The Band Perry Tour the Grammy Museum
Just a few weeks before finding out they are first-time Grammy nominees, The Band Perry took the time out of their crazy schedule to take a tour of the Grammy Museum with The Boot. The Grammy Museum is a 30,000-square foot, four story facility in Downtown L.A. that houses artifacts from every genre of music, as well as educational and interactive exhibits. Basically, it's Disneyland for music geeks like the sibling trio!
The top floor is where the exhibition starts with Grammy statues through the years, on to the new John Lennon exhibit, where Kimberly stands in awe. "That's insane," says the singer as she stars at handwritten lyrics form the prolific songwriter. "I wish mine could look like that, my handwriting is horrible."
"Now that album one is in the can, we're already dreaming up album two," Kimberly elaborates. "We've really cited the Beatles this go-around as artists that we're just totally obsessed with lyrically. We've been living in that world for a few months now, and to actually see his handwritten lyrics is incredible. Obviously, these people are all larger than life so to actually see the pen and paper that they literally scratched on, it almost brings that process a little bit more down to earth."
Her favorite Beatles song? "'Let It Be,'" she admits. "It is the quintessential, perfect song."
Also included in the exhibit is a note stating that John Lennon's goal was to write songs as well as Bob Dylan. Kimberly concurs, admitting she'd like to emulate the folk singer-songwriter as well.
As we round the corner, there's a time-line on the wall portraying huge musical events from the past century or so. Included in the mural is none other than Alan Jackson, for his song 'Where Were You,' in memory of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The singer's appearance in the museum isn't missed by the band, who are currently on the road with him. "It's been such an honor to go out with a legend," Neil gushes. "To see him here is just awesome. It's like, tonight we get to play with Alan Jackson. We're so thankful that he's allowed us to watch and play. We plan to learn a lot from him on this tour, that's for sure."
Sister Kimberly is also touched to be in the presence of such a successful singer. "We were in the dressing room last night," she recalls. "And, the bleachers were above us, so we could hear song after song and hit after hit and the audience singing every word to every song. For that many hit songs to come out of one guy's career is just amazing."
On a tight schedule, we don't have time to see everything, but as headed across the room, Neil spots an Elvis Presley collection, which he points out to his siblings. "The funny thing is that when I was born my family used to call me little Elvis, because I had huge sideburns on my head," he explains. "I would do Elvis impersonations when I was little, so I have a little connection to him."
Next stop is the history of recording. With everything from studios where you can play with the knobs and boards yourself, the highlight of the tour for brother Reid. "I love when they talk about the engineers and producers because I'm more the gear head," he explains. "Hearing about the different mediums, going from wax cylinders all the way up to digital, and reading about all that is pretty interesting for me. I wish I had time to go into one of the little booths and do the whole mixing thing."
The area also focuses musicians and the recording process, which sparks Neil's interests. "There should be a documentary made on session players," he declares.
The next stop is a collection of gowns worn by winners such as Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez. The gown Kimberly jokingly promises to emulate, though, is Katy Perry's from her 2009 Grammy performance, which has been deemed 'the fruit dress.' "I like looking at all the wardrobe," Kimberly confesses. "I wish we were able to spend more time looking at all the fashion. It doesn't matter how you sound, it's how good you look. No, I'm kidding, that's not true!"
Our tour guide stops to discuss how the Recording Academy works with school children and fosters music education. "I've watched the Grammys a lot, but I didn't know how involved they were with helping kids in schools," Neil remarks. "I was interested to know what other avenues the Grammys were involved in. It's really cool how much they encourage the education of music and helping bring it back into schools."
What's left to see? An entire section dedicate to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, all who died within a year of one another at the age of 27. An eerie scene with a group who just took the song 'If I Die Young' to the top of the charts. "We even thought about them when we were writing the song, because, I mean, I'm 27," Kimberly says. ""That's not going to happen; I'm going to live a long full life. But, when we said in the song, 'It's funny when you're dead how people start listening,' we were really thinking about all those artists and Picasso, even. He died really young and wasn't even a famous painter until after his death."
"Even Michael Jackson sold more albums after his death than before," Reid adds.
Before moving on, the group makes sure to pose next to Janis' hand-painted car, housed in the facility (pictured above).
Also featured on the floor were original posters from various concerts and events, including Woodstock. "I love all these rock posters," Reid says. "Our mother is an artist, so we've gotten a lot of books on the old rock 'n' roll posters. To see the originals is just cool."
While everyone could stay and peruse for days, the band has a tight schedule to keep. Before leaving though, they ponder what items they'd will the museum, given the opportunity. "I probably would think the handwritten lyric thing," Kimberly says confidently. "I think there's something so special about that since songs become so immortalized, in a sense by either the star that sings them or the song in itself just gets to be so huge. I forget that it started on a piece of paper and a pen. It's like a real soul in real human skin wrote that out."
Neil takes a different approach. "My first mandolin," he decides. "The one we took on our radio tour that got us really jump started. I mean the mandolin didn't, but just something we used from the very beginning."
Brother Reid takes things a step further. "My journal," he tells us. "I write a lot about everything that happens to us."
"We would have to black out half of that, though, because you're not supposed to tell secrets," Kimberly warns her brother.
"No, you just don't put it on that page," he retorts. "We'll choose the page very carefully," Kimberly compromises with a laugh.
The Band Perry's 'If I Die Young' is up for Best Country Song at the 2011 Grammy awards, marking their first of what is sure to be many career Grammy nods.