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Music

Beer as Folk

Arizona “humor-core” rockers Psychostick are serious about … nothing.

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Comedy metal: It’s an unsung genre, the medium of metalheads who somehow lack the extra Y-chromosome essential to the loudest of rocks. Although this taxon lacks nothing in volume, and at least sounds aggressive, it’s truly the noise of smart guys playing dumb music and basking in that irony, and the glory of violent, tongue-through-cheek puerility. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, from Phoenix, Ariz. … Psychostick!

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Currently touring the U.S. in support of their new album, We Couldn’t Think of a Title (Psychostick.com), Psychostick took time out to entertain a few e-mailed queries from City Weekly. Their parry to our first incisive thrust is … a sex joke.

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“We are currently traveling south on the I-35 in Kansas, leaving Wichita,” writes drummer Alex “Schmalex” Preiss. “That’s correct, Psychostick goes south, so hide your girlfriends.” How crass. Fret not, potential Psychostick groupies: They’re from the Pointer Sisters (or Conway Twitty) school of lovin’, taking the long way to the next show in Fayetteville, Ark. in a slow van with an easy touch.

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For the requisite genre label, Psychostick prefer “humor-core” to comedy metal. And rather than discuss stylistic forebears such as Scatterbrain, Mucky Pup, Green Jellö and Gwar, they opt to drop serious influences.

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“Every once in a while,” Schmalex says, “some inquisitive person demands to know who we are influenced by and steal riffs from. Normally, I would make something up and tell you all about our backgrounds in Stomp and Broadway. But perhaps today I will offer some genuine answers. Hmm … we’re so diverse. Let me just ask the guys.”

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Vocalist Rob “Rawrb” Kersey appreciates Sevendust, Machine Head, Pantera, Hatebreed, Hope Conspiracy, Primus, “crap like that.” Bassist Mike “The Evil” Kocian digs Mike Patton, the old bassist from Incubus and “your mom’s balls.” Guitarist Josh “Special J” Keys thinks Pantera, Stuck Mojo, Nothingface, old Metallica, Dream Theater and Prong are the cat’s ass. Schmalex likes Blink-182, Primus, Meshuggah and a variety of Warped Tour bands of various -cores. For all that, they still sound a lot like the booger-thrash of Scatterbrain, Anthrax’s more euphoric moments, the petulant punk of Mucky Pup and the aggro-goofy Green Jellö. And, yes, my mom’s balls.

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Their signature tune, a catchy ode to domestic fizzwater called “Beer!,” hits all those hallmarks and features a battering-ram chorus: “Beer is good!/ Beer is good!/ Beer is good!/ And stuff!” “Scrotal Torment”'inspired by a chance encounter with a Welshman called Fire Crotch, features guitar that actually sounds like fingernails on hairy gooseflesh. “Largiloquent Dithyramb” is instrumental homage to tech-thrashers Meshuggah and other “crazy drum-corps groups.” And since every band needs a ballad, there’s the churning barkfest “Jägermeister Love Song.”

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Verily, We Couldn’t Think of a Title is an audacious, auspicious work. “Beer!” is already enrapturing frat-boys and alcoholics nationwide, and Psychostick are poised to score the first metal novelty hit since Anthrax bared their soul with “I’m the Man.” Since musicians already have it bad with people telling them to get real jobs, and Psychostick are taking a none-too-serious risk as purveyors of yuk-metal, it’s good to be taken seriously.

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“Since the band’s inception in 2000,” explains Schmalex, “we’ve received a whole lot of apathy. There were a few individuals here and there that cared and supported us, and we love them, but there were many more that just didn’t care.” Even their friends urged them to go staid. The band soldiered on, if only because “we had nothing better to do than play music.”

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Seven years later, it’s payday. Psychostick are playing to crowds that know at least one of their songs, and making memories to last a lifetime. Schmalex fondly recalls one that occurred en route to Salt Lake City.

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“We’re in what we call ‘delirium hour,’ around 3 a.m. We had a really late drive ahead of us, and I decided to take off my pants. The rest of the guys followed my example; our manager, The Wolf, ended up in just his boxers. Brownies ended up all over the van, everyone was climbing over the seats and attacking each other. Then we stopped at Wendy’s. It was quite the night.”

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PSYCHOSTICK
nClub Vegas
n445 S. 400 West
nFriday, Dec. 22
n9 p.m.
n24Tix.com