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Sick Puppies

Posted on 02. Jun, 2016 by Scotti Moore Tag: Rock

The year was 1997, the location was Sydney, Australia. A couple of kids in high school decided to form a band. Little did they know that the world would be watching them grow up right before their eyes. After nine years of laboring towards every bands dream, it happened. One faithful day in 2006, they decided to upload a video to YouTube to show their support for the Free Hugs Campaign. “All the Same” was the name of the song and after 77 million views, we land here in 2016.

Since their inception, a few member changes have come about with the last being the biggest news to come out of the Sick Puppies camp. Frontman and guitarist Shim Moore decided to leave the band in October of 2014. This kind of news for most projects would be crippling, sure to bring the story to its finale.

Not so fast people! Don't ever forget about the lone remaining founding member. This would be Bass player Emma Anzai. When you look at her resume, you won't see a few things listed, but these may very well be her biggest attributes. Strength, determination and passion are the things that held the Puppies together and allowed them to forge ahead with their new frontman, Bryan Scott. When I asked her how the transition went, Emma tells me, “It was a very fast transition. It happened so quickly and we were very lucky like that. A lot of rehearsing and getting our ducks in a row. Making sure everything is cohesive. Things can change at the drop of a hat. That is part of life. Mark and I are really passionate about this band and we put everything into it. We found another person that was on the same page as us. So far the response has been really positive. Of course, there were a lot of expectations and a lot of feedback, not always positive. But I think with the new album, “Fury,” we put the worries to rest.”

Speaking of the new album, now that they have a new piece to the puzzle I was wondering how much the writing process has changed and about the pressure to follow up previous efforts. “They way we write hasn't changed much at all.” Anzai continues, “We have always had a collaborative process. Even though we still follow that same process, it has been refreshing with Bryan in the mix. He has kind of shot some adrenaline into our writing, so that has made a difference. With this latest album, the pressure was more so, just to make it happen. We wanted to really get back to the rock roots. We were all on the same page on that, so it made it a lot easier.”

Now that we have that out of the way, I wanted to turn more towards Emma personally. I bring up the topics of being influenced and influencing the upcoming generations of musicians. Emma jumps right in, “I have never had that one person, it's always been many people throughout my life. I have always gravitated towards females in my own profession, especially back when I started. Even though it seemed every band we would play with had a female member, it still seemed that music was more of a male dominated situation. One of the first tours we were ever on was with Evanescence, so I sat down with Amy Lee every chance I had. She is an amazing woman to talk to. She let me pick her brain about everything and it was really nice just to connect with another female at that stage of my career, especially someone who was so established. Now, I like to try and give back. When we are playing a show and these young ladies come up to me and tell me how they picked up an instrument because they saw me doing it, that is one of the highest compliments that you can get. When they have questions for me, I try to give them the best possible advice. It is especially great when you know that people have come out to specifically see us play. When they stay after and we get to meet our fans, that truly means a lot to us.”

I heard somewhere that Emma used to be very shy and quiet. Watching her on stage, I find that very hard to believe. She says, “That is very true, I was always a shy kid at school, very quiet and introverted. That is what I realized I had to change to be able to survive in this kind of environment. Listening to the early on feedback, what I kept getting was that people thought I was arrogant or really angry. That was definitely not how I wanted to be perceived. I knew I had to break out of my shell. Since I have crossed that bridge I would like to go back in time and tell myself not to worry so much and to just enjoy every moment.”

Now every artist has that one elusive band that they have always wanted to share a stage with. When I asked Anzai who that band is for her this is what she said, “Undoubtedly, Rage Against the Machine. It will probably never happen. But that is definitely a dream of mine. They are always amazing and bring so much energy.”

When I asked her about the decision making throughout her career. I wanted to know if there was one that she could attribute their long running success to. Emma tell me, “The decision to become a musician was life changing for sure but like they say, nothing happens overnight. I really don't think that your path comes down to one decision. It is a progression. It was very much that for the Sick Puppies. We had to make sure we were always doing what needed to be done. Doing the day to day process and making sure we all put the band first.”

Before we said good bye I asked her to leave us with a statement telling the world what we should know about the band. She says, “We absolutely love what we do. The best thing Is being able to play music with the Sick Puppies every night. We live to play shows and perform for our fans. We love to interact with the people answering their questions and meet as many of them as possible. I hope that they realize how honest we are as not only musicians in our music but also as people. Even though things are ever changing and you never know what is going to happen. There are always going to be roadblocks or something to trip you up. Life is a process of course correction. As long as the people will have us we will continue to work as hard as it takes to always bring them the best possible music we can. The Puppies are here to stay. Thank you to all of our supporters for remaining true and just know that the love is 100% mutual.”

After our sit down I would like to add a few more items to Emma Anzai’s resume: Intelligent, resilient, fun and incredible. I highly suggest you take her up on the invitation to catch up with her at a show. She has a way of making you feel like you have known her for years. Believe me when I tell you that she has earned everything that she and the Sick Puppies have received. Emma is living proof that if you want it and you have the drive and determination you can make your dreams come true.

Congratulations Emma on all you have accomplished and I wish for you nothing but continued success. You deserve it.