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Interview with Psychostick lead singer Rob “Rawrb” Kersey

Okay, so a lot of people are funny, a lot of people like metal, and a lot of people can play the guitar, so why is it that very few people have combined all three and hand the success of Psychostick? The five piece comedic metal band from Arizona released their third album, Sandwich earlier this month to the delight of college…



Okay, so a lot of people are funny, a lot of people like metal, and a lot of people can play the guitar, so why is it that very few people have combined all three and hand the success of Psychostick? The five piece comedic metal band from Arizona released their third album, Sandwich earlier this month to the delight of college frat boys, students, humorists and fans of metal everywhere to serves two ultimate purposes: To make you laugh and make you bang your head. Made famous with the “Beer” song in 2006, the guys have evolved musically for this album, a 24-track chunk of ear candy that is mostly about, what else? Food! From caffeine to tacos to oranges, pizza and more, it’s all here. But it’s not all about late night cravings, there is also an ode to showers as well as radio-friendly rock singles. And, for all the fans of the beer song, yes, there is a sequel, but it may not be what you are thinking. I chatted with vocalist Rob “Rawrb” Kersey about where the guys get their inspiration, their weirdest fan experience, who they would love to go on tour with and more.

So tell me about the new album.
Rawrb: The new album is a serious progression for us a band, if by progression you mean it’s much dumber than before and that is 100 percent true. We have progressed musically too, and the quality of the production of the album has been kicked up a few notches and we’re very proud of how it turned out. It’s mostly about food and more life experiences than the first album. There’s more food on this album then the last album but there’s a lot more life experience and, there’s a song about how awesome tacos are and stuff like that, so that should give you an idea of the direction we took. It’s hard to describe before you hear it, it’s like, “Ya, it’s great! And it’s about food, why?”

Why is it called ‘Sandwich’?
Rawrb: That’s an idea we came up with several years ago. About a year after we first released We Could Not Think Of A Title locally, so this is about 2004, I just started coming up with ideas because I guess that’s part of what I do and “Sandwich” was one of those things where it’s like, “Hey, let’s call it sandwich” and then the guys are looking at me going, “bandwich?” and I’m like, “No, sandwich, not bandwich, like the food.” and they’re like, “Oh, OK.” And so then we said the artwork’s gotta be like the ingredients from a sandwich and all that stuff, so, we made that decision several years ago.

Oh, Okay, that makes up for not having a title for the first one, right? Having the second one in advance?
Rawrb: Ha ha, yeah, something like that.

Since this is your third album, what have you learned and how have you evolved as a band?
Rawrb: Ya know, things that we have learned, we have been together over three years now and any band can think that touring is no big deal, but what really puts that grit under your nails or whatever, and just hitting tons of pavement, playing the cities, playing with the bands and seeing what happens, and those experiences through touring and working with our label and other bands and other promoters and venues and promotions and Web sites and stuff like that. If the band was to collapse tomorrow I feel like we could take on anything and totally come out on top, I mean, it’s such a hard nosed business and it eliminated a lot of fears, we were always scared, “what are we going to do, blah blah blah blah blah,” ya know, and then we faced it and it was no big deal. It just grows psychologically and emotionally and all that stuff, I mean we learned so much musically too which will be very evident with the new album. Just a lot of personal growth is the biggest thing that’s happened.

Okay, so no signs of slowing down!
Rawrb: Right, we’ve got this tour thing happening, we’re doing it in three volumes, we’re calling it volumes cause it’s so epic. We’re all over the country for the next three or four months, I mean we’re gonna hit everywhere and push our new record as hard as we can and see what happens.

And you guys do all of your booking and tech stuff yourselves too, right?
Rawrb: Ya, all the art work, all the production, everything we do ourselves. Booking we’d much rather do ourselves but good booking agents are so hard to find. So that’s probably the biggest struggle we have as a band is finding a booking agent who believes in what we’re doing and is hungry. It’s funny because we’ve gone through so many I can’t understand is like, “hey, do you want to make money, yes or no?” I mean that is exactly what it comes down to and yet the answer is no because they never did anything. And we’re such an easy band to book for, we’ve gotta comments from previous booking agents “you’re so easy to book for,” oh ok, well then why aren’t you booking? Forgive me if I sound a little bitter and whatever, but if you’re a good booking agent you are a valuable commodity. Valuable, and every band wants a good booking agent and the rest of them are just crap out there. If you’re aspiring to book bands and you do a good job you will be sought after like crazy. Make the phone calls, live up to your promises, have some sort of integrity and you will not believe how far you will go.

