July 20, 2007
V 35 Issue 29

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Cost of the
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the Music Lounge by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A & E Writer
Capitol Hill Block Party is a welcome home for one-time Seattle resident Christopher Guanlao of Silversun Pickups
Back in April, Christopher Guanlao of Silversun Pickups phoned me from a parking lot in St. Louis. He was recovering from a festive night of cocktailing with Snow Patrol, who the band toured with this spring. Since then, Silversun Pickups played at UK's biggest summer festivals and their year-old debut, Carnavas (SGN's Top Ten Albums/CDs, 2006), enjoyed a 24-week run on Billboard's 200 Albums chart. After a brief mid-to-late summer outing that includes a stop at Seattle's upcoming Capitol Hill Block Party, Silversun Pickups will go down under for their first headlining tour in Australia. Tickets for the Capitol Hill Block Party, July 27 and 28, can be purchased at the gate. If you haven't yet checked out Silversun Pickups, do it. They are the coolest sounding band to come around in some time. Watch their videos on YouTube or ear-sample tracks at Seattle Gay News selected the quartet's "Well Thought Twinkles" as 2006's Single/Track of the Year.

Here's what former Seattle resident and cutie pie Christopher Guanlao, drummer for Silversun Pickups, fessed up to this spring when he strutted his stuff inside "The Music Lounge".

Albert Rodriguez: How is your current tour going?

Christopher Guanlao: We're having a blast. Snow Patrol and OK Go are the coolest guys.

Rodriguez: Is Brian (Aubert, lead singer) as wacky off-stage as he is onstage?

Guanlao: He's wackier. If he decided to do standup, he'd be great. He's hilarious to hang out with. We actually became friends because I had a 'Star Wars" hat on, a beanie. We geeked out for like an hour on "Star Wars". This was before all the prequels. Ever since I've known him, he's always been the life of the party.

Rodriguez: Does the band hang out at any Gay bars in West Hollywood when you're home?

Guanlao: Not really. West Hollywood is kind of far from us. But there's some Gay clubs in Silverlake that friends of ours go to.

Rodriguez: I didn't know there were Gay bars in Silverlake.

Guanlao: MJ's is one that's on Hyperion (Avenue). I've been there once with a couple of friends. Akbar is another Gay bar. We'd been going there for years and didn't even know it was a Gay bar. We realized it like six months later.

Rodriguez: When you saw two guys mashing in a corner?

Guanlao: (laughs) Yeah!

Rodriguez: You have a few more dates on this tour, then you head to Coachella.

Guanlao: We're really excited about that. It's a dream come true for us. I remember going with Brian and Nikki (Monninger, bassist) to the first Coachella - now, years later to be able to play it and be on the main stage. We're playing on the same stage as fucking Bjork! It's insane!

Rodriguez: You're also sharing the stage with Arctic Monkeys.

Guanlao: Arctic Monkeys play right after us on the main stage. That's mind-boggling to us!

Rodriguez: When you see Seattle on your tour itinerary, what comes to mind?

Guanlao: (sighs) Ah, home! It's like our second home. Seattle is the first place, outside of LA, that gave a shit. They caught onto us really fast. In fact, I lived there for about a year in 93'.

Rodriguez: Where at?

Guanlao: I was working for a theatre company doing tech work, ACT (A Contemporary Theatre). I was living on First Hill at the time. I love going back there. The people are great. Our shows are always fun and awesome there.

Rodriguez: When you're on the tour bus, do you listen to music or watch DVDs more?

Guanlao: Watch DVDs.

Rodriguez: What have you watched lately?

Guanlao: We've been catching up on a ton of shit. Brian's a film buff, I'm a film buff, and everybody in general loves to watch DVDs. But we've been touring so much that we missed The Departed, Stranger Than Fiction, and a bunch of movies that are coming out right now. We always stop at a Best Buy and I pack up on the DVDs. On our days off, we have a movie night on the bus. We get some wine, get in the bus and watch DVDs.

Rodriguez: Have you seen Babel yet?

Guanlao: Yes, me and Nikki saw it at a hotel in New York. I was really impressed. I forget the guy's name (Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu), he did 21 Grams and Amores Perros. All those films are just unbelievable.

Rodriguez: As soon as you're off the phone with me, are you going back to bed?

Guanlao: I'll probably get on the computer, and go on MySpace.

Rodriguez: I'm going to invite you to be my friend.

Guanlao: Definitely! (He gives me his MySpace display name)

Rodriguez: Do you hunt for homemade Filipino food when you're on the road?

Guanlao: You know, I do. There is a good amount of indie-rock Filipinos out there, specifically Joey Santiago of The Pixies - one of my heroes. We actually bonded over Filipino food.

Rodriguez: Please say hello to your fellow Pickups for me.

Guanlao: I will. Oh, and Pablo (Paul Wilson) from Snow Patrol said to say hi. I told him I was doing this interview with you, and he was like, "Oh my god! Tell him I said hello!"

Rodriguez: We got drunk together here in Seattle, last December.

Guanlao: That's what he said! He's playing "Lazy Eye" with us on this tour. He's a sweetheart.

Rodriguez: I love Paul dearly. I'll shoot him an email. Make sure he washes his jeans once in a while. I think it's a problem for most musicians, getting to a Laundromat.

Guanlao: When we got to Chicago, I was down to a boxer and a pair of socks. That's all I had. There was a Fluff n' Fold near the venue. So when I got my clothes back, I was giddy.

Rodriguez: If you, Brian, or Paul needs us to go on an underwear run, let me know.

Guanlao: Okay, definitely.

Rodriguez: Best wishes from your Gay fans here in Seattle. It sounds like it's going to be a great year for Silversun Pickups.

Guanlao: Thanks! It's going great, so far. We're so amazed. We're on cloud nine all the time.

Rodriguez: Take care Christopher. Have a safe trip into Seattle.

Guanlao: I will. And hit me up on MySpace!

Rodriguez: I'm doing it now.


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