by Dana Giusti
What were you doing when you were 16? Cheerleading at football games? Studying for the SATS? If you were Nick Perri, you were touring all over the world with some of the biggest rock and roll bands of all time.
Perri, a Philadelphia native, dropped out of high school to play lead guitar with his band Silvertide. They opened for legendary artists such as Van Halen, Aerosmith and Motley Crüe, and their 2004 album, Show and Tell, helped cinch their place as one of the best new rock and roll bands. Despite their talent and success, they were on the losing end of business and record label drama, which ultimately led to their hiatus in 2005. Eight years later, Silvertide is giving it another go.
In addition to recording a new EP, Silvertide is playing a sold-out show at the Theatre of Living Arts on Saturday, March 9th. The show sold out in just five days, but don’t be distressed if you didn’t get tickets—on Saturday, March 2nd, Perri will be playing at The Legendary Dobbs with what Perri calls “some of the best Philly musicians ever.”
He’s not kidding—it’s a veritable Who’s Who of Philly musicians: Silvertide’s Walt Lafty and Brian Weaver; Michael and Anthony Montesano of Pepper’s Ghost; Paul Keen of Pawnshop Roses; Jealousy Curve’s Shane Rozum; and “quite a few special guests” will be playing together. Perri, who is now based in Los Angeles, said the idea stemmed organically from his itch to play with his old friends.
“I started calling all my buddies, saying ‘Hey, let’s get together’, and have been playing non-stop with [them]. Some of these jams I’ve been doing have been so bitchin’ that I was like ‘We should do this for fun, we should do this live’…[the show is] basically me and all my best friends in Philly jamming onstage and playing a bunch of the songs that really inspired me growing up.”
While fans are benefiting from Perri’s productive use of his downtime, he remains focused on his original purpose for visiting Philly. Silvertide will be entering the studio to record their EP the day after their TLA show.
“We’re not putting any expectations on it,” Perri clarifies. “We’re doing it just for us because we love to create new music together. We’ll put it out and see what the reception is…I think we’re gonna continue at a pace that feels right for everybody. We’re gonna put the music first and see what happens, and go with the flow.”
After Silvertide’s initial break, Perri moved to L.A. and began touring as a lead guitarist for artists such as Perry Farrell, Shinedown and Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses. He continued to write and record his own music, and even briefly returned to Philly in 2010 to start another band.
“Walt [Lafty] and I put together a band called SINAI. It was a great band and a great experience, but the timing wasn’t right…we gave it our best shot, but shit was not aligning for us.”
Back in L.A., Perri focused on new projects such as developing his business, Perri Ink, and writing and playing with his sister Christina, known for her monster hit “Jar of Hearts.” Despite all of the creative projects he was pursuing, Perri felt something was missing.
“The truth is, of all the things I’ve done, nothing moved my soul and my creative being like Silvertide. Silvertide was my baby; I wrote or co-wrote all those songs and really got to be me in that role. I’ve never felt that in any other project I’ve done.”
He decided to reach out to his band mates and see if they shared the same sentiment; fortunately, they did.
“These guys and I, we shared life experiences that [we’ll] never have with anyone else. To drop out of high school at 16 years old, then be in Japan playing for 15,000 people? Only us five who lived it can relate to each other the way that we can.”
The band made plans to get together in 2013; now Perri, along with fellow L.A. transplant and Silvertide alum Brian Weaver, are ready to rock with their Philly brothers again.
While Perri is here, his wife remains in L.A. taking care of their store, Perri Ink. The company started in 2009 as an online store selling custom guitars; however, Perri always envisioned having a space that reflected all of his interests. In 2011, his dream came to life as Perri Ink opened its doors on Hollywood’s Melrose Ave. It’s a one-of-a-kind retail store that sells custom guitars, motorcycles and clothing; additionally, they perform tattoos and piercings. You can even get a trim at the in-house barber shop.
“The response has been overwhelming,” Perri says. “The people who’ve been there—it’s their favorite store in the world and they come back almost every day. It’s a super chill environment, which is what we wanted out of a store; to have the vibe of a place you’d wanna hang out at. It’s really been an incredible experience and, honestly, I couldn’t do any of it if it wasn’t for my wife. I also have two business partners that are based out of Philly; it’s a good team, and I believe in it. Every month it grows, so I just look forward to growing and developing.”
Notably, everything in the store is American-made, something Perri feels passionately about. “We need to support small businesses and American-made products. I take great pride in having an American establishment that sells solely American-made products.”
Although he misses his family, Perri is thrilled to be playing with his old friends and band mates during his hometown visit. “I’m proud to be from Philly. There’s a heart and soul and very distinct character about Philly, and it’s in me no matter where I go.”
He’s certainly thrilled to have the chance to honor his inspirations at The Legendary Dobbs.“It’s actually a tremendous opportunity because I’ve never really had the chance to play the songs that inspired me to start playing. What this night is really about is just jamming on all my favorite tunes. I don’t wanna give anything away too much, but if you’re a fan of Silvertide or Pepper’s Ghost or Pawnshop Roses or any of those bands, then I would definitely be at the show.”
They’ll be playing songs by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. As far as hearing original tunes? “Come out and find out!”
Nick Perri and Friends are playing at The Legendary Dobbs this Saturday, March 2nd. For more information on Silvertide and Nick Perri, check out www.facebook.com/nickperrimusic. For information on Perri Ink, check out www.perriink.com.