When you Google search the band Silverstein, you’ll wind up with nearly as many hits related to late children’s author/raunchy songwriter/Playboy cartoonist Shel Silverstein. In fact, that’s just fine with the Burlington, Ontario Emo/Punk quintet’s members — they named themselves after their favorite author when they formed 17 years ago.
Silverstein’s lineup was in flux for the first couple of years, but by the time the band signed with Victory Records in late 2002, it had recorded two EPs and cemented its membership with lead vocalist Shane Told, guitarists Josh Bradford and Neil Boshart, bassist Billy Hamilton and drummer Paul Koehler.
Silverstein’s full-length debut, 2003’s When Broken is Easily Fixed, featured rerecorded versions of a half dozen songs from its initial EPs and was hailed by critics as a potent example of the cross-pollination and evolution of Emo, Hardcore and Metal. The album sold over 200,000 copies, surprising both band and label. For the follow-up, 2005’s Discovering the Waterfront, Silverstein worked with producer Cameron Webb, who produced the group over the next five years on subsequent albums. In that time, Silverstein toured with some of the biggest names in its scene, including Hawthorne Heights, Bayside, Simple Plan, The Devil Wears Prada, Escape the Fate and We Came as Romans, and played several Warped Tours.
In 2010, Silverstein released the CD/DVD package Decade (Live at the El Mocambo), a career-spanning retrospective and the band’s final release for Victory. Late that same year, the group released the Transition EP for Hopeless Records. In 2012, the band released Short Songs, with its 22 tracks (all under 90-seconds long) split evenly between originals and covers of bands that Silverstein considered influential, including Dead Kennedys, The Promise Ring, Green Day and Descendents. Seven months later, longtime guitarist Boshart was fired and former I Am Committing a Sin guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau was announced as his replacement. Since then, Silverstein has released a pair of albums on Rise Records, including 2017’s Dead Reflection, which cracked the Top 10 of Billboard’s Rock, Hard Rock and Alternative charts. Though approaching its 20 anniversary, it seems like Silverstein is just hitting its stride.