This interview was conducted in-person on March 4, 2006 in Richmond, Virginia at The Canal Club. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Shane Told of Silverstein.
– State your name and position in the band.
My name is Shane and I sing.
– Give a brief history of the band and the origin of the name.
We started about six years ago In Burlington, Ontario, originally as a side project. Our other bands broke up and this became the main focus. We got signed to Victory Records in 2002. We put out two LPÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s. The name came from the author, Shel Silverstein.
– How would you compare this current tour with the others?
Well this tour is a charity tour, The Take Action Tour, so itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a little bit different. Everyone is putting the cause first before everything else. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s different in that sense. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s also a pretty diverse bill, thereÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a lot of different kinds of music.
– How would you describe your live performance to someone who hasnÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t seen you play live?
Well, we try to keep it pretty intense. But at the same time, we try to have a lot of dynamics and character between the songs. Some bands get up there and it sounds like theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re playing the same song for 45 minutes. So we try to switch it up but at the same time, keep it really intense.
– Which elements of a show do you think truly make the show stand out?
I just think energy and intensity, you know? It goes a long way.
– If you had to play one last show, what would you do to make it different than the rest?
When itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s your last show and you know itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s your last show, obviously there is a lot more emotion into it. We do the same tours, 40 days, itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s pretty much the same show everyday. So after a while it starts to lose its luster a little bit. If we played one last show, it will be intense, we would play all our songs. The last time we ever play Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”Bleeds No MoreÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? , would be intense, insane.
– What are your feelings on being a part of the Take Action Tour?
I think itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s great. WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ve never done anything like it before. Everything we have done beforeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦(stands up and shuts the door due to the sound check of another band). Well weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re really proud of being on it. You know, weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ve never done any charity tours before. Our songs deal with suicide and stuff and a lot of our fans come up to us and asks us questions about it. We just want to take it back to that, help out suicide prevention as much as we can.
– What are your overall feelings towards how to record came out and what the fans thought of it?
WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re really excited about the record, we think we made the best record we could possibly make. The kids are like loving it , so weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re really excited.
– In your opinion, which record showcases what Silverstein is about the best?
I think our new one because I think the songs are more well thought out and better written.
– More matureÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã‚¦.
Yeah. Everyone says more mature, obviously it is more mature. You know a lot of the songs on the first record were written when I was 19 or 20 years old and now IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m 25. So basically IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m a more mature person.
– What do you want the fans to take away from listening to your music?
Well, whatever they want to take away from it. I think the great thing about the music we play is like, people can kind of just kind of get out of it what they want. If someone wants to go and get out all their aggression on our music, they can do that. If they want to look for something just catchy and whatever, they can get that out of it. If they really want to dig into the lyrics and think about the meaning and stuff, they can get that too. So I think that is a great part of what we do that IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m really proud of.
– Which factors in everyday life influences the lyrics the most?
Well, right now, everyday life for me is being on the road and being away from your family, your friends, your girlfriend. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s really hard, it takes its toll on you. This last record there was a lot of, not really so much songs about that, but songs kind on the secondary level of that. Because IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m away from home, IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m having those problems and issues that I write about.
– In your opinion, what stands out the most about the band?
I guess we try to stand out by writing great songs. We donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t try to overdue our image or anything, we are just five regular guys from Canada and we just do our thing. We have a good time doing it. WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re a real band, you know? Just five guys, weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re not trying to fool anybody.
– Not try to impress anyone like most bands do.
Yeah, yeah. Some of these bands with their make up and crazy images.
– ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s all about your image and how many records you sell.
WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re not into that so itÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s good.
– If you could have any historical figure play a part in the band, who would you choose and why?
I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t know man. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ll be cool to have a guest appearance by John Lennon or something. ThatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a funny question.
– What is the biggest misconception people make about Silverstein?
I think a lot of people label us as another Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”screamoÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬? band, all the time we get that. I mean, maybe that is not be entirely untrue but I think we bring a lot more to the table than just a screamo band or hardcore band. We write a lot better songs than the average band. WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re not as into our image as a lot of the bands in that scene.
– In 100 years, how do you want the band to be remembered?
100 years, God I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t know. If in a 100 years someone can listen to our record and be like Ãƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã…”ThatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a great songÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬?, thatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s all I want. I think great music stands the test of time, no matter what the genre is. I think a good song is a good song and I think a hook is a hook.
– In your opinion, what is one of the biggest things people take for granted?
Well, IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢ll make a little statement about a lot of people in your country, America. People have it pretty good here in terms of being able to live safely and comfortably and a lot of people take that for granted and complain about all kind of issues. I think that is slowly tearing your country apart. So thatÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s one thing, everyday life you know?
– Which part in the bandÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s history has been the most difficult?
The most difficult times were right when we put our record out and we were on the road. We did a tour without a trailer. We did a tour with a U-Haul trailer and a really old crappy van with no air conditioning in Alabama, in the summer. You know, with shows falling through left, right, and center. You know, it was real hard. We didnÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t make any money in this band, at all for the first year and a half that we did it. It was really hard in those days. Now, things have gotten better weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re riding in a bus now. WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re just really excited now that we can do that.
– Which goals do you have set out for the band for 2006?
WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re pretty much on tour the whole year, all of the world. WeÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re going to go to Australia again and weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re talking about possibly going to South America. So weÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re pretty excited to do that and anywhere we can go in this band.
– If you could change or erase any law, which one would it be and why?
Is this were IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m suppose to say, legalize it? Is that what IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m suppose to say for this question?
– Haha, no no. IÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢m not into that stuff.
Haha, I donÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢t know. There are a lot of silly laws in this country that put people away in jail, good people, when they should stricter penalties on offenders and stuff. In terms of some drug laws, theyÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢re a little over the top.
– Is there anything else you want the readers to know?
Um, just check out The Take Action Tour. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢”š¬Ã¢”ž¢s a really great cause and we are really proud to be on it.