Belzebong: Psycho Las Vegas Preview

For obvious reasons, most “desert rock” bands shun the phrase “stoner rock.” Even though many musicians overindulge from time to time, the phrase itself can be confining for any band that wants to grow.

Poland’s Belzebong — due to play Saturday, August 20 — are a red-eyed exception to this rule. Not only did the band members incorporate a pot reference into their moniker, but guitarist Alky Dude openly talked about his infatuation with pot (almost as much as he enjoys talking about music).

In fact, it’s actually Dude’s affinity for the green leaf that led to two major milestones for Belzebong: In 2016, the Polish posse played an exclusive U.S. day at Psycho Las Vegas proper; three years later, they hopped aboard the Psycho Smoke Fest 2019 event.

This time around, as Alky Dude told us in an interview conducted Saturday, will be a very special one for Belzebong. After many years in the waiting, the band is finally going to hop the pond for a tour across the U.S. The going is finally banging for Belzebong.

Congratulations on joining Psycho fest this year.

ALKY DUDE: Thank you. It’s going to be a huge party [Laughs.] And a huge festival. We can’t wait to play it, in fact. There’s so [many] different [bands] playing.

When you went for the first time, in 2016, what were the highlights for you?

DUDE: Alice Cooper, Electric Wizard, Sleep and a lot of other bands, actually.

What is the biggest differences you noticed between Psycho and European music festival?

DUDE: Most musical festivals are similar, but this one was different due to the place. It was inside, but some of the pools were for swimming. This one is different because many of the stages are are on inside instead of outdoors. It was funny, actually.

Were you on tour at the same, or did plan the tour so that you’d be able to catch Psycho?

DUDE: We went there just for the festival. We did our thing and came out. 

Will this be your opportunity to properly tour the U.S.? This is the first time you’ve gone on the road in America, right? That’s remarkable, since the band formed so long ago.

DUDE: In fact, we were supposed to play the U.S. two years ago, but then all this COVID stuff came through.

So this will be your first proper tour of the U.S.?

DUDE: Yup. We haven’t ever done that before.

What are you most looking forward to about Psycho?

DUDE: I want to see Mercyful Fate. I’ve seen them before, and it was one of the best shows ever. This [reunion] may be huge. I also like traveling by myself. I like moving from one destination to another. And I like meeting a lot of crazy people. There’s also GZA. I wasn’t expecting to play on the same festival as guys I saw on MTV when I was a kid! And Emperor.

But it’s all about the music — and being stoned too, in fact. 

You’re playing an upcoming tour with Elder. How did that come about? 

DUDE: Oh, I don’t remember, man. To be honest, I’m not really into that kind of music. It was only the first album of theirs that I had [and didn’t like it.] But one of my friends recommended them to me again, and they toured with Elder and said they’re good.

Any long-time friends you hope to run into at Psycho?

DUDE: To be honest, there are so many bands! So we’ll just go with the flow and see what happens.

Do you have any surprises planned for your performances.

DUDE: No stage elements. We just go onstage and play the riffs and bang our heads for Satan.

Do you anticipate your Psycho set will deviate from what you play on the club dates with Elder?

DUDE: It evolves. We very often compile the setlist according to the particular show.

And you do write it shortly before the show?

DUDE: Yup, shortly before the show. Not five minutes before, but days before.

Have you guys been rehearsing a lot lately?

DUDE: Not so much, as a matter of fact. We live in different cities and don’t meet that often. We live in Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin.

Do you ever rehearse remotely?

DUDE: No. It doesn’t make sense.

How about songwriting? Can you do that together remotely?

DUDE: No, we didn’t do any remote writing. We just meet up from time to time.

Wait, how did you manage to get a band together with each of you living in a different country?

DUDE: Sheepy Dude, Cheese Dude and I grew up in the same city. So we’ve known each other for 20 years. 

Are you still going to focus on Light the Dankness, even though it came out five years ago?

DUDE: While I said we usually make the setlist right before the show, we’ll add some songs that different albums.

Do you guys always have fun when you’re together?

DUDE: Yeah! Of course. As long as there’s something to smoke, it’s fine.

Does Poland have pretty relaxed laws governing marijuana?

DUDE: [No.] We have pretty fucked-up drug laws in Poland. But a lot of people [seem to] not give a shit about it. It’s still illegal in Poland. … But I’m hoping [legalization] will come pretty soon, however our government is … beyond fucked-up.

Well, you guys are going to be like kids in a candy store when you get to Vegas. What’s your best memory from when you went to Vegas to play in 2016?

DUDE: Seeing Alice Cooper live. That was massive. I hadn’t seen Alice Cooper before. That show had everything: monsters and shit and vampires … that was crazy. [Laughs.]

What’s the most memorable show you’ve ever played?

DUDE: I don’t know, man.

Do you have a favorite festival in Europe?

DUDE: Yes, Obscene Extreme in the Czech Republic. Originally it focused on gore-grind. But there’s a lot of death-metal there. And in fact, we played with Conan. And later with Godflesh and Morbid Evils. It’s draws a lot of “freaks” but it’s all about love there.

Psycho Las Vegas runs from August 19-21 (or August 18-21, if you count Thursday’s pre-event pool party). Get your tickets here.

For more Psycho Las Vegas 2022 features, check out the Bad Penny’s new profiles on Witch MountainYakuzaThe Gaslamp Killer,Church of the Cosmic Skull and Beats Antique

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