Psycho Killers are a group of die-hard Talking Heads fans from Baltimore, MD that decided to form a tribute band. Their sets span the entire catalogue of the seminal ’80s art-rock band (and occasionally include surprise covers). Skilled musicians, they’ve been able to flesh out material many fans have never had the chance to hear live.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Psycho Killers before their 8/31 show at The State Theatre in DC!
How did Psycho Killers form?
We have known each other for a long time. The drummer and I have been playing together for almost 15 years. We started playing in an original band called The Bridge and after a few years of touring we decided to leave the band and focus on other things. We still loved playing music and wanted to have an outlet to have fun and be creative. We messed around with some other projects but nothing really stuck.
I had known Jon Wood, our guitar player/singer, for several years and I just had a feeling he could really nail the Talking Heads. After one practice, we knew we had something special. Jon really captures the David Byrne style with his voice and playing, but doesn’t try too hard to imitate him. We have had some different members over the years, but the current line up has been together for a while now and really has a great chemistry!
What made you decide to become a tribute band?
We all really loved the Talking Heads and there was nobody else doing a tribute to them at the time. Their music spans generations and genres, so it’s really fun for us to cover them. Plus our fans seem to really enjoy themselves. We have been playing to great crowds everywhere we go and we are starting to expand to more cities.
What do you admire most about Talking Heads?
They are one of the most original bands ever. Every album is completely unique and they were always innovating their sound. Some of their songs could be hits if they were released today.
What can you expect from a live Psycho Killers show?
We are super high energy! We try to pay tribute to the original music but at the same time open things up a little bit. We play songs from their first album all the way up through more recent David Byrne solo material. We want everyone to be dancing and having fun!
How do you connect with your crowd when playing a live show?
Most of the people coming to our shows have never seen the Talking Heads live. So it’s fun for us to play these songs that people love so much and see their reactions and hear them sing along. The fact that we are able to play this music that we love and get such a great response is really awesome! We also try our best to play any songs that we know people want to hear on a given night.
What is your dream gig? Venue? Lineup?
I would love to play at the 9:30 club in DC. It’s one of my all time favorite venues and in all my years playing music I haven’t been lucky enough to play there! It would also be cool if any of the Talking Heads members saw us play or even played with us!
What is the funniest memory you’ve made as a band so far?
At our last show a woman came up to me during set break and asked if we knew “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman! Nothing against that song, but clearly she didnt know what band she came to see!
Have you experienced any wild fan encounters?
Once someone hid in the curtains on the stage and popped up backstage after the show. It kind of freaked us out a bit, but he just wanted to hang out with us. Luckily he wasn’t crazy!
Psycho Killers play at the State Theatre in CD on 8/31
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