When the members of Psycho Gypsy first applied makeup to their young faces in early 1992, it was at a time when their musical heroes had thoroughly scrubbed the stuff out of their pores, seemingly for good. Psycho Gypsy co-founder and bassist/guitarist Tim Cheney says, "Before we put together our own shows, we had a hard time finding bands to play with. Nobody wanted anything to do with us, and we'd have to convince club owners we were the next Beatles before they'd book us.
"Eventually, we got the idea to do monthly Glam Slams, where we'd bring over a band from L.A,, since there were hundreds of glam bands out there. And we did great. The shows always were to capacity."
Right there, Psycho Gypsy proved that the industry had manipulated music's move to grunge the same way it phased out vinyl to make way for CDs, even though there still was an audience primed for tarted-up '80s rock.
The Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe
Psycho Gypsy, Unskinny Bop, and Rizon are scheduled to perform on Saturday, August 11.
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Psycho Gypsy split up around the end of the century, with singer Eddie Electra moving to L.A. to play in Peppermint Creeps, Cheney moving to Colorado, and drummer Michael (a.k.a. MYKELL) Geyman splitting for Iowa. Psycho Gypsy was about to do a reunion show last year at the urging of Geyman, but the drummer died in a motorcycle accident last summer before it could happen. "Michael was always saying, 'You should get back together with Eddie.' So we started seriously talking about it after the funeral," Cheney says.
The band's show at the Clubhouse will feature guest appearances by every guitarist and drummer who played with Psycho Gypsy and its offshoot, the Mötley Crüe tribute band Shout at the Devil. As to whether Psycho Gypsy seems any more out of time now than when they started, Cheney insists, "Nowadays, you'll see a 14-year-old kid in a mall with a Mötley Crüe T-shirt. Everyone's a lot more open to it."
So much so that every city has its own glam circuit, retro '80s groups, and tribute bands. "We've never stopped doing it, so we know how to do it better than any up-and-coming glam bands. The look. The lights. The flashpots. Most of them get it all wrong," Cheney says. "They go up on stage with mullet wigs on. Outside of [Def Leppard singer] Joe Elliott, there weren't any bands from that era that had mullets.
"That," he adds with a knowing laugh, "was the audience."