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Oh Yeah! It's The Cliks!
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2007-08-08

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The Cliks, with frontman Lucas Silveira (second from right). Photo by Clint McLean

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Fresh off of the True Colors Tour, Canadian queer outfit The Cliks is preparing for another series of club dates with a scheduled stop at Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln, on Fri., Aug. 10. However, when it comes to The Cliks, mainstream media cannot get past the fact that the lead singer is transgendered. Labels aside, The Cliks is a solid rock band. Windy City Times recently caught up with relaxed frontman Lucas Silveira.

Windy City Times: What was it like singing alongside Erasure and Cyndi Lauper during the ensemble numbers True Colors and Take A Chance On Me on The True Colors Tour?

Lucas Silveira: The entire tour was like a dream come true for us. We are a pretty new band, so being thrust into the spotlight so quickly was unreal. They are all such amazing people, beyond unrealistically talented.

WCT: Why do gay guys love guitarist Nina Martinez? Everybody in your band is hot, but even my flaming friend asks, 'Who's she?'

LS: This is hilarious. I tell people—the key to find out if a man is gay, is to find out if he is attracted to Nina. All of the gay dudes are so into her. She said she has always had these gay male friends who are attracted to her, and it confuses her. I tell her that she has that thing that Madonna, Cher and [ Barbra ] Streisand all have. All the gays love them. We saw Barry Manilow in Vegas. There were all these old ladies and older guys there. We were sitting in the third row and Barry looks over at Nina and gave her a cool Fonzie point and winked at her. We should put up a sign at our shows: Warning may make you question your sexuality. This is not for straight people; it is for gay guys.

WCT: Congrats on the success of the Oh Yeah video on Logo's Click List! How come there are only three of you in the video?

LS: Both Nina and Jen were additions to the band after the video. When [ former bassist ] Jordan Wright quit to pursue solo projects, we added Jen. With Nina, I didn't want her to be just a background musician; she had so much to offer the band. So we made her a full member. Even though she is younger than I am, Nina is like my big sister and I am her bratty little brother. It is a familial love; it really is that way. It is really helpful to have people like that on board with you.

WCT: I hear P.J. Harvey, Melissa Etheridge and even No Doubt in your sound. Who else do you cite as musical influences?

LS: You are the second person this week to make a comparison to Melissa. It is humbling and honoring, but it is not intended. P.J. Harvey—definitely. It is neat to hear what people hear. Things that stick out are Concrete Blonde, Jane's Addiction and, especially, Grace by Jeff Buckley. He just had this phenomenal way of writing. It is a shame he is not around anymore. Grace was his one gift to give to the planet. It is my one desert-island-disc.

WCT: On your album Snakehouse, you do a version of Justin Timberlake's Cry Me a River. Why J.T.?

LS: It is really related to the song; it rocks. I had gone through a similar break-up where I lost a lot of trust and identified with the lyrics. One day I gave it a [ try ] . When the band joined in, we rocked it out, so we did it in live shows. Then we played it for our producer and he said, 'You got to put it on the album.' I did it for fun, finding it therapeutic; it really fits.

WCT: Snakehouse has a great, rough, edgy sound to it. With songs like Complicated, Cry Me A River and Misery, what was going on?

LS: I was the typical artist going through turmoil. Beyond the break-up, I started to coming to terms with my identity [ and ] who I am—then my father had a stroke. Everything compounded in a short period of time. I had a breakdown and felt like I was not sure how I would move on from this place. I came out with some of the best work I have ever written. Let's just hope I don't have to go back to that place for the next album.

Oh Yeah appears on The True Colors compilation and Snakehouse is out now. In addition to being at Martyr's, The Cliks will also be on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson on Thurs., Aug. 23. For more information, visit thecliks.com .


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