This month’s MPJ Featured Spotlight Artist is the modern rock trio from Sydney, Australia, Sick Puppies. Not only have they been producing hit after hit over the past several years, but they really have been giving back to not only their fans but humanity as a whole. In 2006, Sick Puppies got involved with the social movement called “Free Hugs Campaign” started by fellow Aussie, “Juan Mann.” The Free Hug Campaign involves strangers offering hugs to other strangers in a public place, as a act of random kindness to make others feel better. Sick Puppies released their groundbreaking “Free Hugs” video for their song “All The Same” which received over 70 million views on YouTube, as the campaign became a global movement. The video features a true life adventure of a man who walks around holding a billboard that reads “Free Hugs.” With this kind of exposure, it wasn’t long before Sick Puppies would be featured on Oprah, Jay Leno, “60 Minutes” and CNN. You can watch the video below:
But it wasn’t an overnight success story for this Aussie Trio. The band formed back in 1997 by singer/lead guitarist Shimon Moore and bassist Emma Anzai in the music room of their High School. The two had double booked the practice room and discovered that they both were Silverchair fans. Initially, Shimon was on drums and Emma on guitar, the two would meet up and play covers of their favorite bands which led them to start creating their own songs. They found Chris Mileski to play drums, and at that point, Emma switched to bass guitar and Shimon to guitar and vocals. In 1999, the band would release their self financed debut EP, “Dog’s Breakfast” which included the help from Shimon’s father (a musician and producer).
In 2001, Sick Puppies released their first studio album, “Welcome to the Real World.” The success of the album led them to a competition for a management deal with Paul Stepanek Management. It wasn’t long before the band was ready to take it to the next level and make the move to Los Angeles, California. Unfortunately, drummer Chris Mileski was unable to leave Australia so Emma and Shimons had come to the United Stated without him. They would find their current drummer Mark Goodwin, after he responded to an ad posted by the band on Craigslist. Watch the acoustic video below where Shimon’s reminisces about making that move and coming to America, and inspired him to write Sick Puppies’ hit song “Maybe.”
Through their struggle, plugging along and success they would receive with the “Free Hugs” campaign, we jump ahead to 2007, when they released their second studio album “Dressed Up As Life” on Virgin Records. It was their first release on a major label and would feature that “Free Hugs” success story song “All The Same.” It would be their first single off the album and would reach number 8 on the US Modern Rock billboard charts. The Free Hugs Campaign video would go on to win YouTube’s video of the year award. The album also featured hit songs “My World,” “Pitiful,” and “What Are You Looking For.”
The pressure was on to create the follow up album, as they went back into the recording studio in December 2008. On July14, 2009, they would release their next studio album, “Tri-Polar.” They came out strong with their first single, “You’re Going Down” which would be their first Number One Hit in the United States. The success would continue with “Odd One,” then “Maybe” followed by “Riptide” which all landed in the top 10.
In April 2010, Sick Puppies would release the acoustic EP, “Live & Unplugged.” It would feature three songs from their Tri Polar album as well as one song from the B-Side of that same album: “Odd One,” “So What I Lied,” “The Pretender” and “You’re Going Down.” The first three songs were recorded in the studio but “You’re Going Down” was a recording that the band performed lived in a Chicago IL radio station, during an interview.
In March 2011, Sick Puppies would release a second acoustic album, titled “Polar Opposite.” This album includes “You’re Going Down”, “Riptide”, “Maybe”, “Odd One” “Don’t Walk Away”, “All The Same” “White Balloons” and “So What I Lied” and was recorded in the studio with a string ensemble accompaniment. This album also features Emma doing some of the lead vocals. You can hear samples from the album on the preview video below:
After an extensive touring schedule, it looks like Sick Puppies will get a well deserved short break, with a few selected shows here and there. They will partake in this year’s ShipRocked Cruise with Buckcherry, HellYeah, Sevendust, Filter, Living Colour, In Lynam and Broken Teeth, setting sail on September 14 – 19, 2011. Stay tuned to Sick Puppies’ website for the latest information and tour dates.
9/23/2011 89.7 The River’s River Riot – WestFair – Council Bluffs, IA
(Other acts: Avenged Sevenfold Three Days Grace Bullet for My Valentine Sevendust, etc)
10/07/2011 Big Fresno Fair Fresno, CA
10/16/2011 48 hour festival Las Vegas, NV
11/14-19/2011 ** SHIPROCKED w/Buckcherry, Hellyeah, Sevendust, Filter, Living Colour, In Lynam, Broken Teeth
For more information on Sick Puppies, visit:sickpuppies.net