Boneyards and Dead Man's Chest.

2010Official promo photo

Shot by official Iron Maiden photographer John McMurtrie, Parkway weren't messing about with their visuals for Deep Blue. The band's third record cemented PWD as major players in 21st century metal, seemingly coming out of nowhere to those metalheads too preoccupied with what was happening in America. Not only did it break the Top 40 album chart in the United States, but it reached Number Two in their homeland. Who knew beatdowns and riffs were popular?

2012Official promo photo

Moving inside for their Atlas era press shots, it looks like another chilly day. The coats are out, hoodies are zipped, and Winston is snug inside his Life Long sweatshirt. The moody, grim aesthetic of the picture matches the darkness of the 5/5-rated Atlas album, even though Winston is giving us a cheeky grin. The album saw PWD embark on their biggest UK tour to date (well… at that point), culminating at the iconic Roundhouse in London. It was chaos.

2014Official promo photo

Bored of the same old locations for press shoots, Parkway ditched the brick walls and desolate fields for mountains and stretches of sand. Have you ever seen a band look more ready to go for a BBQ on the beach before unleashing a breakdown so foul it will shred your innards? There's so much to love here. The flip-flops, the sunglasses, the coordinated Hurley shirts, and Winston refusing to look at the camera yet again. Never change, guys.

2019Live in Manchester (by Nat Wood)

Off the back of their crushing Reverence album, Parkway returned to the United Kingdom to destroy some of our biggest venues with a metric fuck-ton of fire and flames. Seriously, it was just daft. Walls of fire, flamethrowers, spinning drum kits that shoot fire, Satan knows what else. A landmark tour for one of metal's most exciting bands, proving that they can roll with the big boys when it comes to a greatest hits set, and put on one of the best metal shows on Earth.

A few years ago, we managed to cram Parkway Drive in to the K! Pit to play a ballistic show for 50 lucky fans. It kicked off. Check it out below.

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