rock trio makes inaugural trip to Dewey
DEWEY BEACH — After 16 years of toiling in the music industry trenches, Australian hard-rock trio Sick Puppies has a bona fide hit album on its hands.
The threesome’s new album, “Connect,” debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard Album Chart upon its release last month — much to the delight of singer-guitarist Shim Moore, bassist Emma Anzai and drummer Mark Goodwin.
Speaking by phone during a break in rehearsals in the group’s adopted hometown of Los Angeles, Moore waxed philosophical on being perceived as an overnight sensation — after more than a decade.
“I still can’t believe we debuted at No. 17,” Moore said. “It’s not something I personally would have expected, but that doesn’t mean it came as a complete shock. The record label had their projections, and they anticipated a Top 20 debut. They realized there had been a slow build over the years leading up to this.”
The band will play the Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach for the first time on Tuesday, Aug. 6. The show will be the fifth date of a three-month club tour.
The album’s first single, “There’s No Going Back,” was co-authored by legendary songwriter Desmond Child — who crafted career-defining tunes for Bon Jovi, KISS and Aerosmith.
“He made us step up our game,” Moore said. “Desmond was a melody Nazi and also a lyric Nazi. He was the enemy of ‘good.’ Everything we came up with had to be ‘great,’ not ‘good.’ ”
Other album standouts are the title track, which features acoustic guitars and even a banjo; and “Dying to See You,” in which Moore and Anzai spotlight the group’s male-female dynamic by trading off verses.
Moore said some songs were influenced by feedback provided by fans via the Internet.
“We asked them what they’d like to see more of, and ‘Dying to See You’ is an example of that. Some people said they like when Emma and I do the duets,” he said. “The overall response to the album has been very good. You’re always going to have hardcore fans who wish we would write in the exact same style as we did back in the beginning, but we’re older people now.”
When rock fans think of Australian exports, most think of icons such as AC/DC, Midnight Oil or INXS, but it was a younger group who inspired Sick Puppies.
“We were from Sydney and the guys from Silverchair were from Newcastle, which wasn’t too far to the west of us,” Moore said. “They were about the same age as us, so it gave us hope that we might be able to actually pursue this.”
Moore and his bandmates eventually relocated to California.
“Australia doesn’t really have the market for rock that America has. You can only go so far,” Moore said.
“We have pockets of fans all over American now in places like Chicago and Omaha and large parts of Texas. I don’t know if you could even consider us an L.A. band. The bus is our home.”