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Around this time, the band's flair for self-promotion landed it a guest spot on The Charles Perez Show, when Eddie got the brilliant idea of lying that Tim and he were shagging the same groupie so they could be on a "My Girlfriend Is Screwing My Best Friend" show. The show's producers flew the tarty twosome and a female friend to New York, gave them cushy hotel accommodations and encouraged them to get into a fistfight during taping.
Sadly, that episode never aired, but the band's public-access show did air, on Monday nights for much of 1996. "It was something we did for fun and for free advertising," says Tim, laughing. "We'd do stuff like dress up in drag and go to the grocery store at two o'clock in the morning and film people's reaction. Eddie would black out his teeth and Mykel had his hair in pigtails. And I had lipstick that made my lips look three times bigger than they really were."
The band is in the process of getting the show back on Phoenix access with better production values, and hopes to release a full-length CD in the spring with new songs like "Faded and Sedated," "Mr. Mephisto" and "Lisa Shot Her Family." The band is eager to pitch these songs to Delinquent Records, a label that's actually looking for glam rock. "Their theory is that there's a glam-rock band in every state, except L.A. and New York where there are many glam-rock bands," states Eddie. "They want to concentrate on bands playing glam in unlikely places like Arizona or Kentucky, someplace weird like that."
The band credits its changing sound to newest addition Eric, whom the members spotted in the audience at a dead Electric Ballroom gig banging his head on the guardrail and banging his fists on the stage to their music. Since Eric's notions about what Psycho Gypsy's sound is are not yet set in stone, he's able to come at the new material from a less formulaic angle.
Yet in many ways the band hasn't changed all that much from the fun-lovin' hooligans of 1994, playing an Atomic Cafe open-mike night. Psycho Gypsy had a massive sense of self even at that embryonic stage. If you couldn't be in awe of the members' loop-de-loop hair choreography, you had to admire their cheek for taking a piece of rock's recently discarded past out of the Dumpster and parading it for all the awe and majesty it was worth. The song intros said it all.
"This isn't Lawrence Welk--this is about something we believe in--the power of rock 'n' roll!"
"This next song is about your dad locking you in your room because he doesn't like the way you look. And it's called 'In a Darkened Room!'"
The difference between the audience reaction now and then is worth mentioning. Back then, if people wondered if Psycho Gypsy was for real, it was meant as a putdown. Now it's as if your 4-year-old wants the real skinny on Santa. They wanna believe in the power of something.
Sure it's cheese, but the band's serving it up on Ritz crackers. Gleefully. And that's the attraction in what it's doing. The members are having fun, fun you probably wish you were having.
"I can look down from the stage, see people tapping their foot and tell they want to do more but they're waiting for someone else to," says Tim. "You kind of have to use psychology on them and make them feel they're stupid if they don't scream. I used to have to say, 'It's okay to jump up, scream and yell and have fun. You shouldn't worry about what the person next to you is thinking.'
"Look at us. Do we look like we care what people are thinking?