Interview: Sick of Sarah On Fame, Their Band Name, And Live Shows

Sick of Sarah is the hot chick punk band you’ve been missing in your life.  Whether you’re looking to get some rock fueled angst out of your system or just looking for a visceral, authentic band experience, Sick of Sarah is the perfect band for you.  While the band of badass chicks has been around for a decade and has appeared at some of the best music festivals, like Warped Tour and South by Southwest, they haven’t busted through to our radios and Spotify accounts… yet.  Sick of Sarah is becoming a demanded name around the country; they’re names headline concerts, benefits, and music festivals from coast to coast.  In fact, Charlotte, North Carolina houses an immense fan base to the band.

Chicago field reporter Carmen Lawrence sought out the bands manager, Michelle King (an awesome lady and badass manager, she might add), for an exclusive interview with the band’s front runners, lead singer/guitarist Abisha Uhl and drummer/backup vocalist Jessica Forsythe. Jessica and Abisha were gracious enough to take a few minutes out of their busy schedules on their way to perform at a music festival to answer some questions and shout out to their fans.

To start us off, I’d like to get an answer for curious fans like myself: where does the band name, Sick of Sarah, come from?

Abisha:  The name actually came about when my roommate, Sarah, was telling me she was sick of her own name.  She was drunk, it was funny, and we needed a name!

You guys recently left your label, Adamant Records, after working with them for years.  For the first time in your careers, you’re self-releasing your work.  What drove the choice to leave, and how has the transition been?

A:  We wanted to be more in control of our music, so we parted ways with our old label.  It was a difficult decision, but necessary.

You recently got to work with Belinda Carlisle (lead singer from The Go-Gos, for fans who forgot).  How was that experience?  That kind of work can be overwhelming!

A:  Yeah, we got to perform with Belinda at the YouTube studios last year.  We were on a show with her called Breaking Band on AXS Television.  We also toured with The Bangles a few times and that was amazing.

Your music is certainly reminiscent of the chick-rock style.  You’re popularly compared to groups like Tegan & Sara, Paramore, and Sleater-Kinney.  All that aside, who do you hold up as inspirations as songwriters, instrumentalists, and performers?

Jessica:  We love all those bands you just listed!  I grew up listening to 90’s alternative rock: bands like No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bush, Weezer.  I love Dave Grohl (guitarist, singer, and songwriter from Nirvana and Foo Fighters), his story inspires me.  There’s so much great music out there right now.  I recently learned about Borns and recently had a chance to see them perform for the first time in Minneapolis – amazing show and I loved their sound!  Shout to out their drummer Kristen, she killed it!

Speaking of live performances, it’s clear that live performances are really visceral experiences for you both.  You get into your songs in a way many performers aren’t wont to do, and I can see a real connection to your music.  Could you talk a bit about the meaning of live performances to you both?

A:  I take performing very seriously.  I want listeners to feel the same way I did when I wrote the lyrics.  People won’t believe in you unless you believe in yourself.  I always want to give the audience the best I can.

J:  I love performing!  It’s a lot of fun.  The fans who show up to our shows make it all worth it to me.  I can’t do as much interacting as I wish I could behind the [drum]kit, but I love smiling out into the crowd and watching people rock the f*** out.

South by Southwest is a huge music festival, known for showcasing bands with limited fan bases and launching them towards lucrative careers.  How was the festival for you this year? Can you talk a bit about your experience, walking into that high-stakes arena of performance?

A:  SXSW is always so much fun!  The vibe you get in Austin, especially during the festival, is surreal.  Good music, good food, good people.  This year we got to perform with a wide variety of musicians, which was great.  I can’t wait to go back next year.

On that note, you’re about to arrive in Utah to perform at Women’s Red Rock Festival!  This year marks the tenth anniversary of the festival.  With Sick of Sarah being just a bit older than the festival, you’ve got to be pretty pumped about this opportunity (and it’s very clear that they’re excited to have you there).  Anything you’d like to share with fans eager to see you?

J:  Yeah, we’re actually driving to Torrey [Utah] now!  The mountains are beautiful and I am so eager to meet all the wonderful, beautiful women Jeri has been telling us about!  Especially since this is the festival’s tenth year anniversary.  We’re so excited to be a part of it.

A:  We can’t be more excited to be a part of this festival.  Jeri Tafoya is the founder of WRRMF and she is the best!  I’m so happy she invited us to play this year.  Really looking forward to this event.  Plus, Utah is beautiful this time of year.  I want to see some stars!

You guys have been busting your asses for over a decade now.  Your music is certainly getting noticed and you’ve got fans everywhere clamoring for you.  All it might take is one big performance to reach a new level of fame.  Are you two in this for the long haul?

J:  We’ve definitely been going hard with this for a long time and have had the opportunity to see the world and meet some incredible people.  It’s definitely a tough industry to break through.  It’d be great to live off strictly playing music someday!

I heard about Sick of Sarah on a recent trip to Charlotte, where a friend had heard your music and couldn’t believe you weren’t on the radio.  You’ll be returning to Charlotte for a benefit concert in October that directly impacts LGBTQ+ businesses, which is raw awesomeness. What does this benefit concert mean to you two?  Why are you willing to come all the way across the country that supports this community that so admires you?

J:  We met our good friend Maureen, who was on the chamber of commerce committee, at a show last year at The World Famous Milestone [a popular Charlotte club].  She asked if we’d be interested in performing for the benefit concert.  We love and support the LGBT community everywhere and we love the idea of helping people in the LGBT community receive grants to pursue their dreams in business.

Thank you both so much for talking with me and sharing your time with me.  To wrap up this interview, I’ve got one question everyone always seems to pose and is always just as hard to answer: what’s on the horizon for you two?  You’ve had an amazing 2016, one that is unparalleled by a lot of bands rising to mass popularity.  I’m sure you’ve got some big dreams and plans for what’s to come!

A:  We are currently writing.  We’ve been writing a ton!  New music is coming and we can’t wait to share it with the world!

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Carmen R. Lawrence is a freelance writer currently located in Chicago, IL.  Though she writes about topics as varied as craft beer, theatre, and video games, writing about music is a passion and a pleasure.  Follow her on Twitter at @carmenrlawrence or find her on Facebook at carmen.lawrence1