There is a whole musical universe that is still to be explored by me. Thanks to label’s like Laser’s Edge and band like DISCIPLINE I broaden my musical horizon. Interview with Paul Dzendzel Anders Ekdahl ©2017
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
-Matthew Parmenter is the mastermind behind the band name. I believe it was back in the mid 80’s he decided upon the name Discipline. King Crimson reference? IDK, when you see him at a show, ask him. The way the band name parallels the music reflects upon the disciplined musicianship within the band
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
-Discipline is a progressive rock band. Its members include singer/songwriter, piano, keys Matthew Parmenter, on guitar Chris Herin, bassist Mathew Kennedy and myself, Paul Dzendzel on drums. However, this wasn’t always this lineup.
Allow me to give a brief back story. In the early days, Dave Krofchok was on keyboards. This allowed Matthew to be out front. Dave recorded and did many shows during the “Push and Profit” era. And there was lead guitar extraordinaire Jon Preston Bouda. You can hear him on everything except the new release. Jon was one of a kind. During the 80’s, we all attended the same high school in Royal Oak. A suburb of Detroit. I knew Bouda before meeting Kennedy and Parmenter as he was also a drummer in the school symphony band. Jon and I would get together at my house or elsewhere and jam.
It was around this time he told me about Discipline. In 1991, my girlfriend at the time gave me a cassette tape of “Chaos out of Order” in which after listening I said “what the hell is this?” My connection with progressive rock was only what records my older brothers might have had. ELP, Yes, Pink Floyd. I wasn’t even aware of the term progressive rock, it was all music to me and I listened to everything. Anyways, the band I was playing with dissolved and I was available. Jon had mentioned that their original drummer, Woody Saunders had left. I got together with the guys at their rehearsal space, in Jon’s parents’ basement, and learned some material. I liked that the music was challenging as no one was doing this kind of music in Detroit that I knew about.
This lineup lasted a few years until Krofchok left. He was replaced briefly by another keyboard player, Brad Buszard. After Brad left, Matthew went back to playing keys and singing. This lineup would record “Unfolded Like Staircase” and “To Shatter All Accord” as well as a couple live releases. We continued on and eventually Bouda moved to Oregon and we needed a replacement. After some discussions, it was decided veteran guitarist Chris Herin (Tiles) was the right choice. We have had a relationship with Chris and Tiles for years, being from the same town and all, doing gigs. The past few years we have played numerous shows with Chris and he is on the new recording, “Captives of the Wine Dark Sea.”
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
Matthew is the primary songwriter for the band. He arranges ideas and presents them to the band. Those ideas over time take shape, in rehearsals, and become songs. We all apply our own influences and I believe that is key to what makes Discipline work. Personally, Matthew will share with me demos of arrangements with basic drums. I will take his ideas and apply my style to them. Matthew comes up with some of the coolest drum ideas I would never think of and our different influences tend to compliment one another’s
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
– Interesting question…I would have to say the common goal in any band is to have have worldwide acceptance. To travel to new places, meet new people, and gain new audiences. I don’t think any of us in the band would settle for just creating a movement locally. There is a certain camaraderie playing Progressive Rock music. A kind of Prog club in a way. And having membership in it is part of a worldwide movement
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-This question makes me chuckle and think of all those horrible promo shots from the 80’s of the hair band revolution. However, they did create the imagery of what they were ultimately representing. It can create a negative impression of the band if the images aren’t up to the quality of the music. Creating inviting graphics that intrigue the reader/ listener to dig deeper into the band is what it’s all about.
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-Important as being something to read whilst listening to the album, like, Oh…that’s what he’s saying there. Clever. Lol. As the drummer, I wouldn’t have an answer to this question. However, I guess I just did.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-Vinyl, I would say it is relevant today as it was in the 70’s, 80’s. I still buy used vinyl, the new Discipline recording “Captives of the Wine Dark Sea” will be available on vinyl and hell, even Lana Del Rey is releasing vinyl! The warmness of vinyl will always be pleasing to the ones who know. Granted, we live in a digital age. However, I don’t see vinyl going away. Here in Detroit, Jack White (White Stripes), recently opened a vinyl pressing facility, Third Man Records. Last I heard they were doing quite well.
Where will the future of format end? -Digital versus physical verses whatever?
– Digital downloads and other online avenues to obtain the music, I would say, are killing the CD format. Much like the gaming industry. More kids are downloading the games as opposed to buying the disc. I’m sure the old school listeners will still make the CD purchase though. The listener wants the easiest access to obtain the material. Quoting Marshall McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message.”
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experience with you like?
-Surprisingly, we have not engaged a booking agent since the 1990s, yet we get invited to play in England, Italy, Spain. Over the years we have had the opportunity to meet great people and do many kick ass shows. We traveled to Norway in support of our first album in 1993. In the US and Canada, we toured with Echolyn (USA) and Anekdoten (Sweden). We have played numerous festivals in the US and some overseas thanks to the generous support from fans. I can’t complain. A Discipline live experience, I am told, is what makes us what we are. High energy. Strong. Matthew takes on a dark persona of the magic acid mime and captivates the audience. Children and women run frightened by the sight of him. Which explains why our audiences are primarily middle aged men? I personally am not the type of drummer who mimics the recording fill by fill. I go with the moment. Sure I follow the structure, but I like to have fun on stage. I find the songs take on a new challenge every time I play. It just depends what is in my head that night that transfers to my limbs.
What lies in the future?
-More shows, travel to new places. I would love to play in Japan. Tune in, Turn on, Prog out!
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