With a new album produced by the Gotee Brothers, SILAGE are pushing back the ska boundaries, says Tony Cummings.
Northern California's Silage have become favourites on UCB Cross Rhythms. Songs such as "Your Car Makes Me Sin" (a brilliantly manic exploration of road rage) and "Watusi" gained mucho radio play while their second album has more delights like "Billboard", surely destined for the 'A' list. Silage, consisting of Damian Home (23), lead vocals/guitar; Lance Black (23), guitar and Shane Black, vocals, are a band in a state of change. Ska still surfaces, so does punk, but clearly the band have been listening to secular acts as diverse as Radio Head, Foo Fighters and the Beastie Boys. The band's second album 'Vegas Car Chasers' even features a guest rap from GRITS member Knowdsverb. After signing with SubLime Records in 1997 the band have put a lot of miles on their minivan.
"It was kind of interesting being stuck in Denver in a blizzard for three days," Home says. "There were 300 youth group kids from this convention stuck there, too. We tried to play a show in the hotel lobby, but they said it was going to be too loud. The guys from Zilch were trying to get to an airport to fly to Oakland to play with dcTalk for a Billy Graham crusade and they just got stuck in their van. We were fortunate, though. We were stuck in a hotel so it wasn't too bad."
Despite opportunities like being snowed in, the band found it difficult to write new material on the road. "When you're on the road, you never have any free time," Home says. "Your free time is usually spent talking to your wife on the phone."
Both Home and singer/guitarist Lance Black are married. Though they have had their wives on tour with them at times, it is a rare luxury for a young band. Black, who has a baby boy, says, "I definitely plan on taking my son on tour next year when he's a little older."
Despite being in a youth group in Grass Valley, California, that "weren't really into music," Silage was formed by Home, Black and Clark. "We were mostly just going to the local clubs in Sacramento and seeing what was going on," Home says. "There were other small Christian bands like us that we were getting to be good friends with, also. We weren't really in that circle until we started touring and doing the festivals." "This whole circle of Christian bands is like one big high school or something," says Lance Black, admiring one of the most positive aspects of the band's tireless touring. You're closer to some people than you are with others."
Originally published as part of The Ska Story: A history of the genreThe opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.