The local band Silent Theory will be debuting their album, "Black Tie Affair," 60 days early with a show and CD release at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the BellTower Concert House in Pullman.
The album will be available worldwide on Jan 5., 2012, but, as drummer Mitch Swanger said, why not make the release into something special for the community?
“As part of the show, we’re giving a copy of the album out with every ticket purchase,” Swanger said. “We’re breaking our show into two sets. During the first, we’ll play a couple covers and songs that didn’t make the album, and the second half we’ll be playing the entirety of 'Black Tie Affair.'”
The album will feature ten original songs full of crunchy guitars, gritty rock ‘n’ roll vocals and in some instances, rhythm guitarist Robert James said, a slight country, acoustic feel. As a rule of thumb, Swanger said, Silent Theory writes music about things that have a story and reason behind them.
“People don’t want stuff just slapped on paper,” Swanger said. “They want something meaningful to the band and something they can relate to.”
While Silent Theory’s lyrical content speaks about rock ‘n’ roll themes such as drinking and having a good time, other songs focus on the tribulations the band has encountered on their road to success, James said.
“The fan favorite so far is ‘No Time To Lose,’ which has a really catchy second verse with a more funk beat on bass guitar,” James said. “Our label is pushing ‘Livin’ The Dream’ as our first single. It’s also schduled to be on the next Rock Band video game.”
The song “My Last Goodbye” is about Swanger’s experiences with bullying while teaching marketing courses in Lewiston.
“In my second year there, one of my favorite students came to school with suicidal cuts stretching from elbow to wrist, a result from bullying,” Swanger said. “Another student of mine, who had special needs, came to school badly beat up. As a teacher, if there was one thing that would make me lose it, it’d be bullying.”
Swanger said the song “My Last Goodbye” was not written to be morbid, but to rather function as a PSA or a cry for help for these victimized students.
Silent Theory is one of the rare bands from the Palouse area that have been signed to a record label, Swanger said. The band signed a contract with Illinois-based Turkey Vulture Records, a predominantly heavy metal label, on Oct. 14, 2010. Silent Theory’s sound is more commercial than 90 percent of the bands on the label, Swanger said, which is a big reason why Turkey Vulture Records picked them up. Their potential market and chance of being on the radio is huge.
“There’s not really anything out here that would draw a label’s interest,” Swanger said. “You wouldn’t think to look in a small town of Idaho. We’re the black sheep of any show we play, but sometimes it’s worked for us.”
Swanger said Silent Theory has played all sorts of shows, from gigs with death metal bands in Seattle to performances with Christian rock groups in Moscow, Idaho. In addition to the Washington and Idaho scenes, Silent Theory headlined Whiskey a Go-Go in Los Angeles in 2010, played with Metallica and The Proclaimers in the South By Southwest festival in 2009 and has made an appearance on MTV Cribs.
Despite the band’s success, Swanger said, if you can think of something bad happening to a band over the course of a few years, it happened to them.
James said when they play with metal bands, they hope the hardcore fans will just let them out alive. During other shows, though, he said they have seen people put their hands over their ears after the first few songs. However, he said, this just presents a challenge for the band to reach these audience members in a louder way.
“Sometimes there’ll be three people in the back clapping,” James said. “We were doing a sound check in Coeur d'Alene when a drunk old guy in the back screamed ‘get off the stage, there’s other bands that want to play.’ We hadn’t even started yet. We were checking the mics.”
The most trying ordeal came at a concert at the Knitting Factory in Spokane, Swanger said, where a sound technician played music over the band’s sound for more than half of their set. This event is one of the references the band makes through their lyrics in the song “Faded Memories.”
The volume of Silent Theory is about to get much louder soon, though, Swanger said.
"We sold out the BellTower two weeks early, and they’re even bringing in a second bar for the concert,” Swanger said. “Great things are destined to happen. We're happy with how the album turned out, and I think most people will be.”
Doors for the show will open at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the BellTower Concert House. The band Small Town Boys will open for Silent Theory.