ESPN Music: Silversun Pickups

Silversun PickupsGregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/Getty ImagesSilversun Pickups, from left: Joe Lester, Christopher Guanlao, Brian Aubert and Nikki Monninger.
The Silversun Pickups made a quick rise from the Silver Lake music scene in Los Angeles to the Billboard charts. They released their first EP, "Pikul," in 2005, and 2006's "Carnavas" was the No. 1 Alternative and Independent record for four weeks.

"Swoon" followed in 2009 and debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200, and "Panic Switch" hit No. 1 on the Modern Rock charts.

In 2010, they were nominated for a best new artist Grammy and called "the most successful indie band" in L.A. by the L.A. Times. They've sold more than 1 million albums worldwide.

SSPU returns Tuesday with "Neck Of The Woods," a sprawling new album that takes the band, which earned early comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins' early work, on a new journey. They've teamed with a new producer, Jacknife Lee, who's worked with U2, Weezer and R.E.M., and have experimented with new sounds.

But despite their indie rock bona fides, the band members -- singer/guitarist Brian Aubert, bass player Nikki Monninger, keyboard player Joe Lester and, in particular, frenetic drummer Christopher Guanlao -- are also sports fans, especially of their beloved Lakers. While he's banging on the drums (and banging his head at the same time), Guanlao's been known to get his drum tech to keep him apprised of Lakers scores during the band's set.

He also performed a ritual during an arena-rock tour with Muse, bringing his trusty Lakers shirt along, to get a photo of him wearing it in NBA arenas of rival teams. Guanlao spoke to Playbook Sounds about his infiltration, the new album, and if he could take Justin Bieber on the court.

I know you are a big Lakers fan. But I also saw photos of the band playing basketball while you were making the album. Are all of you sports fans?

There are always a couple of things that we bring on the road with us ... a basketball, a soccer ball, and some tennis rackets. Not to say we're any good at any of those sports, or we have time to play too much, but we always bring them just in case there's an empty parking lot or something we can take advantage of and be silly. We're musicians, so we're not very good athletes by any means. But we're huge sports fans.

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