by Gabe Gott
Puscifer will makes its way to Akron Civic Theatre April 4 on the second round of the tour for its third studio album, ‘Money $hot,’ which was released Oct. 30 of last year. The band, of course, is fronted by Northeast Ohio native and Tool/A Perfect Circle vocalist Maynard James Keenan.
The night before starting Round 2 of the tour, which opened on St. Patrick’s Day in Riverside, Calif., guitarist Mat Mitchell explained what it was like getting started again after a short hiatus.
“[The hiatus] seemed like it was going to be a long time, and then, you know, walking into rehearsal, it felt like we never left,” he says. “We added a few new songs that weren’t on the last set, which we’re excited to play, and just made a few tweaks.”
Mitchell, who co-writes the songs and produces the band’s recordings, also discusses how he and the band go about translating, for a live show, songs that were created with a mindset of not worrying about how they would be performed live.
“I think about what elements in the recordings are going to have the most impact, and what kinds of things are the most important elements to be represented, and start there,” he says. “You know, figuring out who’s going to play those parts and how those parts are going to be represented, and from there just kind of put the puzzle together.”
He continues, “Some things we definitely want them represented as they are [on the album], and then there’s other things that are kind of open for interpretation, and that’s where we use the strengths of each player to kind of reinterpret certain parts or certain sounds.”
At its shows, Puscifer not only gives its audiences a live performance of the band’s songs, it also gives them more of a complete “multimedia experience.”
“Visuals are really a fun element to work with. We work with a few people; Tamarla Vine is kind of the video director for this show, and she and I have been friends for a long time,” he says. “Kind of working with her, and coming up with ideas, between Maynard’s input and my input and her input, [we] just kind of figure out what it’s going to look like.”
And, he says, seeing it all put together with the music and the lights is exciting.
In addition to Mitchell and Keenan, the touring band includes singer/songwriter Carina Round, who has been a key collaborator with Puscifer since the 2011 album, ‘Conditions of My Parole;’ drummer Jeff Friedl, keyboardist/vocalist Mahsa Zargarian and bassist Paul Barker round out the lineup. Friedl also plays drums for A Perfect Circle, Zargarian is a Los Angeles-based composer and performer and Barker, the newest member of the band, is the former bass player of Ministry. According to Mitchell, they all have fun performing together.
“[It’s fun] being able to reinterpret these things and play for people, and, you know, it’s really fun to play with this group of people. It’s fun to get the reactions of the crowd,” he says.
While each band member does take the music very seriously, there is also a comedic element to their performances. Some fans have even described them as being “part sketch comedy.”
“I love when you leave shows and there’s a smile on your face. You know, like, I don’t think there is anything wrong that, and I definitely know some people are turned off by it because they think that you have to be super serious,” he says. “They see the show and enjoy it — or they don’t — and, you know, I think for us, it is really fun. It’s really refreshing.”
(Feature image: Puscifer by Rob Laananen)