Formed at the beginning of 2003, Parkway Drive has since moved from a small-town Australian band performing in a house garage to an international success. Parkway Drive — comprised of Winston McCall (vocals), Luke Kilpatrick (guitar), Jeff Ling (guitar), Jia O’Connor (bass), and Ben Gordon (drums) — is celebrating their 20th anniversary as a metal band and just recently, they announced the “Monsters of Oz” tour for the Fall of 2023. This upcoming tour is a massive comeback from last year’s break when they had to cancel their US tour. Now, they are hyping fans for a live version of their latest album, “Darker Still,” from September 2022, as well as an expanded version of their debut album, “Don’t Close Your Eyes.”
To commemorate their long-time success, we’ll look at some of the gear they used to make their iconic tunes over the past two decades:
Throughout their career, Parkway Drive has since relied on models from ESP MI, also known as ESP Musical Instruments. The company is famous for their electric and bass guitars, as well as their guitar and bass amplifiers. In 2016, ESP’s LTD brand offered Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick signature guitar models— making the ESP E-II Jeff Ling and E-II LUKE Kilpatrick, respectively. Ling’s model relies on an alder body with neck-thru construction and a set of 81/60 brushed chrome EMGs to drive his amp into overdrive and distortion, also equipped with glow-in-the-dark side markers to feature him as the main lead. Kilpatrick’s model features a similar build to the Horizon series but instead has EMG 81/60 pickups and a custom 12-fret inlay to perform Parkway Drive’s crushing rhythm section.
Some metalcore bands don’t rely on guitar pedals to produce their tunes, and Parkway Drive is one of them. As revealed by guitarists Ling and Kilpatrick in an interview, they barely used effects in their sixth full-length album, “Reverence,” and mostly relied on how they played. Since they keep their effects minimal, it’s unsurprising that they initially relied on the expression pedal from Mission Engineering, which is well-known for launching their first programmable multi-expression controller in 2009. In particular, the EP1-KP Kemper enables guitarists to maximize their Kemper Profiling Amp and adjust their playing output in the fore and background. The guitar pair have since transitioned to the Kemper Profiler Remote Foot Controller for greater versatility, as it has a larger display and a built-in expression pedal.
Parkway Drive wouldn’t be here today without their Kemper amps. It was in 2016 that they shifted from high-gain amps from Peavey and Mesa/Boogie to the Kemper Profiler, which they say has made their whole rig much simpler. Each guitarist, as well as their bassist Jia O’Connor, has their own rack equipped with the GGD All The Gains plugin. With the latest application update for iOS, guitarists can adjust the live settings of the Kemper Profiler from the convenience of their phones, eliminating the need to use a separate device for adjustments. Parkway Drive also uses Sennheiser EW 100 G4-Ci1 Wireless units to ensure no wire tangles during live performances.
Parkway Drive remains a huge force in the music landscape. Despite some difficulties, the band expects to “burn brighter than the past” in their upcoming performances.