PORTLAND PRESS HERALD

 

Return to Sick Puppies

Sick Puppies play the State on Wednesday


The show also features 10 Years and the Maine band Dead Season.
By Ray Routhier rrouthier@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

When Shim Moore realized he was giving an interview to a newspaper in Portland, he wanted to make sure he sent out some well wishes to a local friend.


"When we go to Portland, we always like to hang out with Rob (Riccitelli) at WCYY, so please send him our deepest well wishes and tell him we hope he gets better soon," said Moore, guitarist for the hard-rocking band Sick Puppies.

Riccitelli, an on-air host at the modern rock radio station, was seriously injured when his bicycle was hit by a truck on Washington Avenue while he was riding to work June 20. The truck ran over Riccitelli, and he suffered a broken clavicle, 12 broken ribs, multiple pelvis breaks, a foot fracture and a collapsed lung.

He's walking and feeling better now, and said last week that he was happy to hear the guys in Sick Puppies were thinking about him.

"I've become good friends with Shim over the past six years or so," said Riccitelli. "They (Sick Puppies) are great people."

Moore says WCYY was among the first rock radio stations in the United States to really support his band, so he wants people to know he's thankful.

"I can't thank people like them (WCYY) enough for their support," he said.

Sick Puppies will give Portland fans a big thank you by playing a show at the State Theatre on Wednesday, along with 10 Years and the Maine band Dead Season.

The trio -- Moore, bass player Emma Anzai and drummer Mark Goodwin -- formed in Australia in 1997, but struggled to get much notice in America until 2006, when its song "All the Same" became part of a YouTube video that promoted the worldwide Free Hugs campaign, which started in Australia.

Moore met Free Hugs movement founder Juan Mann when they were both holding up signs on the streets of Sydney. Mann had his "Free Hugs" sign and was trying to give the hugs away, while Moore was getting paid to walk around with a sandwich board that advertised shoes.

Thanks to the video by Sick Puppies, the Free Hugs movement spread worldwide for a while, until Mann announced his "retirement" from the hugs business in 2009. Meanwhile, "All the Same" went on to become a hit on modern rock radio stations such as WCYY.

"We've always felt like music should be a tool to help people connect, and that's what we did with the free hugs," said Moore. "It was an example of social media being used for something positive, not just for marketing purposes."

Because they feel that way, Moore said, the members of Sick Puppies named their fourth and latest studio album "Connect," released in mid-July. A single from the album, "There's No Going Back," quickly rose to No. 26 on Billboard's alternative rock chart.

Although the band is often categorized as alternative metal, they also play softer rock ballads such as "All the Same" with just as much enthusiasm as the harder-edged stuff, Moore said. Their alt-metal side is on display in songs such as "War" -- a thumping, charging anthem that was used in the video game "Street Fighter IV" and to pump up crowds at Washington Capitals hockey games.

Mark Curdo, another WCYY host, says Sick Puppies stand out for their work ethic and constant attention to their fans, whether it's reaching out to them through radio appearances or hanging around after shows to give autographs.

"Yeah, (Moore) is definitely a super-hard worker. He plays the whole game of promo and nonstop hustling and going out to the merchandise table after every show and meeting every fan," said Curdo. "He writes solid radio rock songs to boot too."