Australia’s Sick Puppies ready to connect with Ohio
By Gary Spencer
Photo: Sick Puppies will perform June 25 at JD Legend’s; photo: Myriam Santon
It is somewhat unusual the Miami Valley gets an internationally touring band on its musical calendar in any given year. But that rarity will become the case this Friday, when Australian hard rock band and Capitol records recording artists Sick Puppies will roll into JD Legend’s Entertainment Complex in Franklin, making their second appearance in the Buckeye state in 2014.
While Sick Puppies have only begun to become a globetrotting, headline act in their own right in the last handful of years, the trio has been actively writing and performing since the late 1990s. Their beginnings are somewhat of an unlikely, but amusing, story that’s been repeated ever since the band began blowing up stateside.
“I met [Sick Puppies vocalist/singer] Shimon [Moore] in high school in Sydney, Australia, over a mutual love of the band Silverchair,” Sick Puppies bassist Emma Anzai said. “We actually met in the high school music room and argued over who had booked the room first! From then on, we jammed together and started a band.”
Soon, then-drummer Chris Mileski joined the burgeoning duo of Moore and Anzai, and the trio of Sick Puppies came to be. In the early 2000s, the group entered the Triple J Unearthed band competition in Australia, where they caught the eye of band manager Paul Stepanek, ofwhom they are still clients to this very day – no small feat in the here-today-gone-tomorrow business of rock ‘n’ roll. By this point, the band had recruited their current drummer Mark Goodwin and recorded an EP and their first full-length album, Welcome to the Real World. With the help of Stepanek, Sick Puppies were ready to make the next big step in their musical career.
“[Stepanek] hooked us up with people from L.A. who we later worked with and eventually moved us to L.A. to work full time,” Anzai explained. “[We] recorded our first [major label] album, Dressed Up as Life, and from then we toured our asses off and things progressed.”
One of the singles from their major label debut album, “All the Same,” soon became a breakout hit for Sick Puppies in 2007, thanks in part to its inclusion in the YouTube video of the year, “Free Hugs Campaign” in 2006. Soon, the song climbed to the Modern Rock Radio Top Ten and helped Dressed Up as Life make it onto the Billboard Top 200 list. Since that time, Sick Puppies have released two more EPs and two more full-length studio albums, including their most recent slab, Connect, which was released by Capitol Records just last year.
Connect is a very immediate record that has no problem alternating between jittery acoustic-driven pop rock that’s easy to nod your head to and fuzzy, slashing, catchy guitar rock. And while their recorded music continues to sell well, Anzai contends the band’s bread and butter – and what they enjoy the most – is their ability to tour the world and play live.
“We live to play live,” Anzai said. “I’ve always looked up to trios that bring it live: Muse, Silverchair, and Green Day, to name a few. Writing and recording a record and playing it live are two completely different beasts. Writing and recording takes time, thought and precision. Playing it live is the delivery of the emotion.”
While Sick Puppies have called America their home for roughly a decade now, they still love to go home and perform for their native country as well. According to Anzai, live audiences in the U.S. and Australia have some very noticeable differences.
“Fans in Australia are pretty laid back and easygoing,” Anzai said. “We haven’t been back there for a while, so things might have changed, but we know for sure that people in the States have a raw rock energy we love to feel and feed off of. We’ve mainly toured the U.S. out of any other country including Australia. I would say the U.S. crowds have a ton of passion they throw back at shows, which is inspiring. I love playing festivals in the States – it’s raw and unpredictable.”
And when it comes to the Buckeye state, Emma contends they have enjoyed performing here every time they’ve been here.
“We’ve played in Ohio many times before, both our own shows as well as festivals, and it’s always been a blast!” Anzai said. “The folks of Ohio certainly have the passion we love to see at shows. We are looking forward to playing [there]!”
Sick Puppies will perform Friday, June 25 at JD Legend’s, 65 Millard Dr. in Franklin. Tickets are $22.50 in advance. The show is all ages and doors open at 7 p.m. For more information, please visit sickpuppies.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.