"There was also a huge, really detailed black-and-white drawing of Nikki's face that was really scary." ... "It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip."
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Silversun Pickups has done quite well over the past couple of years, tapping into the sounds of Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine to build its own successful alt-rock kingdom. Last year's Swoon continues to spawn hits, so the band has embarked on a headlining tour. We caught up with frontman Brian Aubert to play "Finish What We Started," in which we start a sentence and let him finish it:
The last time I was in Phoenix, I: "Had a big zit on my forehead, so when we did a radio show, I had my zit sing 'Kissing Families.' And I made people talk to my zit and I named it 'Unicorn.'"
The one thing that must be provided for us backstage is: "Coconut water. And a clam-shaped Jacuzzi. And a framed picture of Björk. Sorry, that's three things. But they're all musts."
Our tour bus smells like: "Febreze. I think the bus driver sprayed it in the air-conditioning vent. But the thing is, we're really clean — so it usually smells good. It doesn't smell like feet. We're a coed bus — we have Nikki, of course, and we have our lighting girl Michelle. And a lot of the guys in our crew are quite girly."
The strangest thing someone has shouted at me while I was performing was: "Last night, somebody yelled out 'Totes McGotes!' That's awful. I think I Love You, Man is a good movie, too. If somebody yells out 'Joben,' I'm into that. But 'Totes McGotes' — that's when I grab security."
The strangest thing I've seen while performing was: "A T-shirt that had one of those pictures of me and the person on it. That was the weirdest thing, looking at a T-shirt of the person wearing the T-shirt and me, together. My mind was blown. I had to stop the show. There was also a huge, really detailed black-and-white drawing of Nikki's face that was really scary. Like, if she came back as a ghost without her body. It was really disturbing. We kept it on the bus for a day and then Nikki just couldn't take it anymore."
The best thing about being in a band is: "The lack of sleep. It's great. It gives you a high, man."
The worst thing about being in a band is: "The hurry-up-and-wait."
The funniest thing one of my bandmates has said to me onstage is: "Nikki said, 'Is there a snake doctor in the house? Cause these pythons are killing me,' and then she kissed her arms."
The thing I'll always remember most about making Swoon is: "The light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel day. We were buried in it for so long, and there was this one day we recorded with an orchestra, and that day the songs were really filling out, and the orchestra was playing so beautiful and everything was locked in, and we could see Swoon's ending. It was such a nice day."
The biggest misconception about our band is: "That I'm a girl. I always used to love the idea of the guy in the crowd waiting to see the girl singer. And then I'd show up with my hair all messed up and my beard and I'm like [in deep man voice], 'All right, thanks for comin', everyone,' and I would think the guy's mind is blown, or he leaves, or his life is forever changed."
The first musician I saw live or on TV who inspired me to do this for a living was: "The Chipmunks. I was very little, but I was like, 'You guys are doin' it!' I thought, 'These guys have really beaten the odds.'"
Ten years from now we hope to be: "Wrapping up the Swoon tour!"