Wichita-based rock band Soulicit covering a lot of ground

05/24/2012 2:07 PM

05/24/2012 2:07 PM

If Soulicit ever hits it big — and leader Darick Parson seems determined to make that happen — it won’t get stuck with the “overnight success” label.

Formed in 2002, the Wichita-based rock band spent most of the rest of the decade playing around Wichita and the surrounding area. They wrote songs, grew as musicians and went through a couple of lineup changes.

Since signing with Greenville, S.C.-based Thermal Entertainment in September 2011, the band has hit the road with a vengeance.

“I think the first two months of this year we put 17,000 miles on the band,” said Parson, the only original member still in the band. “We haven’t slowed down yet. We’ve covered a lot of ground.”

Soulicit returns to Wichita on Tuesday for a show at Rock Island Live. They’ll play The Factory in Salina on Wednesday, with gigs in Kingman and Parsons the following weekend before leaving the state again.

Parson is joined in Soulicit by drummer Trent Boehner, bassist Kevin Parrow and guitarist R Roll, all Wichita natives in their mid- to late-20s. The group’s sound is most often likened to Nickelback, the Canadian rock band whose hits include “How You Remind Me” and “Someday.” Parson takes the comparison as a compliment — even as he says it’s not completely accurate.

“It’s OK, because if you’re comparing Soulicit to what is now the No. 1 rock band in the world, I’m OK with that,” he said. “They laid down a business plan that every rock band should really pay attention to.”

Parson calls himself a “huge fan” of Shinedown as well as older acts such as Aerosmith and Motley Crue. But he said the band’s original songs are inspired by their own experiences, including “Hell Yeah,” the song that’s gotten them the most attention. In addition to radio play, Parson said that an agreement with a song placement company got the tune and accompanying video played on the Jumbotron at the Super Bowl.

“It’s a true story about our drummer and his brother, who were involved in a little bit of a high-speed altercation with law enforcement,” Parson said with a chuckle, adding, “I don’t think he’ll be doing it again.”

The band and their friends filmed the video, complete with doughnut-chomping “lawmen” at the old Wichita Mall on Harry.

Signing with Thermal Entertainment helped Soulicit record its first full-length CD, “Parking Lot Rockstar,” and book dates across the country. Other songs on the CD include the ballad “Complicated,” “You Are the Song,” “Blow Me Away” and “Beauty Queen.” Roll and Parrow replaced brothers Dan and Andrew Weaver after the CD was recorded.

“To me, the coolest thing is that, like going to the East Coast, you’re always afraid (thinking) ‘How is our brand of music going to be received?’ It seems like no matter where we go, everybody digs the music. That’s hugely gratifying,” Parson said.

As Parson’s comment about the Nickelback business plan suggests, he hopes to make a career in music. Band members write songs together and try to produce tunes that are marketable as well as meaningful to them.

“The approach I’ve always taken is that if this is something I want to do the rest of my life, I’ve got to do it right,” he said.

One of the best parts of constantly touring has been the band’s growth as performers, he said.

“You can’t do that unless you’re doing that every night and you’re so comfortable with it that you’re focusing on the performance and not just playing the songs,” he said.

Of course, playing 250 dates a year and trying to sleep between gigs while sharing a van with three other musicians and a tour manager can get old at times. But Parson said one excited crowd makes it all worthwhile.

“Seeing the reaction of the people in the crowd, sharing your soul basically with all those people, I totally remember why I do it,” he said.

And that goes double in the band’s hometown.

“We’re thankful for the all the years of support,” Parson said. “We played our first show here. To me, no matter where we go, Wichita will always be home.”

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