September 3, 2013 Interview – Shim Moore of Sick Puppies
From a land down under Sick Puppies are a rock band on a mission. Making the move across the ocean from Australia to the USA was only the beginning for the band. Persistence and passion has lead the Aussie hard rock 3-piece into rock stardom over the past 7 years. With the success of 2007’s Dressed Up As Life and 2009’s Tri-polar the band is ready to make a statement in 2013 with their latest record Connect. Recently we sat down with lead singer/guitarist Shim Moore for a in depth look into the history of Sick Puppies, keeping a positive attitude, the concept behind Connect, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Sick Puppies has been working at music now since 1997 when yourself and Emma were in high school. You have released 4 full length records, toured all over North America, and continue to build a strong following. How rewarding is it to see Sick Puppies where it is today in 2013?
Shim Moore – It’s rewarding for different reasons. When we first started we just wanted to be rock stars. Now we have come to a point after so many years of doing it, so many songs, and singles that people are getting our stuff tattooed on them. People are sending us letters about how we changed their lives based on what they heard in a song, and it’s not because of the song, but definitely like they were ready to make a change and the song gave them a little push in the right direction or something. It’s nice when you can transcend and find out your music has gone much better than you anticipated.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, it has to be a really cool feeling to see that it is affecting other people’s lives.
Shim Moore – Yeah, that how it’s kind of different… it’s better.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, I completely understand that. Now, the band decided to make a bold move in your life and move to North America to further pursue your careers in music. Was that a difficult decision to leave home and dive into the unknown?
Shim Moore – Not really, because we were pretty young, and there wasn’t much to do in Australia. There wasn’t much of a music industry there compared to the states anyway. We wanted to be the biggest band that we could so it wasn’t really scary once we decided we were going to do it. It was kind of scary what we thought it would be like if we didn’t do it.
CrypticRock.com – Yes and it obviously worked out for the band. It was a good move. Many people may have told you to give up on your dreams and do something different but you stayed with it and continued to work hard. Besides your obvious passion for the music do you feel like the negativity from others telling you to give up further fueled your ambitious?
Shim Moore – I think it does depending on who it is. Sometimes when you are in school and the school bully is telling you that you aren’t going to make it you don’t really give a shit, you use it as fuel. Sometimes kids hear it from their parents and they really take it seriously. That can happen with everyone. I was lucky, my parents were the only ones that were supportive. Everyone else from work, school, teachers were not, but my parents were like hey if you really want to do it you can go do it, you know whatever you want to do. If they had said you have to get a real job it probably would have been different for me, so it really depends.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, I can understand that. When people you care about most support you that also gives you a positive outlook to go forward with things.
Shim Moore – Exactly.
CrypticRock.com – You have worked with and known Emma for almost 2 decades. What do you think the key to the chemistry you two share as songwriting partners?
Shim Moore – I don’t know. I know what the key to being in a band is, we give each other space. In terms of being songwriters, I really can’t say. I think it just something that happens. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s always just worked.
CrypticRock.com – It’s obvious you two do have that chemistry because you have been keeping the band going for this long and you have achieved this success.
Shim Moore – Yeah, music has never been a problem. Personalities conflicts and stuff that come with age becomes a problem, but music is always the least of our problems.
CrypticRock.com – Right, now the band released their new album Connect in July. The album is excellent and some of the band’s more complete work to date. What was the writing and recording process like for this new record?
Shim Moore – Well we wrote over 100 songs, which is the most we had ever written for a record. The difference was that we didn’t want to make wrong decisions based off what we had already done. We literally kept it pretty simple and said we were going to write the songs the same way we have always done on acoustic guitar and let the songs do the work. So the record is only going to build itself. We’re just going to write song after song and the best songs are going to let themselves be known. We might pick a couple of songs that we would have an argument about, but most of the time the songs pick themselves. The best songs make themselves known. It kind of became the most organic process that we’ve had because we had the most amount of time ever to do it. That’s why I think it’s the best record, because we didn’t get in the way of music.
CrypticRock.com – Right, so it happened very organically for you. With Connect it seems like the band has taken a step forward to distinguish themselves within the rock genre. Was that a clear intent?
