It isn't unheard of for a post-baby boomer rock band to have some baby boomer influences, either direct or indirect. For example, a post-grunge outfit might claim Creed, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Live as influences but also have traces of Led Zeppelin or the Beatles in its sound. But the post-baby boomers who comprise Silvertide aren't alternative rockers who have some baby boomer influences here and there -- they're a post-boomer band with a totally retro hard rock sound that is firmly planted in the '70s and '80s. The Philadelphia residents' bluesy, gritty, riff-driven songs are devoid of alterna-rock influences; their list of influences includes Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, the Faces, Guns N' Roses, the Who, and the Rolling Stones, among others. And ironically, Silvertide's members weren't even born when Zeppelin (which broke up in 1980) was still together.
Silvertide was formed in January 2001 in northeast Philly, a heavily working-class area that is to Philadelphia what Queens and Brooklyn are to New York. At first, Silvertide (which was originally called Vertigo) had four members: lead singer Walt Lafty, lead guitarist Nick Perri, rhythm guitarist Mark Melchiorre (who also plays banjo and the Indian sitar), and drummer Kevin Frank (who has cited the Who's Keith Moon as a major influence). When bassist Brian Weaver was added to the lineup, Silvertide officially had five members. The young rockers had been jamming and rehearsing in the basement for several months when they started performing live in Philly clubs, and listeners were shocked to hear a group of 21st century teenagers sounding like they had just stepped out of the '70s or '80s -- in fact, most of Silvertide's members were still in high school and weren't old enough to vote when the band was formed.
And because their sound was so unapologetically retro, they felt like musical outcasts in high school. When other northeast Philly teens were listening to Korn, Limp Bizkit, Eminem, and Jay-Z, Silvertide's members were admiring the Rolling Stones, the Who, Peter Frampton, Jimi Hendrix, and the Faces. When other high-school students were adoring Britney Spears, *NSYNC, and the Backstreet Boys, Lafty was being influenced by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose, and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant -- and Lafty, ironically, is even younger than Tyler's daughter, Liv Tyler.
But if the members of Silvertide were musical outsiders in high school, they weren't outsiders in Philly rock clubs -- by the time 2001 ended, Silvertide was creating a healthy buzz on the city's rock scene. And the buzz was so strong that Silvertide ended up opening for Aerosmith when Steven Tyler and friends played in Philly during a national tour. That local buzz led to a deal with veteran music industry mogul Clive Davis' J Records, which signed the band and released its debut EP, American Excess, in 2002. The following summer, Silvertide joined producer Oliver Leiber (Paula Abdul, The Corrs) in Los Angeles to begin recording their studio full-length debut. After previewing their songs on a springtime tour with Tantric and Showdown, Silvertide issued Show & Tell in early June 2004. ~ Alex Henderson