Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury is basically an infomercial for Luxury, a mid-’90s Georgia rock band that briefly flirted with wider success before its members’ lives took a different turn. Documentaries like Parallel Love usually exist for enthusiasts and bandmates to ask the question: Why didn’t this band break it through to the mainstream? There are plenty of documentaries of this sort; what makes Luxury an interesting subject, though, is that three of the band’s four main members went on to become Orthodox clergymen. There’s no question that the band members haven’t lost sleep over the question such documentaries asked; they moved on to different lives and passions while the music has remained a part of them where it fits. And they’re pretty honest about it. Far from hagiography by a bunch of almost-beens, Parallel Love is a somewhat sparse but frequently frank look at what it means to practice art without the pressure of commercial success attached.
That’s not to say there isn’t a fair bit of “good old days” talk by a few of the participants. Luxury’s music, which can be easily found on Spotify, was unique to the scene in Toccoa, Georgia, where they were all attending the local Christian college (if one could call even it a scene without Luxury). They opened the main venue themselves. The band featured Glenn Black on drums, Chris Foley on bass, and brothers Jamey and Lee Bozeman on guitar and vocals, respectively. All four participate in the documentary and discuss their lives and how the band came to be. All but Black are now clergymen.
Most interesting is Lee, whose lead vocals can be described as a mix of Morrissey and early Thom Yorke. Despite being on a Christian label, Luxury’s music most emulates the Smiths. Lee is spoken of highly by fans in the documentary, but today eschews his earlier performances; he comes across as deeply humble about them. In most other documentaries, the frontman usually seems like the person most interested in getting the band back together (and Luxury is currently back together, having released a new album in 2015). Here, Lee seems content to live a quiet life as a clergyman in South Texas.
What set Luxury’s members down the path to quieter lives was a cataclysmic car accident during the 1995 tour promoting their first album, Amazing and Thank You. They had played at a show in Illinois and were heading home when their tour bus crashed, rolling over and putting several of them in serious condition. The accident is heavily detailed here, and none of the members are sparing in their description of how it has affected them throughout the years.
Although Luxury went on to release several albums, none of the members chose to make playing shows and recording music the primary part of their life. Instead, they’ve found new outlets for their primary vocations. A few of them compare their life in the clergy to being a touring musician or performer. Practicing art in any form is difficult to do for a living. Few manage to make that jump. Documentaries often focus on those who didn’t and postulate alternate pasts when a band or artist or filmmaker simply made that one last leap. Parallel Love is unique in that it covers a group of men for whom success in their art hasn’t been a goal for decades. They’ve found satisfying lives while making art in their spare time. It’s a much more realistic retrospective that venerates the great work they did without turning into a group of middle-aged men wondering what could have been. It feels thoughtful and true.