The Psychics. L-R Barry Wolfert (Bass Guitar & Bacground Vocals), Dave Helms (Rhythm Guitar & Lead/Background Vocals), Skip Sloan (Lead Vocals), Tom Ashenden (Drums), Michael Corcoran (Lead Guitar), Jim McGuone (Rhythm Guitar). Handout Photo 4-28-2014 (Handout Photo)
How was your band name chosen?
Like a lot of facts about the Psychics now shrouded by the mists of time, the origin of the band’s name is the subject of some debate.
One easily believable story has it that in its very early days the then-nameless band’s repertoire (for the rest of us that’s a fancy French word for the songs the band thinks it knows how to play) was limited and so to guard against being embarrassed when someone asked the band to play a popular song that it didn’t know, one of the members would announce “we take no requests, we know what you want to hear, we’re psychics.” It seems to have stuck.
How did you all find each other?
The usual way musicians meet, at bail hearings, rent parties, through friends of friends who were just paroled, etc.
How do you know the nonlawyer members?
They’re not lawyers? That’s not what they told us.
How long have you been together as a band?
The Psychics have been together since the ’60s when a bunch of high school friends including Paul Hudson (Parker Hudson Rainer & Dobbs) decided that being in a rock band would be a great way to meet members of the opposite sex. Since then, the band has continuously performed even as the lineup of players evolves.
The heart of the current lineup, Michael Corcoran and Skip Sloan, have performed together for more than 25 years. And just to show that there’s no hard feelings, several of the current players left the band to do other things, only to return to the mothership, sort of like CS&N and Neil Young.
Where does your band play?
The band plays mostly private parties and local bars and clubs such as the 5 Seasons and Smith’s. As for touring, if driving to Culloden, Ga., to play counts, then yes, we tour, too.
Have you ever been in other bands?
Most of the members have played in other bands but their number and reputations are too big and embarrassing to mention here.
What are your musical influences?
As a classic rock fan, the usual suspects apply here, such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and too many other British Invasion bands to mention. However, our musical director does go out of his way to be inspired to play songs from one-hit wonders that seem to turn-on dance-crazed listeners.
Do you have a story about meeting your musical idol?
Jim: I once met Ray Charles very late one evening at the St. Louis airport where we had both missed a flight. We talked for several minutes as he simultaneously played speed chess with his traveling assistant, who would announce a move, to which Mr. Charles would immediately call out his counter move, while in the same breath, keeping the conversation going with me. I realized that he could keep an accurate, yet constantly changing picture of the chess board in his mind, while at the same time carry on an unrelated conversation with a third party. He could not have been more congenial and I felt I’d gotten a tiny glimpse into the genius of Mr. Charles.
Tom: I saw the Stones for the seventh time when they last played in Atlanta at Philips Arena. I got lucky and sat closer than I’ve ever been at one of their shows.
The next day, I went to lunch with my friend, Doug Powell. So there we are sitting at the Buckhead Diner and as he’s hearing all about the show the night before, Doug looks over to the front door and in his typical deadpan voice says, “Well, there’s Mick now…” I said, “Yeah, right…”
So I look over to my left and there is Mick Jagger walking in with two lady friends or publicists. As he was approaching me going to his booth I said, “Mick, great show last night!” He looks at each of us and in his deep British accent says, “Oh, thanks very much, guys!” I guess you could say I walked on air for a few months after that.
What was your favorite concert of all time?
Having seen so many shows by so many different artists, from Bob Dylan’s seminal electric performance at the Forrest Hills Tennis Stadium in 1965, through the National’s last show at the Fox, to name one would slight many. However, the Paul McCartney show at Philips Arena in 2002 gets the band’s collective nod.
What was your musical education or training?
What’s the biggest venue your band has ever played?
In 1996, the band was playing on the Budweiser Stage at Centennial Olympic Park before 5,000 people when the bomb exploded.
What are your band’s special plans for LawJam 2014?
We’re all planning on being at the show on time (and to rock the house).
In your opinion, what is the best album ever?
Jim: A tie between Revolver and Music From Big Pink.
Tom: Another tie between Abbey Road and Let It Bleed.
One thing that would surprise your fans?
Doctors, lawyers and architects really can have rhythm.
When and where can we see your band play next?
The band has several private gigs on the calendar but will post its next open event on the website as soon as we get it.
|Meet the band|
|Michael Corcoran, lead guitar, AIA architect, The Corcoran Ota Group Inc.; Skip Sloan, vocals, physician, Piedmont Hospital; Dave Helms, guitar, harmonica, keys and vocals, independent investor; Tom Ashenden, drums, attorney, Ashenden & Associates; Jim McGuone, guitar, general counsel, American Software Inc.; Barry Wolfert, bass, guitar, other things with strings, vocals, broker at Keller-Williams. Genre: Classic rock ‘n’ rollWeb: psychicsrock.com|
The Psychics is the last of seven lawyer bands profiled in the Daily Report. The bands will compete in the Atlanta Bar Foundation’s LawJam 2014—the fifth annual battle of the Atlanta lawyers bands—at 7 p.m. Saturday at Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E. Proceeds will support pro bono legal services and Atlanta Bar youth programs. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at www.variety-playhouse.com.