Silversun Pickups Share Evolution of Sound Before Starting US Tour

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It is odd to think that a major rock band had to be brought out of its shell. That, at least according to Brian Aubert, is exactly happened with Silversun Pickups. 

Aubert, front man for the Los Angeles-based alternative rock band, explained that the group honed it’s signature distorted-yet-bright vibe in its early days from being inside intimate venues. That the SSPU sound wasn’t coaxed out in a marathon rehearsal or songwriting session but rather from playing live in front of small audiences in intimate local clubs. 

“We found our identity in those rooms,” he said of venues like El Rey and the Troubadour. “The bookers back then saw something in us, but I don’t know what! But as we played, whatever shyness we had melted away and we got braver.” 

Silversun Pickups will continue its creative evolution this winter as it embarks on a 30-stop U.S. starting Dec. 13 in Eugene, Oregon. 

The crux of evolution, of course, is change. For some, personal or creative transformations can be difficult – indeed, many often shy away from it. But for Aubert, change is necessary, paramount. He welcomes it with the understanding that with change comes a grief period. But, he says, making time for sadness is essential for both personal and professional growth. 

“I think I’m always up for change,” Aubert says, “it’s always looking for me. For some reason I can get real romantic about it and get sad about things. But mourning things is actually a wonderful experience – it’s okay to let things go.” 

What sparks Aubert’s appreciation for change is an innate sense of wanderlust. It’s this feeling that drives him and the band to make new records, to hit the road and to stay curious. When considering the demarcation points that led Silversun Pickups to write and record the band’s latest record, 2019’s Widow’s Weeds, Aubert says that it just, well, happened. 

“Our process when we make a record is to put a lot into it,” the songwriter says. “Then you tour on it for a year or sometimes two. By then you’ve gotten through it a little bit and you begin to feel some wanderlust. So, you stop touring and you go home and things start popping into your head. Once you have enough of it and it makes you crazy, you have to get the songs recorded somewhere.” 

Important in the band’s most recent recording process was the recruitment of legendary producer, Butch Vig, famous for many projects, including the diamond-selling Nirvana record, Nevermind, he produced. Vig, says Aubert, despite his list of accomplishments stays hungry, curious, invested. He doesn’t rest on his laurels or past successes when in the studio. 

“He is so interested in being confused,” says Aubert. “He’s still searching. ‘Wanderlust’ is a word I keep coming back to. Butch just wants to keep trying to push things forward. And with all his experience comes a razor-sharp ear.” 

The 10-track Widow’s Weeds is versatile, part-pop (“It Doesn’t Matter Why”), part-heavy rock (“Neon Wound”) and even part-folk (“Straw Man”). The album swoops and dives, crashes and shines. It’s the perfect fuel with which to set out on a two-month road trip around the country to perform to new and established fans. But while playing live shows has always helped Silversun Pickups define its identity, sometimes it can be hard for the seasoned members to dive back in to the world of rock-stardom headfirst. 

“We get amnesia a lot,” admits Aubert, a father of a four-year-old. “Being a papa makes you switch modes. So, there’s this duality in my mind all the time. It’s hard to be in once place and sign off on things in your body that feel impossible in another place. But we’ve been playing more lately and I’m feeling the momentum again. Right now, I’m actually quite excited to tour!”

Recently, Aubert underwent another change. He’s gone sober, a choice he says he’s long wanted to make. And while the act didn’t take a trip to rehab or involve any other grizzly escapade, the new reality is welcomed. 

“It suits me,” Aubert says. 

And while mental health and sobriety are important matters for the singer, that doesn’t mean he and the members of Silversun Pickups always take themselves so earnestly in their day-to-day routines. Their music, Aubert says, is held to a high standard internally, but that’s not always the case for how they see the world and their place in it. 

“We just feel fortunate and amazed,” says Aubert of his group’s 10-year run (and counting). “Every record of ours is different, usually because there’s big gaps of time in between. Who knows what or why people are drawn to us. I can try to intellectualize it. But, really, at the end of the day, we’re just lucky.” 

Silversun Pickups Tour

Dec 13 /// Eugene, OR /// McDonald Theatre &                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Dec 14 /// Crystal Ballroom /// Portland, OR SOLD OUT

Dec 16 ///  Sacramento, CA /// Ace of Spades SOLD OUT

Dec 17 /// San Diego, CA /// Observatory SOLD OUT

Dec 18 /// Phoenix, AZ /// The Marquee &
Feb 04 /// Ventura, CA /// Ventura Theatre*

Feb 05 /// Santa Ana, CA /// The Observatory* 

Feb 07 /// Los Angeles, CA /// The Wiltern*

Feb 08 /// Oakland, CA /// Fox Theatre*

Feb 10 /// Las Vegas, NV /// House of Blues*

Feb 12 /// Salt Lake City, UT /// The Union Event Center*

Feb 13 /// Aspen, CO /// Belly Up*

Feb 14 /// Denver, CO /// Ogden Theatre*

Feb 16 /// Tulsa, OK /// Cain’s Ballroom*

Feb 18 /// Houston, TX /// House of Blues*

Feb 19 /// Austin, TX /// Stubb’s BBQ*

Feb 20 /// Dallas, TX /// House of Blues*

Feb 22 /// New Orleans, LA /// The Fillmore*

Mar 01 /// Philadelphia, PA /// The Fillmore

Mar 02 /// Boston, MA /// House of Blues

Mar 03 /// New Haven, CT /// College Street Music Hall

Mar 05 /// Brooklyn, NY /// Brooklyn Steel

Mar 06 /// Brooklyn, NY /// Brooklyn Steel  

Mar 08 /// Washington D.C. /// 9:30 Club

Mar 09 /// Charlotte, NC /// The Fillmore

Mar 11 /// Asheville, NC /// The Orange Peel

Mar 12 /// Atlanta, GA /// Buckhead Theatre

Mar 13 /// Knoxville, TN /// The Mill & Mine

Mar 15 /// Nashville, TN /// Marathon Music Works

Mar 17 /// Detroit, MI /// The Fillmore

Mar 18 /// Cleveland, OH /// Agora Theatre

Mar 19 /// Chicago, IL ///  Vic Theatre

Mar 21 /// Milwaukee, WI ///  The Rave

Mar 22 /// Madison, WI ///  The Sylvee

Mar 23 /// Minneapolis, MN ///  First Avenue

&Holiday Radio Show
*Support – Eliza & The Delusionals


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