psychodots Live at Uncle Pleasant's

By Darrell Ray Elmore

"Sure, all drummers are crazy. . .ours is just a little more stubborn than most." There was a certain intensity to his voice, and I stepped back a little bit, not wanting to get slammed in the head with an 8 oz. beer mug. I could hear just a twinge of arrogance under Rob Fetters' remark, and understandably so, as he is a major guitar-god, and most of them are pretty cocksure (to say the least).

And why not? I mean, it' s not everyone that can stand up on stage and pour out the right combination of chords, notes, and little funny noises in just the right formula to make your body jerk involuntarily, make you dance against your will.

Mr. Fetters is backed by Bob Nyswonger on bass, (you think that might be a made-up name?), and Chris Arduser on drums (he didn't seem crazy to me, but you know how those guys can be. . .nice and warm and cozy and personable but with one of those smiles that you don't dare turn your back on).

I've often wondered what we look like to bands like this one. I mean, these guys blow through town about every three months, sometimes there's a crowd, sometimes there isn't, but they always do a good show. Do you think we start to blur together? Is Louisville a clone of playing towns like Carbondale, Illinois?

Well, I kinda doubt it, but that really doesn't even begin to express just how good this power trio, once called The Bears, use to be The Raisins, now they are the psychodots, sound. And they sound just as good, if not better, without Adrian Belew. Bet.

Maybe it is the years of dues-paying, or maybe it's the constant tight-rope walking between fortune and fame and constant celebrity annoyance, and the steady income of being a band on the road. All I know is it adds up to one thing . . . kick-ass rock & roll.

I'm serious, if you haven't seen 'em, do it quick, 'cuz chances are you won't be able to in a year or two, unless they're on MTV or something.

Sure, it's pop. Like a well-oiled machine, these guys throw down grooves, and hooks, and riffs that sound so righteous you could swear you've heard all their songs before.

Lyrically, their music is on the threshold between thought provocation and witty, one-liners like the warm kiss at the end of a wet fist. Take "Copy Machine," from their new album. In this song, Rob is trying to convince the woman of his dreams to sit on his copy machine, but he reassures her that "I won't think you're a slut/if you replicate your butt/sit on my copy machine" simply because "Don't think I'm a pervert or a low-life scum/I just wanta find out where you're coming from/c'mon Angeline/sit on my copy machine" Later there is a reference to "smiling for the camera", but I won't go into detail as this is a family publication. The other side of the coin is covered in the song "Angel", where Rob intones "you can lead a bigot to water/but unless you tie him up/you can't make him drown". Big words, hard words, with an edge.

Can I just take a minute and say something about Rob Fetter's guitar playing?

Wowwee!

Zappo!

Flat out dag nasty. The boy can sure enough play some guitar. Even Jimmy Page looked at the neck of his guitar every once in a while. During the sound-check, Rob played a few riffs that would've caught 'ol Jim's attention, all the while staring off into space at perhaps something only he could see. Rapt concentration, I guess, though he did occasionally screw his face up into those grimaces and eyes-clamped-shut sneers that are usually reserved for the more prurient of actions (not to say that guitar-playing isn't a prurient act).

About halfway through the regular set, your boy Rob broke a string on his guitar, but did that stop him? No sir, he kept beating that axe as if it were a red-headed step-child. . .

"C'mon fellas," I said, "Give me some good quotes."

"What the hell kinda journalist are you?" Rob asked. "Is this how you do your job?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Do you hate your work?" asked Rob.

"Sure," I replied, "Don't you?"

"We love our job." replied Chris.

"We f**k and play rock & roll" said Rob.

Despite the loose-lipped rejoinder at the bar, I got the most personal glimpse into the reality of the situation as I overheard Rob Fetters and Mark Smalley (owner of Uncle Pleasant's) comparing notes on the raising of children. It seems that even guitar-gods are humbled in the face of an 8-month old child.

No wonder they love their job. It get's 'em out of the house and away from their kids! Really though, who wouldn't want to be in their shoes, perched as they are on the edge of burgeoning success? I sure hope they keep coming through Louisville, even when the giant hand of fortune and glory descends on their heads for once and all.