January 28, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 65  

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Starsailor sails away from silence

By Christopher Hodge
Gazette Staff

Tom Sheehan/2003
SILENT BUT VIOLENT. The lads of Starsailor keep the noises pounding on their sophomore record Silence is Easy.

It’s 11:45 a.m. but Ben Byrne of Starsailor is ready to go, eager to talk about music, success and the band’s new album Silence is Easy.

This is a surprisingly uncommon characteristic in a musician. Most hate early mornings and would rather party all night and sleep all day. Not Byrne, however — perhaps he’s not a common musician.

Byrne is focused on this particular morning. Having just arrived in Toronto after the band played a show the previous night in Detroit, he’s remarkably cheerful. And he has good reason to be. This is a man who had a dream, and through hard work and determination, realized it.

Life wasn’t always so. Paradise, Byrne says, was a destination reached only after spending many years travelling difficult roads. He recalls his days as a regular guy, once managing a liquor store.

“We’ve embraced what has happened,” he says. “At an early age, we all knew we wanted to be in a band and make records. Now, we’ve been given the opportunity to make records. And we love touring. We’re living the dream!”

After the success of the band’s first album, it seemed the dream was finally concrete. Confirmation of their newly heightened status in the music scene came when Starsailor was invited to play with the Rolling Stones in front of a large audience. Byrne remembers this particular occasion fondly.

“We were playing in front of a crowd of 60,000 with the Stones. Afterwards we went to the post-show party. I remember seeing Mick [Jagger] there, and him walking right by me. I was going to talk to him, but I didn’t have the bollocks to say hello. I also met Brian May from Queen, who I’d been a fan of since I was like eight.”

What’s impressive is his humbleness. He knows he’s got a sweet deal — whereas most people are just trying to make ends meet, Byrne is actually living the dream.

Well, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration. He’s not quite a household name yet, but in lieu of the success of the band’s first album Love is Here, he does seem poised to accomplish great things.

There’s only one problem, though: obtaining success is one thing, but as for maintaining it — well, that’s not so easy. Many bands have come and gone, many of whom have also shown promise. What makes Starsailor different?

Byrne admits that while the task is daunting, he feels proud of what the band has accomplished with their album Silence is Easy.

“We had been writing songs on the road, trying to get everything down,” Byrne says. “When we got back to Manchester, we started writing tunes again. It was difficult, but we didn’t want to recreate the first album. We used more strings, and the album is more energetic, upbeat. I think it’s a lot more confident than the first album. After eight months spent recording, we got exactly what we wanted.”

Byrne sounds sincere when he says this. This is a musician who knows where he’s been and where he’s going. And given how little time he wastes during any given morning, he’s got all the time in the world to do it.



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