Creeping Death: Psycho Las Vegas Preview

It was 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, the last day of Psycho Las Vegas 2021, at the House of Blues. Day Three of America’s best heavy-rock event (Day Four if you include Thursday’s kick-off pool party) often finds festival-goers picking crust out of their eyes and sipping beers with shaky hands as they brave through the finale.

Such was the case on this day — but, with the venue full to the brim, astute patrons noticed an undercurrent of anticipation that signals something special is about to go down.

Any music fan who has witnessed a show that puts over a band knows this sensation. Like an aroma guaranteeing a meal is going to deliver even before the first bite, the feeling of a band about to break is as tangible as it is undeniable.

With that, a band from Dallas called Creeping Death tore it up at the House of Blues, spewing forth a concoction of death and thrash metal that left the bleary-eyed attendees shellshocked and hungry for more.

On August 21, Creeping Death will again perform on the final day of Psycho — but with higher billing this time around. The Bad Penny recently caught up with guitarist Trey Pemberton to reflect on last year’s unforgettable performance and what Creeping Death have in their pocket this time around.

How did you link up with Psycho in the first place?

TREY PEMBERTON: They emailed our camp late 2020 or early 2021 and asked if we’d be interested in playing the ‘21 edition.

What had you heard about the fest before you committed to it?

PEMBERTON: That it was a huuuuge party and that’s pretty much it. Just heard it was a good time the whole weekend. 

How has your performance evolved since playing Psycho last year?

PEMBERTON: [When we played Psycho] last year, that was our third set total after coming off of the long period off because of the pandemic. Since then, we’ve done two monthlong tours, one three-week long tour and three weeks in the studio recording our newest LP. I’d say we’re much more locked in just from getting the chance to tour and play shows regularly again. 

Were you pleased with the turnout for your 2021 show?

PEMBERTON: Absolutely. The entire Las Vegas House of Blues was completely filled when we started playing. 

Were you happy with the operation of the 2021 festival?

PEMBERTON: 100%. Everyone was extremely nice and easy to work with!

What’s the best anecdote you can share about previously performing at Psycho?

PEMBERTON: Last year we had my parents, [drummer] Lincoln [Mullins]’ parents, and a few close friends from Texas go to the fest. I’d say just being able to hang out and have a good time with them all weekend was the best part. It was nice to be able to share the whole experience with our loved ones. 

Did you attend Matt Pike’s wedding? What was it like?

PEMBERTON: I can’t even get Matt to follow me back on IG, dawg. I definitely did not get that invite LOL.

What do you enjoy most about the festival in general?

PEMBERTON: Getting to get the whole Vegas experience without having to leave the festival area was awesome. Having your hotel a five-minute walk from the stages, casinos and pool is super convenient. I also enjoy that the fest encompasses so many different styles of music. You get to take in a lot of cool diverse stuff throughout the weekend. 

What are you most excited about for this year’s Psycho installment?

PEMBERTON: More of our friends are playing this year, like 200 Stab Wounds, Frozen Soul, Sanguisugabogg, Drain, Gatecreeper, and I’m sure more I’m forgetting off the top of my head. Just excited to hang and party with all the homies. My parents and Lincoln’s parents are coming again this year too, so I’m definitely looking forward to that as well!

Are you planning to make any alterations to your Psycho performance to make it differ from a typical Creeping Death show?

PEMBERTON: We haven’t made the setlist yet, but I expect it do differ for sure. We’ve released our EP The Edge of Existence since then, so we have more tracks to choose from. 

Do you have anything special planned for your set?

PEMBERTON: You’ll have to wait and see!

So exactly how tight are you with Frozen Soul? You were in End Times with Chad Green, Michael Munday and Matt Dennard, right? What’s your best memory of hanging out with them? Do you play Magic: The Gathering together?

PEMBERTON: Those are my boys! I’ve been jamming with Chad since back when I used to fill in for his hardcore band Vulgar Display. I’ve got really fond memories of jamming with them learning the End Times stuff a few years back. Those shows with Vulgar Display were some of the biggest I had played up until that point as well. All extremely good times with the homies and I love that they’re killing it as well!

What is your most salacious Vegas memory?

PEMBERTON: What happens there stays there right? LOL.

Were you bummed that Eddie Munson covered “Master of Puppets” instead of “Creeping Death” at the end of Stranger Things, Season 4?

PEMBERTON: I won’t front: I haven’t even watched the newest season. But any time there’s a chance for more people to get into metal, I think it’s awesome!

Psycho Las Vegas runs from August 19-21, with a kickoff pool party happening Thursday, August 18. Get your tickets here.

For other Psycho Las Vegas 2022 features, check out The Bad Penny’s new profiles with:

• Jason Shi, frontman for North Carolina psychedelic stoner-punks ASG
• Sidecar Tommy, co-founder and drummer for electronica/world-music/dubstep act Beats Antique
• Alky Dude, guitarist for Polish stoner-rock band Belzebong
• Brother Bill, frontman for British psychedelic-rock ensemble Church of the Cosmic Skull
• Jarvis Leatherby, manager/bassist for power-metal legends Cirith Ungol
• Chad Green, frontman for old-school death-metal revivalists Frozen Soul
• Alternative hip-hop producer and DJ The Gaslamp Killer
• Breathtaking folk singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler
• A.L.N., frontman of black-metal miscreants Mizmor
• Kyle Juett, bassist/vocalist for “supersonic intergalactic heavy-rock trio” Mothership
• Wyatt Bartlett, guitarist/vocalist for “their-name-says-it-all” Rifflord
• Christian Lembach, frontman for Atlanta noise-rock trio Whores
• Nathan Carson, co-founder and drummer for Portland, Oregon’s original doom band, Witch Mountain
• Bruce Lamont, saxophone/singer for avant-garde jazz-metal fusion band Yakuza

For more features on bands playing Psycho this year, check out our interviews with:

• Colin H. Van Eeckhout, vocalist for Belgian post-metal purveyors Amenra
• Tomas Lindberg, vocalist for Swedish melodic death-metal pioneers At the Gates
• Alex Mass, frontman for Austin psych-rock princes the Black Angels
• Jeff Walker, vocalist/bassist for extreme-metal behemoths Carcass
• Scott Taysom, frontman for Atlanta black-metal band Cloak
• Greg Meleney, vocalist/guitarist for Portland psych-rock mainstays Danava
• Darkest Prince, lead guitarist for black-metal punks Devil Master
• Judas Priest worshipper and Psycho fest mainstay DJ Painkiller
• Mika Häkki, bassist for Gothenburg doom trio Monolord
• All-female Motörhead tribute band Motorbabe
• Ethan Lee McCarthy, frontman for blackened-doom trio Primitive Man
• Tobias Grave, frontman for shimmering post-rock trio Soft Kill
• Sean Killian, vocalist for cult-favorite Bay Area thrash band Vio-lence

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