As one of the most prominent bands in the post-hardcore scene, Silverstein has accomplished a great deal in the music biz since five Burlington, Ontario, friends convened in 2000 and decided to play the type of music they wanted to play. However, in a genre known for its violent and hateful lyrics, the band has redefined the norm with its passionate and inspirational songs.
Comprised of Shane Told on vocals, Paul Koehler on drums, Josh Bradford on guitar, Billy Hamilton on bass and newest member Paul-Marc Rousseau as lead guitar, Silverstein always has made it its mission to do things its own way. Take the name of the band for instance. Rather than follow in the footsteps of other post-hardcore acts praising the devil, bullets or war, the band mates honored children’s author Shel Silverstein, a favorite from their childhoods.
Over the course of the last 13 years, Silverstein has released six full-length albums, three EPs, a live album, mini album, and numerous 7-inch singles and collections, including its most recent record, “This is How the Wind Shifts.”
“We know people are interested less and less in buying physical copies, but we’re all vinyl collectors and we put out a box set with eight 7-inch singles, each with a song on both sides, so it’s a neat way for people to hear our stuff,” Rousseau said. “It’s a different way to do it and a really cool collectible.”
For the album, Silverstein created an interesting concept album formula. Rather than working under the parameters of one unifying theme or story, the record relies heavily on the notion of parallels. Therefore, it’s essentially split into two sections. For example, “This Is How” connects to the song “The Wind Shifts,” while “Arrivals” pairs with “Departures.”
“The album was really a group effort and no ideas were shut down, and we had time to play every idea to see if it was going to pass for the record,” Rousseau said. “It came together in an overall sonic way I don’t think any past Silverstein record has. It’s all congruent to me and everyone shines in different ways.”
Those in our area will get to see that live when Silverstein heads to the Empire in Springfield on Feb. 19.
“Our album just came out in early February and we’ll be factoring in a bunch of stuff from that and pulling from the whole catalogue as a whole. We carry with us about 93 original songs and I think we do a really good job of giving people what they want and they seem to leave happy with it,” Rousseau said. “The show has been really exciting so far and without giving anything away, we have some interesting new additions that we haven’t tried before.”
The band expects to tour the entire year and will most likely duplicate last year’s travel schedule, which found them in 34 different countries and over 150 different cities.
“If we keep doing that, things will never get boring,” Rousseau said. “On stage we like to try new things and we always love going to new places. I would imagine it would get boring real quick if we had to stay in one place. We all love what we’re doing and you can see that by what we put on stage.”
As the newest member, replacing original guitarist Neil Boshart last year, Rousseau has had no trouble fitting into Silverstein and its motto of doing things their way. “I was from the same town as everyone and grew up watching Silverstein. In 2003, I was even at the record release party, so I’ve had this connection as a fan for a long time,” he said. “In 2008 I started working for the band as a guitar tech and never left. We were pretty tight before I even started playing in the band.”
All members of the band embrace social media and constantly are chatting with fans across all platforms, listening to their likes, dislikes and views of the band and concerts. Silverstein also tries to stop by local record stores while on tour to hang out with fans and possibly add to their own vinyl collections.
“We’re hoping to see lots of our fans out at this performance,” Rousseau said. “Think of everything you know about Silverstein and just remember the best stuff and that’s what you will see. Everything is fresh, new and better, but hasn’t strayed to the point where it’s too different or alienating. It’s worth checking out for sure.”