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High School Q & A: Paul Rousseau from Silverstein


Silverstein are one of Canada’s most accomplished post-hardcore exports and five pretty top blokes. Their 15-year career has reaped six highly acclaimed studio albums, thousands of shows, and are affectionately known as leaders in the rise of aggressive melodic punk. We asked the band’s lead guitarist Paul Rousseau how they’d approach returning to high school and what Aussies can expect, both sonically and visually, from the quintet when they support Pierce The Veil later in the year!

As a band, what subject, apart from music, would you be most likely to pass in flying colours, and which would you be most likely to fail?

If we are permitted to work as a team, there is no grade school academic subject that could bring us down, we’re just too smart. We’d pass them all with flying colours and by doing so we’ll have successfully merged physics and art class. For this I imagine we’d be awarded some high prize. If we’re likely to fail any class, and I don’t think that we are, it would be gym class. I don’t consider gym to be a real class, so who cares? Incidentally, the subject in school I came closest to failing was guitar class. I’d like to find that teacher and politely let him know that his judgement was…bad.

Which members of the band would be: the athlete, the brain, the criminal, the princess, and the basketcase?

Immediately the answer is clear: Shane Told is all of these and the rest of us are none. Instead, I submit alternatives: Paul Koehler is The Sword, Josh Bradford is The Tugboat, Billy Hamilton is The Creeping Mist on a Scottish Moor, and I, your host, am James Bond’s Car. Reasons for these answers are confidential but I will permit your readers to make assumptions as they may.

If Silverstein were in class and they had a substitute teacher for the day, what prank would you pull on them to let them know who’s really in charge?

We are an orderly bunch and, as you can read just inches above this, plan to do quite well in school. The most effective prank on a substitute teacher would be to make short and accurate work of the assignments thereby instilling a false sense of competency in this rookie teacher which they will take with them to their next assignment only to have it disproved by a group of rowdy jerks. Ta-da! You’ve been PUNKD!

Would you be more inclined to dress up as an Angus Young School Boy or a Britney Spears School girl on stage?

In my opinion these two costumes are basically the same, so it’s more in the eye of the beholder. Oh, right. The kilt. I guess I prefer the shorts, but I can’t know until I try both ensembles on…

You’re driving your high school sweetheart up to ‘Make-Out Point’, what songs will you be cranking on your mixtape to set the mood on the drive?

Assuming the drive is about 16 hours long, I would insist that we listen to the entire audio book version of ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’. I would have the entire thing memorised and recite it word for word as we listened, but just a split second ahead of the recording so she knew I wasn’t faking it. In my experience this is a highly effective method of seduction.

If you could go back in time to when you were in high school, what would you introduce to yourself so that you could take credit for its creation?

Pizza with a hotdog in the the crust*. It’s just too good an idea to fail. People would say, “You’re disgusting. Please never mention this horrible demon-food to me again or I will die from embarrassment”. But I’ll know the truth, it’s probably good. *I’ve never actually tried this food item.

What were your worst teenage fashion faux pas?

Being a teenager, nothing I wore was good or bad. It just was. We must as a society not condemn the sartorial choices of young people just tryin’ to figure it out. Be who you are! Wear black with brown! Sandals and socks! Dye your hair in a cheetah print pattern, then shave a big stripe right down the middle!

Dear teens: the world is your oyster, and though you may not like oysters you still have to eat them. That’s why they say the world is one’s oyster: because the world is stupid.

How would you describe Silverstein’s sound, both live and recorded, to uninitiated listeners?

On recording, Silverstein sounds the way a fighter jet looks as it does a high speed evasion manoeuvre. At the live show, Silverstein sounds like a fleet of fighter jets performing an even more impressive manoeuvre while firing a rocket at a tiny moving target and hitting it, bullseye. In person, we look like the sound of a champagne cork rocketing from a bottle and hitting and breaking a very old expensive vase. In photos, we look even better…

We jammed to last year’s album ‘I Am Alive in Everything I Touch’, what were some stories behind the album?

Silverstein enters the studio for one thing: recording. We aren’t there to make friends or eat pizza or whatever you may think, we’re all business. It’s not a place of cavorting around like some toddler high on skittles. Serious work gets done and we make every effort to maximise efficiency. A shirt-and-tie dress code is in effect at all times. Except, actually, for Formal Fridays which are, as you have probably imagined, designed days to wear black tie attire or better. Better, in this case, meaning gold ties. Made from real gold, of course.

Lastly, what are three things fans should know before you hit the stage in support of Pierce the Veil?

Stay hydrated! The last thing we want is for you to be thirsty while we’re trying to perform. It throws us off our game to imagine fans needing a drink of water or otherwise.

Stop, drop, and roll! Moshing is a thing of the past, so ride the wave of the newest slam-dance craze with your new friends in Silverstein.

Pierce The Veil is good, so stick around! You’re going to love these guys! Plus, it makes good economic sense to watch as many of the bands as you can. You paid money to gain access into this building, don’t squander the chance!

Pierce The Veil 2016 Australian Tour
supported by Silverstein

Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane
Big Top at Luna Park, Sydney
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
170 Russell, Melbourne
Astor Theatre, Perth

Get Tickets HERE

Written by Max Higgins