Sister Seven - Biography

s i s t e r s e v e n l i v e
Patrice Pike - Vocals; Guitar, Percussion
Wayne Sutton - Vocals, Guitar
Darrell Phillips - Vocals, Bass
Sean Phillips - Drums

The lights are low and a hum fills the air. People are packed in the warehouse district on the night of the show. Moments away from the new millennium and the lucid sounds of the drums kick in, the tape rolls, and the choir of a thousand and more fans go crazy. This is Sister Seven Live recorded just before the band disbanded in 2001.

Patrice Pike Now Sister Seven reunites this year for their first show at Antone's in four years. Ten years of writing music, touring, making records and making fans along the way have made the Sister Seven story. It is a testimony to all the time spent and a musical history of the band that has become a cult legend. The four members are Patrice Pike, Wayne Sutton, Darrell Phillips, and Sean Phillips.

It was at the famed Black Cat Lounge that it all started in Austin. We were all just having a good time. From that point on they took the music business by the horns, changed their sound at will to remain true to their creative impulses, and eluded Corporate Rock over and over again with the unwillingness to submit to the request to be untrue. Sometimes success is defined by honesty, conviction, and Independence. This is their story.

It has been said by Rolling Stone that, "She's Tina Turner, Bessie Smith, Janis Joplin, and Robert Plant, rolled into a tiny, but explosive package." Patrice Pike that is, and she was born to sing. At the beginning of the Sister Seven Live, as Fallen Angel begins a voice rises from the netherworld. An unsuspecting chant of mythic proportion rises through the music. You will not believe your ears. Patrice said this in 2000 regarding the disbanding of the group,"When we found out that yet another Major label that we were involved with was in self inflicted turmoil and that we would be one of the many bands who would be turned away because of budgets and contract buyouts, we immediately made plans to record a new live album. We knew we could do it, and it's what the fans wanted. She says now, "That was the best way to end a ten year legacy of touring, proving people wrong who said we were just a jam band and couldn't write songs, and playing our hearts out live at La Zona Rosa. Over and over we did things in the course of ten years that people said couldn't be done. Sister Seven Live is a great live record, fun to listen to and we will make that live excitement happen again at Antone's in November. We did it last year for two nights at Momo's and we'll take it to another level for a second year.

Wayne Sutton, the guitar wall of sound, shows his mastery of sounds and texture so well. One of the reasons Sister Seven is such a great live band is because he has been able to take the many parts he constructed on studio albums and meld them into one masterful foundation. His playing is lyrical and unique. Then there is the burning solo on Guilty Sin, a song that originated on the first Sister Seven Album in the early days, and has become a mountain of musical virtuosity. Patrice says with a smile, " Wayne is not only a great guitarist, but one of the unsung songwriters in our community in Austin. His songs are smart and beautifully melodic and they not only charted in the top 20, but great songwriters complimented him on the road and in National Magazines. John Fogerty was quoted as saying that Wayne's song "This One" was one of the best songs he'd ever heard."

Through the late night new millennium night we hear the words, "Darrell Phillips on the bass." Inspired by Mingus and Molded by Sly and all that funk, Darrell is a sight to be seen and the low end to be heard. He is the epitome of the real deal and the definition of just do it. How could he not be, having been known to carry a James Brown record with him everywhere he went as a small child? FOR REAL!

Last but never least is the Sean Phillips experience. From the top the song Fallen Angel's intro, into the unbelievably tight, Smith and Wesson on through the night he is a drummer to be seen as well as heard. "We were looking for a drummer and when Sean came in to play with us, we didn't know he had cut the top of one of his fingers off. He was terrible!" Patrice laughs, "Sure enough he came back the next week, knew all the tunes better than we did, and blew us away. Wayne was still skeptical, because that's just Wayne, but I knew he was the one."

The band made their last studio album "Wrestling Over Tiny Matters". The record was produced by John Shanks and was one of the last records mixed at A&M studios. The record contains their second top twenty Billboard hit, "Only Thing That's Real", written by Wayne Sutton. "Practically every song hits the chorus running, and all the ballads have genuine melodic bite. And for each moment of unabashed accessibility there are flashes of depth ('Loaded") and witty introspection ("My Three Wishes')", wrote Andy Langer in Texas Monthly. Following Clive Davis' departure from Arista, the members of Sister Seven decided to disband in 2000 having been on the road nonstop for a decade.

All Members of Sister Seven have been doing their own projects since then, making solo records as well as recording, producing and writing in collaboration with other artists. Patrice Pike's record CO-produced with Wayne Sutton had the single Ms. Ramona in the top ten most added AAA charts along side David Gray, Dar Williams, Sonny Landreth and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. In November of 2004 the first Sister Seven reunions were scheduled just weeks after finding out about winning an International Songwriting contest. This recent success points to their songwriting skills as a group, and tips a hat to the timeless quality of their writing, having been awarded Grand Prize Overall and First Prize Rock for their song "My Three Wishes" in the 2004 USA Songwriting Competition. In the same competition "Nobody Knows" took Top 10 in Pop, having competed with 32,500 entries from all over the world.

So there it is. From the late night madness at the Black Cat and Steamboat on 6th, to touring with Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Allman Brothers, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Sinead O'connor, John Fogerty, and Michelle N'Degeocello all in a ford Club Wagon 'till they got the bus…Sister Seven defined the term "Bands On The Run." Share in the music. Buy the live album. Keep the legend alive. This is a band that helped coin the phrase, "Austin Texas the Live Music Capitol of the World." See them at Antone's, Saturday, November 5th.