Band: Psychostick, Wolfborne, D.R.E.A.D.
Date: Thursday, July 30 at 10 p.m.
Venue: Alchemy Tavern, 7 S. Joachim St., www.alchemytavernmobile.com
Tickets: $10 advance /$12 day-of, available at the door and through TicketFly
Over the years, many bands have injected humor into their music. Material from Spike Jones, “Weird” Al Yankovic and Stan Freberg have brought laughs to their listening audiences. More recently, there have been innovative bands with a humorous foundation, such as The Bloodhound Gang and Green Jelly.
Psychostick is group that has combined vehement metal sounds with side-splitting humor. This band is currently traversing the nation in “The Evil Dumb Tour,” entertaining audiences with cuts from its latest album, “Revenge of the Vengeance,” which was recorded at the band’s crowdfunded studio. Lead singer Rob Kersey took some time to explain how the band manages to keep the laughs constant and fresh.
Stephen Centanni: There have been quite a few bands that mix humor with a heavy sound, and they seem to come on strong and quickly fade back into obscurity. Psychostick has been doing its thing for more than a decade while maintaining a busy tour schedule and releasing new material. What makes y’all different from the others?
Rob Kersey: That’s a hard question to answer, because time flies, I guess. We just keep on trying to one-up ourselves. We come up with one idea, and we run with it. Then, there’s another idea and another idea. Each following idea, we try to make sure that it’s better than the last one and funnier. We try to keep the laughs rolling, and before you know it, 10 years have gone by. Time is something, more or less, we don’t think about, you know what I mean?
Centanni: How did the laughs find their way into your metal sound?
Kersey: It really was just Josh (Key) and I being really goofy dorks in high school. That’s where it started. When we started toying around with the idea of starting a band, it was a no-brainer for us. It wasn’t just, “Let’s focus on writing funny songs.” It was like, “Hey! I wrote a song about my car. It sucks!” It just felt natural. That’s the best way I can answer that one.
Centanni: Y’all did a pretty cool cover of the theme song from the TV show “Reading Rainbow.” Now, you’ve got your take on the theme song for “Bill Nye, the Science Guy.” What made you want to do those songs?
Kersey: Honestly, it was just an idea. We sit around and get these ideas and write them down. We eventually go back to our list of ideas, and say, “Hey, let’s do this” or “We’re back to this one now.” Somebody will hum something like the “Reading Rainbow” theme, for example, and we’re like, “Dude! We should metal that!” So, that’s pretty much how it comes together. It’s pretty random and sporadic.
Centanni: Psychostick is pretty much at the point where you guys can pick and choose studios, producers and engineers to handle your albums. Your latest album, “Revenge of the Vengeance,” was totally an in-house project that was recorded in a studio the band built through online funding. What made the band decide to handle everything?
Kersey: Well, it was really our desire to learn. We’re very inquisitive in a lot of ways. We’ll listen to a CD and be like, “I wonder how they got that sound?” We just kind of experimented to figure that out. With going DIY and the reason we do that, I can’t think of many people that you could hand our band over to who would get it and want to continue to do it. You know what I mean? With comedy in music, if it’s not done right, it just doesn’t work. With your standard music, you can auto-tune to death, and it still kind of works. With comedy, if the writing doesn’t make sense, it just doesn’t work. We really didn’t want to bring anybody on board who wouldn’t recognize that.
Centanni: What was the most challenging aspect of making “Revenge of the Vengeance?”
Kersey: For “Revenge of the Vengeance,” I’d say it was just getting the studio built, because we did the crowd-funding for that. Once that was done, we just did our thing. It just came naturally. It was just getting our studio put together and being able to fit in everybody’s schedule. There were a lot of science experiments happening at once, I guess, and it all came together. It was a new studio with a new way of doing things. That was challenging.
Centanni: As far as the tracks on the album, “Obey the Beard” is one of my favorites, and it’s like Psychostick’s social commentary for the modern age. Where did this song come from?
Kersey: It was just another one of those ideas that made sense. Writing a song about a beard or beards was something near and dear to us. I don’t remember exactly where the idea came from, but we’ve always had beards, except for Alex (Dontre). He actually can’t really grow one. It’s just the way his genetics are. We’ve always had facial hair, and it’s a metal thing. We just felt that it needed to be pointed out a little more, because it hasn’t been pointed out enough.
Centanni: The video for that song is equally hilarious. Did y’all go into making it with a concept, or did you have some outside help?
Kersey: It was kind of written with a video in mind. It’s kind of how we approach a lot of stuff now, because we have a lot of fun making them. We have a very talented director who gets us almost better than we get us. That in itself lends a lot to the creation of what we write, it actually translates our music better. The majority of the song was written because we wanted to write a funny song. Then, we were like, “Whoa! I can totally picture this in the video.” We tweaked a couple of things to make it work better with the video, if that makes sense.
Centanni: You’re on “Evil Dumb Tour” through August. What’s happening when you get off the road?
Kersey: Well, we’re actually going to be pretty busy until the end of November. There’s some stuff that we haven’t announced yet, but we will soon. After the “Evil Dumb Tour” is finished, we’re going for the very first time to England. We’re going over there with Dog Fashion Disco. We’ve never been to England, so it’s a whole new experience for us. There’s all sorts of mixed emotions, mostly good. We’re like kind of nervous and all that stuff too, but we’re looking forward to that.