The Schizophonics On Tour…
Keep something in the tank this long weekend because San Diego’s dynamite Schizophonics are throwing a special farewell to Australia show on Labour Day, Monday 13 March . Cementing themselves as “one of the best bands to see live, ever!” with their performance at Tentpole Festival, this will be your last chance to catch them before they head home.
Returning on the back of their latest LP Hoof It, The Schizophonics will reaffirm your faith in rock ‘n roll. Over the last few years this high-energy trio, which is formed around the dynamic husband and wife duo of singer/guitarist Pat Beers and drummer Lety Beers, has built up a formidable reputation around the world as an explosive live act – one that taps into the same unstoppable combination of unbridled rock ‘n roll soul energy and showmanship that fueled The MC5 in the heyday of the Grande Ballroom in late ’60s Detroit. In addition to The MC5, The Schizophonics’ wild live show is heavily influenced by artists like James Brown, Iggy Pop, Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix and The Sonics. Hi Fi Way spoke to Pat Beers about their live shows in Australia.
The shows so far on this Australian have been really good from all accounts and it seems as is the word is starting to spread far and wide on The Schizophonic. Do you find that it’s YouTube where people are finding out about the band?
It is! It’s funny actually because some of those videos are from a decade ago when we started and some, I just cringe when I see them, my whole shtick on stage was a lot less graceful in the early days, let’s just say. The funny thing is we’ve never really and I’ve been thinking we need to properly film a live show and put it up. People will just post on YouTube and I have no control over what goes up there and what doesn’t. So it’s like warts and all, you know! I kind of get a kick out of it too, once in a while someone will send us a video at a show we did eight years ago and I don’t even remember playing. On the other side, you know, I’ll see a show from last week or something where I was completely out of tune and completely worn out at the end of the night and it just sounds terrible. I have a lot of people come up to me at shows saying they just saw a video on YouTube, so thank you to all the people who post stuff and all that.
With the intensity of the live shows how do you physically prepare for that?
We just play so much, we’re just constantly doing shows, I’m just used to it. At this point we’ve decided this is what we love doing. I can’t really afford to take a day off of playing and we’ve done so many shows at this point that I’m just used to it.
Do you have any pre gig rituals that’s all part of the preparation of getting psyched for the show?
Yeah. usually we’re playing with other bands and if there’s a band before us, we like to go dance and support the other bands, get kind of lively and start getting the blood flowing.
Are you a physical wreck afterwards?
I’m a wreck for an hour after the show and then the next morning I’m like, ah, it wasn’t so bad. Then we’ll get in the car, drive and do it again. I love doing it. I love connecting with people and I can’t imagine what else I’d be doing. I find it strange at all that we’re able to even tour and be musicians. I feel so lucky. I don’t really feel like it’s like work, it’s just like a lot of fun for us. Sometimes it is draining after, we’ll do like two weeks of shows with two days off and I’ll just be like a zombie by the end of it.
On the remaining shows are you focusing mostly on the new album?
We’re doing a lot of new songs that I’m really excited about finally playing because we recorded it during Covid and never played the songs live before we recorded them. They turned out to be really fun to play live. We’re also trying some new songs that we’re finishing now and rehearsing right now. We’re just like, why don’t we just try some new stuff? That’s the best way to really see what works, just play it for people and see how they respond. We’re trying a lot of stuff we haven’t recorded as well and some old stuff from ten years ago too.
Did the creative process work a lot differently this time?
It was a weird process because usually, like I said, we used to tour a lot and play songs live and they would take on a new life and form on stage and everything. Then we would go record them after having played them a ton of times. This was during Covid so we’re like, well, we should just focus on writing right now. We had an intense kind of wood shedding writing period for a few months. Another weird thing is writing all the songs at once and then we recorded them almost in order of how we were going to put them on the record having never played them live. Some of the songs we played, we had just figured out the arrangements and then recorded it, so they’re really fresh. That’s cool to have one record that’s completely different than the other ones. I mean, it sounds like all our albums, it’s just like rock and roll, it’s not like a concept album or anything too crazy, but I noticed a difference.
Do you try and record the songs live with one take in mind?
Well, we try to get the initial drums, guitar, singing, playing it and as much of the bare bones as much live as we can. I’m definitely of the mind that you can record the vibe on a record and that sounds a little, hippy dippy esoteric. I really feel like if you put all your passion into it, you can actually capture it on a recording.
Do you get frustrated when people like Gene Simmons from Kiss come out and say, rock and roll is dead?
I think he just enjoys being kind of an asshole. I love like Kiss is like, it’s like the first band concert I went to. Lety and I have a big soft spot for Kiss. It is an out touch thing to say, I feel like rock and roll is back where it should be. I like the fact that I can go see my favourite bands in clubs, it’s not even at the point yet where a lot of these bands are playing in an arena named after some product, you get patted down and you see them on the screen and on stage they’re the size of an ant. I’m glad that some of the most real rock and roll right now like The Jackets. I could see The Jackets, my favourite fan in the world. I could see them in a club, see The Woggles in a club, see The Chats in a club, so I think rock and roll is still very much alive. Those are the best shows. That’s what rock and roll is where you can get close and it’s sweaty and everyone’s dancing.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch The Schizophonics on the following dates, tickets from Love Police…