Have you ever been to party that was so good that when it shut down and all the lights came on and you were shoved out into the streets, you just wanted to keep on keepin’ on with your funky self? I don't know, something like... an after-party. OK, so, with that idea in mind, prep yourself for the most-belated after-party in ze history of San Diego after-parties: the Schizophonics Soul Review belt R&B-tinged, hip-sway-hinged groove tunes at Music Box on Friday, Jan. 8.
Here’s the thing: You know Schizophonics -- the rockingest duo of Lety and Pat Beers, who’ve been blasting the scene with fuzz-rock for the better part of a decade -- but this iteration, as the Schizophonics Soul Review, is something entirely different. Glimpsed only in the twilight hours of Christmas Eve, the SSR are a San Diego supergroup, its 10 members coming from the New Kinetics, Mittens, Cash’d Out, Birdy Bardot and Shake Before Us, to name but a few. Schiz frontman Pat heads up the motley crew, ditching his guitar to assume a James Brown swag through croon after soul-fed croon as he dances across the stage, dipping the mic stand in step.
The first time the SSR came out to play was Christmas Eve 2014 at the Casbah’s annual Exile on Kettner show. Though that first year held a different lineup, when SSR reformed just weeks ago to learn soulful holiday tunes to doo-wop drop on stage, it was such a good time that they didn’t want to stop right there. And that brings us to Musix Box on Friday for the Xmas Eve after party. What does that mean, exactly? Ladies and gentlesirs, Pat Beers:
Hannah Lott-Schwartz: OK, what is the Schizophonics Soul Review?
Pat Beers: It’s very different than what [Schizophonics] usually do. So what it is is last two Christmases at the Casbah’s Christmas Eve thing, we’ve done a James Brown-influenced soul review. And I don’t play guitar. It’s kind of weird -- I’ve never been in a band where I don’t play guitar. I kind of do the James Brown shtick. But what I really like about it is we have a horn section and backup singers and a keyboardist -- it’s 10 people. It’s like a Christmas soul show. The funny thing about this show coming up is that we learned all these Christmas soul songs, but for this we’re changing it up to kind of de-Christmasify it. So there will be some Christmas leftovers, but the ones that haven’t spoiled.
HLS: So why in the past have you only done this at Christmas?
PB: We got the offer two Christmases ago. Tim Mays asked us if we wanted to do our Bowie thing that we’d been doing at the time, and we’d done it at Halloween. I thought my version of Bowie was really creepy. And we thought, “What kind of Christmas show could we do that would be cool?” And we realized that the only kind of Christmas music that we loved was the soul, bluesy songs, like that James Brown album. So we thought, “Let’s do like a James Brown Christmas show.” And we did it again this year; it was almost a completely different band this year. Both times it was really funny because we didn’t really have a lot of practices, and it’s down to the wire again because we have to come up with new songs. Like I said, there’s gonna be some Christmas leftovers that haven’t gone bad -- I think instead of “Santa” I’m just gonna say “satan.” We kind of just wanted to do it again because a lot of our friends weren’t in town for Christmas, and doing all this for one show... It was really fun and the whole group was really fun, so let’s just do it again after Christmas.
HLS: Is there a chance then that the Schizophonics Soul Review might continue to develop outside of these shows?
PB: It kind of has, in this case. And we keep talking about it, like, “Who’s up for doing this a few times a year?” But we’re thinking about keeping it going, and everyone seems down to do it. It seems like it would be a fun thing to just do once in awhile. It’s like a review-type band with matching costumes, and a bit more show-biz, R&B dance party than what we usually do. I really enjoy it, and we’re thinking about doing it more. I guess we’d have to learn more non-Christmasy songs though.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.