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Salt Lake City Weekly Hope, Love & PCP

Are PCP Berzerker suffering From Rock Star Complex, Or Are They Just Complex Rock Stars?

By Bill Frost

NOVEMBER 3, 1997:  PCP Berzerker really care about their fans. So much so, that they claim they'll implant anyone who buys their upcoming CD with a computer chip to facilitate keeping track of them — it's the mailing list concept, taken one or two steps further.

"We can monitor their mating habits, we'll know if they're shivering out in the cold somewhere; we'll be able to help and comfort them," singer and frontman extrordinare Eric Hunter says excitedly. "We're all about hope — PCP Berzerker isn't punk rock, we're Hope Rock!"

Formed almost exactly two years ago, PCP Berzerker are Salt Lake City's finest — and only — full-frontal glam rock experience: Super-sized arena riffs, effects-laden stage shows and that quintessential rock & roll sense of fashion, onstage and off. If they didn't exist, they'd have to be invented to offset the endless parade of style-impaired T-shirt-and-jeans bands that are passing themselves off as rock & rollers along the Wasatch Front.

PCP's humanitarian efforts to bring glam, sorry, Hope Rock, to the people haven't gone unnoticed, either. The band's concerts are always standing-room-only spectaculars, Hunter was voted Best Stage Persona by City Weekly readers, and he even made it into Salt Lake City magazine. The content of that glossy drink coaster of a bi-monthly has always been lighter, fluffier and more useless than cotton candy in zero gravity, but they outdid themselves with Hunter: They made him out to be a bald-headed choirboy whose life was saved from drugs and depravity by rock & roll. You could almost hear the cool being sucked out of PCP Berzerker.

"I think all these guys who want to be cool can't see how cool that was," counters Hunter. "I just want to save the world with songs like 'The Dick of the Wolf,' because I think if you could, that would be funny."

Keyboardist Bryan Fetzer Carr interjects, "All of the suburbanites who read that think we're singing songs like, 'Don't do drugs, wait 'til you're married.'"

"But some of those people, who are parents, come to the shows and they think it's all right now," adds Hunter, desperately trying to justify the article. "Actually, they never stay until the end of the show. But they paid their cover, and I used that money to clean up my neighborhood."

Aside from Hunter and Carr, no one else in PCP really wanted to go on record: Bassist Haigen Pearson, drummer Jack Holder, back-up vocalist Tiffany Kelley and band mastermind/guitar wizard Rod Bailey were all chilled aloofness and caution, preferring to listen in while enjoying a beer and a cigarette rather than risking an opinion. This is a band balancing six egos on a tightrope.

And then along came the seventh, rhythm guitarist/Utah rock-legend Jon Shuman.

"I'm also the band's Minister of Indignation, and this is my bodyguard, Denise," he says as he and his lovely wife join the conversation.

The subject of the long-awaited PCP Berzerker CD finally comes up, but no real answers are offered.

"It's a virtual CD, it's been in the works for over a year now. Like Bowie, we're just going to perform it over the Internet. We can all stay at our houses and be hooked up: Just go to www.bizarresex.com and you can download a picture of Eric's throbbing, naked head," Shuman says dryly. "Actually, we'd just like to transmit it directly into their brains, so we wouldn't even need the CD — we'll just use the computer chip implant."

A PCP Berzerker song that will be available before year's end is "Gay Layton Nights," on the Voodoo Dog Records compilation Love Songs for the Sick & Twisted, which has seen its share of delays as well. The tune is a hell-for-leather combo plate of Ziggy Stardust, Kiss and Queen, lit up like a 20,000-watt Christmas tree — it's rock & roll the way the Good Lord intended it.

"We found a T. Rex album, a Gary Glitter album, and we realized that we needed to do glam rock — music that's more about sex than how creative you can be with jazz-fusion or whatever. We wanted to be a more entertaining band than a less-earnest band, which, I believe, is where good music lies in the first place," Hunter says in a rare moment of seriousness.

"All of our songs are like screenplays, they create their own world," he continues. "The name PCP Berzerker came from a movie idea we had to base a film around Chris Farley. All of his movies have way too much plot: The best parts of his movies are when he's drunk or drugged-up and smashing things. So I wanted to make a film called Berzerker, where he's just insane and breaking things for an hour-and-a-half — no plot, just destruction. He'd be the prototype for a government super-soldier: They'd pump him full of PCP, he gets away and goes on a rampage. At the end of the movie, he'd be bone-thin and nearly dead. That's when Rod said, 'What a great idea for a band! PCP Berzerker!'"

While it couldn't possibly measure up to that blockbuster, the PCP Berzerker stage show gets more elaborate all of the time: Lasers, fog, strobes, lightning machines, blenders (!) and, of course, the infamous coffin. This Halloween night (Friday, Oct. 31, of course) expect all of the stops to be pulled out when PCP Berzerker work overtime to upstage the Flys and Lugnut at the Holy Cow.

Bailey finally looks up from his beer and speaks: "We are so unorganized, we practice once every six months, we've got these lofty goals that we never reach. But, when we show up to play, we fucking rock because of the strength of the songwriting. Our songs are written so you can play them wasted and they'll still be sexy, powerful, and better than anyone else's."

Hunter is now standing on his chair and preaching: "Whatever happens, we make sure that people get a show. When we play, we're going to war — and I don't mean WAR, which is bullshit. We're going into battle!"

"Yeah, we're battling boredom," Bailey says, snuffing out his last cigarette, "and our own egos."


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