Q&A: Christopher Guanlao, drummer of Silversun Pickups

In an effort to promote a two-month-long tour, Los Angeles-based indie rock group Silversun Pickups has been plenty busy with radio guest spots as well as television appearances on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

The State Press caught up with drummer Chris Guanlao of Silversun Pickups shortly before last Friday’s show in the Valley with Muse.

State Press: You guys did a guest appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s show on March 4. You obviously played the gig in a television studio. What’s the difference between playing a gig where the crowd fully consists of your fans and a gig where the crowd consists of people who may not be as familiar with your music?

Chris Guanlao: It doesn’t really change too much. I think ultimately it’s really [what] your playing. So whether it’s a crowd that knows us really well or whether it’s an innocent bystander, it doesn’t really matter. We just try to do our thing. We try not to think of those aspects. It’s similar opening up for Muse, where we know that all of those people are not there to see us. We might feel like we kind of have to win them over, which we do, but ultimately it doesn’t vary from headlining. We do the best we can and try to entertain and just have fun.

SP: On the subject of Muse, you guys are touring with one of the biggest rock bands in the nation, if not the world. Do you guys ever get star struck?

CG: No, not really, because they’re really cool guys. They’re really mellow and they’re actually a lot shyer than other people that I’ve met. Maybe “shy” is not the right word. But they’re really cool. They’re really nice people so I don’t really get star struck by them, per se, but it’s incredible. I think I get more star struck when I’m watching the show because it’s so huge. They’re really theatrical and there’s the whole laser show, and there’s 50 people on their crew. And when I watch them, I’m totally in awe of that show.

SP: Being on the road is a little different for everybody. What’s being on the road like for Silversun Pickups?

CG: It’s been good. [Muse] likes to hang out, they like to party, so we’ve been doing that a lot. Even ourselves, we like to go out and hang out and meet people and go to different places in the city that we’re in. It’s been really fun. We’ve been doing this for a while now, so we’re really comfortable with what to do if we want to find a place to drink or chill out or watch a movie or stay on the bus and hang out. We have dance parties on the bus sometimes. They’re so much fun.

Reach the reporter at liam.hausmann@asu.edu


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