The Phoenix shtick-metal band Psychostick may be really dumb. Then again, the group could be really smart.
Evidence supporting the first theory includes the fact that its lead singer is named Rawrb; the guys dress like cartoon parodies of half the bands that play the Black Sheep; and their song "Beer" includes the verse, "They say beer will make me dumb / It are go good with pizza [sic] / Now that we have drunk some beer / Let's go drive a car."
Evidence supporting the second theory includes, well, all of the above, combined with the fact that they were able to quit their day jobs for music in 2006; they get regular airplay on XM radio's Liquid Metal and Squizz channels; and their We Couldn't Think of a Title album has made Psychostick one of the most popular bands on Rock Ridge Music, a label whose roster ranges from Reel Big Fish to the Ike Reilly Assassination.
Plus, songs like "Two Ton Paperweight," their ode to a '91 Cougar (or, as the song puts it, "piece of shit") tend to evolve from verses that are all hardcore bombast into ridiculously melodic choruses, which show they can actually write songs and play music.
So is it difficult to get taken seriously as musicians, given the band's other predilections?
"At first it was, but then we released some decent recordings and showed that we do kind of know what we're doing, and that you can incorporate comedy into metal and make it work," says Rawrb. "Now people are like, "OK, they know what they're doing. They're serious about being funny.'"
Rawrb, who says all members were totally sober when they wrote "Beer," also dispels concerns that "Prozac Milkshake" and "Fake My Own Death and Go Platinum" might reveal some "tears of a clown" despair lurking in the background.
"No, it's all pretty much comedy," says Rawrb, who is part of a more serious spinoff project called Evacuate Chicago. ""Prozac Milkshake' has a darker feel to it, but it's just making fun of all those ridiculously sad songs. At the time we wrote it, Staind had just written that "Outside' song. [Rawrb proceeds to mock Aaron Lewis' anguished crooning.] It totally needed to be made fun of, so we did."
"Jagermeister Love Song," meanwhile, is the band's ode to its current sponsor, whose swag they'll be awarding to the fan wearing the ugliest shirt at each stop on tour. As Rawrb explains how bands work their way up the Jgermeister sponsorship hierarchy, I can't help commenting how much it sounds like a pyramid scheme.
"Kind of, but in a good way," Rawrb insists. "You're just promoting Jgermeister, and they, in return, can help hook you up with other bands and other tours and possibly other stuff which I don't even know about yet! So we're working our way up."
But does it are go good with pizza?
"Yes," says Rawrb. "Yes, it does."