The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Having stuck around since the late 1980s, Anti-Flag has become old enough to address the same young, impressionable people they once were when they formed so long ago. Ever ambitious and straight to the point, the Pittsburgh-based punk rock foursome is as approachable as at any other time in their storied career with Lies They Tell Our Children (Spinefarm Records). Rife with on-brand “fuck the system” anthems and guest appearances by like-minded rabble-rousers, the songs pack such an easily consumable punch.
After twenty-two years of being one of the most renowned and influential bands in post-hardcore and emo, it would be respectable to take a hiatus and bask in the legacy for a good while. However, Silverstein continues to knock out new material consistently, never wringing dry of inspiration and reinforcing their veteran status. With new album Misery Made Me (UNFD), the hardcore maestros let their creativity flow freely without forcing anything to appease anyone’s expectations – including their own.
INTERVIEW: Shane Told of Silverstein – The Ghost Cult Interview
Ghost Cult had the honor of interviewing Shane Told of Silverstein to discuss their upcoming new album Misery Made Me due out from UNFD on May 6th, 2022. Shane discussed the new album in-depth, the history of Silverstein, changes in the music industry, the sale of Bandcamp to Epic Games, When We Were Young Fest, their upcoming tour with The Devil Wears Prada, and ERRA, and his process for his popular podcast Lead Singer Syndrome!
Dependability is an overlooked trait in music. As exciting as innovation is, bands can prove just as important and special with few surprises in their sound; cliché perhaps to say, but AC/DC are case in point. Over an eight-album career, Silverstein are another example of a band with a reliable but recognisable sound throughout, their brand of emotive post-hardcore always maintaining a youthful vibrancy and intensity. Latest album Dead Reflection (Rise Records) follows this trend for the most part, and even reveals a couple of new tricks up their sleeve.Continue reading →
“I said we’ve done it…how many times did I say we’ve done it – six? We’ve done it seven because technically we did one show in 2003. It was the first time we’d ever played Warped Tour. We showed up and they were trying to get this hardcore stage going. It was in Massachusetts and we showed up and we didn’t have a tent. We didn’t have anything. We didn’t have a table. We just rolled in and set up our merch on the ground. We totally didn’t know what we were getting into.”
“We all got sunburnt. We all went in completely unprepared and the difference between that and this year where we bought a $300 cooler and we have a barbecue and have all of these tents. We bought 11 high end lounge chairs. Now we’ve got it all figured out. It’s funny how things change so radically.”
“It’s funny because when we started out, I always thought we were the young guns. We made friends with NOFX and playing poker with those guys. We were always the young kids and then all of a sudden now we’re the old guys. I don’t know when that happened. There was never a point where we felt we were the average age. Now we’re the old guys. I don’t know when that happened but it’s all good.”
For the members of Canadian post-hardcore outfit Silverstein, they are spending their summer once again in a familiar place, known as the Vans Warped Tour. They are promoting their latest album I Am Alive in Everything I Touch and are taking part on their sixth time around on this well documented tour.
Vocalist Shane Told shares his thoughts on the tour. “We did it two years ago. It’s a hard tour. It’s very, very hot and it’s a lot of dust and dirt and moving stuff around. Very far distances between things and you have to push gear and walk and everything, so it’s very grueling. It’s amazing we are able to do it every day and they move the entire festival, every single part of it setting it up and it’s always on time. It’s amazing they’re able to do that.”
Their trip out west to the first date in Pomona, CA from their homebase of Toronto, ON went quite smoothly. Being veterans of the road, they understood what they were encountering. “It was good,” he said, about their journey. “We took our time. We did two shows on the way out in Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE, and we had a couple of days off in Denver and Las Vegas just to relax a little bit. We know what we’re getting into.”
Silverstein has celebrated 15 years of existence, which is a milestone within itself. After releasing their eighth full length recording, four EPs and one live album, Told talked about what makes their band work internally and externally.
“None of us have kids or anything, so I guess that helps. We don’t know how other bands work. This is the band we’re in, but we know we treat each other with respect and genuinely like each other and like each other’s company. We know how to stay out each other’s way when people aren’t in the best moods. We’ve always done that and musically, we have a lot of diversity within our music so that helps. We don’t get bored of what we do musically. We all have the same kinds of goals, so it helps.”
He also shared his thoughts on 15 years of memories within his time with the band. “It’s all a blur. It’s funny too because now at 15 years and there’s certain times when stuff feels like it just happened. Then I’ll think back and go ‘whoa that was eight or nine years ago!’ Then some stuff that happened just the other day, and I won’t remember. It’s really weird the way you remember things are sometimes different than how they were. That’s always an interesting part of it. We have so many great memories and we made so many great friends. We’re really proud we’ve done it this long and enjoyed it this long. We’re not going through the motions like you see some bands just totally jaded. We still genuinely love music, Warped Tour, festivals and love hanging out. It really feels good.”
Legend has said for the bands being on the Vans Warped Tour is hard work under extreme weather conditions on various stops along the way. But Told and the Silverstein guys knew from past experience what to expect and were able to dive in head first without any real surprises.
“It’s nice because you know what to expect going in. One of the amazing things is how little the tour has changed. Literally the first time we did it in 2004, it’s all the same people, a lot of same venues and the way they run it, the set times being you don’t know what time you’re playing until the morning…plus it’s the same it’s always been. The familiarity is really nice coming in to it, but at the same time we sort of know how we’re going to feel halfway through. The sun’s beating down and we’re like ‘oh man…we still have three more weeks of this!’ There’s always that…I don’t want to say breaking point but there’s always that moment where it’s like ‘oh man we know what we’re getting into’ that could make it harder too.”
Told shares who he is looking forward to seeing while he’s on the tour. “We have so many friends on this tour. Walking around yesterday, it’s the first day, it’s like ‘hey man! Hey man…hey man…’ everywhere you go. Some of our friends like Beartooth and there’s this new band called As It Is from the UK. They’re a really good new band and we’ve done some shows with them recently. Those are some newer band we should go check out.”
A 20 year anniversary for Silverstein is around the corner and another milestone for them. While Told denies ever thinking about it, some ideas began floating about.
“We have not thought about it. I know it’s going to come up fast. It’s amazing how fast these things go by.“
“We’ll get a cake. We love cake so much that any excuse we have to buy one…we’ll buy one – anyone’s birthday, our guitar tech gets a girlfriend [and] we’ll buy them a cake. We did one for our millionth Facebook Like! We’re ridiculous but…”
Ironically, no songs about cake were ever written, but another one about food belonging to another band member did get mentioned.
“We did write a song about stealing Bill’s [Hamilton, bass] food from the bus once, because he’s got the best food. It’s called “See Ya Bill” [on 2012’s Short Songs]. It’s about seven seconds long. It might be about a vegan cake. I’m not sure specifically about the food items but he does have some good cake kicking around once in a while. Check it out. It’s on Spotify.”