October 1, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 19  

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Silverstein Stop! Don't slit your throat!

By Nicole D'Cruz
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
WHERE DOES THEIR SIDEWALK END? Hopefully Silverstein's terribly sad expressions aren't foreshadowing their future. Watch out for those cracks!

The famed author Shel Silverstein once said: "I will not play tug o' war. I'd rather play hug o' war."

A band from Southern Ontario, who named themselves after the author, scream: "I'll slit my throat with the knife I pulled out of my spine." See the influence? It might be hard, but Silverstein (the band) look up to Silverstein (the author) because he was "unique and controversial," says drummer Paul Koelher. "We also try to be unique."

Unique is definitely one word to describe them. Formed in 2000, Silverstein started as a side project for the group members. Involved in bands ranging from hardcore to ska, members got together to try something new and create something a little different. What listeners are given is a medley of hardcore, ska, punk and emo.

"We started out by modelling [ourselves after] the bands we love, but we don't sound like that anymore. I don't know where we are now," Koelher remarks. Silverstein won't put themselves into a particular genre but Koelher defines the band as "kids who [have taken] the ups and downs of life and put them to a soundtrack of music."

Silverstein doesn't feel pressure from their label, Victory Records, to constantly define themselves. Nor are they told to change their style to suit mainstream radio. "Our label tells us to do whatever the hell we want," Koelher says. "[Silverstein and Victory] don't want records we don't enjoy."

While they may not change their style for it, are Silverstein happy about hearing bands in their genres getting airplay on Muchmusic and mainstream radio? "Absolutely," Koelher says. "It is really positive to turn on the radio and actually like a quarter of the songs they play." Although Silverstein will not succumb to outside pressure in order to achieve fame, Koelher says their "number one goal is to be a household name. A name that people recognize."

Will they use their fame for good or evil? "Hopefully good," Koelher says. "Unless there are some drug addictions€ " he trails off. "Just kidding!" However, the band will not use their fame to be political. While Koelher admits there is a time and a place for political views, Silverstein want to create music you can sit down and relax to. "All day we are being told what to do and what to think. Music should be an escape from being told what to do." Koehler can't predict where the band will be in five or 10 years. "The genre might fade out, but we hope before then we will have achieved some good success."

So what can we expect from Silverstein in the near future? "We just want to stay happy and keep making music that we would buy and enjoy," Koelher answers. Let's hope fans continue to respond in similar fashion.



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