Prior to the Who’s concert in Nashville Monday night, Roger Daltrey introduced the Band Perry as the newest ambassadors for Teen Cancer America, the organization he founded with bandmate Pete Townshend in 2012 to help young adults with cancer receive age-appropriate care and comfort. For the sibling trio, the chance to work with Daltrey felt like a full-circle moment in their career.
“Roger has been a mentor to us for years and he probably doesn’t even know it,” Neil Perry tells Rolling Stone Country. Together with sister Kimberly Perry and brother Reid Perry, the group has grown into one of country music’s most thrilling live acts, which they credit to the influence of bands like the Who. At the recent Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, their tight, well-choreographed show evoked the bombastic rock sounds on which they were weaned.
“Our dad raised us on the Rolling Stones, the Who and Queen. And we have a really energetic sweaty rock & roll show,” continues Neil, who jokes he may soon debut Townshend-like theatrics onstage. “I’ve been thinking about pulling out the windmill on my mandolin.”
As ambassadors for Teen Cancer America, the band is committed to giving back to the fans who helped them realize their rock-star dreams. “For us, every charity or cause we’ve been a part of has been teen and young adults based. We feel like they really gave us our career,” says Reid. The siblings — whose father Steve Perry is a pediatrician — toured Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the latest hospital to team up with Teen Cancer America and create a specially dedicated facility.
“Because of our father being a pediatrician, we’ve been around hospitals so much,” says Kimberly. ” When you boost the morale of these teens, I think it also boosts the success rate of curing their cancers as well.”
The Band Perry is currently splitting time between Nashville and Los Angeles recording the follow-up to their second album Pioneer. “We’re working with a lot of different collaborators, which has been the really fun part of making this album. We’ve made half of it in L.A. and half in Nashville, melding those worlds creatively. We’re just about finished,” says Kimberly. “This is our favorite collection of songs so far.”
All three agree that the upcoming album will be more bright than 2013’s Pioneer, an at-times brooding collection of darker songs like “Better Dig Two” and “Done.”
“Being the sophomore album, Pioneer was slightly terrifying to make. And a lot of the songs and lyrics that came out of that one are very intense. All these emotions came out because we felt very intense in making that album,” says Kimberly. “This go-around we’re having a lot of fun, and we’re walking out of the studio with smiles on our faces.”
Reid concurs. “We create with images in our mind. Pioneer was like black leather; this time, we’re just thinking in a lot of color.”