Brandon Parkhurst says reading about his substance abuse is what made him finally get clean. “I had lost everything,” says the singer/guitarist of Kut U Up. “I happened to read an article about how Kut U Up had blown it. It really hit me hard. It was the big turning point.”
In that late-2008 article, singer/bassist Chris Cote told how his four-man pop-punk band had blown the opportunity of a lifetime. “We were playing stadium shows with blink-182 and Green Day. There were chicks backstage. It was rock-and-roll fantasyland.” Because of their friendship with blink, Kut U Up was asked to open all 56 dates of the 2002 blink/Green Day U.S. tour. The blink-owned Restless Bird video production company produced a feature video of Kut U Up on that tour, which was shown on MTV and released as a feature DVD called Riding in Vans with Boys.
“We all saw the brass ring,” Cote said in the article. “But we were too fucked up to grab it.”
In retrospect, Parkhurst says, “we” should have been “me.” “I have to take responsibility for us dropping out. They had nothing to do with it. I’m glad to be back in their life.”
Parkhurst says he has been clean for a year and half. And, Kut U Up has started practicing again.
“It’s like we have our friend back,” says Cote of Parkhurst. “He’s our band leader and he’s now present in brain and soul.” Cote says everyone in the band (including drummer Brendan Raasch and guitarist Micah Matteson) have been ready and willing to regroup Kut U Up for years. “But we didn’t want to put any pressure on [Parkhurst].” Cote says people in recovery need to take things in stride. “Music and bands and bars were a big trigger for him.”
Parkhurst says Kut U Up, based in North County, is recording a new CD.
“We were given the opportunity that any young band would kill for,” says Parkhurst of the old Kut U Up. “We got to go out on the road with two of the biggest bands at that time. And they made a movie out of it.... But, we’re still young. We can still write songs. I totally gave up...alcohol and drugs. As soon as that happened, we all felt the spark again.”
Parkhurst now works as a counselor.
“There seems to be a big uprising of kids doing heroin...alcohol and drugs right now. I want to get across the message that it’s a dead-end road.
Kut U Up appears July 21 at the Belly Up