Psyatics' verve: rough and rumble

Rob Bell is explaining the difference between wielding a bass as opposed to a mandolin, sounding like a man who's just swapped a conductor's baton for a tire iron.

"I'm not playing a 5 pound instrument, now I'm playing a hunk of wood," he says of the transition, eyes aglow. "I'm jumping around. I feel like a caveman. I like it."

"It's turned him into more of a hockey player," adds drummer Jimmy Krah, his smile suggesting that he's liked what he's seen thus far. "Now he just wants to put the lumber on somebody."

That's exactly what these two, along with guitarist Jack Ball, are aiming to do in their new band, The Psyatics, a primal, stripped- down garage rock tantrum that debuts live at the Bunkhouse Friday night.

Bell and Krah previously made a name for themselves locally in the Yeller Bellies, a raucous, country fried rockabilly troupe that became one of Vegas' more heated live acts over the course of their roughly four years together.

Eventually though, Bell, who played mandolin and sang in the band, began to chafe against the bounds of that scene.

"It was fun, but we were kind of limited by our genre," says Bell of the decision to move on from the Yeller Bellies, hanging with his bandmates at the Beat coffeehouse on a recent Thursday evening. "I've got too many influences, too much music that I like. I don't want to get stuck doing one thing."

With The Psyatics, the visceral, unhinged energy of the Yeller Bellies remains intact, but it's blasted out in different directions.

"I'm a healthy connoisseur of sin," Bell howls on "Death of Me," a down and dirty rock 'n' roll striptease where Bell gives voice to vice.

Elsewhere, the band sounds like the '60s "Nuggets" series on nitrous on the hair flingin' freakout "Stole Your Girl" (hear the band's tunes at

Speaking on some of their favorite sources of musical inspiration, the talk ranges from Reigning Sound and Fugazi to Killing Joke and Tom Waits.

"You hear some jazz, some punk, some rockabilly," Ball says. "My guitar is pulling from all those influences to come up with a sound."

The common denominator among it all: raw power.

"With this thing, it's about a lot of thrust. We're just playing the nuts out of this stuff," Krah grins. "Even if it's a two-minute song, by the time we're done playing it, it feels like about six. Live, I think we're gonna push out a couple of windows."

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476.