When Zoe Reign and Ryan McGuffin first met, the last thing either of them thought is that they'd end up in a band together.
“Zoe saw me at a party and thought I hated him,” says Ryan.
Zoe: “I definitely thought you hated me, and I hated you. Because we both looked evil from across the party.”
Luckily, now the two are bros. And it's all thanks to that time Reign was homeless.
Returning to L.A. after a year of college in New York, Reign found himself without a home; his parents had moved away while he was at school. He spent a year bouncing from couch to couch, crashing at his high school friends' houses. One such friend had a house up in Lake Arrowhead where they would throw parties when the friend's parents weren't around.
Their party chant? “No parents!” And that's what started it all.
In fact, the party is still what it's all about for No Parents. Since the band — consisting of Zoe Reign (vocals), Killian LeDuke (bass), Ryan McGuffin (guitar) and Monte Najera (drums) — started in August of 2013, they've been one of the most active groups in the DIY garage/punk scene.
McGuffin lives in an art gallery in Silver Lake called Sunday with two roommates and a stray cat named ACAP (shorthand for “All Cops Are Pigs”). The gallery, with its pink neon sign and a bathroom covered in bright pink marijuana leaf wallpaper, is situated above a Troubadour-sized room turned DIY venue. Beneath that is a church — though nobody in the building buys that it's actually a church — that holds Christian rock-fueled sermons late into the night.
“I feel crazy,” says McGuffin. “I haven't slept in so long.”
If there's one thing that can be said about No Parents, it's that they know how to perform. At any given show (including one they played with old-school rapper Kool Keith), Reign will be thrusting himself into the crowd, riding on audience members' shoulders, and kissing a beer-box-hat wearing LeDuke (or anyone else that's close enough). All while in his boxers. Except for when he pulls them down.
“The live show is the most important part of a band,” says Reign. “If I listen to a band's record and it's rad and I really love it and I finally get to see them live and they suck, I can't listen to it anymore.”
“Or if they just play the record and there's no performance,” LeDuke adds.
Debauchery aside, the guys are all really talented musicians. Most of them grew up playing a rotation of instruments in a slew of local bands. LeDuke recently completed a tour with local garage rockers Meatbodies, and Reign started out in the seventh grade playing in a punk band called Pangea (no, not the Pangea you're thinking of, though the groups are close friends). Each of them swears Najera is secretly the best musician out of all of them, even though he doesn't say much. He smiles, laughing behind his hair at the edge of the couch.
After more than a year of playing what LeDuke estimates to be “a billion shows,” No Parents finally have a record that you can buy, take home and listen to without having to see Reign take his clothes off. May the Thirst Be With You is out Feb. 2 on cassette through Burger Records, with a release show planned for Thursday, Feb. 5 at the Smell.
“We're a band, it's a lot of fun,” says McGuffin. “I like these dudes, I love these dudes a lot. We play rad shows. I've been playing with the people we play shows with for the last six, seven years. This scene is strong.”
More information about No Parents' release show at the Smell here.