Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Psycho-Tec 4 track demos

Back in either 85 or 86 I was briefly in a band called Psycho-Tec.

The band was the brainchild of Kerwin Kain (I'm nearly sure that's spelled wrong, but with a name like that I guess he's used to it) who was at the time the funkiest man I knew. Since I've never met George Clinton or Bootsy or Prince or Johnny Guitar Watson or James Brown, I guess he probably still is the funkiest man I know.

Psycho-Tec was a sort of mix of early Funkadelic trippiness mixed with punk rock, and played mainly on synthesizers. These demos are Kerwin's 4 track versions of the songs, and I'm fairly sure are performed entirely with a modified Sequential Circuits Drumtracks (or maybe it was a TOM) drum machine and a Korg Poly 61 or maybe a Poly 6. Actually now that I think about it, it might have been a Roland Juno 106. I can't remember exactly. I'm also pretty sure that these demos are all Kerwin, with a little of Jeff Biegert, and maybe some of Kerwin's roomate Butch too.

The actual live band ended up being Kerwin, Krishna Venkatesh, Jeff Biegert, Peter Moore, Will Ragano, and me, though I only played in the band for the first show at Chet's Last Call. In the band I played my friend and bandmate Krishna's Sequential Circuits Pro-1 synth, and covered mainly basslines, and other one-note-at-a-time parts, what with the Pro-1 being monophonic.

Now Kerwin not only played some of the synth parts and sang, but he was also a bass player, and at the time I felt like if there was going to be any actual (not synth) bass playing done, that I should do it. This was, as it turns out, completely unreasonable because Kerwin not only SMOKED me as a bass player, but I also wasn't anywhere nearly enough aquainted with funk (and I'm not talking about slapping) to even know how MUCH he smoked me.

In the end, I think I was feeling a little bruised, and Kerwin was probably feeling like "what the fuck, this is my band, and I'm going to play the bass parts...particularly since that guy can't even play the parts right!" So after the first show, we parted ways. I think he had Krishna come over to tell me I was out, but I remember feeling like I was ready to quit. You know, "You can't fire me, I quit!" That sort of thing.

Psycho-Tec ended up being a really great band, but they didn't last particularly long. Eventually the other guys in the band parted ways with Kerwin, added another guy named Paul Lanctot and formed a band called Think Tree.

For me, being in a band with Kerwin was both vaguely humiliating and highly instructional. I thought back then that I was "THE SHIT" and it was a real eye opener for me to have my ass handed to me. I ended up really digging into listening to real funk (ie not the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and learning a lot, and because of it I became a much better player.

I still feel a little twinge of embarrassment when I think back to the rehearsal where I was trying to cop the bass part on the song "25" and Kerwin standing there with his psychedelic homemade bass playing it over and over for me, and I was playing it wrong over and over back to him. I can't imagine what he was thinking. Well, actually I can. And it still makes me feel like a chump.

I haven't seen or heard from Kerwin in years, but in the back of my mind it kind of annoys me to think that he probably still thinks of me as the guy who couldn't play that bass part right.

The quality of this tape is fairly lame, and one song drops out in the middle for a bit. I don't know where else you'd ever hear this stuff though, so here it is in all of it's lo fi funky glory.

Open Your Mind


Gijoes said...

Kerwin did own a Juno 106, I almost bought it from him. I did buy his teac 4 track probably the same 4 track he recorded this on.
I have not heard anything about Kerwin since he moved back to Ohio.

Dave Cannon said...

Hey I grew up with Kerwyn and would love to find him. 916-769-9900 Davela