Spare Lucas Silveira the rock star cliches.
He's not a drug addict, a drunk, or a pompous prima donna. His angst comes from a place that is quite real, and that he dealt with head-on and without flinching.
Two years ago, in the midst of a relationship falling apart, his grandfather's death, and his father's stroke, Silveira - the front man and songwriter for alt-rockers The Cliks - came to terms with his sexuality. Born Lillia Silveira, he realized that he is transgendered, a man born with female genitalia.
So he had a double-mastectomy, changed his name to Lucas, and realized a level of contentedness he didn't think possible. Perhaps most indicative of his comfort level, it's not something he shies away from while discussing his band's album, "Snakehouse."
"That's the initial attention grabber for people and that's fine, I'm happy to talk about it," he said in a phone interview to promote the band's show tomorrow at Frankie's Inner City. "I think there's very little visibility for trans people, and if I have to be the one out and talking about it, I'm perfectly fine with it."
An engaging conversationalist with a bit of a Canadian accent from his years living in Toronto, Silveira figures it could be worse.
"Why fight something people are curious about? I always say that everybody has a story and mine happens to be that I'm tran. Amy Winehouse's happens to be that she's a troubled young lady who likes to drink a lot and all her press releases seem to be about what she's doing in rehab. At least I'm not in that position. I feel lucky," he said, laughing.
The band's CD is an energetic, raw, and rocky mix that sounds like early Pretenders married to a band like the Afghan Whigs. Silveira, who does not reveal his age, has not taken hormone-therapy drugs so he can preserve his voice, which is one of the band's strong suits.
He said that once he came to terms with his sexuality, his music became more honest and better.
"I finally decided when all that happened and I decided to come out as being tran it was a part of my identity that changed and I grew as a human being," he said. "I learned a lot about what my strengths were and what I could deal with and what I couldn't deal with, and what kept me moving forward. I think when you grow as a person like that you grow as an artist. I felt a movement of just absolute honesty."
The band was part of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" tour and has been featured on National Public Radio.
The four-person group's set focuses on "Snakehouse" songs - including The Cliks' reggaefied take on Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River" - because Silveira said his older material is no longer relevant.
"For example there were certain things with references to gender before that are so natural to me now, but that I tiptoed around before," he said.
Doors at Frankie's Inner City, 308 East Main St. in East Toledo, open at 9 p.m. tomorrow. Opening bands are The Drawers, We Are the Magi, and LoveSickRadio. Tickets are $6 for people 21 and older, and $8 for people between the ages of 18 and 20 and are available at the door. Information: 419-693-5300.
Contact Rod Lockwood at firstname.lastname@example.org
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