Interview: Dead Sara ready to rock Epicenter this weekend
Emily Armstrong still can’t believe the incredible experiences she and the L.A. group she fronts have gone through in the past six months. Since the release of the single “Weatherman” back in February and a full-length self-titled debut in April, buzz band Dead Sara has gone from playing to small turnouts in Hollywood clubs to thousands of quickly converted fans at rock festivals.
The quartet opened this year’s Sunset Strip Music Festival on the main stage just outside the Key Club, while vocalist and guitarist Armstrong got to perform with Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek of the Doors at the nearby House of Blues during one of several pre-fest gigs. Dead Sara is currently on tour with Huntington Beach punks the Offspring, appearing with them Oct. 5 at the Hollywood Palladium, but first they return to Southern California this weekend to open another festival main stage, this time Epicenter 2012 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, ahead of Stone Temple Pilots, Deftones, Bush, Scars on Broadway and more.
“I’d say (this year) has been pretty mediocre,” Armstrong says during a recent phone interview, unable to hide her sarcasm before admitting she’s been humbled by sudden success. In conversation she’s bluntly witty, and on stage she’s fearless, grabbing the microphone to let out a hearty growl or softly deliver a bluesy ballad. It doesn’t hurt that she has strong support: guitarist Siouxsie Medley, drummer Sean Friday, bassist Chris Null.
Yet, despite growing acclaim for Dead Sara’s steady swirl of shows this year, it’s the special occasions that have really left their singer floored. The gravity of having performed “Soul Kitchen” with two of the three remaining members of the Doors didn’t really sink in at first.
“I remember waking up the next day and it finally hitting me,” she recalls. “We were so tired that day. We had woken up at like 5 a.m. for an interview with KTLA, and then it was nonstop throughout the day and we had played another private show that night, and I got driven to the next show, which was with the Doors. I was running on like no sleep at all and I was delirious a little bit.
“It wasn’t until I woke up and came to that I went ‘Oh my God, that wasn’t a (bleeping) dream! That actually did happen!!’ It really did seem like something you would make up in a dream, and it freaked me out.”