The other day I saw that there was a post on one of my former favorite facebook pages:
it appeared that a once up and coming band that had hit the local scene hard and amassed a great following quickly only to self implode, was making a comeback almost a year and a half after the infamous posting from the band that read “The artists formally known as SILVERGUN” that had marked the last post from the band until the recently announced concert. Silvergun, the band from Bristol Ct (there are many bands of that same name around the country) started out as a high school group of friends that would jam afterschool doing covers of some of their favorite bands. They had many different sounds those first months but once they selected a name, their sound seemed to coalesce. Covers turned to sets and sets started to include original works, original sounds. They no longer were a bunch of kids jamming; they were a “real” band.
The first sign of trouble that I noticed was when the drummer,” Warnba” had talked and demo shared his way into an offer to open for a national band called “Pop Evil” when they toured the area. The band members found that some of them were excited while others felt it was too soon and too stressful to think about playing on such a stage, left the band. Soon the gigs were canceled. The band was no more.
Like a typical high school relationship, over time the members were “dating” again, that is to say, they played together and made a new sound. Soon they were officially Silvergun again and started playing local gigs. I was surprised of the buzz in the area and found myself going to a few of their shows (my first shows for the most part since I was in high school). The first one was in New Haven at “Toad’s Place” which has a good vibe and has been a landmark for many generations of music lovers. They were part of a music filled lineup that included another awesome local group the “Falling Stickmen” who’s CD is on rotation in my waiting room music box. I found Silvergun to have slow transitions between songs and to be victims of too many rock and roll clichés for my liking. The singer and lead guitar player played up the fact that they were “sooo wasted” that I fought the urge to call them Silverpun. To my delight however, once the music played, I was amazed at the raw energy and talent from every member of the group. I found myself enjoying the covers and loving some songs that felt like I had heard them forever but I just could not recognize. After the set I asked Warnba and Jay (bass and vocals) about the songs and where they got them and learned that they were original works. I was floored and offered to meet with them to see if I could help them get to the next level. Soon I was purchasing a webpage and their name and giving it to them along with offering guidance on keeping the band strong. Things just appeared to be golden for awhile as gigs became more common and better paying; they had management offers and were recording more demos.
A few shows later I saw deep fissures in the band, drinking had increased, showboating and glorification of “getting sooo wasted” on the part of crazy Dave (lead guitar, vocals) and Lu (lead singer) seemed so contrary to Warnba and Jay that I felt like I was watching not only a cliché but two separate bands on stage. The final show that I watched of them as a band was so bad that they had to open for THEIR opening act because at least one band member was so intoxicated that they felt if they waited that the show would not be possible. A few songs into the set, Warnba and Jay cut the music and left the stage. The show was a disaster, so much so that I left without talking with most of the band. I was angry and felt they had ruined a great thing. The band was over soon after…
The band members soon went their separate ways. Some joined other bands for a while but nothing seemed to recapture the magic they once had. I remained in contact with most of them. Crazy Dave moved out of state and seemed to get rid of his personal Facebook page, but the rest remained in the area. Great guys, it is just too bad that their success came so fast that they could not handle it. Though I am almost old enough to be their dad and am in fact the father of Warnba, I really enjoy those guys and their music, well, when the glorification of partying was not present that is.
A few months ago I was asked if my former offer of practice space was still available. I advised them that it was if they were willing to help out around the barn from time to time. It started as simply a few folks playing music together. Nothing more. Soon I noticed that three of the original band were at the barn and a fourth, a guitarist also named Dave (sans the Crazy) was happily playing not just covers but Silvergun songs. A while later I noticed a small Silvergun magnet on the stacks, smiled and thought of the possibilities.
It would appear that the band formerly known as Silvergun, is now the band currently known as Silvergun. They have at least one announced gig, again at Toad’s Place; the question remains to be answered: can they reclaim their sound while leaving their demons in check?
As clinicians we know that change is possible and even probable should the client want it. We help to mold and shape the client without imposing our views; without judgment. Sure we may offer humble suggestions at times but that is what they are, humble suggestions without strings. At times our clients do well, at times they seem to fall apart but we do what we can to help them make the best life for themselves that they can and on their terms. While it may look like a bad or wrong turn has been made, we as clinicians know that a new course is possible.
Sometimes early success in a client can be more damaging than stunted or otherwise delayed progress. Too much too soon may leave the client with a sense of entitlement, a sense that it will always be that easy or with an inflated sense that work is beneath them. Should this happen, the work of Carl Roger’s comes into play; unconditional positive regard can help them to rechart their direction.
As I listen to the “new” Silvergun and think of their potential to make it big, I hope they have learned from past mistakes, matured and have a better focus. Either way, I will be there to help as I can…
Warren Corson III (Doc Warren) is a counselor and the clinical & executive director of a community counseling agency in central CT (www.docwarren.org).