After the Q101 Block Party was canceled on Saturday, September 13th, several bands decided to head over to the Cubby Bear to play a free show for those who were 21+. Sick Puppies and Ludo were the only major acts that played the show. MSI rumored that they were going to play but didn’t actually show up, bummer. Anyways, here’s my interview with the Sick Puppies:
Andy Keil: I bet you guys are glad you don’t have to play out in the rain today.
Shimon Moore: Yeah, well, we were supposed to play at 4:30 and now we don’t play til’ 9. Now we’ve got 5 hours with nothing to do.
Andy: Are you excited about tonight’s 21+ show?
Shim: You can ask us that after the show.
Andy: Alright, I’ve scoured the internet for an explanation as to why you guys (Shim & Emma) chose Sick Puppies as your band name. Care to tell?
Shim: We had a whole list of names that we were throwing around. One day, while we were playing in a garage, this dog walked in, puked, and then walked back out. You know, like dogs do. From then on, we’ve been the Sick Puppies.
Andy: When did you move to the U.S. and what was your motivation in doing so?
Shim: Emma and I moved in ’05. We moved out to L.A. so we could score a record deal. All we had when we left Sydney was some money we’d saved up and a list of people to get in contact with; that was it. We brought a drummer with us but that didn’t work out. Then we met mark. We spent a lot of time practicing and after about six months we inked a record deal. A year and a half later, Dressed Up As Life came out.
Andy: Anyone that’s been to your live show knows how much energy you cram into your set. Whether its 30 minutes or an hour, it’s pure energy from start to finish. So, how did you develop that stage presence where you basically take control of the crowd?
Shim: As a band we draw influence from Rage Against The Machine, Incubus, and Silverchair. We wanted to do what they were doing and I guess it just developed from that.
Andy: So basically you were born to rock. What are your favorite songs to play live?
Mark: I like “All The Same.”
Emma Anzai: Really? Wouldn’t have guessed that.
Shim: Yeah man, doesn’t really seem your style.
Mark Goodwin: It’s not my favorite song, just my favorite to play.
Emma: I like “Howard’s Tale.”
Shim: That bass line is so hard to play.
Shim: I’d have to say mine is “Nothing Really Matters” because I get to rap like a white boy.
Andy: I really liked your first album, Welcome to the Real World. What does that album represent to you as a band?
Shim: That record was different, instead of playing songs that sounded good, we focused more on playing what we wanted to play. DUAL is different, we paid attention to the overall sound of that record. We screamed a lot back then, now everything kind of flows.
Andy: WTTRW was released independently and DUAL was released on a Virgin, were there any pressures coming from the label to make a more mainstream record?
Shim: No, not really. We still wrote the tracks that we wanted. We had to fight a little for the name Dressed Up As Life but we made it pretty clear that’s what we wanted and it worked.
Andy: So how did you come up with Dressed Up As Life for the album name?
Shim: It’s from the lyrics of our song “Cancer.” Again, we had a list of names we were throwing around and Emma said Dressed Up As Life. It seemed to fit so that’s what we went with.
Andy: Dressed Up As Life leaves a lot of room for interpretation, there’s no deeper metaphorical meaning in there?
Shim: We really just pulled it straight from our lyrics.
Andy: You guys mentioned that Silverchair was a big influence, what did you think of the new album Young Modern?
Emma: I can’t connect with it like the older records. I mean Frogstomp, Neon Ballroom, those were my favorites, I grew up on them.
Shim: It’s not like the old albums, that’s for sure. I mean Straight Lines was ok but it doesn’t compare to Frogstomp or Diorama.
Andy: There are lyrics in the song “Straight Lines” that say “I’m a sex-change; and a damsel with no heroine,” what do you think Daniel Johns means by that?
Shim: To be honest, I don’t think he pays much attention to his lyrics. I mean if you listen to the songs, they’re all over the place. My favorite album is Diorama and one song that means a lot is the last song on the album, a piano ballad called “All These Years.” Now that song has a real lyrical flow but it’s overlooked by most fans.
Andy: I have to admit, it’s only rated a 3/5 on my iPod but I’ll give it another chance.
Andy: What’s the longest you’ve gone without a shower while on tour?
Mark: I shower every day, no exceptions.
Shim: Tell him about the pants.
Andy: This sounds interesting.
Mark: We were on a two month tour and I only washed my stage clothes twice. I hate washing clothes. I made it 22 shows before washing them; it was mostly a favor to Shim and Emma. I don’t like the way they fit after I was them, they’re too tight.
Emma: We always do this pre-show huddle and about the 20th show, we barely touch because we all smell.
Mark: Emma doesn’t, she smells good when she sweats, like flowers.
Andy: I checked out your schedule and you don’t have many shows planned after this one, is there another record in the works?
Shim: We’re taking a break after these last few shows to work on new material. Plans for the next record are around February. We’ll see.
Andy: Where’s your favorite place to play in the United States?
Shim: Chicago. We always say the city we’re playing in.
Emma: I really like the south. The accent, the food, the people, it’s great.
Andy: You guys have played Chicago before, what venues?
Emma: The Metro and I think Reggie’s.
Andy: Which one did you like better?
Emma: Definitely the Metro.
Andy: Do you have a favorite show that you’ve played?
Shim: I probably shouldn’t mention this because the show was a total flop, only about 30-40 people there. But, they were all hard core fans and knew every word. When you have a crowd like that, you kind of have to step up and give them something a little different.
Andy: What did you think of your last headlining tour?
Shim: It was great, we went from playing 30 minute sets to having an hour and 10 minutes so that was a little different. We had a pretty good time with the guys in Saving Abel.
Mark: Yeah, everyone knows who Saving Abel is now. They can thank us for that. Kidding of course…But seriously, they can thank us.
Andy: What did you think of Dropping Daylight?
Shim: There are really talented guys in that band. They put on a good show.
Andy: I guess I was turned off after seeing the tour for the second time and they did the whole “we’ve never played this song on tour before” and then they’d bust into the Journey cover. I mean everyone covers Journey and to say you’ve never played it before at every show on the tour, c’mon.
Shim: Oh, busted. I hadn’t ever heard that song so I thought it was great.
Andy: You can’t be serious?
Emma: No really, I don’t think Journey ever made it to Australia. We’ve got a band similar to them I bet you’ve never heard of though. They’re called Cold Chisel with Jimmy Barnes, you should check em’ out.
Andy: Is there anything I didn’t ask you guys that I should have?
Mark: Just don’t ask us about the “Free Hugs” video.
Shim: He’s being sarcastic.
We were interrupted by the Paul’s (the tour manager) son; he wanted to play with his friends. That was the nicest “hurry the f*** up” I’ve ever gotten, point taken.
Emma was wearing a hoodie from The Almost’s Southern Weather that I was hoping to ask about. But, since I already got the cue from the little man, I thanked the band and headed downstairs to catch Ludo’s opening set. Check out my review of the night here.