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Emily Armstrong

Written by Randy Patterson

Posted September, 2011

DeadSara1Like many of you, my listening habits often quickly wind up in a rut. I'll listen to the same handful of albums over and over and over again. In doing so, it's easy to forget that one must swim out of that musical vortex and into the rest of the melodic ocean to discover all sorts of great, new music by up and coming artists.

Exactly that happened to me a couple of months ago when I received an advance copy of the debut CD by the hot, new L.A. band, Dead Sara (read the Boomerocity review of it here).  Baby boomers will enjoy the band if for no other reason than the fact that the band brings back memories of the musical energy and excitement that the bands of our youth fostered.

Ever since hearing the disc and catching a few of their video’s on YouTube, I’ve become quite the evangelist for the band.  There’s just something about Dead Sara that keeps the listener coming back for more.  So, when the opportunity presented itself to interview the band’s lead singer, Emily Armstrong, by phone recently, I naturally jumped at the chance.

I know that most of you have never heard of the band so my first question to Emily was one that I know she and the band has had to have been asked a zillion times:  What’s behind the name, Dead Sara?

“It’s really funny. It’s actually from Fleetwood Mac’s Sara – the song, Sara. She says, ‘Said, Sara . . .’. Siouxsie and I, back in the day, we listened to Fleetwood Mac incessantly and we just loved the thought that it said, ‘Dead Sara’, or, sounds like it.  So we were, like, ‘Yeah! Let’s go with that!’  It was the one thing that we could agree on, too.”

There you have it folks:  Unlike Alice Cooper, the name wasn’t inspired by an axe-wielding murderer or from a séance. Nor did the band’s name come from combining the name of a sex symbol with the name of a famous killer, like Marilyn Manson.  The origin of the band’s name is really as simple misunderstanding what the lyrics of a song was saying.

In my review of Dead Sara, I said that I thought I heard a lot of influences like Melissa Etheridge, Joan Jett and Janis Joplin. Since I had the opportunity to find out for sure, I asked Emily yet another question that I’m sure she’s been asked a bajillion times in the band’s new career:  Who were your biggest musical influences?

“Well, it’s pretty much all over the spectrum. As far as singers that I sound like are concerned, there wasn’t that one singer – or even a couple – that I was like, ‘I want to sound like them’. It was more what I liked at the time because I went through a lot of phases growing up. But what really stuck out to me was the 60’s and 70’s, for sure – a lot of those singers such as Stevie Nicks; such as Janis, Melanie Safka, Robert Plant and stuff like that.  There’s a lot during the 90’s, of course, too. Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain, say, like the bigger ones that people would know.  There was a lot. Like I said, just whatever I was feeling at the time is what was influencing me."

 As for the other band members, “They’ve been in five bands before, from electronic to all sorts of others.  Siouxsie was into a lot of punk rock. So, it’s kind of all over the spectrum.”

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