TRANS-GRESSIVE ROCK The Cliks

It’s about
relationships, not gender issues.

 

BY HAL BIENSTOCK

 

Two albums into their career, Toronto alt-rockers the Cliks –
Lucas Silveira, guitar/vocals; Brian Viglione, drums; Tobi Parks, bass – have landed
their music on TV shows like All My
Children
and Ugly Betty and have been
handpicked to perform with artists ranging from Cyndi Lauper to New York Dolls.
Yet they’re still known primarily for being one of the few rock bands with a
transgendered lead singer.

 

Silveira is a biological female who identifies as male. His
willingness to talk freely about his gender identity issues has helped the band
find a devoted following in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
community. After performing on Lauper’s gay-rights themed True Colors tour in 2007 and 2008, the band hoped to further expand
its audience by going on tour with the Dolls. But when speaking to BLURT prior
to the Dolls tour last year, Silveira admitted he realized that also meant
performing for audiences that may not be quite as friendly.

 

“We also opened for the Cult, so we went from playing for
the True Colors audiences to playing
for hardcore metal fans, which was interesting,” he remembered. “We weren’t
sure we’d be well-received, but people watched us and said, ‘Oh, it’s a rock
band.'”

 

Unlike, say, Antony
& the Johnsons, the Cliks don’t explore gender issues amid their power
chords and big choruses on their albums, 2007’s Snakehouse and 2009’s Dirty
King
. For the most part, their
songs are simply about relationships, even if people choose to read more than
that into it.

 

“People always say to me that our songs are about identity
politics,” Silveira said. “If that’s what they want to see, that’s okay, but I
don’t write just from the perspective of a transgendered man. I write from a
human perspective.”

 

Still, Silveira knows that his androgynous looks and unique
story will always draw extra attention.

 

“I don’t blame people for talking about it,” he said. “After
all, how many people like me are there out there? If I have the possibility to
create some understanding for trans people, so be it.

 

“That’s one of the great things about rock and roll. Back in
the day, people freaked out when David Bowie came out as Ziggy Stardust because
they thought he looked like a chick. Music can open people’s minds and allow
them to appreciate differences.”

 

[Photo Credit: Robin Roemer]

 

 

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