“My biggest influences have always been English bands,” says singer/guitarist Rick Parsons, the wide-eyed frontman of up-and-coming local power trio The Book of Lies. “That’s always in the back of my mind, even though I’m very American … I mean, I’m from the mountains, for God’s sake. But that sense of melody and the approach to pop comes from some of the ’60s English bands.”
Parsons, bassist Bobby Kinne, and drummer Mike Watson formed the band in 2005. Casually taking their time, they set about making alliances, sharing bills, securing opening slots at various venues, and establishing themselves in town as a tight power-pop act.
The band’s cranked-up style falls somewhere between the ’60s-inspired power-pop of the early U.S. punk and New Wave scene (Blondie, Television, Talking Heads, Ramones) and bits of L.A.’s jangly and twangy Paisley Underground scene of the early-’80s (The Plimsouls, The Long Ryders, Dream Syndicate). And a gritty bit of Social D for good measure.
Longtime bandmates since their college days, Watson and Parson moved to Charleston from the hilly college town of Morgantown, W. Va., where they played together in a band called Wax American.
“We’d just run the gamut as far as what we could do up there, so we relocated down here,” says Parsons. “We were doing some stuff that was maybe a little heavier — from country to what I call pure metal. It was a good band, but we were looking for a nice place to go with good weather, so we chose Charleston.”
The guitarist and drummer played with various Charleston bands, including Rum Diary and Little Pieces, before rejoining as a power trio with Kinne (also of Little Pieces). Parsons was armed and ready with a full set of newly-penned original songs. He switched from bass to lead singer/guitarist and things quickly fell into place.
“It’s nice to work with a good drummer who knows where I’m coming from,” Parsons says of his timekeeper. “We may not always agree [laughs], but at least he knows where I’m starting from. He’d been playing with Bobby in Little Pieces and it’s been a really good combination since then.”
The trio initially named themselves “Draft,” but dropped it after the Gainesville, Fla., band The Draft came to town. Parsons says he’s “naturally suspect of anything that’s claimed to be truth,” so the idea for the new name developed and stuck. “There’s also a book written by Alistair Crowley titled The Book of Lies, so it’ll be interesting to see if anyone makes that connection. But it’s not really the intention of the name.”
The Book of Lies recently wrapped a session at Fusion Five studios with engineers Jordan Herschaft and Jeff Leonard for a six-song EP to be released in late summer. They also headlined an episode of 96 Wave’s current weekly local music night series at Halligan’s with a set full of the newly-recorded tunes.
“We took some time picking out the six or seven songs that will end up on the album. I think you can hear all of our backgrounds in the new recordings,” says the singer/guitarist. “We have a wide range of tastes, but we kind of cross over at the retro hard-rock kind of thing. I might come in with a song idea that sounds really country, but as it takes shape and we play around with it and get comfortable, it picks up momentum and hardens up a bit. It seems to fit into that little pocket. It’s melodic hard rock ‘n’ roll, I guess — loud and boisterous. It all seems to pull into a common area and a real band ‘sound.'”