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On the Bill
Ween performs with the Meat Puppets at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, 720-865-2494.
The Sick Puppies throw up a sick sophomore album
by Alan Sculley
The Sick Puppies made its first CD, Dressed Up As Life, under the kind of inconvenient circumstances that can make it challenging to create an album that’s all it can be.
“We were signed to an independent label,” bassist Emma Anzai said during an early July phone interview. “Basically, the producers were doing it on their down time. So whenever they had time off, usually late at night or on the weekend, we’d go in and quickly put something together and record it. We were just lucky to even be doing that. So I think the focus was more on getting it done rather than concentrating on the other bits.”
In fact, work had to be spread out so much that it took about a year to finish Dressed Up As Life.
But things were much different when it came to Tri-Polar, the new CD by Sick Puppies. Dressed Up As Life eventually got picked up by major label Capitol Records, and that meant having a bigger recording budget.
“We had a schedule,” Anazi said. “So we had to write and record by a certain time, and we were out on the road by this time. So we went, ‘OK, great.’ We had a block of time where we could really focus on it.”
Anzai feels she and her bandmates, singer/guitarist Shimon Moore and drummer Mark Goodwin, took advantage of the improved situation. And while she is proud of Dressed Up As Life, she’s confident that Tri-Polar is a more fully realized work.
The new CD, Anzai said, also reflects the growth of a band that had only been together in this configuration for a short time when work began on Dressed Up As Life.
Moore and Anzai formed the original lineup of Sick Puppies in Australia in 1997 with drummer Chris Mileski and got an immediate break after entering a contest sponsored by an Australian radio network that featured a prize of a record deal and opportunity to go on tour.
The band, indeed, made a CD, Welcome To The Real World, and did a tour. But Anzai said she and Moore realized the population in Australia just wasn’t big enough to make a career work.
So in March 2005, Moore and Anzai moved to Los Angeles, leaving behind Mileski, who chose not to leave Australia.
The band, though, didn’t take off on arrival in the States. In fact, it took almost two years and a stroke of good luck to finally get things happening for the Sick Puppies.
Before coming to Los Angeles, Moore had taken some video footage of Juan Mann, who gained some notoriety in Sydney for walking around a local mall with a sign that offered “Free Hugs.”
While in Los Angeles, Moore got word that Mann was going through serious depression over the death of his grandmother.
Remembering his video footage, Moore decided to create a video greeting card with the Sick Puppies song “All The Same” providing a soundtrack for the footage.
Moore then posted the video on the popular website YouTube, and within days, it had gotten more than 250,000 hits.
The attention the Free Hugs video was getting prompted Los Angeles radio station KROQ to start playing “All The Same,” and in short order record labels started courting the Sick Puppies. Virgin ended up signing the group.
The video certainly gave the Sick Puppies a nice start, but now it’s a new phase with Tri-Polar. The early signs are promising for the band. The song “You’re Going Down” has started getting early airplay at rock radio and is also being used as a theme song for the WWE.
“You’re Going Down” is one of several songs (“I Hate You” and “So What I Lied” are among the others) on Tri-Polar that sound like they could get airtime on rock radio. The songs feature catchy, but beefy guitar riffs and plenty of rhythmic punch to go with the hearty vocals of Moore.
Anzai feels the Sick Puppies made strong musical strides in Tri-Polar.
“I think this time around, because we’ve been on the road and also we’ve worked with our producers, [Antonina and Tim, known as the Hit squad],” she said. “So this time around it was a lot more focused and we could get what we wanted. I think we achieved it more than we did before. I mean, I’m really, really excited and happy about this album.”
The Sick Puppies will be on tour into the fall, opening dates for fellow hard rockers Shinedown. Anzai said having the Tri-Polar songs to play is taking the group’s live show to a new level.
“The last tour we had the [Dressed Up As Life] album and then give or take a couple of songs, and we couldn’t really interchange too many others,” she said. “We did some stuff from other bands like Muse. But this time around we’ve got a lot to choose from, and I think we can pick and choose the best ones from both albums. Hopefully it will be a much better set.”
On the BillSick Puppies
perform with HURT
, Veer Union and Brookroyal at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 303-322-2308.back to top