Australian Story
Australian Story (image - ABC)

Five surfers from Byron Bay turn to therapy to confront their past on Australian Story


How five surfers from Byron Bay, in one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world, turned to therapy to confront their past, save their career and rebuild their friendship.

 Parkway Drive is the biggest Australian band you’ve probably never heard of.

 The school and surfing mates started out in a garage in Parkway Drive, Byron Bay.  20 years later they are Australia’s biggest heavy metal act. 

All their albums have gone Gold and the band has headlined the biggest metal festivals in the world, playing to crowds of 80 to 100 thousand fans.

Thoughtful, quietly spoken and remarkably open, Parkway Drive don’t fit the picture of a typical metal band.

Winston, Jeff, Luke, Ben and Jia get why they’re not a household name in Australia.

“I don’t know if most households want to be yelled at by this man!” laughs lead singer Winston McCall.

The band was built on fun and friendship but as Parkway Drive became more successful, and the work became more intense, creative differences, unequal workloads, and pay disputes began tearing them apart.

“It’s a tired old story, how money breaks up friendships and bands and stuff,” says bassist Jia O’Connor.

In April this year, after finishing the recording of their new album, the band was on the verge of breaking up.  Instead, they cancelled their US tour and went into therapy, inviting Australian Story into one of their sessions.

“It doesn’t seem to go hand in hand, counselling and an aggressive metal show, but why can’t you be a sensitive, aware human that likes letting their energy out as well?” says manager and rhythm guitarist Luke Kilpatrick.

In therapy, the five band members finally confronted their longstanding resentments and insecurities, along with a toxic dynamic that was there from the start. 

Can counselling save not only the band, but their friendship as well?

Producer: Amos Roberts.

AUSTRALIAN STORYMonday, 17 October at 8pm on ABC TV and ABC iview

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