Just how extreme are Parkway Drive?

Parkway Drive 2016
(Image credit: Kane Hibbard)

From surfing with sharks to leaping out of planes, Parkway Drive love living on the edge. But just how extreme will they go? We researched some of the world’s most ludicrous sports to test their mettle…


WINSTON McCALL VOCALS: “I love surfing. It’s basically all I do when I’m off tour. I hate to sound like an Aussie cliché, but it’s true – I hang with the family and surf. It’s not the most daunting thing on this list, but the main problem with surfing is when you get caught in a tide and it rips your board shorts right off! That’s happened to me a bunch of times. You want to get up out of the water, because you’re swallowing it and being pulled under, but at the same time you don’t want someone to come and help you, because you’ve got the boys on show! When you get it right, it is an incredible rush, but there’s nothing dignified about sloshing about in the nude. So make sure you keep on the board if you’re going in.”


BEN GORDON DRUMS: “I’m actually the only one that doesn’t play golf, but I certainly go in for the old golf cart. It’s essential at a festival for us to have our own transport – a golf cart, scooter, or whatever – and have a bit of freedom. So that’s certainly one of our pastimes. We’ve tried to take the security guards’ ones before, and they don’t like that – they’re pretty well-monitored. And we don’t want to take advantage of these people’s good nature! But that’s the challenge, isn’t it? Getting one out into the middle of somewhere where it isn’t meant to be. We’ve rolled a few in our time, not gonna lie. It can get out of hand when you start egging each other on. We’ve never managed to ride one out into the crowd at a festival… Although you might have just given me an idea for this summer. Ha ha!”


WINSTON: “Paddleboarding is a good way to spot sharks, put it that way. Recently we’ve had some really clear water at Byron [Bay, in southeast Australia, where Parkway are from], and the last time I went stand-up paddleboarding I could just see the amount of sharks that were around me. That’s pretty disconcerting, especially when you realise there’s only a plastic paddle and a bit of polystyrene that you’re stood on stopping the shark from taking a chomp out of your leg. You kind of have to play statues, because you aren’t going to be able to bat him away with the paddle without falling off. I’ve had a couple brush past me before. It actually makes you realise that sharks are pretty cool, and they aren’t the murderous creatures they’re made out to be. But you feel very, very small.”


WINSTON: “I’ve done free-diving without the oxygen. I went to Mexico with my wife, and they have the most insane underwater cave system that you’ve ever seen, where the volcanic rock has been eaten away underneath. I didn’t have the scuba gear, so I went under these caves and held my breath for about 30 seconds to a minute to get through it. It was absolutely terrifying, but mind-blowing. It’s like going to the moon or something! You feel weightless, and it’s completely pitch black apart from these stalagmites. But still, terrifying – you have no idea how big these caves are! You can look out in front of you and just see this tiny little light, and you realise that it’s someone else in the cave about 100 metres away holding a flashlight. It lights up all the parts of the cave that you can’t see, and the sights are incredible. It’s like an underwater cathedral! I recommend it.”


WINSTON: “We used to just jump off things. But we stopped doing it because… it got a bit mental. I think the highest thing we ever jumped off was about 100 feet. Which is pretty bloody big. It got to the point where we started throwing our friends of first, to see if it was doable. You know, ‘roadie duty!’ and one of our friends wasn’t as good at it as us, and we hyped him up – ‘Come on, man! You can do it!’ And he landed on his back in the surf and we had to go fish him out and take him to hospital! He was OK, but he tore a bunch of muscles in his back, and we felt like a right bunch of dicks! You survive it so long, you think you’re invincible. Oh, man! We seem like such nice guys, too, right? Ha ha!”


“To say I was a bit scared when I did my first skydive for the Vice Grip video is a bit of an understatement . But it’s awesome, and I’m in the process of buying my own gear. The worst part for me was the door opening, because that’s the first time the unrealness of the situation dawns on you. That isn’t something that should be happening, is it? Flying along with the door open! So your brain freaks out. And then they go, ‘Now crawl over and get by that door and jump out!’ and you just can’t handle it. Next thing you know, you’re out and falling, and then you’re on the ground looking up at the sky going, ‘I was just up there and now I’m down here…How did that happen?’ But I challenge anyone, when that door opens, not to shit their pants.”


