I was in a rut, stuck in the kitchen on the closing shift of a restaurant I didn't like working at. I was burnt out and tired and things weren't particularly good at home. I was sick of my job and feeling overworked, and had even grown tired of the people I was hanging with. It was a miserable time in my life and there didn't seem to be much prospect of things to get better any time soon. I was beat down and feeling sorry for myself when the song "Beer" came on the radio. It was my introduction to Psychostick.
Beer is good!
Beer is good!
Beer is good!
... and stuff.
Now before you start thinking that I heard "Beer" and my life changed at that instant, and ever since then I've been engulfed in a world of warmth and fuzz, you should know that that most certainly isn't the case.
But I do remember thinking that it was a clever song, and it did give me an instant of joy in what was otherwise a pretty horrible night. And when I eventually got off work, that song remained in my head... and later when I sat at the bar it was still there... and for several days thereafter.
That's Psychostick for you.
They seem like the kind of guys who would bring a rubber chicken to a cock fight. The brand of music they create - humorcore as they call it - is uniquely their own. But what's especially unique about them is that one can't just brush them off as being a band that is funny. These fellas are actually very talented musicians, and when they play live and mix their sophomoric humor into their carefully crafted songs, they capture an audience as well as anybody I have ever seen.
Psychostick played the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines on April 5th. I was lucky enough to catch a few moments with Rob "Rawrb" Kersey, the band's singer to talk about their current tour (Our Tour Can Beat Up Your Tour) and a bit about life on the road. Psychostick seems to be in constant travel, and I was hoping to get some good stories out of him. Unfortunately I caught Rob on a night when he seemed a bit weary. I understand that life on the road is a grind, so I am extremely gracious to Rob for spending a few minutes with me.
So, "Our Tour Can Beat Up Your Tour." What's that all about?
It's just a funny little name that we came up with. (laughs.) We try to make our tour names different and interesting so that people do a double take and they get interested, you know. There's some really lame tour names out there so we try to fight back.
What's the biggest challenge you have faced on the road so far?
Um.... (pauses) I think our biggest challenge... There was a show in Florida where we first went up with Polka Dot Cadaver and we got crammed on to this other show and it was a big ordeal as we tried to figure out how to make that work. We all just got crammed together... We tried not to go on at one in the morning.
So you were scheduled to play earlier but then you got caught up in something that you had to play later then?
Um... (pauses again) No.. We were scheduled. We were warned about it. The band that was headlining the show before us ended up playing like 30 minutes later than they should, one of the bands went over their time and it was very stressful but that's okay.
One of those things.
It's a small thing. That's really most of the challenges we meet other than the long drives. That's just part of it.
Long drives... Where did you play last night?
We played in Chicago.
That is a long drive. A long 8 hours... Besides "Beer" what its the most requested song you get?
Lately it's been "Because Boobs."
The new one.
Yeah. From girls oddly enough. That and "Dogs Like Socks." It's our newest release and it's doing really well. We don't get request for it, but people are like, "Oh that's you. Okay."
"We Ran Out of Cd Space" Do you play that live?
No we have never done that live. When we recorded that one it was with different band members at the time, and we haven't quite figured out how we want to do that live yet. We'll get there, though. It's in the works.
So you haven't put out an album since 2011?
Are you working in the studio?
Oh yeah. Later this year we're gonna be recording and writing and all that stuff. There's a lot of stuff... We've just been busy touring and we've been trying to keep up and pay our bills and whatever. But yeah. We should definitely be having something coming out sooner than later. We don't normally like to wait this long between albums but it's tough to be able to sit down and write when you are on the road so much.
How do you do your best writing? Because Humorcore is it's own thing. You don't just have a deep thought and then write a song about it.
Well you know it's one of those things that you shouldn't think too hard about it. There's a laugh test we have with our songs. If it makes us laugh, I mean genuinely laugh then that's a good start. And that's pretty much the deciding factor. Everything else is... There's been songs that we've had to scrap because they weren't as good, or funny.
|It's got to pass the laugh test. |
bassist Matty J. at home in KC
I am just guessing that when you guys wrote " Numbers (I Can Only Count to Four)" you were driving through some small town in Missouri or somewhere, and Drowning Pool came on the radio and you made the song your own...
Actually, again, that was one of our ex-band mates, Jimmy. He was in a band called Indorphine, and we were on tour with them before he joined us, and he was kind of singing that to that, and we just started running with it.
Do you guys just tour non-stop?
No, we stop. Otherwise we'd die. No, we go for a couple of months, and then we try to take a month. Whatever makes sense. It depends on a lot of different things. there are so many variables. I couldn't give you an exact amount. Whatever makes sense is the best way I can put it.
Are you based out of Arizona then?
Well no we started in Arizona, but right now we are based out of Kansas City. It's easier to tour from there than it is Phoenix. If you look at a map, there is nowhere really near Phoenix that you can tour to unless you want to drive forever.
So what are your thoughts about Des Moines?
Des Moines is... To be honest, I am really impressed with how... up to date Des Moines is. You wouldn't think that coming here, but it's a college town, and there's a lot of modern restaurants especially, over here you got the pizza place...
Fongs. Fongs is amazing. And Zombie Burger is one of my favorite spots. And lots of open minded crowds and everybody is having fun. Des Moines is a great pace to play.