Chicas of Corrosion: An interview with Royal Thunder Frontwoman Mlny Parsonz
Part tomboy, part femme fatale, Zeena Koda is a SiriusXM DJ, vocalist, journalist, and lover of all things hardcore. You can catch her radio show Monday through Saturday on SiriusXM Liquid Metal and watch her inquisitive feminist side via her video web series Boxx Talk and Ask A Bombshell. Rot and roll, baby!
Mlny Parsonz, frontwoman and bassist of Atlanta rock powerhouse Royal Thunder, is one cool southern lady. Part Ann Wilson of Heart, with a healthy dose of Ozzy's irreverent spirit during his formative Black Sabbath days, she holds a vocal confidence and ability that rivals some of the best voices in the biz. Parsonz humorously describes her signature vocal character--which is distinctively powerful with a patina and rasp that fills in the band's gritty throwback sound--as the byproduct of "years of vocal damage."
Over the past two years, Royal Thunder have made some significant moves, releasing their debut full-length, CVI, via Relapse Records, as well as clocking in some serious tour time winning audiences over one by one in venues across the U.S. It is no accident that Royal Thunder have been experiencing the reverberations of success: Parsonz has been preparing for this moment for the past 20 years as a musician. Sculpting her craft through a variety of musical styles and concentrations ranging from death-metal keyboardist to singer-songwriter stints, real-life experience has been her teacher. "When I was about 12, my brother had this crappy Yamaha guitar and amp he tried playing, and it didn't click so I'd go in his room and take his guitar, go to my room and play" Parsonz recounts. "It took years to be good." Play on she did, and it was through a variety of musical ventures that she landed in the company of her present husband and bandmate, guitarist Josh Weaver.
In terms of power duo, it doesn't get more definitive than their decade-long rock-solid professional, musical, and spiritual bond. "We've always had a good musical connection," Parsonz saysl. "We're working together more than we're spending time sitting home chilling, being a married couple." That coexistence of both her creative passions and love life sits as the holy grail to most touring female musicians. In a profession where the imbalance of personal and professional needs can be great, it is inspiring to see both live humbly in harmony. One can't help but think that this nurturing undertone might be a key factor in the legitimate passion felt in the music. There is a genuine emotion that Parsonz admittedly grabs from growing up "loving things [musically] that were authentic," as she says. Drawing influence from timeless talents such as Billy Joel, Tina Turner, and Elton John, her music sews in elements of melody without compromising gritty heaviness. Within five minutes of conversation with Parsonz, anyone can feel the down-to-earth heart she brings with a steadfast refusal to be anything but her true self. This was who she was meant to be.
"I realized when I was driving one day that I'm already living my dream, which was to make music and travel" she readily admits. "Then I was like, Fuck, I don't have anymore dreams. I need a dream, dude!"
Watch Royal Thunder live the dream as they continue to rip it up live across the world in 2013.
Fun Fact: Mel has an awesome portrait tattoo of Ozzy Osbourne biting a dove's head off on her upper arm that she got on her 18th birthday at a local tattoo parlor. If that's not dedication to metal, what is?