At first glance, the band Parmalee appears to be four guys who love making music together (including hits like “Musta Had a Good Time” and “Close Your Eyes”). And while that’s true, the band members–brothers Matt and Scott Thomas (lead vocals/ guitar & drums, respectively), cousin Barry Knox (bass) and life long best friend Josh McSwain (guitar)–have been through more in their 15 years together than most bands will endure in a lifetime.
The foursome began playing together while attending Eastern Carolina University, where they would throw field concerts called “Uncle Ron’s Parties” for thousands of local fans. After college, the group went pro, making the rounds performing in small clubs and lounges. It was after one of those shows in September 2010 that the band was involved in an attempted robbery and shootout on its RV outside a club. Scott Thomas was shot three times and airlifted to a hospital in Charlotte, where he was given a 5 percent chance of life by doctors, but miraculously survived after spending 35 days in the hospital, ten of which he was in a coma.
Five years and thousands of shows later, Parmalee hosted a homecoming–literally–at ECU. Last weekend, the band hosted the first-ever Feels Like Carolina Homecoming show on the university’s campus at the Minges Coliseum.
“It was amazing. It was everything we hoped it would be,” said singer Matt Thomas. “It was something we’ve always worked for, and a lot of work went into it. We never thought or knew when it was gonna happen. I mean when we came on stage and saw the people…The crowd was great and it was a great turnout.”
The night was a special one, and one the band hopes to make a tradition. “We want to make it an annual thing, and bring more people in and have it get bigger and bigger,” he said. “We are already working on Feels Like Carolina Homecoming for next year.”
And Thomas has a message for the family members and fans who braved traffic jams to spend the evening with the band. “I just want to thank everybody for coming out to the show and making it a lifelong dream for us.”
Click HERE for a Parade Exclusive slideshow of images from the very special performance.