It’s the classic rock & roll fantasy turned real: Gritty L.A. rock band slugging it out on the road, winning legions of fans one show at a time, when they get tapped to go on tour opening for one of the biggest bands in the world.
“I’m not sure how it all came about, but we’d heard their drummer talking about us in some interview,” explained Dead Sara’s singer Emily Armstrong to CBS Local regarding the Muse tour. “He lives in L.A. now and he heard ‘Weatherman’ on the radio and was talking about it. We just kind of freaked out and told our manager, with the idea if they ever toured that could be our way in, you know?”
It’s easy to understand why Muse drummer Dominic Howard would respond to “Weatherman,” from their independently released eponymous album from their 2012 debut album. The song has become Dead Sara’s calling card, a raw, blues-saturated stomp of jagged riffs and Armstrong’s stunning vocals, clear as a bell even when she’s screaming over a wall of guitars.
“We’re not going to practice in the 8 x 8 rehearsal room like the one we’re in now. We’ll practice on a bigger stage before heading out,” Armstrong mused about how the band is preparing for the Muse tour. “I mean, they are f***ing arena shows! It’s going to take some adjustments for sure.”
Not that Dead Sara is wanting for attention. Armstrong’s voice has been recognized by none less than Jefferson Airplane legend Grace Slick, she was once recruited by Courtney Love to sing backing vocals and the band just finished a slew of shows alongside the Offspring and Neon Trees, where they made an interesting (and resourceful) new circle of friends.
“For some reason, we were hanging out with the crew a lot,” laughed guitarist and Armstrong’s partner in rock, Siouxsie Medley. “Both the Offspring and Neon Trees had awesome crews, and we became really good friends with them. We have all their number and everything. Especially the Offspring’s crew,” she added. “They helped us with everything. Every single one of us had a guitar break on the road, and they just fixed it. By the time we hit L.A., we were bringing them friends’ guitars to fix. They were so nice.”
Dead Sara had a decidedly different experience on this summer’s Warped tour, which the band eventually had to pull out due to Medley literally rocking out entirely too hard.
“I fractured a rib,” Medley explained. “My guitar is a (Gibson) Led Paul, which are very heavy. After years and years of playing it and jumping around and bashing into things and whatever, it created a stress fracture from basically my ribs knocking together, creating tendonitis between them. It built up over time and hit me pretty hard.”
A much happier 2012 memory comes from this year’s Sunset Strip Music Festival, where not only did Dead Sara perform, but Armstrong has the opportunity to get onstage with the remaining members of the Doors for a rendition of “Soul Kitchen.”
“It was definitely something else. I literally felt like I was levitating as I walked onstage,” she explained of the moment. “I had one rehearsal with them, and when we got out there they just decided to change the arrangement. It was all so crazy. All I remember is the sensation of floating, and it being super fun. The next morning I woke up and kind of freaked out, like, ‘I did that last night? Really?’ I had to check tweets and Facebook just to make sure.”
Dead Sara hit the road with Muse starting February 22, 2013, at the Bank Atlantic Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, winding their way through the Midwest with shows in Detroit (March 2) and Minneapolis (March 7) before winding up in Tulsa, OK (March 10).
–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local