Queer rockers 'The Clicks' deliver real, raw, in-your-face rock-n-roll

And now, get ready for something completely different!

The Cliks’ new album Snakehouse (Silver Label/Tommy Boy Entertainment) reveals a band of such primal power and unguarded emotionality that it will take your breath away.

From the first time they plugged in and cranked it up two years ago, lead vocalist and guitarist Lucas Silveira (who identifies as a transexual male; his bandmates all identify as queer), drummer Morgan Doctor and bassist Jordan B. Wright clicked—fittingly enough. The instinctively generating something altogether special: elevated chops enabling them to focus their collective ferocity, an impassioned genuineness resulting from Wright and Doctor’s deep connection with Silveira’s openly emotional new songs and an intuitive knack for concocting sledgehammer hooks to drive the songs home and lodge them permanently in the listener’s cranium.

Listening to these indelible tracks, one can understand why The Cliks have frequently been compared to the original Pretenders, as the multitalented Silveira writes and sings with the unbridled intensity of Chrissie Hynde while also playing electric guitar with the thrilling dynamism of the late, great James Honeyman-Scott.

On Snakehouse, The Cliks have created something mysterious yet transparent, specific yet universal, timeless yet intoxicatingly new.  This is music that seems to emanate from a parallel universe, one where fundamental distinctions are blurred, living passionately is the highest level of existence and rock & roll is the ultimate form of expression.

Currently touring as part of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Tour, lead singer Lucas Silveira took some time while traveling between shows to speak with O&AN in an exclusive phone interview.

For more information on The Clicks please visit www.myspace.com/theclicks.  

O&AN:  As much great exposure as you guys have gotten on the road with Cyndi Lauper do you find it easier to address yourself as a trans-identified female-to-male or do people still tend to get confused?

Silveira:  It’s usually an easy thing to approach when I have the platform with which to do so.  I haven’t really had any issues whatsoever so far.  There has been maybe one interview where there was a sense of awkwardness about the explanation because the interviewer refused to accept it for what it was.  Most of the time all I have to do is explain it and people are cool and they move on to the music—the music being something that tends to bridge the gap.  It completely takes away from someone having to think about sexuality and gender and boundaries.  It puts you in a place where music is universal and it doesn’t matter who is creating it.

O&AN:  What’s it like to be one of the hottest new rock acts in the country now?  Do you think that your success with the crowds is a sign that people are becoming more accepting of trans-identified performers?

Silveira:  From where we stand it has been amazing because I feel like we have hit a kind of pocket in time where people are more eager and excited to find out about trans people as opposed to thinking it’s too weird to even approach on any level at all. 

We have had so much positive feedback and support from mainstream press.  It’s been unreal. We may not have gotten to the point yet where a huge amount of people have been exposed to us, but we have definitely established a strong niche audience.  They have given us nothing but amazing response and support.  I think the time is right and I think people are ready for this. 

The best and most surprising support we’ve gotten so far has been from the music community which is filled to the brim with middle class straight white dudes.  But the immense amount of support we’ve received has been amazing.  I feel like they have really taught me a lesson about how I might want to take a more positive view of what I’m about to get into.  I went in with my fists up ready to brawl and I was completely disarmed from the moment it all started.  I was blown away!

O&AN:  How do you handle the constant whirlwind of activity you have suddenly found yourselves in?

Silveira:  It has been absolutely overwhelming at points touring so incredibly hard in such an incredibly short period of time.  You kind of have to find a rhythm with it or else it’s easy to burn out really fast.  The first thing we all realized was that rest is just as important as partying.  It’s so easy to be on the road and after every show you end up in a very festive environment with girls and guys all around us and drinks everywhere.  You can have a lot of fun but if that’s all you decide to do it can be an intense ride.  You really have to learn to balance things out as best you can because it’s already a surreal world to be in and it takes a lot to get used to.  I don’t know yet if I’m 100 percent used to it yet, but I’m getting there.

O&AN:  As a rock band that steps outside of established accepted gender roles, do you find more support from straight people or from the gay community when you are out performing?

Silveira:  We have a huge amount of support from both groups but as far as the gay community at large is concerned it seems that trans-identified people are now treated the way bisexual people were in the '70s and '80s.  There always seems to be this sort of knee-jerk reaction that says, “What the hell is that and what’s it doing here?”

I can’t say what it’s like for trans-females but when a woman becomes a trans-man there seems to be this feeling of betrayal from lesbians that is almost visceral.  It’s really sad to me that the very people who should be our biggest supporters are often our biggest detractors.  It’s by no means the majority reaction, but it does seem to cover a large portion of the people I come across.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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