Interview: SISTER – Say “Sleaze” and Thank You

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They say you can’t judge a book by its cover — but, if the cover is boring, then what’s the point? 

That’s what the fashionably unfashionable Sister has to say, with their classic 80’s decadence for a new millennium; paying their respects to the roots of Metal by thoroughly embracing their salacious individualism.

This quartet is another jewel from Sweden, a rising formidable Metal export. In the span of a decade, Sister has seen their way through the stages of Europe, the United Kingdom, and even the main stage of Sonisphere in Madrid and shows no sign of slowing down. Catapulted from their debut, Hated in 2011, this year they unleash their follow-up to 2014’s Disguised Vultures with Stand Up, Forward, March! on Metal Blade Records to critical approval.

Sister’s frontman, Jamie Anderson, shares his thoughts with a big salute to his heroes, the fans, and his infectious passion for life.

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TBS — What does Stand Up, Forward, March! mean to you?

For me it was my idea of making an album, Stand Up, Forward, March! because for me, it’s like some kind of statement that says when things bother you or you’re feeling low and you just want to give up, I think people should say to themselves, “Stand up. Forward, march.” Look forward on things instead of giving up.

For me it’s so much like the bands — the good bands — that stopped playing with us because of today in the music business. And also other things, as well. If you don’t like your job or you’re sick of school, just stay positive

TBS — So, it’s more of a personal statement than it is political?

It’s, “Believe in yourself” and doing what you want to do. If you want to do it do something, you only live once. Just focus on things that you want to do and don’t worry.

Don’t try to fit in with regular people, you know the ones that get up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, and do it all over again. If you want to do something or try something, just do it.

TBS — I think that can be said for the basis of Metal, itself.

Yeah.

Blackie Lawless and Nikki Sixx in the original Sister

Blackie Lawless and Nikki Sixx in the original Sister

TBS – Obvious question: Is Sister homage to Blackie Lawless’ first band in 1977?

I get this question a thousand times. When we play, people ask us when they do interviews backstage stuff like that. It happens a lot of times, but don’t worry I can answer the question…

Yeah we knew there was a band called Sister with Blackie Lawless, of course, back in the days when the internet wasn’t that big, it was hard because people didn’t know about Sister back then, except maybe some hardcore W.A.S.P fans or Motley Crue fans. But, I remember our band was called Sticky Sister or something like that. And then we just stuck to Sister.

Of course, you can call it a tribute if you want because we are big W.A.S.P. fans and Motley Crue fans, as well. But, it’s not like we, “hey you know that another sister existed like back in the – “ no it wasn’t like that.

TBS — Even though you said you recorded the album in the “City of Rock” in Upplands, Sweden you have a very distinctive American sound and style. Do you feel that Sweden has its own style, its own identity, or do you feel that Sweden’s scene is influenced by other countries?

That’s a hard one. I think it’s both. I grew up listening to Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Motorhead, and bands like that and of course bands from other countries, as well. But I think there’s so many people in Europe that likes Metal from Sweden because Sweden has so many good bands, and there are many bands in Sweden and we love Rock-n-Roll.

Jamie, hard at work...

I think…I don’t know, I think we got our unique sound here, but of course most of the people who play rock-and-roll grew up with the bands I mentioned before and maybe from different genres as well.

I have to say if it wasn’t for Motley Crue or Twisted Sister I wouldn’t be playing rock-n-roll today.

TBS — You seem to be a pretty grounded. How do you feel when people call you ‘sleaze’?

I don’t know, they can call it whatever they want. We started back in the days, 10 years ago we were like 16 or 17-years old and we looked kind of sleaze with the lipsticks and Spandex and stuff like that. Of course, people can call us sleaze. They can call us Metal, sometimes they call us Black Metal Sleaze.

I think people want to put Sister in a specific genre. They can do that. I think it’s not my goal. I think it’s cool to put the [lean] in a band that you can listen to whatever genre you’re into.

See, like in Motorhead for example, if you like glam music like Poison, you can also like Motorhead. If you like Black Metal only, you’d like Motorhead, as well. I think it’s cool that we don’t play to have a specific sound.

TBS — So, what would you like the fans to get out of your new album?

First of all, I’d want them to listen to it. *laughs*

TBS — *applauds* Best answer!

*laughing* No, no seriously, to be honest, I think we reached kind of a lot people when we Hated in 2011 and I think you know, sometimes I can be like this, as well. If a band puts out a record that I haven’t heard before and I play their song and I think it sucks, I don’t listen to it again. Maybe sometimes, sometimes not. If the band released a new record, but I don’t like the first record, I know I should put on their new record to see if I like the new stuff, because maybe it’s totally different from what they released earlier.

So, it’s kind of hard to convince people, you know? If you don’t like a band, you don’t put on their new record. But, you know, I think this album is easier to listen to if you compare to our previous one, like Disguised Vultures.

TBS — Disguised Vultures has a very raw, heavier punk kind of feel to it.

Yeah. Yeah.

TBS — So, what made you go into a different direction this time?

I don’t think we sat down at a table and said, “Hey, let’s do this,” this time. It just came natural. We started to jam and wrote some songs and nothing planned, actually. This record could be…it’s hard to explain. That’s the best I can give you.

sister_photo05TBS — Actually, I don’t think you need to say anything more than that because that speaks volumes. I think a band with such a strong visual identity, people have a tendency of listening to their music with their eyes, so-to-speak.

Yeah. Yeah for sure.

TBS — With that, you’re going to be going on the road later this month, for the Destination Dust Tour. Is there anything that you’re going to be adding to the show?

You mean like more fire or…? No, it’s gonna be the same as we always do. I see ourselves as a Punk Metal band. We hit the stage and I lose my mind.

Because it’s just so I think…Put it this way: I think the whole make-up thing that we do, it’s the thing we grew up with like Twisted Sister. The look, the songs, that’s the whole thing.

I think the stage performance is going to be the same as usual. There’s gonna be some new songs with some old songs from the first from the second and maybe some before that. But, it’s going to be the same Punk Metal, just solid Rock-n-Roll process as usual. But with the makeup and Twisted Sister, I think it’s cool to see a band that got the looks and the good songs, that’s the coolest thing.

I grew up with bands like that. And that is what I want to see, so I want to give the audience the same reaction.

TBS — Do you think that Heavy Metal has lost some of that theatrics?

Yes. I think there’s a lot of good bands out there playing in just the t-shirts and shorts and sure, they’re awesome. But, for me, it’s not cool. I think it’s too easy to just walk onstage with just big pants and a t-shirt. The whole Rock-n-Roll thing is about attitude and cool looks and good songs. But, like I said, you can do it good with just baggy pants, but it’s not gonna look that cool.

Black Metal bands, now they look cool. They put a lot of energy into their look.

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That’s a hard one. I think I’m the same offstage as I am onstage. But, I get…I don’t know what to say, because I’m also opposite in the same way. Of course, I become a different person onstage, but not that much.

It’s like this: This is what I do. This what I want to do for as long as I can do it. When I hit the stage, I live my life to the fullest. And when I’m offstage, I just do what it takes to make good music.

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