Philly’s Silvertide revels in the sweet sounds of the ’70s



By Steve Newton

There’s no doubt that Motley Crue will be the main attraction when L.A.’s kings of sleaze-rock headline the sold-out Pacific Coliseum on Friday (July 29). Having Canadian punk rock sensations Sum 41 on the bill hasn’t hurt ticket sales, either. But you gotta wonder why the show’s advertising never even mentioned the other two warm-up acts, because one of them, Philadelphia’s Silvertide, has the potential to fill hockey rinks itself one day.

The quintet has something the fat-cat Crue hasn’t sported for some time: a genuine hunger.

You can see it in the bony rib cage of lead guitarist Nick Perri, which-as seen in the back-cover photo of the band’s full-length debut, Show and Tell-has been autographed by the legendary Les Paul. That’s not the kind of malnourished bod you’d expect from a guy whose mother gets a thank-you in the CD credits for her homemade chocolate brownies.

“Nick’s mom made like the best brownies in the whole world,” raves Silvertide vocalist Walt Lafty, on the line from a club gig in Little Rock, Arkansas. “So we’d beg her to make more. We’d say, ‘We don’t have jobs, we’re hungry, we need brownies.’ And it didn’t take much begging, ’cause she’s a sweetheart.”

Silvertide has been touring steadily for the five years it’s been together, and during one of those endless gigs the 24-year-old singer got so worked up on-stage that he passed out-as depicted in another Show and Tell snapshot. His brief unconsciousness gave his pesky bandmates time to cover him with Silly String, but it’s all in a night’s rock.

While his little-known group will serve as one of Motley Crue’s unadvertised opening acts for a month or so, Lafty figures it’s all good. “As long as it pays for my smokes and alcohol, I’m all right,” he says. “Every now and then I get some free acid.”

Although Silvertide’s raucous guitar-rock draws heavily on ’70s mainstays such as Aerosmith and AC/DC, not every song is an ode to sex, drugs, and that other thing. Show and Tell‘s final track, “Foxhole J.C.”, concerns a friend of Lafty who was driven by patriotism to join the U.S. Marines in the immediate wake of 9/11, and is now stationed in the horrific hellhole of Iraq.

“Like a lot of people in my neighbourhood, if anything happens he’s there to back up the country in a second,” he relates. “But I said, ‘Hey, wait it out a minute, find out what the whole thing’s about.’ He didn’t do that, and God bless him he’s still alive.”

Lafty wasn’t quite so keen to rush out and enlist for frontline duty himself, tumbling towers or not. “I was actually in the army reserves for two years, a program called Delayed Entry, but because it was so unorganized I just didn’t go active. I joined the band instead. It’s a lot more fun.”

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