The J sits down with National Rock Review to talk Bruce Campbell, new songs, new merch, and shows cheering loudly will make you bloody immortal.
Rob Kersey (Vocals), Josh Key (Guitar), Alex Dontre (Drums), and Matty J “Moose” (Bass) make up the quartet from Chicago, IL, Psychostick. The guys are still touring in support of their most recent album, Revenge of the Vengeance. Having already made last years Dirt Fest famous, the band returns to make this time around one to remember. We got The J to sit down for a few minutes to dish out the intel on the band. Make sure to finish swallowing any tea, beer, or other refreshing drink before reading. We warned you.
You can also read the National Rock Review write up on their album, Revenge of the Vengeance, here.
NRR: What’s been going on with the band in the last year to catch the Dirt Fest fans up to speed?
The J: Since last Dirt Fest, Psychostick released the album Revenge of the Vengeance, which actually features Dirt Fest 2014’s audience yelling on the track “Dimensional Time Portal”! We’ve released two music videos, “Danger Zone” and “Bruce Campbell”. We also recorded covers for “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and “The Doom Song” from Invader Zim in our studio all on Youtube. We also have our first overseas tour planned in the UK. This Dirt Fest will be a super special show for Psychostick because it will be our 1000th show! I did the math and tripled checked it.
“Danger Zone” by Psychostick [Official] Kenny Loggins heavy metal cover
NRR: Hopefully you guys have a great time on stage again this year. Are you looking forward to anything in particular at Dirt Fest 2015?
The J: ABSOLUTELY, we get to share the stage with DOWN! Not only did I listen to a lot of Down when I was first learning guitar (definitely some down influence on my riffage), Down is a “soundtrack to a time period of my life” kind of band to me. I have a special memory driving away from high school the day I graduated blasting “Lifer” from their first album… the first words of that song are, “Free at last”.
NRR: Your latest release is one of my favorite albums in the last few years. Has the response over it been better then you had hoped for before it was released?
The J: First of all, thanks! I feel it’s a very strong album, I’m very proud of it. I felt we “figured out” the best way to approach songwriting on Space Vampires, but with Revenge of the Vengeance, I feel like we mastered the art of being Psychostick. The response reflects that… we got a lot of compliments from reviewers who previously made snide comments. [They] expected us to die after the “Beer Song” like we were a one hit wonder, and now they are saying, “Wow, these guys are not only still going strong, they are gaining momentum!” It’s like the press world is starting to get that Psychostick means fucking business. And now we have our studio to record in regularly, which we have been! More Psychostick on the way. ALWAYS more ‘Stick on the way!!!
NRR: Is there any new music that we might get a taste of in your set for Dirt Fest this year or does there need to be a little more time before you guys even contemplate new material?
The J: There’s a new one we haven’t released yet that we thought about playing, still debating, though. Festival sets are shorter, and there’s so many songs off of Revenge that we’ve never gotten to play for Dirt Fest. We have too many damn songs, and the problem only gets worse over time!
NRR: If Dirt Fest rolled out the red carpet for him, any chance of getting Bruce Campbell to grace your set for well deserved homage, maybe?
The J: Uhhh, yeah. If something like that were to happen, I think I would vomit with happiness.
NRR: What can we expect from the band after Dirt Fest is a dark, slithering dream of a sleeping metal giant until 2016?
The J: A lot. We’ve been recording fun stuff we’ve dreamed of doing for years that we would do “someday”. Well, we have a studio now, and I checked my calendar and someday has arrived. Bill Nye, CAPS LOCK, and the Doom Song are just the beginning.
NRR: Is there a band or bands on this year’s Dirt Fest line-up that you are looking forward to seeing as fans?
The J: Down (obviously), and Periphery. This will be my third time seeing them, and the first time getting to play the same show with them. Taproot, too. I’ve seen them several times and they always sound excellent.
NRR: Your merch table is second to none when it comes to the variety of things to get to show a fan’s support of Psychostick. How much trial and error was there before you got a handle on what sells?
The J: It takes a LOT of trial and error, and it never really ends. It’s a very fun on-going experiment. We have merch meetings regularly to brainstorm new designs, and at any given time, we have 2-4 artists working on SOMETHING. In addition to the usual new shirts, for this Dirt Fest we have three new merch items in particular I guarantee you have NEVER seen a band sell before. They’ve been going quick too, so if you see them and you want it… get it, because we will probably run out by the end of that day at Dirt Fest!
NRR: For you guys, what is the magic between you and the crowd? Is it just the need to have fun, the stage presence, or all that and more?
The J: We always try to keep in mind that the reason we (or any band) are there is to get people to have a good time. No matter what style of music you play, you are an entertainer. I can always tell the bands that get this and the ones that don’t, and the ones that do are the ones with a great stage presence. Once you take your focus off of say, trying to be play perfectly, or hoping people like a song, or not being able to hear yourself in the monitors, or whatever typical crap we tend to worry about as musicians and just focus on having a good time with the crowd, what to do just seems to fall into place. It’s a lesson that can never be learned too well, because it’s so easy to forget with all the worries and problems that come with being in a band.
NRR: I have to ask, are the moose antlers on this tour the original ones or do they get redone every so often just from wear and tear?
The J: The moose antlers have gone through several revisions, and he’s gone through several pairs. Matty has gotten good at making them, too, he’s actual made custom antlers for fans before.