The Cliks’ Lucas Silveira admits “I used to be a folkie”


Toronto-based queer band The Cliks is coming to a town near you this summer (catch them on their own tour or as part of the True Colors tour). When we talked with them earlier this month, lead singer Lucas Silveira had more inside scoop that wouldn’t fit in the story, so here are some outtakes from that interview. Lucas tells us the truth behind his folksy background, how much the band loves their fans, and why the Cliks is called the Cliks. Did you really used to be a folkie?
Lucas Silveira: [in a sing-song voice] I used to be a folkie.

AE: I find that so hard to believe, because you’re such a rocker now.
It’s true. It’s so true. I had two solo albums under my previous name [Lilia]. I don’t want to say they’re super folkie. The first one is more than the second one. But the performances I used to do were a lot of really mellow music that I used to write. I was never as folk as some people would like to think, but it was pretty folksy, bluesy kinds of stuff. And in most of my performances I never picked up an electric guitar. I was always on acoustic.

AE: How did you come up with the name for your band?
I was having a conversation with my ex-girlfriend and I was like, “It needs to be sexy, and it has to start with ‘the’ — that’s all I care about.” Because every band that I loved started with ‘the,’ like the Beatles, the Pretenders. So, we just started joking around and I said, “How about the Clits?” Just as a joke. We were laughing, ’cause that’s ridiculous. Then I said, “Wait a second, why don’t we put two parts together and make it the Cliks?” So there you go.

People always ask why I did the spelling that way, and it’s such simplistic stuff. No great thought goes into it. But I had a font that I was using, and every time I wrote it, it reminded me of Calvin Klein CK. And I didn’t want people associating us with that, so I took [the “c”] out.

AE: Are you excited about being a part of the True Colors tour?
Absolutely. I think that’s what I’m most excited about now. I’m just wondering how I’m going to react when I meet Cyndi Lauper. I’m going to try to be as cool as possible. And Debbie Harry too. I’m just really excited about playing on the same stage as all [of] them, and playing to a really large audience and connecting with more people than we would’ve normally.

AE: I know you guys connect a lot with fans after your shows. Do you think you’ll be able to do that with your True Colors tour dates?
I don’t know, but I will definitely try. We love to meet our fans. Lately we’ve been signing a lot of autographs. The other day we were at a show and this woman wanted us to sign her boobs. A sure sign of success. I was like, “Are you kidding me?” And she started pulling down her shirt, and I said, “Ohh-kay, I’ll just do it a little bit above the nipple area, thank you very much.” I don’t go that far. But it just shows that people are excited about the band, and that makes me really happy.

AE: How would you describe your fans?
Wow. I mean, we have a really, really diverse audience — everything from the young queer kids to middle-aged guys to straight college girls to gay boys. It’s everything. It’s kind of all over the place.

AE: Have you been friends with Margaret Cho, or did you meet her in connection with the True Colors tour?
No, we weren’t friends, but I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Before she even knew that we’re on the True Colors tour, I got an email from her talking about how much she loved the band. And I was like, this can’t be Margaret Cho. It’s somebody pulling my leg. So I just kind of checked it out with people who would know whether or not it was really her.

Then I was like, “Oh yeah, I guess you heard about us because of the True Colors tour.” [As Margaret:] “You’re on the tour with me! Oh my God!” She actually heard of us from Ian Harvey, who has a talk show in L.A. He’s a trans guy who’s a friend of hers that we did a show with in Maine, I think. He let her know about us, and she contacted us and is a big fan, and the next thing I know she’s got a blog about us on her website on MySpace. So, yeah, I’m really happy about the support we’re getting from her.

AE: Do you find yourself having to educate people about trans issues all the time?
LS: I wouldn’t say educate. It’s more like trying to explain where I’m coming from, because a lot of people are just curious about what it means. If people want to ask me about myself, I got no issue with that. I think it’s important to just be who you are, and if you have the capacity to do it, then do it, because it really helps people. I’ve had kids come up to me at shows and it blows my mind, they just open themselves up to me. I had this kid the other day — and I won’t say what city it was in because I’m trying to stick private with them — this kid came up to me and basically told me that they were transgendered. They told me, “You’re my hero. If it wasn’t for you, I’d feel like a freak.”

I’m not the poster boy for anything, but it sure makes me feel a certain type of validity, and happy at the choice I’ve made in my life to be out there and be who I am. Because it’s obviously making a difference to a couple of people. So I’m very happy to talk about it. It’s not a burden or anything like that.

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