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Local Limelight: Finally time to shine

Silversun Pickups finally release original CD after six years

 by Si Robins
 published on Thursday, September 28, 2006

Silversun Pickups spent six years touring without any original music, proving that this group has the raw talent necesary to make it big./issues/arts/697933
Courtesy of Silversun Pickups
Silversun Pickups spent six years touring without any original music, proving that this group has the raw talent necesary to make it big.


Members of Los Angeles-based band Silversun Pickups don't really like to give their music a solid description.

"Schizophrenic. Yeah, that's how I'd describe it," says singer/guitarist Brian Aubert. "Big, warm, blankety guitar stuff. Obscure vocals and whatnot. Let's just go with schizophrenia."

The band, which includes Aubert, bassist Nikki Monninger, keyboardist Joe Lester and drummer Christopher Guanlao, breaks all the typical rules a band must follow to be successful.

Defying music-industry logic, the Pickups started gigging around Los Angeles neighborhoods in 2000 without any original songs to play. The band then toured the country - still with no original music. (Oddly enough, the band gained a strong following in several cities.)

"We didn't really have a mission statement as a band," Aubert says. "We were just friends messing around."

The band sent a tape of their cover tunes to the renowned CMJ Music Festival in New York. Despite the unoriginality of their tape, the Pickups were invited to play the festival.

Aubert was planning to go to CMJ to see some bands play. Instead, the Pickups ended up traveling cross-country to play in the festival.

The more shows the band did with no record, the more positive of a response they received.

"It was really great," Aubert says. "We just played and played for whoever asked us to play because we thought it could end at any time."

Finally, six years after their first gigs together, the band has put out its debut full-length album, "Carnavas."

Now they're headed to Phoenix for the first time to play at Modified Arts this Sunday, Oct. 1.

"We've never played in Phoenix before, but I've been there," Aubert says. "You guys have two downtowns [Phoenix and Tempe]. Come on!

"It's funny; Phoenix is so close to us, but we've never been there," he adds. "I'm really looking forward to it. Going to places we've never played before. We really love it."

First-time viewers of the band's live show can expect a rockin' evening.

"We're pretty loud, pretty big [live]," Aubert says. "You can expect the greatest thing you've ever seen in your life. You just have to be there."

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