Even with one smoky Justin Timberlake cover ("Cry Me a River"), a rocking award-winning album (2007's Snakehouse) that sounds like the love child of Roy Orbison and the Pretenders, and more than a year out on the road under his belt, Lucas Silveira still just wants to play some rock and roll.
The front man for the Cliks (and Out 100 alum) phoned in from one of the band's last stops on the True Colors Tour to show off his spot-on Cyndi Lauper impression, talk about the downside to being a media darling, and dish on the growing number of hot girls he's made time with on TV.
Out: You're True Colors vets now.
Lucas Silveira: Yes -- I like that, vets. We were out last year, and it was only supposed to be for, I think, four dates. Cyndi [Lauper] pushed a meet and greet and came out and watched us in the audience, with sunglasses and hat so nobody would recognize her. And right after we got off stage she came up and said, "You guys fucking rock, I want you on the rest of the tour." And we were like -- wow. We couldn't do the rest of the tour, but we ended up doing eight more dates after that.
You do a pretty good Cyndi Lauper impression. Have you been practicing with her?
She talks to me a lot, and we hang out. I think I got it down pat. I'm a pretty good mimic. It's something I've been doing since I was a kid.
Who else can you do?
Rosie O'Donnell sounds pretty much the same -- it's like two in one.
What's been different on the tour this year?
We've had a bus, which has been fantastic. It's our first bus tour ever, and that's been magical, because we don't feel like we're going to fall down from exhaustion. Last year we essentially had to chase the bus in a van with a trailer of all our gear. And also, because we've been touring and playing so much in the last year, our chops are really up. We've improved in our performance, and that's been pointed out by Cyndi and other people that were here last year. It's nice to know that all our hard work is paying off. Plus the tour is a little bit more well known last year. There are a lot more fans now.
What are your fans most excited about?
Having been on the other side of the merch table at one point in my life, I can certainly see the excitement of being able to attempt to connect to the people whose music you listen to in private all the time. It's them wanting to connect with us, which I think is really important. There's only so much you can do when you meet someone for a couple minutes. People want to say how much the music has meant to them, and I love hearing that -- that is why I do this. I love to connect with other human beings, because I know that what I feel, I don't feel alone.
Before you were in a band, did you feel more alone?
Absolutely. It's an interesting thing, getting people to know your music. I don't want to be sucked into this deluded world that the more fans I have, the less lonely I am. I think it's just a feeling of accomplishment, that what you're doing is being heard. I felt more alone on stage before I was in a band, because I wasn't getting to share the energy I had. I'm a really social person, and when I was doing the acoustic stuff before the Cliks, there was a sense of connection that I wasn't feeling with myself and the audience. I felt like I was having to carry everything by myself. To have a band, especially this band, I don't even have to think about them, I just get the joy of sharing the experience with them.
The band is almost done with your run on this tour. What's next?
We're going home to Toronto! Then we're going to Seattle and doing half-time at the WNBA game there, and then we're doing Canada Day in Ottowa. And then we're going to get some time off. We should get a good month off. It's good. We need to write an album.
Are you going to write it together as a band?
That's sort of up in the air at this point. We've never really sat down and had the opportunity since the band has gone through this whirlwind. There is one song that we've worked on. Jen [Benton] came up with this really cool bass line, and a really good song came out of it. I will always be the primary songwriter, I think. They don't really write the kind of music that I write. But Jen has been really eager to get in there, and she's got some really good ideas. I think it will be more like, let's test this and see what happens.
Tell me about being on MTV's TRL.
I'm Canadian -- I didn't know what TRL was! But we're getting a lot more press interest in the States than in Canada. I didn't realize what a big deal it was. It was such a flash -- it happened so quickly. It was kind of surreal more than anything.
My favorite moment was how you answered the question about the origin of the band name. You were direct and polite and punk all at the same time.
[Laughs] That was my favorite moment as well.
Do you want to give us the uncensored version of that story?
When we were on [Sex Pistols' guitarist] Steve Jones' radio show in LA, he asked the same question. I said, "It's the combination of a male body part and a female body part." And Steve Jones says [imitates Jones' accent perfectly], "Do I have a clik?" And I said, "You have part of a clik." And we're on the radio, and it's pure dead air. He rubs his chin and thinks. it was a great moment of my life.
We just did a guide to bands playing on the Vans Warped Tour. I feel like the Cliks could hold their own with the punk kids there.
Exactly, but people have this possible delusion that we don't fit. We're a heavy rock band. On this tour, we're the hardest band.
But you also toured with the Cult! How did that hard rock crowd react to you?
The Cult fans were amazing. We toured with them two times. We had the straightest of straight dudes who were in the Hell's Angels come up to us and tell us that they like our music. We have such diverse audiences, but we don't have very diverse press. Led Zeppelin never got asked about being an all-male band or about their sexuality -- unless it was to do with groupies on the bus. It doesn't do us a lot of favors when we're trying to get into more so-called mainstream tours. Unfortunately, the message that's being sent out to these promoters is that we don't have an audience within their audience. But the fact is that we do.
