How did Pat Briggs of Psychotica know he'd made it? "I was sitting at home the other day watching TV, and I was a question on that MTV game show Singled Out", he marvels. "That was probably the first time this whole year where I sat back and went, "Wow, I'm really famous."
It may seem like Briggs and his glam-rock band, Psychotica, were an overnight sensation (the group was discovered while practicing for their first gig), but Briggs has been toiling away for over 15 years. A teenage hustler, he gave up walking Hollywood's Santa Monica Boulevard at the age of 17. He came to New York City where he danced at the Pyramid and delved into the performance art scene before becoming lead singer of a local heavy-metal band called RU Ready. After seven years of being on the brink of success, RU Ready disbanded, and Briggs pretty much gave up on music. He threw himself into running the gay-rock venue Squeezebox, which he co-founded, and formed Psychotica thinking it would be just a fun house band. But after signing with American Recordings and releasing a self-named album, Psychotica took off. A second record is now in the works.
In person, Briggs is laid-back and insightful, seemingly light years away from his aggressive onstage persona. Known for his way-out costumes, Briggs sometimes spends hours prepping for a gig. The 32 year old, who cites '80's bands like Missing Persons and Bow Wow Wow as influences, strives to stage an all-out rock 'n' roll show for his audience, something he says most other bands don't bother to do. "Bands right now are so based in the reality. Everything's teen angst and 'I'm depressed. I'm real.' You know what? I don't want to be real. I've been real my whole life," he says. "Why does the audience want to hear a therapy lesson from the stage? It's tired already."
While Briggs is gay, gay fans shouldn't come to a Psychotica concert expecting to be surrounded by sympathetic souls a la Squeezebox. Psychotica plays to a lot of straight male teens who come to the band's shows to slam dance and let of steam. "Most gay men would be afraid to walk in the room," says Briggs.