Psi Com

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Psi Com
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Post-punk, gothic rock
Years active 1981–1985
Labels Mohini Records
Triple X Records
Members Perry Farrell
Aaron Sherer
Vince Duran
Kelly Wheeler

Psi Com was an American post-punk band of the early 1980s. Prominent in the underground Los Angeles music scene, the group is noted for being the first band of acclaimed vocalist Perry Farrell, who went on to achieve greater fame in the bands Jane's Addiction, Porno for Pyros and Satellite Party. Psi Com consisted of Perry Farrell (lead vocalist), Aaron Sherer (drums and percussion), Vince Duran (lead guitar), and Kelly Wheeler (bass).


The first incarnation of the band was initiated in 1981 when a man named Rich Robinson, his wife Mariska Leyssius, a man named Terry, and Vince Duran formed what later was known as Psi Com. Being without a drummer, they placed a classified ad in the free weekly L.A. newspaper The Recycler. Farrell responded to the ad, with the intention of becoming the group's singer rather than drummer. Robinson agreed to let Farrell join the band as the vocalist in early 1983. The ad for a drummer was left in The Recycler however, because the band was still practicing with the aid of a drum machine. Terry soon left the band.

Sherer called Farrell in response to the ad for a drummer. When Sherer finally joined Duran and Farrell, Psi Com played their first significant live show, opening for The Cult at L.A.'s Music Machine club in the latter part of 1984.[1] One notable gig was held on the roof of the Oki Dog fast food restaurant, playing with the Minutemen.

When 1985 came, the group realized that they needed a bass player to fill out the bottom end of their sound. As a result, they recruited their friend Wheeler, who moved into a house with Farrell near the University of Southern California. Wheeler was reportedly tempted to join the group by being offered a bass guitar in exchange for his membership. Just after Wheeler joined, the quartet performed at a gig in the middle of the Mojave desert, opening for such acts as Sonic Youth, Redd Kross and The Meat Puppets. The performance was regarded as poor due to Farrell being high on magic mushrooms at the time.[2]

In March 1985, Psi Com made plans to release a five-song, 12" EP. The band entered Radio Tokyo Studios in Venice, California that spring and recorded the songs "Xiola," "Human Condition," "Ho Ka Hey," "Words" and "City of Nine Gates." Ethan James manned the boards for the sessions, which lasted for one weekend. James was known for producing seminal punk group The Minutemen's most popular album Double Nickels on the Dime.

Psi Com ordered 1,500 copies of their self-titled EP that July for release on their own label, Mohini. The band went into shock when the records were delivered from the pressing plant, as more than half of the EPs were warped. Frustrated by the experience, the band drifted apart musically and personally, and by September 1985, Psi Com was no more.

After the breakup, Farrell remained living in the house that he had shared with Wheeler. Farrell's new housemate, a girl only known as Jane (or Carla Bozulich), introduced him to her friend Eric Avery, who became the bassist in Farrell's new band, Jane's Addiction.

Wheeler spent time performing with musician Dino Paredes, later the bassist for Red Temple Spirits and vice president of A&R for American Recordings. Duran and Sherer lessened their involvement with bands and only performed part-time with local L.A. groups. However, Sherer did go on to play drums on Mazzy Star's 1996 album Among My Swan.[1]

It is rumored that the demise of Psi Com was a result of Sherer and Duran becoming Hare Krishnas, but this assertion was declared to be false by both men in an interview with American magazine Musician[2]


Psi Com[edit]

Genre: Post-punk The band released only one (self-titled) EP. It was recorded at Radio Tokyo in March 1985. Psi Com was originally released in July 1985 on Mohini Records in a limited 1500-copy, vinyl-only release. Unfortunately only about half of these records were actually printed correctly, and both variations are fairly rare.

Due to the later popularity of Jane's Addiction, the EP was subsequently rereleased on CD by Triple X Records in 1993.

The tracklisting is as follows:

1. "Ho Ka Hey"
2. "Human Condition"
3. "Xiola"
4. "City of 9 Gates"
5. "Winds"

The first song was titled "Ho Ka Hey". This is a Native American expression that was used by warriors to psych themselves up when heading into battle (translated as "good day to die").

"City of 9 Gates" related to the Hindu theory of Chakra wherein nine orifices in the body are metaphorical gates of energy.

"Xiola," the third track on the EP, was notable for being the first time Farrell experimented with the vocal style he would later implement in Jane's Addiction. On all of the other songs his vocal style is much more low-pitched.

Worktape 1[edit]

On March 27, 1984 at Pacifica Studios in Los Angeles, Psi Com recorded and rough-mixed a three-song demo cassette, known as Worktape 1. The tape was engineered by Glenn Feit. Additional copies of this cassette were manufactured and sold at Psi Com concerts.[2]

Tracklisting for Worktape 1

1. "Hopeful"
2. "Them"
3. "Psi Com Theme"

Psi Com Demos[edit]

A demo of three Psi Com tracks that were speculated to have been considered for inclusion on the Psi Com EP (though they were actually recorded at entirely different sessions, years apart and with different members) surfaced onto the bootleg CD Skin & Bones sometime in the early 1990s. It was suggested that these tracks were leaked by an unknown representative at Triple X Records. Two different versions of these songs exist, with slightly different instrumental tracks and different mixing on each one, as well as purely instrumental versions. These were made available on the Jane's Addiction bootleg CD Pigs in Zen.[2]

Tracklisting for Psi Com Demos:

1. "14th Floor"
2. "Cat" (aka "In the Holly Grove")
3. "Karuna" (aka "Finger Puppets")

Live bootlegs[edit]

There are also several live bootleg tracks that have circulated around the fan community, the most noticeable being:

  • "Silhouette"
  • "Greedy Was the Beggar"
  • "Follow the Insated"

The songs from the Psi Com Demos, Worktape 1, and the notable live bootlegs are all available for digital download at link


To achieve their distinct sound on the EP, Psi Com used a noticeable and unique line of equipment. Bassist Kelly Wheeler used a full-scale, small-bodied Ibanez that the band had bought for him and played it through an SWR bass amplifier. Vince Duran played a late 70s Fender Stratocaster through a Roland JC 120 Jazz Chorus amplifier. The percussionist Aaron Sherer played at a set of DW drums while Perry Farrell contributed to percussion by drumming on church bells, hubcaps and even a Chevy engine block. For certain vocal effects he used an Ibanez EM-1000 analogue echo unit.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Psi Com Biography". October 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Psi Com Reading". Some Divers Whistle. October 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2007.