Jingle bell metal

Psychostick brings “Holiday Hate” to Dayton

By Gary Spencer

The holiday season is upon us, and there are more than a few people out there who absolutely abhor this time of year. Whether it’s the glutted roads leading to and from the mall areas backing up traffic or the annoyance caused by Christmas music blaring incessantly, the holiday season can make many people wrinkle their faces in disgust and want to sleep until the calendar reads Dec. 26. But have no fear going into the 2012 holiday season as Phoenix, Ariz. “humorcore” originators Psychostick are coming to town to cynically poke fun at all things supposedly ho-ho-holy and traditional about the Xmas season.

Psychostick has been all about making fun of anything and everything under the sun since the quartet’s inception in the year 2000. The band marries their often crude, side-splitting lyrics with music made to get one’s side split in the middle of a mosh pit. Imagine if Weird Al Yankovic honed his craft of parody and humor while being backed by a band of headbangers into modern metal and hardcore and you might have an idea of what Psychostick is all about. For the fourth time in the band’s career, Psychostick is bringing its popular “Holiday Hate” tour across the nation featuring tunes from the band’s anti-holiday album The Flesh Eating Rollerskate Holiday Joyride with an upcoming stop in Dayton at McGuffy’s House of Rock. I recently spoke with Psychostick drummer Alex “Shmalex” Dontre about his band and their holiday hijinks, and here’s what he had to say …

Tell me about the origins of the band … y’know the who/what/when/why/how the band came to be…

We all met when we all joined the same circus one year. I’m actually a professional juggler by trade, but now I can’t get away from this stupid music crap. All I want to do is ride my unicycle. Rob used to be a very successful dart thrower for the military. A sniper, of sorts. Josh is an elephant trainer, but he hates elephants. Matt walks on tightropes and cracks in the sidewalk. The sidewalk thing isn’t impressive at all, but he’s good at it.        -Alex Dontre

Musically, who/what are some of Psychostick’s influences? What are some of Psychostick’s non-musical influences?

We love anything noisy and obnoxious. There is a lot of hat tipping toward Machine Head, Hatebreed, Nothingface, Meshuggah and other bands like that. We are also very influenced by the alignment of the planets; and we ONLY write music during a full moon. -AD

You claim to be the originators of humorcore. What exactly is “humorcore”? 

It’s just like any other “core,” it’s made up! It’s all rock and roll, man. Our rock and roll just happens to be humorous, and full of “core.” -AD

It’s obvious humor is a huge element of Psychostick. Why?

It’s fun, that’s why! Traditionally, we write the majority of the lyrics first, and the music supports it. Also, making comedic metal scares away girls. We can’t be bothered by silly things like hot girls flashing us, like other bands. -AD

You made an Xmas album entitled The Flesh Eating Rollerskate Holiday Joyride back in 2007. Why did Psychostick decide to make a holiday record?

I can only speak for myself, but I hate the holidays. It’s actually an anti-holiday album. You offer your piss poor thanks on Thanksgiving, and the very next day you trample everyone at Target for 50 percent off. It’s a tradition to lie to your kids about Santa, arrogantly compete with your neighbors’ house decorations, kill a ton of trees for no reason, blast terrible smooth jazz for a month and you are supposed to LOVE it or you are branded a grinch. -AD

It seems as though The Flesh Eating Rollerskate Holiday Joyride has kind of taken on a life of its own, as you’ve done a handful of holiday-specific tours in order to play your Xmas songs. Why do you think your holiday music and tours are so popular? 

It gives us a chance to seasonally mix up our set list a bit. Some people drive out to several of our shows a tour, so we try to make each one special in its own way. This winter, we will instigate hatred and greediness and hawk a bunch of shirts that your grandmother would hate to see you wear. -AD

Tell me about your live show. What kind of antics should a would-be attendee expect at your upcoming show in Dayton?

Our live shows are modeled after our old circus act we used to have! Those were the days … back before people would sue you for “accidently” letting the balancing circus lions out. It’s tamer now, but we compensate by only releasing circus rabbits while we play. *sigh* -AD

So where do you see Psychostick going in the future?

Well, we are not yet time travelers, so I can’t really speculate on that. I’m sure, given the opportunity, we would take advantage of it, assuming we are not destroying some other world’s future in the process. It’s a delicate balance, as I understand it. But I’m not a physicist.  -AD

Psychostick brings its “Holiday Hate” tour to McGuffy’s House of Rock this coming Saturday, Nov. 24.  Amongst Villains, Sleeping Tigers and The Fallen are also on the bill.  Admission is $10 in advance for patrons 18 and up.  Doors open at 7 p.m.  For more information, please visit www.psychostick.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@daytoncitypaper.com

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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