BEN: “I’ve done this a bunch of times – it’s really great. It gets pretty hairy, though. There’s heaps of rapids near where we live in Australia. Me and my friends go out when it rains, and it’s certainly not tame and it certainly isn’t that safe. Especially the way me and my mates do it. We tend not to bother looking at the weather or getting all the safety equipment – we just grab the raft and take off. One time, I got trapped between a tree and the kayak, and I had to manoeuvre myself under it all. Rivers are the most dangerous water to be in – if you go under the sea, it’ll let you back up, but the river will just keep dragging you down. So it’s pretty scary when you’re bounding along this river and you see a fallen tree, but all part of the fun at the same time.”


WINSTON: “Oh, fuck that! No! I mean, that’s basically skydiving but with less protection and making the ground even closer to you. No, thanks. I’ve got friends that do it, and I think they’ve got serious problems! Ha ha ha! They’re nuts. They would say that straight-up. One said to me once, ‘It’s OK, the only thing you have to worry about is that sometimes the wind takes your chute and you go slamming into the building. As long as that doesn’t happen, you’re fine.’ I mean… How is that fine in any way? Yeah, smash into a window as you’re falling off a building. It’s bad enough that you’re falling off a building, letalone smashing into it on the way down. I’ve seen them with some seriously gnarly injuries. Still, they sit there with a big smile on their face. Fair enough, but, seriously, not for me.”


BEN: “I’ve done bungee jumping, but never with my head dipping into the water, and with crocs about? You’re just begging for trouble, aren’t you? That’s a little bit too extreme, even for us! Bungee jumping is definitely a rush, for sure. But I do prefer other extreme sports like surfing or skydiving… Or stealing golf carts, because you feel much more like you’re in control. Here,you sign up and someone tells you when you’ve got to jump and all this. I did it off this canyon in New Zealand, and the view was probably the best part. Although it’s not that nice when you’re upside down and you get pulled back up. I thought it was all going to come out, and I didn’t know which end… If you know what I mean. But I’d probably do it again.”


WINSTON: “No, we don’t do that! We used to have burrito-eating contests back in the day. There was a restaurant in our town where we’d challenge ourselves to see who could eat the most – the record stands at eight or something. I stopped doing it because I offered to eat a whole chilli and ended up projectile vomiting in the car park. Bringing up eight burritos, that are that spicy, is not only not the nicest thing to experience, but it isn’t the nicest thing for people to witness, either. So, yeah, fun ended that day! I stopped eating spicy foods for about five years after that. I thought I could hold it down, but obviously not. Ha ha!”


WINSTON: “I can’t say we’re avid toe wrestlers. But we kill at rock-paper-scissors! And table tennis! On that last European tour, we had the crew bring out the equipment, bring out the pyro… And then set up the table tennis table. That’s how we settle any disputes in the band. It gets pretty heated, too! There’s plenty of cheating. But everyone knows the rules and they have to abide by them! Do you know what ‘cherries’ are? There’s this rule where if you don’t get a point in a game, one to 11, then you have to take your shirt off and the other guy can slam the table tennis bat into your back 11 times. You might think that wouldn’t hurt, but trust me, it does! It looks like you’ve been attacked by a giant squid! It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s pretty fun for everyone to watch.”


WINSTON: “Extreme ironing?! What the fuck is that? Is this even a thing? Have we got this reputation where you can tell us any stupid thing and we’ll just do it without any questions? [Hammer explains thatit’s an extreme sport where people iron items of clothing in remote locations, such as on the summit of a mountain. It has been described as ‘an adrenaline sport which combines the thrill of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well- pressed shirt’]. Oh, OK, cool. Are you sure you aren’t just taking two random words and putting them together? Well, I’ll tell you what, if Metal Hammer want to pay for us to go to a volcano and do it, then I promise you we will be there.”


Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.