ertain band names always seem to creep up into the Source's Clubs and Live Music calendar. These local musicians are the equivalent to marathon runners, keeping a strong pace throughout the race we call the summer music lineup in Bend. Precious Byrd takes the cake as one of the hardest working bands of the summer, racking up dozens of performances at Sunriver Resort and the Ghost Tree Invitational Dinner on the Range—not to mention a few trips to Portland and other Central Oregon locales.
Precious Byrd includes Corey Parnell on vocals, Casey Parnell on lead guitar, Michael Summers on drums and Lonnie Chapin on bass. For the seasoned musicians, who became friends through the local music scene, the idea to come together as a band occurred when Corey Parnell began getting his hair cut by Chapin, also a talented barber, at his home about three years ago.
"We'd all been doing music forever, but it always felt heavy and strive-y and emo," Parnell says. "I looked at him and said, 'Do you just want to start a rock band and have fun?'"
From there on out, Precious Byrd has been nothing if not a fun band. Known most prominently for their covers, the band also released their debut album, "Superphonic Magical," in 2016. According to Parnell and Chapin, the magic happened pretty quickly, allowing them to find their sound, both in covers and originals.
"Being a musician, it's still hard," Parnell says. "We all have day jobs as well. We just have a guiding compass. We want to make sure our families are taken care of and we maintain healthy relationships. I think the best way to manage a busy schedule is to just love what you do. We get tired just schlepping the gear around, but once we're making music, I was born for this and it doesn't feel like work."
For Chapin, watching the smiles on people's faces makes their busy summer show schedule worth all of the gear hauling.
"We get paid to set up gear and tear down gear—we'll play for free all day," Chapin says. "That makes it easy when you love it."
It doesn't hurt to be in a beautiful city with folks who love and appreciates music as much as people in Bend do. According to Parnell, Bend has a grassroots feel that makes bands feel like they're in it with you.
"There's a rad buzz in Central Oregon as far as the music scene; outside of Precious Byrd, people love music here," Chapin says.
fter playing dozens of concerts this summer, I asked the guys which show stands out as their favorite. They agreed on two separate events. Parnell noted Ghost Tree, for its amazing job with promotion, the beautiful stage and the sound system. Chapin cited the GoodLife sixth birthday and celebration of Curt Plants, GoodLife co-founder and brewmaster who passed away in April of this year.
"It was so meaningful," Chapin says. "The songs Corey was picking for that set, the compassion knowing Curt, the compassion of those who showed up to hear us play, honoring Curt, so many things came together and just at the end, watching Rick Plants hug us and say thank you with tears in his eyes. I think that's one of the reasons we're all in this band; An ability to bring a certain hope, love to our shows."
Up next for one of Central Oregon's hardest working bands includes showcases in L.A. and Nashville in order to garner support from managers and publicists. The band admires the indie approach to music that Chance the Rapper has used to find success. They hope to surround themselves with a good team and use the power of social media to propel themselves forward.
"Long gone are the days of traveling in a van; that's not the way to make a living anymore," Chapin says.
"We're writing for a full length right now," Parnell says. "We've done all of our production and recording in the past and would love to hire a producer, but we may or may not do that. That part of the industry still hasn't changed. We're still trying to figure out exactly what our sound is; it's not a stationary thing. Funk, rock, combination, danceable. More videos, definitely more videos."
Twilight Tunes with Precious Byrd
Monday, Sept. 4. 6-9pm
495 NE Bellevue Dr., Bend.