A local band is using some of its music to spread an anti-bullying message.
“We want our music to be someone’s shield, to help them get through their hard times,” said Sky Byrd.
Byrd, Roxanne Jeske, Buddy LeTendre and Spencer Fellner make up the band Silenze.
They have been playing together for years.
There are several reasons why the band is taking an anti-bullying direction with some of its songs.
“Roxanne and Spencer were bullied in high school,” Byrd said. “I felt there is too much worrying about how good it feels to be a part of a group.”
In addition to being a musician, Byrd is a martial arts instructor.
“The last four to five years, a lot of kids are coming through saying they’re getting ‘locker checked,’ and no one is talking about it,” Byrd said. “Someone comes up, leans in with a shoulder and boom. I’m finding out it’s not uncommon.”
“Take This Life,” a single coming off the band’s next album, is an example of a song their listeners connect to.
“We wrote the song based on wanting to reach out. It’s an emotional song. The feedback we’re getting – we’ve been told it really touches people a lot. We love it any time a song can apply to someone’s life,” Byrd said.
Byrd was a youngster when he began playing music with his late brother, Free.
“I ended up picking up the drums, because he was much better on the guitar. I was 8. He was 9,” Byrd said.
Eventually, a band formed, as Fellner, Jeske and LeTendre joined.
In the beginning, the band did not have a name.
“We played a couple shows as the nameless band,” Byrd said.
As they talked about what to call themselves, there was a big silence.
That is when LeTendre suggested the word “silence” for their name, beginning with an ellipsis and adding a slightly different spelling of the word.
The members of the band have been together since about the late 1990s. In 2011, Chris Abbleby became the band’s full-time sound tech.
They have toured throughout the state, played shows for charities and will play the Renegade Stage at Milwaukee’s Summerfest from 7-8:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 27.
“We have not played there before,” Byrd said. “We are very excited to have an opportunity like this.”
The band has about 56 original songs.
It rotates the songs at different shows, usually playing about 36 songs.
“We like to call ourselves middle-range rock with some pop rifs and some heavy rock mixed in there. We have also called ourselves teddy bear metal,” Byrd said.
He and Fellner handle the song writing.
“We have two sides of our music. Half is funny, odd, goofy. The other half is you’re not alone. We understand,” Byrd said.
The band is also taking what he describes as a steam punk direction, with Victorian era costumes.
Sometime this summer, their second album is expected to be completed.
Byrd encourages people to check out their music at http://www.reverbnation.com/silenzerocks and to give them feedback about what they think.
“We’re comedy. We’re fun. We’re energetic. We like to interact with the audience. We like to entertain,” he said.