Sick Puppies

Even if you don't know Sydney, Australia modern rock trio Sick Puppies, you've probably seen their groundbreaking "Free Hugs," video, which has garnered more than 11 million views on YouTube.com since it started streaming on the site last year. The heartwarming clip chronicles the true life adventures of a man who walks around holding a billboard that reads "Free Hugs," the police who ban his humanitarian crusade, and the petition that earned him back the right to provide hugs to citizens in need.

The "Free Hugs" video, which accompanied the band's song "All The Same," earned Sick Puppies exposure on Oprah, Jay Leno, "60 Minutes" and CNN, and inspired people around the world to begin their own free hugs campaigns. It also propelled "All the Same" into a top-requested single at commercial radio stations across North America. But while the "Free Hugs" video helped spread the music and message of Sick Puppies, the band is anything but an overnight success.

Years before YouTube, Sick Puppies were winning prestigious commendations, including "Best Song" from Triple J Unearthed, and "Best Live Performance" from the Australian Live Music Awards. The Australian edition of Rolling Stone even called Sick Puppies "the most dynamic new band in the country."

The band's North American debut, Dressed Up As Life, validates the praise with a heartfelt collection of exultant rhythms, propulsive beats and choruses that span miles. It's the kind of record that captures the beauty, pain and endless possibilities of LIFE.

The aching vocals, melancholy acoustics and triumphant guitar swaths of the renowned "All the Same" transcend even without the video. "My World" pinpoints the moment where epiphany turns regret into acceptance by juxtaposing layered instrumentation with bare, simple arrangements. "Pitiful," combines start-stop blasts with brooding atmospherics, resulting in a song that's both angry and undeniable. And, "Asshole Father" is even more sweeping and multidimensional, intermingling serene vistas with stabs of animosity.

"The record is an honest reflection of what we were feeling and going through when we were making it," says singer and guitarist Shimon Moore. "There were times when we were really depressed and then suddenly we were happy. So these songs capture that whole rollercoaster ride."

"The songs are a combination of all of our influences, from Rage Against the Machine to Green day, mixed in with our own style," bassist Emma Anzai adds.

The origin of Sick Puppies dates back to 1997, when Moore and Anzai met in their high school music room. Moore was bashing away on the drums and Anzai walked in looking for someone to jam with. "She stared at me and asked if I knew all these songs by different bands, and I was like, ‘Yeah,' and, we just started rocking," says Moore. "At the end of the week she said, ‘You wanna start a band?' and we've been together ever since."

Moore stepped out from behind the kit and strapped on a guitar, and the two hired Chris Mileski to play drums. They started playing covers, then wrote their own material and booked local gigs. In 1999, Sick Puppies released their first Australian EP, Dog's Breakfast, and two years later, their song "Nothing Really Matters" won Triple J's Unearthed band competition. Their debut album, Welcome to the Real World came out later that year. After numerous tours across the country, Sick Puppies went on hiatus for a while so they could achieve their goal to record their North American debut.

Anzai got a job in telemarketing and Moore carried a billboard of a lollipop sign advertising two-for-one shoes at an outdoor shopping mall. It was there that he met Juan Mann, who came to the mall every Thursday with his "Free Hugs" sign. "We started talking and became really good friends," Moore recalls. "Then I asked if I could film him. But we never ended up doing anything with the footage until we came to Los Angeles."

Since Mileski was unable to come with them to the U.S., Sick puppies placed an advertisement on the Internet site Craig's List, looking for a new drummer. Soon, they hooked up with Mark Goodwin, whose hard-hitting style perfectly complimented the band's aggressive style. While they worked on the new album, Moore kept in touch with Mann, and during one of their phone calls, he learned that Mann's grandmother had died unexpectedly. To help cheer him up, Moore pulled his old footage off the shelf and edited together the "Free Hugs" video and sent it to Mann.

