If you're name is Sarah, don't worry—the all-girl breakout indie rock band Sick of Sarah doesn't actually hate you.
Minneapolis' Sick of Sarah is here to rock your socks off, no matter what your name is. The five-member band is making waves with its catchy hooks and unique sound, especially in the LGBT music scene. You may have heard the group's music on the gay-friendly teen show "South of Nowhere," or saw its music video for the song "Daisies" on LOGO. Windy City Times shared some laughs with three of the band's members.
Windy City Times: How did each of you get your start in music, and what brought you to Minnesota, where you all connected to form the band?
Abisha Uhl: I play guitar and I sing. I grew up overseas in Okinawa, Japan. I moved over here when I was 18. I started playing guitar when I was 13, when my brother gave me a guitar as a present. I've been playing ever since. And then I met these girls about 2004 or 2005. We've been going for about three and a half years, and it's been a wonderful experience. We're really excited to play Chicago.
Jessie Farmer: I play lead and rhythm guitar in the band. I started playing music when I was 7 with piano because my parents bought one. I just started messing around with it and discovered that it is really actually something I really, really love to do. Then I started playing guitar around 10 or 11, and [ played ] drums around the same time. Abisha kind of told you how we got together. We were all friends, friends of friends, and stuff.
AU: It was a quick process. We met and then we had a band, you know?
Jamie Holm: I play bass. My dad played guitar, and my brother picked it up. I picked it up when I was 14 or 15. When I was about 23, I moved out to L.A. and did a few acoustic shows. I knew I wanted to start a band, so I moved back to Minneapolis to start a band. I started my own band, and we actually played with these girls. They just called me one day and said they wanted to add a new member.
WCT: How did you get the name?
AU: I had a roommate named Sarah. One night—I'm pretty sure she was a little drunk—and she was complaining, saying, "I just hate it." I was like, "Hate what?" She said, "I hate my name. I'm sick of Sarah." You know, at the time, I thought that was the greatest thing I'd ever heard. We were in the process of looking for a name, and I said, "This is great!" Actually, Sarah dated Brooke [ Svanes ] , our drummer. She's her ex-girlfriend, so when I told the girls, "Hey, let's be called Sick of Sarah," she was like, "What?!" She was like, "I don't know how I feel about this." I was like, "Brooke, she's your ex; it'll be awesome!"
WCT: It makes the story even better.
AU: Yeah, we were like, "This could be great."
WCT: I hear a lot of different influences when I hear your music. I as wondering, for each of you, who are your major musical influences, because I'm sure they are different all across the board.
JF: My major influences are like Joan Jett; Tegan and Sara; and the Mamas and the Papas. Add the Beach Boys in there, too.
AU: I like pretty much everything, but as far as writing music, which I do a lot of that in the band— [ and ] so does Jessie—but Vanessa Carlton. Just her style has had a big impact on me. But I like everything.
JH: Mine are more derived from the '70s rock bands. There's not necessarily one in particular, but that's what I grew up on with my dad and my brother.
AU: She listens to Kris Kross and Color Me Badd. She was heavily influenced by En Vogue and Amy Grant. Just tell her the truth, Jamie!
WCT: Just be out with it! [ Laughs ]
AU: En Vogue, Hanson. John Fogerty. Okay, I'm done.
WCT: What about the other girls who aren't on the call today? What kind of influences do they bring with them?
JF: Our drummer, she's definitely into riot-grrrl bands and sup pop, like Sleater-Kinney.
WCT: Which is a band I see Sick of Sarah is compared to a lot.
AU: Which is strange, but a compliment.
JF: And Katie [ Murphy ] is really into classic rock like Journey. She loves Journey and System of a Down.
AU: Note that Katie loves Jewel and loves Amy Grant. [ Laughs ]
WCT: We all have our guilty pleasures.
AU: We totally do. For me, it's candy. For Katie, it's Amy Grant. Just kidding.
WCT: What is the songwriting process for the band? Also, how much work went into your debut album, [ dropping ] Aug. 12, which I'm sure you're excited about.
AU: We pretty much all do the songwriting. We usually start with an idea that Jessie or myself has, and then as far as our personalities go, we all write our own parts, you know? So essentially, the songs are written by all of us.
JF: The album took a lot of work, like over two years. We put the best we could in there. There were two different sessions, and the first was in February. We found out we were going into the studio like two weeks before. We were cramming, sort of like for a huge exam. â€¦ We put those down. Then our producers decided we should have a full-length, not an EP, so we were like, great, we need five more songs!
AU: We're just really excited.
WCT: You've toured all over. How would you compare the Minneapolis music scene to the rest of the country?
JF: Minneapolis gets overlooked a lot, because it's in the heart of the Midwest. But there's a great local scene here, and it's really diverse.
JH: There's been a lot of reputable acts that have come out of Minneapolis, too, so its exciting to get attention here, knowing that an article is really about all of us. It's really exciting for the music community.
WCT: Your music has appeared on "South of Nowhere." You have the "Daisies" video, which has appeared on LOGO. Also, I heard you will be playing on the Olivia cruise. When is that going to happen?
AU: Nov. 23-30. Oh my God, we are so excited.
WCT: That's awesome. Have any of you been on a cruise before?
AU: No. I haven't.
JF: I've only lived vicariously through characters on "The L Word."
WCT: How did that opportunity come about?
JF: It was right after we hired our new manager, Carol Peters. She's a big-time manager out in L.A. She manages Heart, and she got them on "The L Word," so she has connections through them. That was one of the first things she did. Within like two days of us joining forces, she was like, "Yeah, I just booked you a gig on the Olivia Cruise in November 2008." We were like, what?
AU: We were like, great! Wait, that's a year away! I'm so excited, I just can hide it—in a year!
WCT: How many members are out? What kind of role does the LGBT community play in your band? Do you have a lot of LGBT fans?
AU: We hate gays. Just kidding! [ Laughs ] .
JF: It's a pretty big deal to us. It's our community. I can speak for myself that I'm very out. I have a mullet. I drive a Suzuki, which is close to a Subaru Outback. [ Laughs ] I came out when I was 13 to my best friend, so it's like, whatever. I've been in the Minneapolis gay scene for a while. But yeah, we get an awesome reception from the gay and lesbian community here and all the gay communities we've played for.
AU: But I really don't think we drive that home as our selling point. Our music is our music. Whether or not we're gay or straight, it's about the music, and it appeals to everybody. We played this private party for my boss, and his great-grandmother was there. She was like 310 years old and she was rocking out, you know? I don't know if she was drunk, or just old, but she loved Sick of Sarah. She was taking her clothes off, freaking out, whatever. [ Laughs ] Whatever, as long as they like the music.
WCT: I'm sure the same goes for being an all-girl band. I'm sure it doesn't matter to you, but you've probably received some pretty stupid comments.
JF: We don't care. People are always going to say stupid stuff to get a rise out of us.
AU: Like Jessie—what was that one comment on Myspace under the picture? Like, "Dude, you are lucky to be in that band with four hot ladies."
JF: But I have boobs!
WCT: You were like, "What the hell?"
JF: I was like, "We're an all-girl band. What? No!"
AU: Jessie is really pretty. It's like, "Open your eyes. Were your pupils just dilated?"
Sick of Sarah's debut album on Adamant Records will be available Aug. 12. Also, the band will play at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. See www.myspace.com/sickofsarah.