Sick Puppies look to bring success from Down Under to the states

The world needs more hugs, and the Sick Puppies are looking to give them.

The Australian-born alternative rock band released the video “Free Hugs,” accompanied with its song “All the Same” on YouTube a year ago. The video has since garnered more than 24 million viewers. This band isn’t all hugs and no talk, however; the members of Sick Puppies have a tale to tell.

Sick Puppies started when Shimon “Shim” Moore and Emma Anzai formed the band when they were 15 years old.

“Emma was on the guitar, and I was on drums,” Moore said. “We walked into a music room, and we had double-booked it, [but] neither one of us wanted to leave. We soon realized that we liked to listen to the same songs and the same bands, so we started jamming. We finished the song without talking to each other and, by the end of the week, we became Sick Puppies.”

From that point on, the band, made up of Moore (lead vocals/guitar), Anzai (bass/backup vocals) and Mark Goodwin (drums), was born.

While it may be difficult being the only woman in an all-male rock band, Anzai not only takes it in stride, she gives the band something special.

“Having Emma in the band definitely keeps us honest,” Moore said. “I would probably be more irresponsible if she wasn’t in the band. She’s like a mother, a sister, a daughter and a best friend all in one. We’re all very family oriented.”

Being from the land down under, the band said their Australian roots give them a unique perspective when it comes to music, courtesy of another Austrailian sensation.

“[Silverchair] inspired us to play music and start a band, as well as [to become] grunge and push grunge,” Moore said.

In addition to Silverchair, the band members said they are also influenced by Incubus and Rage Against the Machine, enjoying any sort of “good rock groove.”

Toughness and grunge aside, the name Sick Puppies in and of itself is enough to make PETA members all over the states cringe.

“It was just another name on a list,” Moore said. “We had a long list of names and I thought of [the name] Sick Puppies on the train one day, and then my dad came up with the same name about a week later when I went to go visit him. It was the only one that had a spine attached to it, with a lot of the dramatic changes to it.”

Sick Puppies is currently based out of Los Angeles, something that the members think has helped them to gain exposure and experience.

“The maturing of the band and being in L.A., you grow up faster,” Moore said. “You’ve got to worry about different things, and you get to meet many different people. It changes every part of who you are, [including] your music.”

Sick Puppies released their second studio album Dressed Up as Life (Virgin Records, April 3, 2007), drawing much of their inspiration from their die-hard fans.

“What really gets us going is the crowds knowing the songs and hearing their stories,” Moore said.

The band is currently on tour and will be coming to the Pageant (6161 Delmar Blvd.) on March 5. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8 p.m.

Sick Puppies’ goal is simple: “We just want to rock peoples’ faces off,” Moore said.

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