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The Schizophonics Can’t Stop the Hustle

The band hits the road to tour their fourth album this September for their first stateside show in more than two years
Jennifer McCarthy


Jennifer McCarthy

Pat Beers doesn’t overcomplicate things when talking about his band, The Schizophonics. From their origins back in 2009, they’ve had a pretty simple and direct mission: “It’s just a party,” he says.

Anyone who’s witnessed their sweat-drenched performances will immediately understand. Renowned both in San Diego and in cities across the globe as a fiery live act, The Schizophonics never let the energy level slip while onstage, from the constant uptempo drive of their bluesy garage rock to Beers’ frenetic and animated presence. They’re the hardest working band in San Diego, and the payoff is a reminder of just how much fun a live rock ‘n’ roll show can be.

The Schizophonics’ fourth album, Hoof It—out September 2 via Pig Baby Records—bottles that live energy better than any prior recording. But there’s a certain irony in that, considering it’s their first post-pandemic set of songs, one that didn’t have the benefit of road-testing before they recorded them, since lockdown restrictions for nearly two years made that a non-starter. Though The Schizophonics are typically a trio—featuring Bryan Reilly on bass—guitarist Pat Beers and drummer Lety Beers (who are married) instead recorded it as a duo in early 2021 after breaking through an uninspired Covid malaise.

Despite having to rethink their approach, the result is as furious a set of rock music as they’ve ever released, one that finds the band coming out the other end of a live drought with seemingly more drive and urgency than ever.

“It’s always hard to capture the energy of a live show on a record and we’ve gotten some good feedback,” Lety says. “We have friends who’ve listened to all the records and they’ll say it’s their favorite so far.”

By the time most audiences hear these songs, however, they will have already evolved into something new, Pat adds.

“We didn’t play the songs live before we recorded them,” he says. “In the past we’d play them at 100 shows before we recorded them. We captured them right as we were making them, so now they sound totally different.”

Next month, the band will make their way around the U.S. to support the album, marking their first stateside tour in over two years. Earlier this summer they wrapped up a tour of Europe, where audiences were first treated to their raucous presence eight years ago on tour with local legend El Vez. Since then, they’ve made regular trips across the Atlantic, some of their most loyal fans being in Spain and France. They’ve built up something of a worldwide community through their music, and simply seeing familiar faces and getting to know some new ones is part of why they keep up the hustle.

“We’re super social and we’re always out in the crowd,” Lety says. “You know how it is when you go to The Casbah and you see all your homies. We have little hubs like that all over the place. That’s why I like touring so much, because it’s like ‘we get to go here and see this little group of friends’.”

The Schizophonics are still largely the same band that they were when they began, at least in aesthetic, though they’re quick to point out that they’ve tightened up and sharpened their skills since first playing in local dive bars more than a decade ago. Lety says she’s become more technically adept in her playing since then, while Pat is always aiming to be a better showman.

“I’ve made a conscious effort to be more of an old-school entertainer,” he says. “When I started it was just a drunken freakout. There was no rhyme or reason to it.”

But even after nearly a decade, The Schizophonics haven’t changed all that drastically. If the audience is on their feet and moving, then they’ve pulled off the very thing they set out to do.

“The main goal is physical,” Pat says. “The whole show is pretty much dancing from start to finish.”

By Jeff Terich

Jeff Terich is the music critic behind the blog The Setlist. His writing has been published in Stereogum, Bandcamp Daily, American Songwriter, Fodor's and Vinyl Me Please.

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