When and where did Sister Suzie form, and who plays what?
Andrea: We formed in our friend Lindsey’s basement. Alex, Alfredo and I were jamming with her for a bit, then we continued on with Mark and James and became Sister Suzie in 2016, but didn’t actually play a show until the end of summer in 2017.
Alfredo – Drums
Alex – Bass
Andrea – Vox
James – Guitar
Mark – Guitar
So first thing’s first – how did you guys come to form a glam rock band, why now?
Andrea: I think I had posted “Va Va Va Voom” by Brett Smiley online and asked if anyone wanted to jam some glam or rock ’n’ roll. I got really into junkshop glam over the years through punk and oi! stuff, and love the influence of early rock ’n’ roll and rhythm and blues in the ’70s tunes. So I just really wanted to jam styles from Eddie Cochran to Giuda.
Mark: Andrea, Alfredo and Alex were already jamming when they invited me into the fold. Why now? Why not? Our jams are an equal split of playing fun tunes and cracking jokes. No better way to spend your time.
Alex: We formed Sister Suzie now, I think because Edmonton has a lot of really great and talented bands that cover a range of punk-related sub-genres, but nobody was doing this kind of early-mid-70s mid-tempo, kinda sleazy rock ’n’ roll. So we stepped up.
James: Biggest influences are probably Slade, Cock Sparrer, Slaughter and the Dogs and Rose Tattoo.
What previous subcultures has everyone been involved in prior to the band, any previous bands etc?
Alex: I was in The Horribles (1997-2000) and the Detentions (2004-2006), both in Winnipeg, and then moved to the arctic for a while.
Andrea: I was in a powerpop band called The Pez Heads (2010-2011) and was in Hard Pressed, so were Alfredo and James. I basically just got into punk when I was 13 then got more into oi!, hardcore, mod, glam, etc. from there.
James: I was really into hardcore when I was younger, though I loved punk and oi too. I was in a Vancouver hardcore band called Out of Sight in 2010-2012. Also, a d-beat band called Wild Cravings that never did much.
Mark: Mostly punk and hardcore. I was in a band called Maus a few years back.
Who do you feel are the most underrated Glam bands of all time?
Alex: The Fast.
James: Probably Jook, The Rats and Iron Virgin.
Andrea: Angel, Brett Smiley and Hollywood Brats.
Glam instantly brings to mind images of platform shoes, long hair, and very flashy, quirky fashion in general. Is this an aesthetic that you guys find important? Why or why not?
James: It’s a great aesthetic and I appreciate it but it’s just not my style. I really love the more toned down ’70’s bootboy look of bands like Jook. And Slade’s skinhead phase…10/10.
Mark: An aesthetic definitely adds flavour and Andrea brings it every show with the shoes alone, but it’s not the be-all-end-all. Representing and respecting an aesthetic is cool, but trying to rigidly adhere to it can be stifling and limiting.
Alex: Andrea blows away that aesthetic for us. Besides, I might roll an ankle in those shoes…and, I feel like long hair would interfere with this militaristic hyper-masculine schtick/receding hairline I’ve got going.
Andrea: I don’t think the aesthetic is the most important thing…that being said, I love platform shoes and glitter and jumpsuits. I love the style of bands like The James Boys and The Sweet and being in this band is a fun excuse to wear the over-the-top stuff.
Unlike Oi!, glam is no stranger to (albeit era depending) mainstream exposure. What are some of your favourite guilty pleasure songs/bands, both old and current?
James: I don’t really have any glam guilty pleasure… unless you count Gary Glitter.
Alex: Anyone who likes Gary Glitter should be in a Vietnamese jail.
Mark: No such thing as a guilty pleasure. Like what you like, haters be damned.
Andrea: Yeah I don’t feel really guilty about my love for the more mainstream glam bands like the Bay City Rollers, or the disco-leaning junkshop glam stuff like Zenda Jacks – Rub My Tummy. It’s sweet, I don’t care!
You guys so far have played extensively in your home province of Alberta, as well as a jaunt to the BC coast last summer. Where have been your favourite places to play, and bands to play with?
Andrea: Sled Island in 2019 and Kamloops at Pizza Pi had to be the most fun shows we played. For local shows, our favourite venue in Edmonton’s 9910 and my favourite band we’ve played with has gotta be The Marked Men – that was a blast!
James: We have had some great shows at the Palomino in Calgary. Sled Island 2019 stands out. Kamloops was so much fun too. We played with a killer band called Minx and everyone was dancing during our set. Also, we really felt the warm welcome in Victoria.
Mark: The Palomino in Calgary is basically our home away from home, but it’s tough to top the pizza place in Kamloops.
Alfredo: My favourite gig would be Kamloops and my favourite line-up was with Masterless Dogs, Janitor Scum and Tommy Grimes at the Palomino in Calgary.
Alex: Wigwambamloops. ‘Cause the show was in a pizza restaurant. The Victoria show was great too because some people were singing along to the songs we have up on Bandcamp. That’s a good barometer for doing something right, and it can be a little hard to gauge that playing shows in your hometown.
After listening to a sneak peek of your new album, there is definitely a progression from earlier demos. It’s fair to say there are elements of what may be the original blueprint of Boot Power compilations, but also a fair amount of just tight, good rock n roll ala Thin Lizzy. Has this been a deliberate shift, or just something that’s happened organically, or both? Also, will this album be the first thing that that band releases on a physical format?
James: That’s the result of us trying to hone our sound over the years, as well as multiple band members contributing to the songwriting. Andrea’s riffs are more classic glam, whereas Mark writes those ripping solos, and tends to favour more melody and duelling leads. I just write stupid street rock riffs, with the odd rock ’n’ roll lick here and there.
Mark: Definitely organic. That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t write something like an earlier track if someone had a good riff.
Alex: Once we figure out HOW it’s being released, this will be the first physical release for us. There’s one track we did that was for a This Is Pop compilation, so it depends on which manages to get out of the gate first.
What does the future hold for Sister Suzie? Where would you guy’s most like to play one day?
Alex: Glam bands are supposed to say Mars. So Mars. We would like to play on Mars. Or Uranus.
Mark: Hopefully the future holds even more shows. Where would I like to play? Anywhere that’ll have us.
James: Europe would really rule.
Andrea: Europe or Japan would be sweet! I’m also always trying to convince the boys to play Cold Lake, Alberta.
Any final comments?
James: SISTER SUZIE RULE O.K.
Andrea: Thanks so much, Mike and Meaghan!!! Really pumped for Last Years Youth!