Silversun Pickups Drummer Christopher Guanlao Plays a Round of Musical ‘Would You Rather?’
It’s been one heck of a year for Silversun Pickups who are hard at work touring in support of their fourth album, Better Nature. They’re wrapping up their tour with Foals and are headed back out on the road this summer with Joywave and Bear Hands. We recently caught up with drummer Christopher Guanlao (pictured right) and we used the opportunity to play a musical game of "Would You Rather?," in which he reveals his admiration for the accordion.
Would you rather mess up onstage or be late for a show?
I would rather mess up on a show, just because that’s a part of the live experience of it. If it was all just perfect then you could just listen to it on the record or on your iPod or whatever. It’s the live show that you want to see and that you want to experience, if someone messes up its okay as long as you could do it gracefully and roll with the punches and get right back into it then it’s totally fine. Being late for a show, I don’t know, for a band we’re oddly punctual. [Laughs] I don’t think we would ever be late for a show.
Would you rather be in the studio or on tour?
On tour 100 percent. I don’t hate the studio, but I get tired of it very quickly and I get antsy. As a performer, you feed off of the crowd – that intensity and that excitement. When we play live, it’s that immediate gratification and that high you get that’s missing in the studio. You can do something awesome in the studio and you’re like, “Okay! I can’t wait until somebody hears this.” There’s no one cheering you on (as you play). You have your band members and your producer and your engineer and it’s like, “That was a good take. Let’s move on.” I get through it and enjoy it as much as I can, but after that sixth week, I’m just like, "Get me out of this box.” [Laughs]
Would you rather play big festivals forever or smaller club shows forever?
That’s tough! It’s so much fun to be able to do both. With club shows, I like the intimacy of it. You feed off of the crowd a little more. I love festivals, too, but they're chaotic. You’re flying blind a lot of the time, there are no soundchecks and you’re not sure how anything will sound onstage. Sometimes you play the main stage at about 4:30 in the afternoon and the sun is just beating down on you. It’s murder and, by the end of the set, I just want to jump into a pool of ice. There are so many variables with festivals that I guess I would choose the club atmosphere.
Would you rather have drumsticks for hands or accordion for legs?
Accordion for legs. [Laughs] I do have an odd love for the accordion. There are two instruments I know nothing about that I am in love with: the accordion and the cello. I just love the sound accordion makes, so I would kind of get into accordion legs and then I would learn how to play it. [Laughs] I could always still pick up drumsticks and play drums.
Would you rather have lunch with a music icon who has passed away or any living musician?
I think I would have loved to have met and talked to John Lennon. But I’m a pretty shy person, so I don’t know if I would get anything done. I think I would be like Chris Farley trying to interview Paul McCartney (on SNL). [Laughs] John Lennon would definitely be up there, too, and obviously Prince. But I think he would've just intimidated the s--- out of me and I would've run away. I think John Lennon would've been a little bit more open to my awkwardness.