Photo courtesy Minivan Photography

Psychotic Reaction

The Schizophonics, a San Diego garage-rock band with a not-to-be-missed live show, performs in Eugene

Lety Beers learned to play drums with her husband, Pat Beers, in The Schizophonics, a San Diego-based trio playing an electric blend of classic garage rock, early punk and soul. These days, no trace of Lety’s former inexperience remains. But cutting her teeth behind a singer and guitarist like Pat must have been like learning to ride a horse on the wildest colt in the stable. The band debuts new material March 31 at Blairally in Eugene. 

Live on stage, Pat yelps like Wayne Kramer and dances like James Brown, with feral guitar solos, a little different each night, rooted in fuzzy blues and blistering British invasion-style rock ‘n’ roll. 

“I’ve learned how to play drums with Pat playing crazy stuff like that,” Lety tells Eugene Weekly. “I don’t have much room to get crazy because if he’s going crazy, and I’m going crazy, it just turns into chaos,” she says. 

On the road, the band employs a rotating bass player on each leg of the tour, who is usually a friend from the San Diego scene. Pat says he’s tired 23 hours out of every day while on tour, but for one hour each night,  he manifests unbridled energy. “Once we start playing, I kind of just naturally start moving around,” he explains, comparing his stage presence to Iggy Pop with some rockabilly thrown in. 

Pat likes tightly written three-minute pop songs, he says. But on stage, “The dancing and the guitar solo are always different every show. I try to keep that part of it spontaneous.”

After touring Europe over the winter, Pat and Lety speak with EW from back home in San Diego. Formed in 2009, the band caught on right away across the Atlantic, Lety says, where tastes run toward their style of raw garage rock, especially in Spain.

On their most recent European tour, the band went as far north as the Arctic Circle, playing in a Norwegian town called Tromsø. 

“We bought new coats, we got these jackets, we got parkas, but it was awesome, we had a great time,” Lety says. And despite the cold temperatures, Norwegian crowds turned out. “Tromsø is a great rock ‘n’ roll town”, Pat says. 

The band’s last full-length album, Hoof It, came out in 2022. This summer, the band is set to appear at the Evolution Festival in St. Louis, headlined by The Killers and Beck. Around that same time, the band also hopes to release new material. “We’re about to do one more tour. When we come home, we’ll start recording and get this new record done,” Lety says.

Previewing the news songs, Pat adds, “It’s a little punkier, maybe a little faster than the last stuff we’ve done. I’m not sure why. It’s just kind of what we’ve been listening to.”

The Schizophonics have stopped in Eugene before. Lety says only about five people were in the audience the first time they came to town, but there was crowd surfing anyway. “It was one of our favorite shows,” Lety adds. 

This time, The Schizophonics are excited to play Blairally, a vintage pinball arcade. “I love pinball,” Lety says. Look for her behind a Godzilla pinball machine, she adds.

The Schizophonics perform with Bad Luck Blackouts and El Borko 9 pm Sunday, March 31, at Blairally; $12, 21-plus. 

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