NEUROTICA’s blistering sets have nothing to do with the Ozzfest summer heat. With their raucous live show full of the best that thrash metal and rock have to offer (with even a few moments of pop), these guys could set fire to a snowstorm. Discovered by AC/DC frontman, Brian Johnson is a small Florida club, the band has gone on to get great reviews on their live shows, their indie label release, Seed, and their recent Koch Records/Smackdown! release with steadily growing hits, “All my Friends Crush You,” “Ride of Your Life,” and “Stars in My Eyes,” and “Touch the Sound.”
Kelly Shaefer - Vocals
Migwell Przybyl - Bass
Shawn Bowen - Guitars
Jason West - Drums
Chris Rollo – Guitars
Nighttimes.com caught up with the band about two thirds of the way through Ozzfest 2002 to discuss their success, Ozzy sightings, and the unfortunate loss of their friend and colleague, Drowning Pool’s Dave Williams.
NT: The band’s success has been steadily building over the last year, getting picked as one of the top Ozzfest acts from magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin. What has this tour done for you?
Kelly: “It’s really helped us out a lot. It’s been sort of an against-the-odds thing being out here; there’s a lot of real, real heavy bands. It’s nice to get the response we’ve been getting to stuff that’s not full-on hardcore. It’s a tribute to the kids, having an open mind and enjoying the diversity of the tour. It’s cool.”
NT: You’re getting a lot of notoriety for your cover of “I Am The Walrus.” The kids just went crazy out there! I would think a Beatles cover would be a chancy thing with this crowd.”
Kelly: “We have so much fun playing it. It’s a tribute to Ozzy [because he loves the Beatles]. We’re so honored to be here. Ozzy, as you can see, is on our door as you come in [a poster is tacked on to the door of the tour bus lounge]. But we’ve done the Walrus in every town, and the kids were amazing. 15-year-old kids are singing like they wrote it!”
Are you having as much fun on stage as you appear to be having?
Unanimously: “Oh, yeah!”
Migwell: “We just wish it was longer than 20 minutes.”
Kelly: “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t just look at each other and go, man, this is the best! How did we get here? It’s so great. We don’t want it to end. All the bands, too, we weren’t sure how it was going to be. 21 bands! There’s a whole lot of artists and potential egos to consider. But it’s all been great.”
Migwell: “The kids in this country are some hardcore Motherf**kers! They’re unbelievable. They’re up early the day before, waiting in line-- and there till after 11 when Ozzy’s done. Every city’s got 5,000 of the baddest kids on the planet. They hang through 12, 14 hours worth of freaking music, sunlight, and heat.”
Kelly: “Tomorrow we play the main stage in Kansas. It’s fun to play to that huge venue, and stand where Ozzy stands, but the second stage is really fun. The kids are there every day. You just wake up, no matter how tired you are.”
Migwell: “The second stage is the breeding ground for the future of music.”
NT: So what’s next? Any tours planned when Ozzfest is over?
Kelly: “We’d love to go on tour with Down, or Stone Temple [Pilots], or one of those kinds of bands. We just want to keep working. Really, at the end of the day, we’ll tour with anybody! That’s the best way to start a record off.”
NT: I know you guys have hit the road hard since the group formed seven years ago. It’s been virtually non-stop, eh?
Migwell: “We’ve traveled around a lot and beat a couple RV’s into the ground. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of miles under our asses.”
Kelly: “It’s like this: we were working in one of those little portables for years, and now it’s like we’ve got our own office.” [He gestures with his arms, admiring the beautiful, posh lounge with black leather seating, built-in entertainment center, etc.]
Sean: “We’ve been working all along, we’ve been doing the same shit, but now we’ve got cubicles and furniture!”
Kelly: “Not a day goes by that we don’t appreciate this. We do a lot of driving. We don’t sleep in hotels, we sleep on the bus. It’s great. I’d love to tell you some horrible things but it’s all been great!”
NT: This has been a strange Ozzfest. You’ve already mentioned how eclectic the bands are. But beyond that, Ozzy has had the stress of Sharon’s cancer, and Drowning Pool lost Dave Williams. How have these events colored the mood of the tour?
Kelly: “Some amazing stuff has happened, and some horrible stuff has happened. Losing Dave Williams was just, and still is, just unbelievable to us. We’ve played with Drowning Pool before but we didn’t really know them until we came out here. You have no perceptions of how people are going to be, and then you meet them and they end up being far cooler than you’d ever imagined. It gives me faith. Dave Williams was that kind of guy. He was the only guy who came running off his bus at 5:00 to come see us play the main stage. We’d never met this guy before, and he just went out of his way to befriend us. So to lose him, man, I just can’t believe it. He was buried yesterday and it was crazy.”
Sean: “It totally changed the mood of the tour. We were all good friends with him.”
Kelly: “No one wasn’t affected by his death. There were people who had spent a lot of time with him. It just goes to show you how much that guy affected every band on this tour.”
But then, Kelly smiles, and reflects on the good times…
“There were some amazing moments, like playing Alpine Valley, standing on top of a mountain looking down on 20,000 people. Watching Ozzy every night is a treat.”
Migwell: “Yeah, it’s a real boost with the Ozzy sightings. Before this tour it was like, “I’ve seen Ozzy four times,” and now it’s like, “I’ve seen Ozzy 35 times!”
“The first show in Scranton PA Rob Zombie was making a comment regarding the Osbournes and said, “all right, now the rest of the world is finally on to how cool Ozzy is!”
Kelly: “That’s our main mission, to follow in that path. You know, Sabbath is timeless. They wrote songs last forever and ever, and they’ll continue to last twenty years from now. That’s the kind of band we want to be. It’s really important to us to make music that’s timeless.”
And as NEUROTICA collect tens of thousands of fans at each live gig, continuous media praise and picks as a band to watch, they are well on their way. Catch them while you can still get up close on the second stage.
[You can check NEUROTICA’s tunes, write the band, and read their Ozzfest postings at their website, www.neurotica.net.]