Feature: Silversun Pickups at the CD102.5 Holiday Show

From the December 6, 2012 edition

When Silversun Pickups return to Columbus this Sunday to headline CD102.5’s Holiday Show, they’ll do so with band bud Sarah Negahdari filling in on bass. The usual bassist, Nikki Monninger, is scheduled to give birth to twins via C-section on Dec. 14, which is fabulous news for Monninger and her loved ones.

Her absence nearly threw drummer Christopher Guanlao for a loop, though. Shaking up the foundation of a rock band’s sound is serious business.

“I think that scared me the most out of anybody,” Guanlao said. “And I noticed this the last couple weeks that Nikki was with us when we were touring. I noticed how much we looked at each other and how much we paid attention. We’re the rhythm section. We have to have that connection.”

Fortunately for Guanlao’s sanity, Negahdari, normally the guitarist for L.A. band Happy Hollows, didn’t take long to get the hang of Silversun’s sweeping shoegaze pop.

“Sarah learned like 30 something songs in basically two months,” Guanlao said of the days before Monninger’s maternity leave. “When we would come back home from tour, it was like boot camp for her. She would go over to Nikki’s every day… Now she’s like a seasoned vet.”

Upheaval is becoming business as usual for the band after recording third album Neck of the Woods with producer Jacknife Lee, who challenged the band’s perceptions to the point of removing the original chorus from single “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings).” It was a radical revision, but that’s exactly the kind of shakeup the band was looking for when it parted amicably with longtime producer Dave Cooley.

One partnership that’s still going strong is Silversun’s bond with CD102.5. Sunday’s show at LC Pavilion — also featuring Delta Spirit, The Features and Cloud Nothings — continues a longstanding connection between Silversun and “The Alternative Station.”

“It’s just been really great,” Guanlao said. “They’ve been supporting us since the very beginning. It’s just really nice to come back there. We love going back to these smaller markets too because they’re different than bigger market. They seem to be less jaded, and they tend to rock out more.”