But, somehow, after putting aside a promising jazz career as an upright bassist, he morphed into one of the most astonishing solo performers you’re likely to see—the surreal, bombastic, and totally over-the-top one-man band known as That 1 Guy. Silverman’s alter-ego uses all four of his limbs (as well as his teeth) to deliver a live set that leaves flabbergasted audiences wondering, “Whoa, who spiked the punch?” It all started with Silverman’s obsession to build a monstrous instrument he calls the Magic Pipe.
“It has a big, heavy low string on the front, and a higher tenor string on its swinging segment,” details Silverman, who bows, slaps, plucks, “sticks,” and picks the nearly seven-foot-tall instrument through a thundering P.A. system. Guitar pickups capture the strings’ signals and send them through loopers, harmonizers, and stompboxes. The Pipe also has contact sensors that Silverman slaps to trigger samples. At his feet, kick-drum pedals beat cowbells and additional contact sensors. The otherworldly ax’s latest feature is a wacky hand drum that Silverman has dubbed the Electric Cowboy Boot. And on That 1 Guy’s faux-metal anthem, “Steamin’ Hunks of Hot Love Chunks,” the Pipe’s onboard fog machine belches white clouds. But, all gizmos aside, what’s most impressive about That 1 Guy is his sheer musicality. Silverman’s layering is unbelievably sophisticated, his grooves immensely phat, and his instrument astoundingly original. Check out video clips, as well as his debut album, Songs in the Key of Beotch [Righteous Babe], at that1guy.com.