So where do you guys get the material for your songs, how do you get inspired?
Rawrb: Ya know, I think a traditional, non-comedy band, they have to struggle with lyrics because it’s usually about one or two subjects, it’s about negative emotion and stuff like that, and us, our inspiration is right in front of us always, like “hey, this is a delicious pizza!” And then we start drumming around and coming up with song ideas or Josh would write, you know, he wrote a song called “Orange” and he was just sitting at his desk one day at work and he’s like, “ya know, I’m gonna write a song about an orange!” and he did and it’s one of the most bombastic songs on the record. So the inspiration comes from everything around us and everything that’s just odd and funny to us we put it in a song and if it’s funny to us it’s gold. So that’s pretty much it, I have nothing that’s dramatic, we don’t talk about our broken hearts and ex girlfriends and stuff like that, it’s about food and taking a shower and crappy cars and all that stuff.

So is the girl who’s in “Girl Directions” the same girl who’s in “Throwin’ Down”?
Rawrb: No, the girl in “Throwin’ Down” is, we haven’t talked to her in a long time, her name is Lindsey and she did the impersonation of my ex-girlfriend, I know it’s funny now that I mention ex-girlfriends, but, “Throwin’ Down” is, that song is 100 percent true, every line in that song is true, I mean, I wish I was exaggerating because that would have made my life a lot easier but, no, it was true and Lindsey knew my ex girlfriend and would hear my complain and hear me bicker and did a great impersonation. And then the girl in “Girl Directions” is our friend Rachel, she’s actually a phenomenal vocalist, a great singer and she’s getting a lot of attention from this song because a lot of radio stations are starting to pick it up and we’re like, “how funny is that, you’re not even singing in this song!” And she can sing like you wouldn’t believe and ya know, maybe it will be a nice little break through for her, ya know, keep from struggling with her music career like everyone else does except for American Idol people, they just go there and sing and Simon goes, “eh!.”

What’s the weirdest fan encounter you’ve had or thing you’ve seen while performing?
Rawrb: There was one incident, I think it was in Florida somewhere, or somewhere down in the Southeast where we were playing a 21 and up show and we generally try to avoid playing a show that doesn’t allow underagers go because we have, like 60 percent of our fan base is under age and but, ya know there’s always the drunk guy, and the drunk guy, usually he’s a little loud and obnoxious, but every now and then you’ll get one who is extra loud and extra obnoxious and this particular guy kept asking for the microphone, while I was on stage in the middle of performing, in between songs, “hey man, give the mic, man, give me the mic!” So the reason he’s not getting the mic is because he would just start yelling obscenities and things of that nature, which doesn’t really add to anything and everybody’s just gonna roll their eyes and the show is kind of ruined, so I’m sitting here and I’m trying to perform and I’m just getting mad and I’m generally pretty patient but this guy was just pushing my buttons so I pointed at him and said, “you! Shut up! Go to the back of the room!” and I would expect an angry reaction, ya know, like I gotta be ready for this because this guy could come on stage and start swinging at me, but, he put his head down and got the saddest look on his face and juts like a wounded puppy and he went to the back and he then he bought a shirt.

Ahhh, like here, I’ll buy a shirt, I’ll make it up to you.
Rawrb: Yeah, that totally did not turn out the way I thought it would, but hey, at least you’re leaving me alone! So that’s one particular one that comes to mind that seems to be the star one of the moment.

If you guys could tour with any band who would it be and why?
Rawrb: Uh that’s kind of a tie between Sevendust and Machine Head, those two bands. The reason why is, those two bands in particular, I would say Pantera, but for obvious reasons we can’t, but Sevendust and Machine Head are two out of the three, the third being Pantera, that in particular are the reason Josh and I wanted to start a band, because we saw them live and we ere like, “wow!” And Sevendust, that’s a big possibility, we’re talking with some people connected to them, they dig the band, they’ve got the CD, they actually invited us to go out with them about a year ago and it didn’t work out and we’re trying to get back in touch with them to make that happen. Plus it establishes your legitimacy as a band, a lot of people are waiting for us to tour with somebody bigger, which is weird, but anyway, Machine Head, we got to open for them at the Mayhem festival in Phoenix and that was great. So we’ve got to meet with Robb Flynn their singer and I don’t know if that’s gonna be possible, but we’d love to try, but those two bands, ya, if we could tour with those two, I could die happy.

Yeah, I have heard that Lajon is a big fan.
Rawrb: Yeah, when we met him he was all stoked, he was like, “You guys have that beer song, oh my God!” I was like, “You’ve gotta be kidding me, you’re like my freaking idol and you’re a fan of my band, I’m gonna cry!”