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What Guy? Oh, That 1 Guy: Mike Silverman and the tale of the Magic Pipe 

click to enlarge One hell of a magic pipe.
  • One hell of a magic pipe.
One hell of a magic pipe.
Mike Silverman has an odd sense of humor.

"I came up with the name in 1994. It was a joke or a dare, and it just stuck. It still makes me laugh. It kinda shaped the direction of my whole career," Silverman says of his onstage moniker, That 1 Guy.

Silverman is an irreverent wordsmith, creating seemingly nonsensical songs that blend spoken word styling with funky/heavy metal bass lines. Imagine Shel Silverstein hanging out with Primus and Parliment and discussing, among other things, cheese and weasels. Now imagine that bass line coming from a crazy-looking piece of roundabout art. The one-man band has been a traveling sideshow oddity for upwards of ten years now, and is making an appearance at the Silver Moon on February 12.

The Magic Pipe, as his instrument is so lovingly referred to, was hand built by Silverman himself and is part bass, part sampler, and all unbelievable.

"I actually rebuilt it last summer, with different kinds of metals. It's a whole new instrument. The new material has a lot more involved texture and sounds. It's a reflection of that 'adventure seeker' that I am. And, oh yes, the Magic Boot is still part of the band." The Magic Boot to which Silverman refers is exactly that, a boot he's rigged with samples and loops that he plays on stage along with the lanky metal pipe. The live show will dumbfound you, but the Magic Pipe exists beyond gimmicks. Silverman repeatedly referred to it as "The Instrument" during our conversation, and though he created it, there is a kind of reverence in their relationship.

Over ten years of touring, Silverman has created a cult following, aided by the fact that his song accompanied a priceless scene in Showtime's wry comedy, Weeds. "I love the show, it's really funny, but you know, YouTube has almost done as much for me."

As has word of mouth. If you have seen That 1 Guy live, you realize that you need to not only hear, but see. Besides two studio albums, Silverman filmed a DVD of performances in Australia-a form that lends itself well to the aural/visual treat that is the man and his Magic Pipe. "I don't know why I have a big following in Australia...Maybe it's the connection to the Didgeridoo-I mean that instrument has a 50,000-year-old history there, it's very bass and low end and rhythmic." Aesthetically, the Magic Pipe does resemble the aboriginal instrument. Perhaps Silverman is tapping into some collective down-under subconscious. Or maybe he's just putting on a good show.

Bordering on performance art, That 1 Guy is not to be missed. He put a blisteringly high-energy show a few years ago at The Grove in support of his album Songs in the Key of Beotch, and this time around, highlighting tracks from 2007's The Moon is Disgusting, we should expect, as Silverman says, "That 1 Guy at his best, high energy, lotsa fun."

It's a quick stop in a whirlwind tour of the Great White North-an unintentional Iditarod. I asked Silverman if he wanted to freeze his ass off, or if he liked ice fishing, and he just laughed. "Life on the road just blurs by. I get in such a groove on the road, it's very planned but very natural. It's easier than being home. But, no I don't think I would have time for ice fishing."

And while he won't have time to sample Silver Moon's Microbrews either (I asked) he will have time to lay down some funk, that's for sure.

That 1 Guy
8pm doors, 9pm show. Thursday, February 12. Silver Moon Brewing Co. 24 NW Greenwood Ave. $7.

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