Shim Moore – I don’t think it has happened yet, because the album has only been out for a month. It wasn’t a goal of our to distinguish or anything, but we definitely wanted to avoid being a pigeon holed. Anyone who doesn’t know the band well enough, and only knows the singles, they’re not going to understand and they will only think of us as a rock band. If they listen to the records and heard songs like “White Balloon” or “All The Same”, which was the first single, those were pretty broad songs. The last on Connect is “Under A Very Black Sky”, there is a lot of musicality to it that I think there are a lot of bands that have the capability to do but choose not to because they want to be a rock band . That’s cool, but we really don’t want to be limited to that degree. We just want to make the best music we can and half the fun is pushing the boundaries.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, absolutely. That is a great outlook to have, not to want to limit yourselves, because then you’re limiting what you are creating and that’s not a good thing. You want to have an open forum to do whatever you want to do as an artist.
Shim Moore – Yeah, you only get about 12 chances to say something every few years on a record. That’s the most opportunity people in a band get. So if you waste one of your opportunities to say something it’s a shame.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, I can understand that totally. One of the things that stand out about Sick Puppies is the passion and energy you put into your live shows. One who has been to your live show can clearly see that the audience is completely enthralled in the performance. What is like being on stage and seeing a crowd of fans singing along with your music?
Shim Moore – It’s amazing. It’s weird when people ask me that, I mean of course it’s amazing. That’s kind of just it… it just amazing. That’s what we do. We try to make people feel good. That’s what the show is about.
CrypticRock.com – I imagine it is amazing, the shows do make you feel good, and what makes it better is that these lyrics are obviously from your heart and from personal experiences? Is that right?
Shim Moore – Yes.
CrypticRock.com – I’d like to know what some of your musical influences are?
Shim Moore – My musical influences aren’t as broad as the band. I like Silverchair when they started out. I was a big grunge fan in the mid 90’s, post grunge stuff, the alternative music thing, I like a lot of Motown. Motown is great because it has great rhythms and melodies. I love the Beatles. Any classic songwriting, I am really more a fan of songs than bands. I love songs. There are a few bands that have a lot of great songs, but I like the one hit wonder songs too. Just a great song that you know all the words to but you don’t know who the band is.
CrypticRock.com – Right, It’s good to have a good mix. It sounds like you do have a good mix of influences there with Motown, classic rock, and 90’s grunge. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Shim Moore – I like the film The Day (2011). It’s an American post apocalyptic slasher film that I acted in. I started acting when I was young before I was in the band. I like suspense films. I’m a big Hitchcock fan. I still believe that Psycho (1960) is the best original horror film. I’m a big fan of classics. I know you’re are talking about gore, but I think that horror is about being horrified, terrified, and scared and Psycho is the classic shit for me. I know that the most uncool answer, but I don’t give a shit.
CrypticRock.com – Actually, it’s not because Psycho is a brilliant film. Anthony Perkins played Norman Bates perfectly and that is a classic horror film. It’s funny you should say that about the suspense because I agree. Even the films in the 70’s and 80’s, which had more gore, they had a storyline that built up suspense. They left holes in the plot that left you wondering what was going to happen next.
September 01 Bismarck, ND Civic Center Exhibit Hall
September 03 Englewood, CO Gothic Theatre
September 04 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
September 05 Nampa, ID UPROAR XFest
September 06 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory
September 07 Eugene, OR Wow Hall
September 09 San Francisco, a The Independent
September 11 West Hollywood, CA The Roxy
September 12 Anaheim, CA House of Blues
September 13 Las Vegas, NV Fremont Country Club
September 15 Abilene, TX The Lucky Mule
September 16 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
September 17 Dallas, TX House of Blues
September 18 Houston, TX House of Blues
September 20 Little Rock, AR Edge Birthday Show
September 21 Gulfport, MS Jones Park
September 22 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
September 24 Johnson City, TN Capone’s
September 26 Knoxville, TN NV Nightclub
September 27 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
September 28 Charlotte, NC WEND Weenie Roast ’13
September 30 Jacksonville, FL Freebird Live
October 01 Lake Buena Vista, FL House of Blues
October 02 Tampa, FL The Ritz Ybor
October 04 Mobile, AL Bayfest
October 05 North Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues
October 06 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
October 08 Norfolk, VA The Norva
October 09 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
October 11 Asbury Park, NJ The Stone Pony
October 12 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Soundstage
October 13 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
October 16 Chicago, IL House of Blues
October 17 Lexington, KY Buster’s
October 18 Detroit, MI St. Andrews Hall
October 19 Grand Rapids, MI The Intersection
October 20 Cincinnati, OH Bogarts
November 08 Oneonta, NY Oneonta Theater
Be sure to check out Sick Puppies at www.sickpuppies.com, facebook, & twitter.