For PS Dump Your Boyfriend , Every Step Is A Means To An End

Nobody likes waiting for something to happen at a show, so don't give them too much time to figure out the next song.

That's how PS Dump Your Boyfriend's guitarist, Chris Szajko, sums up the approach to playing large outdoor gigs like Downtown South Bend's Tent Party and Pub Tour – which the band plays next month for the first time.

 “For gigs like that, we usually do one to two sets – most of the time, it's just one,” said Szajko.  “So we take our powerhouse songs, and slam 'em, one after another. There'll be no stopping, and no ballads, of course.”

Look for the full range of light and shade – from Rob Zombie, to Lady Gaga – that defines the band's dual identity, which is either billed as Pfreak Show, or PS Dump Your Boyfriend (depending on the market).

Last fall, the band released its first original EP, PS, under the Pfreak Show banner.  “We've been getting a lot of good feedback from it – we play the first song, 'Black Light Party,' just about every gig,” he said.

The self-explanatorily-titled “You're A Bitch” is the other EP track that's made the transition onstage, depending on the band's collective mood.

 “In Indianapolis, we have a group of people waiting for us to play that song,” said Szajko, laughing.  “Sometimes, we do, and sometimes, we don't.”

The EP has also opened doors for music licensing with the Discovery Channel, MTV and Oxygen – which is a good revenue stream for those savvy enough to explore it the right way, Szajko explains.

“Talk to a lot of people – if you get the right connection, get the CD in their hands.  It's easier to say, 'This is Chris from Grand Master Studios,' than, 'This is Chris from a band, please listen to my songs,'” he said.

Of course, those connections wouldn't matter without the rabid fanbase that PS Dump Your Boyfriend built over a 20-plus year history of traveling – from Florida, to Minneapolis, and all around the Midwest.

 “The Midwest is still a really good live market, as long as you're playing the right songs, and playing what they want,” said Szajko.  “A lot of bands make the mistake of doing nothing but originals: 'We're gonna kick ass, and show 'em how it's done.'”

There's only one problem with that theory, as Szajko sees it.  “They don't know your songs – they're gonna wait until you play 'Poker Face,' by

Lady Gaga.  You've got to grab 'em first,” said Szajko.  “Once you got 'em reeled in, then start releasing your stuff: 'Here's what we are.  This what we do.'”

Recognition comes in stranger directions, too, as proven by a sarcastic reference to the band in the Guided By Voices song,“Shocker In Gloomtown” (“There was a band/They were sickening/Arousing everyone/P.S. Dump your boyfriend/Emotional trash”). 

The Breeders recorded the song, which also got a glossy MTV video – which Szajko and his colleagues knew nothing about, until stumbling across it a couple years ago.

 “It was just funny – there is no such thing as bad publicity, from what I've heard,” said Szajko, laughing.  “Somebody wrote a song about it, how cool is that?”

From Szajko's perspective, the moral of the story is that every musical step, no matter how unlikely, is a means to an end.

“A lot of my songs are silly – probably down the road, I'll look back, and go, 'I wrote a song called 'You're A Bitch?' Really?'  But it's a song that everybody remembers, though.  That's all it takes,” he said.

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Author: Ralph Heibutzki

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