It's been four years since Psychostick released its debut album, We Couldn't Think of a Title. And, now, a record contract and a series of national tours later, you still probably haven't heard of them.
It's cool, though. Other people have, and they're quite dedicated to the Tempe-Ariz.-based quartet. Take, for instance, "Murph," the particularly enthusiastic fan who once traveled from Chicago to Phoenix just for the sake of catching a Psychostick show. And, when he arrived, after all of those hours spent and miles covered in his travels, Murph celebrated the performance in his own unique way: by entering the mosh pit wearing a balloon hat and a full dress of balloon body armor.
"He looked so pissed off and intense," Psychostick lead singer Rob Kersey says, laughing.
Not surprisingly, the rest of Psychostick's members ate it up, too. They're an unabashedly irreverent bunch, and they're about as delicate as Lennie Small you know, the standard, par-for-course traits you get when you're in a metal/comedy/hardcore band.
Kersey, Josh Key (guitar), Mike Kocian (bass) and Alex Preiss (drums) seem to revel in it. Together, they make up a band that's pretty difficult to critique; it's no easy task trying to find a set of adjectives that they haven't already picked out for themselves.
Juvenile? Without question.
Obnoxious? Well, it is metal ...
What were you expecting, lullabies from monks?
Actually, you get something along those lines on the beginning of the track "ABCDEath." For six seconds, it's "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on a vibraphone, slow and soothing. But by second 15, that sense has been replaced by a frenzied thrashing, and Kersey is already saying his piece: "Alright motherfuckers, it's time to go old school. So put on your thinking caps and get ready to fuck shit up!" The rest of the track consists of the alphabet song and counting from zero to eight, screamed over crushing drums and wailing guitars.
A lot of Psychostick's songs work like this a few seconds of calm before the shitstorm. It's like they're gesturing the listener closer, barely suppressing the smirks. And right when you've given up and leaned in, they clock you in the face with a brick wall of sound, laughing their heads off the whole time.
The hope is that, by that point, you've already joined in on the fun. Because that's all Psychostick is trying to do. The joke is rarely subtle, though tracks like "Prozak Milkshake" and "Why, Oh, Why?" should be carefully considered by the angsty middle-class teenager set.
Others are pretty literal: "Scrotal Torment," for example, is about nothing more or less dire than an unfortunate itch in an unfortunate setting. And the Psychostick equivalent of a hit single, "BEER!," exists solely to inform the listener that beer is, in fact, good. And also: "When it's warm, it tastes real crappy. "
So what, then, awaits Colorado Springs when the quartet tromps into Union Station on Aug. 8?
"Don't expect anything," Kersey says. "I'm serious. Just go and ... be prepared."
"It's always a good time," Key adds. "If you like hard rock of any kind and have a sense of humor, you'll like us."
Always had an urge to put superhero underwear on your head and shove some people around? Now's your perfect (and possibly only) opportunity.
Psychostick won't judge you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychostick with Sanguine Addiction, The Hayman Fire, Zahar and Body Cast
George's Union Station, 2419 N. Union Blvd.
Wednesday, Aug. 8, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $12; call 227-7168 for more information.