Is that misperception about your audience what you think stands between the Cliks and mainstream success?
Yes, I think so. Perception, unfortunately, is a huge thing. Everybody needs a hook, and a story the press has concentrated on was the fact that I'm trans, and the band is queer, because it's of interest to people to see a band like us slipping into the mainstream. When you're reading press and seeing media focus on one thing, you tend to lean towards that. If anybody is at all interested in knowing what we're about, if they came to our live shows, I think all those preconceptions would be completely torn down. Our music is really mainstream pop-rock. Coolio queer kids think we're too mainstream.
Out on the road, do you feel like you get treated like a dude in a band or are people in the music industry constantly hung up on the fact that you're trans?
It really varies. My band treats me like I'm a dude in a band. There are the people who come out to a show and think I'm a girl in a band. A lot of people know that I'm trans, and some of them just treat me like who I am. On the Cult tour, I got treated a lot like a girl, which was strange after being in my own bubble. But that's the reality of the world. This tour's been amazing.
The band's style is very retrosexual. You're rocking this pre-punk, rough masculine look, almost like a greaser guy. Who inspires how you dress?
Our manager. When we first hooked up with him, he was like, "If you're gonna be a band, you have to look like a band." We're all very separately obsessed with fashion, but especially me. As a trans dude who doesn't do T, it's part of how I feel masculine out in the world, how I find confidence. It's become so organic now. We'll be getting ready to do a show, and we'll come out of our separate rooms and be like, Oh my god, people are going to totally think we coordinated this. But we didn't.
You got inked by Kat Von D. on an episode of L.A. Ink.
The tattoo is un-fucking-real. And she was super nice. She's an amazing tattoo artist and -- she's hot! What can I say?
Oh, good -- hot chicks. Let's talk about your personal life, starting with the Led Zeppelin question. Do you have groupies on the bus?
No, that's against the rules! We have a tour manager that says that's not allowed.
How do you describe your sexuality?
Weird. Queer. I mean, a lot of people think that because I identify as a transgender male that I identify as straight, and I'm like, Wow, you don't come from the world I come from, do you?
Do you date boys? Do you date girls?
I don't date boys. I date girls. And I'm attracted to women. But, you know, I used to be a lesbian, and now I identify as a transgendered man. The world is a big place with too many boundaries. I don't want to put myself in any boxes, because you never know what's gonna happen.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Who were you making out with in the Cyndi Lauper video for "Into the Nightlife"?
[Laughs] A very cute girl. Her name's Brooke, but I don't know her last name. That was a really fun video. I didn't know I was supposed to make out with anybody. I get there, and there was one really cute girl in this bathroom stall that we were supposed to make out in -- and she just looked really frightened of me. She was too short, and I could tell she was totally straight, and I looked at her and said, "Are you okay with this?" And she's all, "Oh yeah, I'm an actress." And then Cyndi passes by and looks at her and goes, "You come with me," and grabs her by the shoulder. And next thing you know, she comes back with the girl you see in the video, and Cyndi says, "This is better. She's taller!" I'm like, great, awesome, I love tall girls. And she says, "I hear we're supposed to make out!" And I was like, "Yes!" She was totally queer, and totally comfortable with the situation. I love making out with pretty girls.
If you could make out with any hot famous chick, who would it be?
Oh God, you're going to get me in trouble. I woke up yesterday and our bus driver had gotten us all these crazy In Touch, Us Weekly magazines, because we like to read trash on the road, but I don't know! Maybe Amy Winehouse, if she decided to put on a few more pounds and stop doing drugs?
Who was your first celebrity crush?
When I was a kid, I really, really, really had the hots for Chryssie Hynde. It was the album cover where she's wearing this white, ruffled shirt. My girlfriend -- oops, I just gave it away. [Laughs] Yeah, I have a girlfriend. I had told her about this album forever. It really solidified me as wanting to be a musician, because I was like, Oh my god, it's a girl! And she plays music! And she's wearing a suit! And she's totally pretty!
Are the Cliks a "queer band"?
A lot of people will take issue with me, but I don't think any band should be categorized by sexuality or gender. There's enough boxes in the music industry whether you're rock or pop or this or that. We are a band that has members in it that are queer. We are band that has members in it that are transgendered and are female. I find tags like that are really narrowing, and that people feel a sense of disconnect with you. I don't like to do that as an artist. I'm very proud of the fact that I'm trans and that I identify as queer, but I don't ever want to identify my band as a queer band -- because we're not. We're a rock and roll band. I don't ever want a straight young kid, or a queer kid for that matter, or a kid of color, or a kid who's religious, to look at our band and say, "I can't really listen to that music because it doesn't belong to where I come from." I want to belong to everybody.