The time is fast approaching for Dirt Fest. It’s only fair the first interview of artists is the mighty bearded ones. Comics are also included.
We wanted to kick off the Dirt Fest 2016 coverage here, at National Rock Review, with some guys that have been there since halfway through the beginning ’til the end. That’s five out of ten years, like a bad story problem. Never mind. Psychostick is, of course, made up of members Rob “Rawrb” Kersey (vocals), Josh “The J” Key (guitars), Alex Dontre (drums), and Matty J “Moose” Rzemyk (bass). Saying, “they are busy,” is simply not giving their schedule justice.
With a newly released video, an upcoming tour with Green Jelly in the UK this September, and a naked cartoon of Moose in a disturbing Pokmon Go situation… things are about normal for the guys, actually. We managed to lure Rob with free beer to talk to us for a few minutes. We touched on the veteran status with Dirt Fest, do they ever get tired of playing certain songs, and a little advice for the merch guy that you may want to pay attention to. So, kiddies, grab your antlers and let’s go down the rabbit hole to see what can be found at the bottom.
Afterwards, head to our Facebook or Twitter and let us know if you’re going to Pontiac, MI to see these guys or any on the bands playing this year.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for National Rock Review’s Dirt Fest 2016 coverage. What’s been going on with the band, Psychostick, so far in 2016?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: Whelp, we just announced another UK tour that’s happening in September! Plus we’ve been doing some writing, re-configuring some of our content release methods, and many other boring band/business crap that’s too dumb and long-winded to mention here.
In other words, LOTS OF STUFF.
NRR: You’ve gone out on tour with bands like Green Jelly and Nekrogoblikon and will play in a former prison soon. Is it important for you guys to keep things interesting like that or is it just another day at work for the Psychostick crew?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: Keeping things interesting is definitely part of what we do. One new thing we’ve been venturing into lately has been performing at nerdy conventions, like video game cons and comic/anime cons. The crossover has been awesome and it’s actually really cool to be able to venture into those two worlds and still do well. Love it.
NRR: That is a stroke of genius! You guys have a huge catalog of songs and you play shows many, many nights a year. Have there been any near Pearl Jam like times of maybe crossing a certain track off of the set list permanently just because you might be over playing it?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: Yeah, there are some songs we’re definitely tired of and aren’t interested in playing anymore. For me personally, two that come to mind are “Throwin’ Down” and “Girl Directions.” That doesn’t mean we still won’t play them, but I wouldn’t cry myself to sleep or anything if we never played them again. (A wonderful smile on Rob’s face.)
NRR: The band has a video premier this month, so what’s coming for fans and how does a Psychostick song get transposed into a visual experience?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: Whelp, tomorrow (as of this writing) we’re premiering a video for our song “So. Heavy.” which is our take on the latest Metalcore stuff that’s been goin’ around lately. We have an awesome and extremely creative videographer named Patrick Murphy who helps translate songs into video form. We all pool our ideas and he works the magic. If it makes us laugh, we do it.
NRR: We’d love to see the ideas that didn’t make the cut! How does it feel to play Dirt Fest again, knowing that this isn’t your first rodeo with the festival?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: I think this is our fifth Dirt Fest consecutively? I love playing Dirt Fest. I know the rest o’ the band does too. Last year’s Dirt Fest was on our 1000th show EVER, and they brought out a cake that looked exactly like my spiky hat. It was amazing. Love the show, the crew, and the fans that make it out.
NRR: You guys have gone past being described as just musicians and should be talked about as artists because of all the projects the band is involved in. For instance, was the comic strip born from music experiences and needed a way to be expressed?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: The web comic was just something I’ve always wanted to do, regardless of it being related to the band. It just so happened that there’s SO MUCH that occurs in our weird and crazy lives that I have a seemingly infinite well of material to write/draw from. It’s crazy. Some of the jokes/punchlines from the comics make more sense as comics than they would as songs, so that’s another form of expression for us to unleash for sure.
NRR: I see you guys have awesome merch for sale on your Facebook page. Do you think fans in general realize how important the sale of swag is to bands?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: I think a vast majority of them do, yes. We just have to keep supplying the demand and release the “shut up and take my money” types of merch. FYI, bands – if you want to sell lots of merch, make sure it’s merch people don’t even know they want. Just some friendly brain food for you to munch on.
NRR: If you were in the crowd after your set, and heard two people talking about Psychostick, how would you hope the conversation might go?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: Guy: Holy crap, that band was awesome. And funny! Girl: Right? I gotta stalk ’em on Facebook and/or Twitter! Guy: I kinda wanna bang all of ’em too. Girl: That’s all you, buddy.
NRR: How important is it to stay engaged with something music related when you’re not on tour or recording/writing new material?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: Music is a part of everyday life, it just depends on how you process it. Creating music, if that’s what you’re asking, shouldn’t be part of everyday life, in my opinion, because you can burn yourself out. Do what you love, but don’t burn out. That sucks.
NRR: Are you guys still music fans outside of being on stage, and if so, is there anyone on the Dirtfest bill you’re excited to catch since everyone plays on the same day this year?
Rob “Rawrb” Kersey: Oh we’re all big music fans. I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing Bury Your Dead again. Those guys crush and/or smash live.