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THE SCHIZOPHONICS : "We hope to be back to Europe summer 2023" - INTERVIEW

Les SCHIZOPHONICS viennent de sortir en aout leur nouvel album Hoof It sur Pig Baby Records, ils sont également en tournée aux États-Unis. Pat Beers et Lety Beers ont tout de même eu la gentillesse de répondre à nos questions.

Can you tell us how you discovered garage music? And what were the most important moments in this odyssey?

Pat: I grew up listening to oldies on the radio, and when I was in high school I started to discover slightly more underground bands like the MC5 and the Stooges. I thought that was as underground as it got, but when I moved to San Diego and heard John Reis’ radio show I realized how much amazing obscure music was out there. Becoming friends with Mike Stax from Ugly Things was also something that helped me find all that stuff.

Pat, you worked in a guitar shop. Do you think you are closer to music by being in a band, giving guitar lessons or selling instruments?

Pat: There was a lot of down time to pick up a guitar and practice, and it was nice to be constantly surrounded by music and musicians.

Tell us how a group of people in San Diego decided to create a band like the Schizophonics (or Schitzophonic in the beginning), what is the story of the band ?

Pat: We had no idea what we were doing when we started. Lety had never played drums before and I didn’t really know how to write rock and roll songs. We had just moved there and didn’t know anyone so we just kind of figured it out over many years. I’m still trying to figure it out.

You were influenced a lot by blues, then turned to garage and soul. Can you tell us about your blues background?

Pat: yeah, like I said, I didn’t know a whole lot about underground garage and soul until I got to San Diego, so my main musical god was Jimi Hendrix. I still love all that stuff.

Can you tell us about the creation of your demo in 2011, do you intend to release them again one day or are you not happy with your first tracks ?

Lety: We recorded the very first batch of songs we ever wrote and that’s what is on that old CD. That was our very first attempts to try to capture the energy of the live show. Not looking to re-release or revisit those anytime soon.

Why did you participate in the creation of the Ship Records label, what was the purpose of it?

Lety: All the bands were close friends and one of them got the idea for that. We issued to always hang out so went along with it for fun. I’m theory it was a cool idea. Just everyone got busy with and went their own ways.

How did you get in touch with
El Vez, and what memories do you have of your first tour with him in 2013? What was the most important thing you learned from him?

Pat: He saw us in 2012 and took us on our first tour as his backing band. Learning his set was a big challenge for us back then and it helped us learn how to play like a real band. He really went out of his way to help us at a time when the band needed that shot in the arm.

Pat, could you tell us how you created your stage set, Iggy Pop and Hendrix are some of your idols. What did you "borrow" from them?

Pat: I’ve always gone crazy when I got on stage, so I’ve taken a lot of cues from the high energy performers I’ve grown up loving. I don’t necessarily think I do it as well as those guys, but I’m influenced by a lot of the wild performers of the past like Prince, Little Richard, the Who, etc.

Can't Take It 

Was it during this tour with
El Vez that you recorded your first record Can't Take It? How did the label Munster Rds contact you? What did you think and do when you first got it in your hands?

Lety: That was our first single that got released on Munster. Inigo is friends with El Vez who we met on tour and offered to release the 45. It was a very small number of records that were made but we thought it was the coolest thing ever. Our very first piece of vinyl.

Put Your Weight On It / Red Planet
You were lucky enough to be noticed by
Mike Stax, founder of Ugly Things who will release your Put Your Weight On It / Red Planet record. Can you tell us about the record and the importance of Mike Stax for you ?

Lety: I got recruited to play drums in a band with Anja Stax called the Rosalyns. A tribute to 60s girl groups. That’s how we got to know both of them.

Pig Baby Rds then released Ooga Booga. What is your relationship with this label and how is it different from Sympathy For The Record Industry who have release your first album?

Lety: This was a friend’s label who was really excited to put anything out. We didn’t have many options so decided, what the hell, let’s try it. We are still good friends with Long Gone John too. Just different options.

Tell us about the recording of
Land Of The Living, your first LP. Was it easy to record, I understand you don't like to record in a studio. What do you remember about it ?

Pat: That was recorded over many sessions, basically when we could afford to go back the the studio. I love playing live but I’m not a fan of recording. It just feels forced and constricting for some reason.

In 2020, you released the excellent
MC5 and Roxy Music covers, why did you release covers and not original tracks? How important were these two songs for you?

Lety: We wanted to release these songs because we used to play them live for years. We thought it would be cool to record them during one of our album sessions since we were all set up and tracking new songs and eventually they got released as a covers single.

You have just released your new album, are there any influences that stand out on this one? 

Pat: this one has a bit of a Flamin' Groovies influence on some of it.

Can you tell us some anecdotes about your tour in France with the
Howlin Jaws ?

Lety: Those guys were so much fun! Great musicians and great attitude. I remember after one show we were all singing in the lobby to the venue the old classic 16 Tons. They got everyone in a big sing a long. Fun times…

What are the current bands that could make you jealous ?

You mean current bands that make us excited? I hate the jealousy vibe. I love seeing friends do well and rise to the top. Makes it seem more achievable through that outlook, ya know? Bands that we currently love and support whenever possible are The Chats from New Zealand. Their fast fury rock and roll is addictive! We also just crossed paths with The Courettes on our last tour and absolutely loved them! They put on a killer show and I love their Phil Spector like production they have sprinkled all over their albums.

A question about the music scene in your country : Are the Americans interested in the European garage scene, or are they more navel-gazing?

Pat: the US in a tough nut to Crack, but bands like the Jacket make it out here and blow minds. We’re doing a US tour with the Courettes in 2023.

Pat, you're in charge of the band's design. Can you tell us which graphic artists inspired you ? What do you think is your greatest achievement in graphic design ?

Pat: I just started doing the art by default, but I’ve grown to really enjoy doing graphics. It’s inspired by late sixties concert posters.

Amiens, cette année

Do you plan to come to France or Europe soon ?

Lety: We are booked up through the spring so hope to be back to Europe summer 2023.

What do you think about France and his music ?

Pat: I adore France. We tend to do a lot of shows Al over the country when we’re touring Europe, and they’re some of the most fun crowds anywhere.

Do you have a message for our readers ?

Lety: We hope to see you guys at a show soon! We learn about most places we travel to through people we meet at shows so come say hi and tell us about your town.
Sorry for our poor French. And hope to see you at a show!

Merci Pat & Lety d'avoir accepté de répondre à nos questions en plein milieu de leur tournée Américaine.

Hoof It (Pig Baby Records - 2022)