"It was meant just as a video get well card, and that's the only reason it got made," Moore says. "He saw it and said, ‘Why don't you put it on YouTube.' I still have no idea how it got as big as it did."

Upon arriving in Los Angeles, the band signed a new recording contract with indie label RMR Music Group run by Paul Palmer, co-founder of Trauma Records (Bush, No Doubt). The tremendous success of the video piqued the interest of numerous record distributors, including Virgin Records, which signed Sick Puppies to a deal in 2006, right as their new album neared completion.

"It was far more difficult to make than we expected," Anzai says. "It was a lot of hard work and it basically took us a year to finish. We spent a lot of time discussing the style of the music and the arrangements, and we reworked the songs over and over until they felt right. So, it was definitely grueling, but it was character building as well."

In addition to learning to write better rhythms and melodies, Moore flexed his lyrical muscles and tapped into a new level of emotional poignancy. He penned songs about his fear of abandonment ("My World"), a desperate effort to save a crumbling relationship ("All The Same") and a freaky stalker ("Deliverance").

"I think the songwriters who really connect with people are the ones who are willing to release their deepest, darkest secrets," Moore explains. "So, I decided to bare my soul regardless of how embarrassing or frightening it might be. And I think when you give in to that, it can be very liberating."

With infectious tunes, a jaw-dropping stage show and equal doses of hits and hugs, Sick Puppies are striking a blow against the horde of faceless modern rock bands that are virtually all the same.

10 Years

After a year and a half on the road touring 2010’s Feeding The Wolves, 10 Years reached a turning point. It was time to move forward and take full control of their career by launching their own label, Palehorse Records. In addition, the band decided to self-produce their fourth album, Minus the Machine, at drummer/guitarist Brian Vodinh’s Kashmir Recording.

Splitting up with a major label after
five years was “a very scary step to take,” Hasek admits. “It’s like breaking up with a longtime girlfriend. You’re used to the motions, but when it becomes stale and unhappy, you need to move on and get energy back into your life. There was no anger on either side. We just painlessly parted ways.”

Working together as a band for the first time since writing the Gold-selling album The Autumn Effect helped 10 Years go back to their roots, without label-enforced pressure to create a radio-friendly “hit,” and free to experiment with the hard rock sounds that lie at the core of their music. “Our true fans who buy the albums, not just the singles, understand that our singles, for the most part, misrepresent the entire album,” says Hasek. “As a band, we like to explore more and go a little left of center with song structures. We wanted to create an album that has no boundaries, and where we didn’t have to make every song ‘three minutes and 30 seconds’ for a label to approve it. There’s a fine line with that, of course, and we’re very aware of it. We all grew up on rock music, and as many albums as we’ve written, the way we’ve written them, it’s ingrained in us to work within a time frame that fits radio. There are definitely songs that work well for that, but as a whole, we wanted this album to represent a journey in a sense.”

This chapter of 10 Years began in 2001, when Hasek took over as vocalist. Three years later they released their independent album, Killing All That Holds You, featuring the groundbreaking single “Wasteland,” which led to their signing with Universal Records. “That song was created in 2001 or 2002,” says Hasek. “We weren’t seeking to write a smash single. We were just writing music.” The Autumn Effect (2005) led to widespread radio and video play, a fiercely loyal fan base, and tours with heavyweights like Linkin Park, Korn and the Deftones. When their sophomore effort, Division, was released in 2008, 10 Years had cemented their place as one of hard rock’s top contenders and most sought-after live bands. Still, says Hasek, despite the success, “it all came to a head” with the band’s 3rd major label release, Feeding The Wolves. “When you feel like you’re being told to go through motions and jump through hoops, it takes the heart out of it,” he says. “We know that we need a hit and we understand that it’s important. However, as musicians, we’re not a band that says, ‘We’re going to make a hit.’ It’s better to do what comes naturally and then figure out the after-effect.”

