With a band name like Sick of Sarah, you have to wonder who Sarah is, and what
she did that was so annoying to be immortalized in such a way. But the Minneapolis band says
that while Sarah happens to be an ex-girlfriend of drummer Brooke Svanes, the
moniker is based on the real Sarah being sick of her own name.
Svanes had a few initial qualms about naming the band after her ex, but said it
became a non-issue quickly.
"I didn’t want her to be bitter or anything," Svanes said. "But
she thinks it’s funny."
Sick of Sarah is a five-piece pop rock band of 20-something women. They’re
currently on a quest to make music their full-time jobs and "conquer the
world." In August, they released their self-titled full-length album on
Out guitarist Jessie Farmer (who at one time played bass for Babes in Toyland)
said the group formed casually in 2004 when she met vocalist Abisha Uhl and
guitarist Katie Murphy. At the time, Uhl and Murphy were a duo playing under
the name Sparkle Motion.
"When I joined the group, I was like ‘OK, I totally want to be in this
band, but I won’t be in it if it’s called Sparkle Motion,’" Farmer said.
"That’s way too gay for me."
Luckily, her bandmates agreed to let the Donnie
Darko-inspired band name go, and after finding Holm and Svanes to round out
the quintet, Sick of Sarah set out to write some songs and consistently play
live, touring a large part of the past three years.
"We want to tour as much as possible and get out there as much as we can
and see all the people that we’ve connected with through MySpace and stuff,
which is a huge tool for us," Farmer said. "We live in a digital age,
and we definitely use MySpace to branch out of the Midwest
By utilizing the internet and booking shows in most of the larger metropolises
Sick of Sarah has spread their breed of pop rock by word of mouth. Their debut
album on Adamant Records has several radio-worthy hits, including the single
"Daisies" and the new Brunch
with Bridget theme song, "Not Listening."
The "Daisies" video shoot
"Our music is pretty catchy and accessible," Svanes said. "It
gets stuck in your head."
Farmer agreed, saying there was never a discussion on what kind of sound Sick
of Sarah would have.
"It’s not like we’re thinking ‘Let’s write like this today,’" she
said. "I am heavily influenced by a lot of pop-rock music, especially from
the ’80s and you can really hear it through my chord progressions."
With three guitars in the band, Sick of Sarah is able to create intricate pop
harmonies with their chords and with two of the women providing backup vocals
to Uhl’s saccharine purr. The music has a ’90s influence that calls to mind
Letters to Cleo and early No Doubt, before ska became a fad featured in Clueless. A mix of their Minneapolis post-punk
roots and the days of riot grrrl has inspired Sick of Sarah to create
interesting, multilayered songs that just happen to have head-bopping appeal.
"Generally it starts with an idea, and we get together and mess around
with the sound and bring it to the other women," Farmer said of the
songwriting process. "It usually involves a cocktail and we jam it out a
Farmer also said their label, Adamant Records, has appreciated their individual
styles and has only encouraged them to be themselves, musically and otherwise.
"Our label does not give a s–t, like at all," she said. "Be as
gay as you want to be, be yourself. They’re really into our personalities.
Fortunately we don’t have any pressure to hide anything, which we never would