Australian trio Sick Puppies are dominating active rock airwaves as the first single Stick To Your Guns from their 4th studio album Fury which is due out May 20, 2016 has quickly become the #1 added song on Rock Radio. Having reached gold certification in 2009 for their Tri-Polar album and being so stranger to the Billboard Top 200, it is not a surprise that Sick Puppies is obtaining massive attention already. With Emma Anzai (bassist), Mark Goodwin (drums) and new addition Bryan Scott (lead vocals & lead guitar), everything seems to have finally come together. There is a new energy evolving with the Sick Puppies and it all begins now.
With the excitement of their first studio album since 2013, it’s been a long time coming for fans of Sick Puppies who have ever so patiently waited for the release of Fury. Considered as Australian rock n’ roll royalty, Sick Puppies are gearing up for their upcoming tour which will kick off in Corpus Christi, TX on April 24th. “Everyone seems to be really digging it, which is more than we could really ask for and the song is a great way for us to start off because it embodies what we are collectively going through as a band and individually and what they can relate to” Goodwin tells us about the recent success of their new single Stick To Your Guns. “It’s a song about perseverance and overcoming obstacles we have faces in life or will face at some point. It’s all about just keeping your head up and going for it. That’s the message we wanted to put out there and I think people are really liking the it.”
With the recent lineup change, the writing process seems to unfold in a more organic manner according to Anzai. “It was a more visual and emotional experience this time around when we started on the new record. It was one of those things where when we added Bryan to the band, he brought in that passion and that extra something that has influenced us not only as a band but individually as well. Feeding off of each other has been a new experience and a breath of fresh air so we’re excited to get this new album out and get out there on tour.” When we originally conducted this interview, it was a day before the official announcement of the album title Fury and the band made mention that Screamer Magazine was the first to know its name since the issue wouldn’t be prior to the unveiling.
Since the beginning, there have been conflicting stories on how exactly Sick Puppies was formed. With Anzai and Goodwin being the only remaining original members, it was time to settle this once and for all. “The band was started back in Australia in 1997 when I was in high school” Anzai reveals. “I am actually the only Australian left. But, we recorded a few albums and made a few changes but here we are.” The name Sick Puppies is certainly an original and creative one. Anzai tells us that the name was actually just one that they had put on a list of random, silly names. This was the one that stuck out and in the beginning, they had every intention of changing it because they felt it was a bit childish but they never ended up doing it. Prior to releasing their first studio debut album in 2001 titled Welcome To The Real World, Sick Puppies had actually released an album in Australia. However, they decided to move to the States and it took a while to get settled Anzai recalls. “Once we were in the US, we found Mark and became the band we are today, but it took some time to establish the sound we wanted and to get to the point where we were ready to record and release an album.”
As the Sick Puppies have begun headlining The Hard Drive Live Tour which will be followed by their own tour to promote their new record, Goodwin chimes in and tells us that they are planning to play their new single Stick To Your Guns along with some of the harder tracks. “We definitely will be playing our old songs too because we know the crowd loves them and we haven’t played them in a long time.” In 2007, Sick Puppies released their album titled Dressed Up As Life which is when their star rose. When their single All The Same became the soundtrack for the Free Hugs Campaign that ended up going viral and ultimately brought them their first true bout of recognition. “When it first came out, we had a bit of anxiety which is normal for bands who have their name attached to something” Anzai expresses. “It was great exposure for us and allowed us to play in front of tons of people and everyone liked the song. Luckily, we have been able to continue to develop from that and not be pigeonholed into being known only for that one song. Especially now with our new record Fury, as it’s the most raw of any album we have done to date.” Coming from Australia back when we did, it was in a time where the scene wasn’t as large as it is now and I think that has been an advantage for us all along” Anzai concludes.
As every living musician is inspired by those who came before them and so on, the members of Sick Puppies let us in on who their influences were and when they began practicing their craft. With Anzai being one of the most talented female bass players of our time, she learned how to play the bass at 17 years. “Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Louis Claypole from Primus and Victor Wooten were main influences” Anzai says. In her opinion, Wooten is one of the greatest bass players to ever grace this earth and she refers to him as a living legend. For lead vocalist Bryan Scott, he began singing at 16 years old. Scott’s talent stems from a line of musicians in his family. “I have a wide musical background in my family. My mother was a singer and her mother and her mother’s mother were singers. They also played piano and guitar” Scott tells us. “I just became curious about what they were doing and when there was a guitar sitting there and I picked it up and became curious about it and that’s pretty much the story of my life. I was hooked on music from the start.” Scott goes on to say that he has always been attracted to songs with a genuine melody and songs that you can hear one time and it just becomes stuck in your head. “That was the main thing that always fascinated me” Scott recalls. “I just wanted to learn how to make those melodies and create songs that would make people feel that way and eventually it led me to this monumental point that we’re at here and now. I am extremely excited about this new chapter for Sick Puppies.”
For longtime fans of Sick Puppies, you are familiar with the series of lineup changes the band has endured since they began their journey. While many times, this can ultimately affect the overall sound of the music that we all were originally attracted to about a specific artist or band and for some, it is only the road that had to be taken in order to assemble the perfect juxtaposition of creative minds. With Sick Puppies, Scott was the final puzzle piece to this dynamic trio who is more than thrilled to have him on board. Recording this album has been the ultimate experience according to Anzai. “As the title Fury represents the emotional build up of frustration and everything can come with change. We were able to hone in on that and bring it into the music as we wrote each song.” Scott tells us “the transition for me joining the band has been everything I had hoped for. Mark and Emma are the nicest people I have ever known and it was basically just a shake of the hand and that was it. The chemistry musically was instant and we immediately became like family which is everything for this band. First and foremost, that was the most important thing especially with all they have been through. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Scott expressed his excitement about being a part of the Sick Puppies and looks forward to hopefully replicating past successes the band has had. At this rate, we think he will get that chance.
For some, the digital age can be a blessing or it can be a curse. Luckily, RIAA (Recording Industry Association Of America) now recognizes streaming to count towards its gold and platinum certification which is good news for artists and bands and the members of Sick Puppies are hoping that this is something that will benefit other bands as well as their own.
Sick Puppies have a bond that a lot of bands continue to struggle to achieve and it comes through in their music. Because they have such a strong friendship and have established a perfect blend of emotions in such a short time, it will be a true adventure where they go in their career. Longevity is not something that is common in the music industry anymore. It’s become more of a survival of the fittest but for Sick Puppies, their music conveys everything that music was meant to incorporate. Passion, emotion, empathy, soul and heart. With a constant update of their success breaking onto the internet, it is only a matter of time before they achieve even bigger records than they have in the past. Finally, it is time for them to unleash their Fury.