SCENE: A high school music room in Sydney, Australia, 1997. Boy (Shimon Moore) meets Girl (Emma Anzai). Girl asks Boy if he knows any songs by the likes of Silverchair, RATM, Green Day. Boy says yeah. Boy and Girl began to jam, found a drummer (Chris Mileski, later replaced by Mark Goodman), and started writing songs. Hence, Sick Puppies was born. Taking their name from a Carl Hiassen novel, the band began extensive tours of Australia and recorded an award-winning EP, Dog’s Breakfast, in 1999.

After recording their first full-length album Welcome to the Real World in 2001, the band set their sights on the States. They took a hiatus to earn money for their next record, and in true rock and roll fashion, Anzai began work as a telemarketer and Moore took a job at the local shopping mall, holding sandwich boards for a shoe-store. There he became friends with Juan Mann, the originator of the International Free Hugs Campaign. In 2004 Moore spent two weeks filming Mann in his quest for hugs, though nothing ever happened with the footage.

In 2006 however, while Sick Puppies recorded their second album in Los Angeles, Moore learned that Juan Mann’s grandmother had passed away. As a sympathy card for his friend, Moore edited together the Free Hugs footage with one of the band’s new songs, “All the Same.” Once the video hit YouTube, it (and the song) took off. The video had over 10 million views in its first few months, was featured on Oprah and even won YouTube video of the year. Meanwhile, radio was deluged with requests for “All the Same,” which eventually reached number eight on the Billboard charts.

Sick Puppies signed a deal with Virgin Records just as they completed their second studio album, Dressed Up As Life. The album featured the singles “All the Same” and “My World” and had sales in the six-figures, thanks in part to the popularity of the “Free Hugs” video.

In late 2008 the band went back into the studio to record their third album, Tripolar. Full of hard-hitting guitar riffs, pulsing rhythms, and a just the right amount of heartfelt lyrics, Tripolar is ready to take the charts by storm. The track “War” was recently featured in promotions for the video game Street Fighter IV, and the first single, “You’re Going Down,” was the theme song for a recent WWE special. The album is available now in stores, or buy it here on iTunes.

Not enough? Sick Puppies are currently on tour with Hurt and The Veer Union, with stops across the country until wrapping in St. Louis, MO on September 11th. If you get a chance, check the band out live; their show is amazing and not to be missed.