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By Gregg Shapiro
True Colors Tour
6 p.m. June 12
Auditorium Theatre, Chicago
6:30 p.m. June 13
Jerome Schottenstein Center, Ohio
Queer bands are gaining visibility and finding ways to set themselves apart from the pack. Not only does The Clik’s music rock hard, there’s transgender front person, Lucas Silveira, who’s destined to earn them more attention. The Cliks, whose debut disc “Snakehouse” was released in April, are spreading gay glory on Cyndi Lauper’s multi-act True Colors Tour and, odds are, they’ll be clicking with the crowds.
Gregg Shapiro: As a transgender person, you represent the T in the GLBT community. What does it mean to you to be a representative of the trans community on the True Colors Tour?
Lucas Silveira: It’s an honor. It’s pretty much new to a lot of people and I think a lot of people are a little inquisitive about the “T” in GLBT because it hasn’t something that’s been talked about and a lot of people aren’t very open about. I am hoping that I can open a lot of people’s eyes to this, including the gay, lesbian and bisexual community. Because, I think on both sides of the camp, there’s a lot of education that needs to be done. I’m not there to educate people, per se, but I’m there to go, “We do this, too, and we’re here, just like everybody else.” It feels cool and I’m looking forward to hearing what people have to say.
GS: Nine of the 10 songs on “Snakehouse” are credited to you as writer. What can you tell me about your songwriting process?
LS: It kind of depends. Every song is different. But I can do something as simple as sit in a room – I usually just kind of like to be on my own – I’ll sit in a room and come up with something that’s knocking at my gut. I can come up with the guitar first, then the lyrics after or a melody first and then add guitar. Sometimes I’ll have a tune in my head that I’ll be humming for days. I actually have this cell phone that records stuff, so a lot of times I end up singing stuff into my phone (laughs).
GS: So people see you walking down the street doing that, and they think, “Wow, that’s so sweet! He’s singing to someone on his cell phone.”
LS: (Big laugh) That’s funny!
GS: Who would you consider to be your biggest musical influences?
LS: I think in the last few years Jeff Buckley had a huge impact on me. My roots are kind of all over the place. I listened to The Beatles a lot when I was a kid because of my parents. A lot of old rock and roll like Kiss, Blondie, The Pretenders, and then when I got older I listened to a lot of R&B and soul music. I listened to a lot of Motown. Some Concrete Blondie, and Motley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne. I kind of go all over the place.
GS: I’ll say! That’s interesting because a number of the songs, including “Misery,” “Eyes in the Back of My Head,” “Start Leading Me On,” and “Whenever,” have a bluesy quality to them.
LS: Well, I listened to Jimi Hendrix religiously for about two to three years of my life.
GS: “Complicated” and “Oh Yeah” are great songs for dancing. Do you have a preference, one way or the other, for songs that have a slow burning impact or those that get people up and moving?
LS: No, I think every song has its place. I think there is some stuff on the album where the energy and the essence of the song was a little bit more aggressive. I think Morgan, our drummer, captured that. A lot of the beat stuff, I will credit to her, giving it that back bone.
GS: The Cliks also do a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.” Why was that song chosen for inclusion on the disc?
LS: I came into band, one time, kind of singing it because I had been in a situation where I was in a really bad break up. I had a long-term relationship end after six and a half years. I really connected to the lyrics of the song; it’s a really great song, and I brought it in. I’ve always thought that the song itself, even though it’s great, I felt a little more aggressive about what was being said. We started doing it as a band and when our producer, Mo Berg, came in, he was like, “You guys have to put that on the album.” I think it really fit with the content of the album; it’s kind of a break-up album. It was pretty much right in there with the rest of it. It fit the whole mood.
GS: Has there been any feedback from Justin or his camp?
LS: Not yet. We know he apparently has gotten a copy. We met his booking agent from Germany named Steven who told us that he gave him a copy, but we haven’t heard anything. It would be really cool to know what he thinks of it, actually.
GS: On The Cliks’ Web site there’s a picture of you in which there appears to be some elaborate ink-work on your forearm. Is there a story behind it?
LS: Yeah, I actually have a full sleeve and continuing work. The part I think you can see is I have a dragon on my arm and it’s rising out of flames and at the bottom it has a name, Ripley. Ripley was my first dog and I’m an animal lover. He was pretty much my kid and when he passed away it was the first death that I had in my life. I took it really, really hard and I did it to commemorate him and I did this dragon because dragons signify protection. I always thought that he was looking out for me and that he still is, so that’s why I did it.