With that in mind, 10 Years created their most powerful songs to date for Minus The Machine, with Hasek again relying on personal experiences for his lyrics. [Insert something about the songs here; reference titles and content.] “Everyone asks about my inspiration for lyrics, and the best thing I can give them is a very generic answer: life,” he says. “Life is the experience — it’s everything you go through: the ups, the downs. I tend to gravitate more toward the therapy method. I’m not great at writing happy pop songs. So, I usually get the negative emotions out through music. As a person, I’m very happy and thankful for my life, but when it comes to lyrics, it’s therapy for me.”

One thing that won’t change is 10 Years’ connection with their fans. With the release of Minus The Machine, the band is looking forward to hitting the road, performing in close contact with their dedicated audience. “After the last touring cycle, we realized where we should strive to be, and that’s to be totally fine in the club environment,” says Hasek. “We don’t plan to chase after arena rock or amphitheaters. If things like that happen, then so be it, but we live and die by the loyalty of the club audiences. Our fans are loyal. They travel with us, and they want us to be loyal to ourselves. That’s what keeps them coming back. What we tried to do on this album is really give them what they want and what they need because they’ve been so good to us through the ups and downs of our career.”

“First and foremost, when it’s all said and done, we’re proud of this album in its entirety,” he says. “That speaks volumes to us because we’re our own worst critics. We pick everything apart. An album is your child, it’s your baby, and you know it better than anyone. To sit back and be 100 percent proud of what we’ve accomplished is so gratifying, and we think everything else will fall into place. We hope that everyone will enjoy what we’ve tried to do.”

Carving Out Fiction

Carving Out Ficiton "2012 Band of the Year and Album of the Year award winner for the 717 Music Awards"

An all original rock band hailing from York, Pennsylvania. Carving Out Fiction has been brewing for several years. Initially an outlet for drummer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Coria to release solo albums, the band became a four piece in May 2010. The band has since been building up steam in the
York, Harrisburg, and Lancaster music scene. The band became an instant crowd favorite. At their second show, they sold over 150 tickets, prompting the venue to produce a will call list. This show was the CD release party for their second CD, The Art In Havok. After only 8 shows, the band was asked to open for national band Jimmie's Chicken Shack at the Chameleon Club. They continued to be selected to support national acts such as Papa Roach, Art of Dying, Hawthorne Heights, Bowling For Soup, Adema, Taproot, Edisun and The Misfits. Carving Out Fiction also had offers with Fuel, Crossfade, Saliva, Everclear, Pop Evil, Burn Halo, Kyng, Psychostick and Motograter. Their single "Conversation's End" has received radio play on 1057 The X and was also selected to be put on the Millennium Music Conference 15 Compilation CD. It has also received air play on numerous college radio stations and internet radio. The band's new single "Oceans" which is on their new EP Pariah! Go Pariah! has also received radio air play on 1057 The X and internet radio. Carving Out Fiction was voted best new band and won album of the year for 2011 at the 717 Music Awards on 03/26/11. The band won Artist and Album of the Year at the 2012 717 Music Awards on 03/24/12. The band was also featured on 105.7 The X as the "Home Grown" band of the week on 04/15/11. The band also was featured in the York Dispatch Newspaper "Flipside". The band was recently featured on 101.5 Bob Rocks (Greencastle, PA) for a full interview on two different occasions (April and May of 2012). They then were invited back for another interview and to perform acoustically on August 12th, 2012 for the 101.5 Bob Rocks Homegrown Stash. The band now performs as a 5 piece picking up former members of A True Calling and Lotus Blue.
After being compared to GlassJaw, Thrice, Thursday, Green Day, Incubus, Placebo, and Alkaline Trio, the band confirms that they like them, so that’s not too bad.

$20.00 - $22.00

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Sick Puppies with 10 Years with 10 Years, Carving Out Fiction

Saturday, August 10 · 7:00 PM at Chameleon Club