Heavy metal and humor aren’t always things that goes hand in hand. Sure, Green Jelly gave it a shot back in the early ’90s with some success before becoming a cult band, but beyond that, many metal fans seem to keep their humor and love for the music separate. The Tempe, Arizona based band Psychostick is one of those bands hoping to bridge the gap a little and bring some fun into what can generally be a very somber genre.
The band has released two albums, including the 2009 album “Sandwich,” which featured an ode to the 373 people who helped donate money for the band to make their album, simply entitled “373 Thank Yous.” Now the band is putting the finishing touches on their third album, entitled “Space Vampires vs. Zombie Dinosaurs in 3D,” which is due out later this summer.
In order to prepare themselves for the upcoming album’s release, the band is out on the road getting fans ready for the new humorous material. Before a show in Peoria, Illinois, I had a chance to talk with singer Rob Kersey about the style of the upcoming material and what influence Green Jelly had on the band growing up. Here’s my interview with Rob:
AM: How is the new album coming along?
RK: So far, it’s looking good and planning on having the album out in August sometime. We’re doing the final tweaks and touches being put on the album. In theory, it’s gonna be out in August, but you never know.
AM: What are some of the new targets or direction of this next album?
RK: We wanted to really focus in more on the comedy aspect of things this time versus the musicianship — not that there isn’t musicianship on the album, but we felt the last album dealt with us as musicians and throwing comedy in and not the other way around. We were meticulous about the humor on this album — our attitude on the album was if it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t making the album.
AM: Were there ever just some songs that you thought were just too dumb to be recorded?
RK: We’ve been doing this a long time, and there’s been some songs that are not good enough to make the album. We would listen to the songs and say let’s take them out before the joke just wasn’t good enough. There are some that were thought were great at first and then wake up and listen to them the next day and just thought they were awful and wondered why we wrote it (laughs).
AM: Was the band surprised to see the track for “Beer” become #1 on Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal station a while back?
RK: When we wrote it and first started playing it, it was 2001. The album was released back in 2003, so it sat around for a while. But the song took off on Sirius in 2007 when Evil J, formerly of OTEP, handed off to the Sirius XM guys. So, it was a shock to see this song all over the place four years after the album was out.
AM: The band went on tour with Green Jelly last year — what sort of influence did they have on you guys going in this musical direction?
RK: I mean we knew about Green Jello [changed to Jelly because of legal reasons later on] when we were in junior high in stuff. We were more into Pantera, Machine Head and bands like that, so we knew of them, but they really weren’t a major influence on us. Our comedic influences come more from Monty Python and Weird Al, but I definitely look at Green Jello as forefathers of the scene we’re in now.
AM: Was there anyone in particular that was the inspiration for the song from “Sandwich,” “Girl Directions”?
RK: There were a lot of experiences on the road when we’d ask for directions to somebody’s house after the show and they’d say, “Hey come back to my house,” but would give us the most awful directions and get us super lost. But it was based on a lot of different situations like that and not one in particular. Now, if we do that, we just ask for their address and plug it into our GPS — no issues (laughs).
Psychostick play at the Machine Shop in Flint on Friday, April 29. Tickets are $5 and are available at www.etix.com or at the door. More band info and tour dates can be found at www.psychostick.com.