CBGB regulars Psycho Nurse to play 30-year reunion show Oct. 24 at F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre
WILKES-BARRE—Local rock band Psycho Nurse will play their 30-year reunion show Oct. 24 at the F.M. Kirby Center. According to founding member and Taylor native Head Nurse Roxie, the band was conceived at her house during a Halloween party.
“One of the guys came dressed in a silly white blouse with white face paint and blood splattered all over him,” Roxie said. “We said, ‘well what are you supposed to be?’ He said, “I’m a psycho nurse!” We thought it was a good name for a band, so we sat at the kitchen table and started penning lyrics based on what we were reading in the paper and our social conscious … things like that.”
Those lyrical ideas were put to use when an impromptu jam session began in Roxie’s kitchen and the base of Psycho Nurse was formed.
“We would find things in the ’80s we’d pick out and go, ‘why did this happen?’ and we’d start writing about it,” Roxie said. “It was like covering the news only in a more in-your-face way. Some of the songs were serious and and some of them were just funny. We had a very odd sense of humor.”
One of those in-your-face, odd songs was about ’80s celebrity Sally Struthers and charitable organization Feed the Children. According to Roxie, members of the band got sick of seeing Sally Struthers on the organization’s commercials during late night television.
“Looking into the corporation she was working for, we found out most of the money was not going to these children; it was funding that corporation,” Roxie said. “In this era we know that is a pertinent situation and very common. In the ’80s it was not.”
Psycho Nurse wrote a song called “Feed the Children” with the premise that, since nobody seemed to turn a blind eye to the exploitation of starving children, they should be fed to the lions. It was a sarcastic response to a situation that moved Roxie and the other members of Psycho Nurse to use their platform and speak out.
“People were saying, ‘oh my God this band wants to feed children to the lions!’ No, listen to what we’re singing,” Roxie said. “Everybody’s out there giving a little bit (to Feed the Children) but none of the money is going to the kids, and the government or United Nations doesn’t care if they’re poor.”
Subject matter like this may imply that a Psycho Nurse live performance features some shock value and, according to Roxie, that wouldn’t be an incorrect assumption. She and the band plan on presenting their live show just as it was in the ’80s when Psycho Nurse regularly played CBGB and opened for the Ramones. This live lineage highlights the punk parts of Psycho Nurse’s genealogy, but Roxie thinks her band defines genre conventions.
“We go from hardcore punk into what I call Gregorian chant into country music songs and they’re all done with a spooky edge,” Roxie said. “The songs wouldn’t be considered true punk material; they’re more theatrical punk material and there was never really a name for that. We were called a whole bunch of things, including ‘what are they doing.’ There wasn’t any one particular influence.”
The Psycho Nurse reunion on Oct. 24 will be what Roxy called “controlled chaos,” with more than a dozen artists taking the stage, including Doctor Dave Dirty Fingers, who will be traveling from Denver, Colorado to take part in the reunion. Fingers learned how to play guitar through his experiences with the band, and is excited to take the stage with Psycho Nurse again.
“We did the Psycho Nurse demo when I was 21 years old and I had never played a guitar solo in my life,” Fingers said. “I had played a few gigs with Psycho Nurse and every time the solo came I just kept playing rhythm because I was terrified, but I had to play solos on that record. All I did was try to be Stevie Ray Vaughn. That seemed to work.”
Fingers, Roxie and the rest of Psycho Nurse plan on recording new (and old, unrecorded) material after the show, but the 30-year old band has already produced material that has gotten them on stage with punk rock royalty. They’ll play that material during what they’re calling the Mid-life Crisis Tour, but if Roxie and Finger’s comments are any indication, the night will be less like a suburban home than an astro zombie.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
What: Psycho Nurse 30-year reunion show
Where: F.M. Kirby Center
When: Saturday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
How much: $30 or $50 VIP ticket that includes meet and greet, shirt and poster
The show will also feature a costume contest. Prizes will be awarded for best nurse, best themed costume and best drag queen.