Psychosomatic is a local thrash metal band started by bassist/vocalist Jeff Salgado back in 1987 whose members have thrived on playing live and, as a result, have grown their fan base organically through word-of-mouth and booking DIY tours.
These days—nearly 30 years in its career—the band is rounded out guitarist Toby Swope (who joined in 2001), lead guitarist Daniel Mills (2011), and newest member and drummer, Jared Klein, who joined earlier this year after the record was already tracked.
For the uninitiated, Psychosomatic, who play Friday, September 18 at the Blue Lamp, makes music that’s steeped in the tradition of ‘80s thrash without sounding dated or derivative. After releasing and selling out of their initial pressings of their full-length records The Unquenchable Thirst (2006) and Another Disease (2010), the band spent a considerable time on the road playing every nook and cranny of the United States.
After four successful tours across the country and a small handful of West Coast tours, the band has become a veritable headliner without ever having proper distribution or a significant record label to help finance and back tours. As luck would have it, they will start yet another five-week trek directly following their upcoming CD release show at Blue Lamp.
The band’s latest album is called Clicking Sound of a Hammer Pulled Back and the title couldn’t be more apropos given the ferocity of the songs. After recording with producer / engineer Joe Johnston at Pus Cavern Studios, they paired up with longtime resident Kenny Hoffman and his boutique metal, Buriedinhell Records, which has released countless local and regional bands with great success.
From the opening track “Chemical Burn” which sounds like an early Demolition Hammer, Vio-Lence, or Nuclear Assault outtake, the album is fully unrelenting. Other standout tracks include the mid-tempo “The Summoning,” which will more than likely, incite a few random acts of violence and, perhaps the strongest track on the album, ‘Hemorrhage,” which pays homage to early Slayer among others.
“We’ve always been a DIY band and done everything ourselves. Kenny (Hoffman) and I have known each other for years and us pairing up only seemed natural. It was inevitable we would eventually put out an album with him” said Jeff Salgado in a recent phone interview.
“We discussed releasing a record on his label at different times since he promotes very well in our genre space. This time it happened and already the advance press is working in our favor.”
Even while Salgado knows members of pretty much every major thrash band, he is quick to point out that he rarely uses his connections.
“We’ve worked for everything we have and don’t like asking bigger bands for shows. We often get approached to support headliners in the Bay Area,” he said. “We’ve played with tons of great bands like Possessed, Exodus, Hirax, Attitude Adjustment, and M.O.D. but all have been by invitation rather than groveling.”
And while most artists may find the task of booking a national tour rather daunting, Salgado said it’s actually not that hard.
“Bands these days are just lazy. Today you have everything at your fingertips and there are always venues looking for new acts. Unfortunately, this industry is very ego-driven and a lot of bands are afraid to show any humility and possibly play some empty rooms on a tour,” he said. “We did a five week tour in 2013 and it was the best tour we ever did. Although we had two shows canceled in Cleveland and it really messed with our routine of playing back-to-back shows, it all worked out.”
Catch Psychosomatic at 8 p.m. Friday, September 18 at the Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Boulevard. The Kennedy Veil, Jack Ketch, Solanum, XTOM HANX, and Abominous. Are also on the bill. $10.
By Eddie Jorgensen