Founded in Bihar
, India, in 1996, Cloudy Grey and the Silver Lining
is a new-wave underground progressive-rock band
- Franklin Haykes- sitar, guitar, mouth organ
- Adrian Pierce- Hammond B3, vocals, bass, guiro
- Rachel Watts- tamborine, fife, vocals, coke-bottles
- Christina Porter- tabla, vocals
- Elaine Greensbury- glass organ, harp, violin, vocals
Called "a utopian blend of fantasy and ethereal bliss
" by Vic Starzky
of the New Delhi Gazette, CGSL has been wowing the coffee-shop and bar crowds of Europe, touring throughout the continent in their 1951 Volkswagon Thing
. "It's our home away." says sitarist and band founder Haykes. "We couldn't do what we're doing without it."
CGSL was formed when Haykes, Pierce, and Pierce's then-girlfriend Greensbury were attending a private bording school
in Bihar. "We're all mish-kids
," says Pierce. "My father was a surgeon working for the Presbyterian Church
at the time, and we ended up here. All five of us have had that in common: a feeling that we didn't really belong there. We love India, but it never quite felt like home." And rightly so. Haykes, Pierce and Porter all hail from the United States' east coast, while Greensbury and Watts are both from Cork, Ireland
Another important factor that led to the group's formation is their interest in South Asian music
. "We try to take from all types of music, but the Indian influence is inescapable," says Christina Porter, the group's drummer. "I mean, we have a sitar
ist and I play tabla
s. There's no way to avoid sounding the way they do.
After forming in 1996, during the group's senior year at boarding school, they began playing parties for their friends. "There's not much of a scene for kids around here. We knew we'd have to take this sound to Europe." And they did. In early 1998, the group packed up, waved Bihar goodbye, and headed for Greece, where they played with little success for several months. They then headed west to Italy, where they began to form a cult following. "Most of our songs incorporate vocals, but not lyrics", says Pierce. "We use our voices as instruments
. Some people don't have the attention span for music without words, but on the other hand, we're not held back by any language barrier
s." Leaving Italy in late 1998, the band headed north to Germany, where they encountered a crowd eager to hear them, and bigger gigs than they had ever had before. They remained in Germany for a year, touring all over the country in their VW
, which has since been nicknamed "Cheryl".
Then, in early 2000, they packed back up and headed to England, where they recorded their first album, a double-disc titled "All That is Not Seen
". Sales were slow at first, but after playing many clubs in London, and then up and down the UK, the album topped off at number 141 on the pop charts. "It was a lot better than we'd ever hoped, actually," says Porter. "We're not poppy
at all, and we never figured we'd get any kind of sales. But people seem to appreciate what we're doing." Since then, the band has played fairly regularly around Europe, but they've grown weary of the endless road life
. "We've needed a break, but we're not broken up." Indeed, the band just re-entered the studio to begin recording a new album
, as yet unnamed, scheduled for release sometime next summer.