Sick of Sarah on Tour: “Paying Your Dues”


This is the first edition in a new monthly column by the band Sick of Sarah — whose music can be heard weekly on Brunch with Bridget, and on a recent episode of South of Nowhere — about their experiences as an up-and-coming band.

Hi, my name is Jamie Holm, and I play bass for Sick of Sarah. We are five young and sassy ladies from Minneapolis and we’ve been touring around the Midwest to promote our first album and our “Daisies” single/video.

The day I woke up on the floor of a cheap motel with a towel covering my purse as a pillow, I finally fully grasped the term “paying your dues.”

I didn’t say this night wasn’t fun! It encompassed yet another one of our out of town adventures, which usually end in a haze of way too many people sprawled haphazardly across one hotel room (although that’s an improvement over the night we tried to sleep in the bolted down chairs of a hospital waiting room in Milwaukee, WI after our tour manager, Janelle, broke her wrist on her very first day of duty).

I think touring is both the best and worst part about being in a band.

Five girls in tight quarters can be interesting, whether in a single hotel room or in a passenger van driving 24 hours straight to get to a gig, and trying to stay awake! I’m not even considered a good driver behind the wheel of my compact car; you can only imagine me driving a 15-passenger white stallion.

When we tour, we usually do short runs of three or four shows, which is just enough time in a van to turn us into five year olds.

I think I speak for the entire band when I say that the last stretch of Wisconsin holds a special place in our hearts. Last tour, the theme in the car was pets with people names. A string of hypothetical introductions such as “this is my great dane, Connie” or “this is my iguana, Agnes” carried us most of the way through Wisconsin on our journey back to Minnesota.

One noteworthy evening in Ann Arbor involved the discovery of a groundhog (an unnamed and somewhat slow member of the band thought it was a squirrel) outside of our hotel room. We named her Lisa. The memory of Lisa now lives on in our minds, along with a plethora of other tour follies such as the time we rode 11 or 12 deep in the van to our motel (2 adults, please).

Don’t tell the cops. Or our manager.

In our travels we have come across some very interesting individuals. One time, outside the bar we were playing, one guy couldn’t decide if he wanted to call us guys or ladies. He strode out and “Heeeeyyy Gaydies!” is what came out.

Apparently the sight of five girls who could play their own instruments made him nervous, which he later admitted.

The way guys approach us can be quite funny at times. Like the guy who was playing before us at a little club and wanted to spend some alone time with Katie Murphy, who plays guitar for Sick of Sarah. This guy had his guitar and an amp to carry to his car and asked Katie if she could help. He carried the guitar and gave her the amp! In case that wasn’t enough to seal the deal, he also wrote her a love letter on a napkin stating how he wanted to make her his girl. I hope she kept it.

Most situations, whether good or bad, are at least entertaining. We played a show in Toronto this year which proved to be quite the trip. First off it cost us $213 American dollars to get me into Canada (apparently I’m considered a felon there). The show went well and we stayed the night. However the next day we encountered a white-out blizzard that one newspaper called ‘the biggest wallop of the year’.

When we stopped to ask how far it was to the border, we were told it was 2 hours. 7 hours later we stopped in Reese’s Corner, Ontario. At several points during the seven hour trek Katie was driving, however it was such a bad whiteout that our lead guitarist, Jessie Farmer, had to direct her from the passenger seat.

Abisha Uhl (our lead singer), Brook Svanes (Sick of Sarah’s drummer), and I had visions of freezing to death in some snow bank.

It was so bad that we almost stayed the night in a grocery store. That’s SICK OF SARAH living the dream! But it’s all worth it because playing our music for folks is our biggest thrill. We’re going out on the road again soon and I can’t wait. It will give us more good stories share, and hopefully we will see some of you guys at a Sick of Sarah show in the near future.

Hearts, friends, and lovers, we’ll see you soon!

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