Izzy for real3/23/2016
Izzy Starchild & The Psychedelic Rose sound nothing like what might initially conjure in one’s mind after hearing the name.
With tracks that are thick with grunge-heavy guitar riffs with a light dusting of funk influences, the closest comparison might be Lenny Kravitz or mid-career Red Hot Chili Peppers. The entire operation is the brainchild of its front man, Izzy Starchild, a Des Moines native who has been playing music since he was 11. Starchild has spent the past 11 years playing in various bands with current Psychedelic Rose drummer Don Witt. From that meat and potatoes base, they filled in the lineup with bassist Steve Ledo and guitarist Larry Fetters. Starchild handles the band’s songwriting duties, something he has been evolving toward from a young age.
“I actually started writing short stories,” he said. “That went to poetry, and from poetry to song lyrics.
“Sometimes different riffs will come to me, and I’ll form the words around those,” he continued, describing how his process works today. “Sometimes it’ll be phrases that go through my head. Something will pop into my head while I’m doing something, and I’ll just keep repeating it all day until I can get somewhere to write it down and work on it.”
Starchild usually works the song nearly to completion by himself before bringing it to the band for final additions and personal flair. The finished product sounds considerably less psychedelic than you might expect from a band with that very word in its name, but you can still see the fingerprints of influences such as Jimmy Hendrix and the Doors on the band’s DNA.
But ultimately, Izzy Starchild & Psychedelic Rose sounds most like a solid, late ’90s garage band, and its grunge influences do a lot of the heavy lifting.
“I want people to walk away (from our shows) with the feeling that they saw something that was unique in the Des Moines scene, and something that’s got a ’90s throwback vibe to it,” Starchild explained.
This week sees the act opening for Wisconsin-based One Strong Army. And since the bands have never played together before, Starchild sees the show as an opportunity to expand his sound’s reach without having to even leave town.
“It changes how I pick the set list,” he said. “I kind of want to come in with songs that are gonna maybe catch people’s attention and make some new fans.” CV