She’s the Editor in Chief of a major music and culture online magazine.
Her feature column is called Trash and focuses on a rock and roll life in New York City (and beyond!)
She’s run around town with everyone from fashion designers to movie makers, from porn stars to Lemmy Kilmister.
She’s a girl about town and she’s here to teach us how to Stay Thirsty.
When I first met Sarah, she was visiting New York City (by way of Chicago) to cover a Jordi Scott fashion show and after party. Immediately I knew I needed to befriend her, if only because she looked like an 80’s arena-rock video vixen and her favorite movie is Showgirls. She’s a woman after my own heart and her ‘baby’, Stay Thirsty Media, is like a Junkyard Arts for music and culture (and well, a lot of other awesome stuff too). Here I finally get to ask the questions that I really wanted the answers to – deeply pressing issues like “why is Showgirls so awesome?”…and of course, much more about Stay Thirsty and all that they have been up to. Spoiler alert: it involves major movies, major interviews and major charity work.
Junkyard Arts: The beginning: how did Stay Thirsty Media come to be?
Sarah L. Myers: Thirsty was founded in memory of Ryan Licht Sang, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 24. Ryan was a musician, artist, and writer, who lived his life by a Stay Thirsty philosophy. In 2006, I joined with Ryan’s father and Ryan’s closest friends to establish an online magazine highlighting the types of music and art Ryan loved. We aimed to interview some of his favorite artists as well. Five years later we’re a multi-media global brand!
JYA: I remember when we first met and I asked you about Thirsty and the first thing you said was that it was in memory of your best friend. He must have been pretty exceptional for you to focus your life on something in honor of him.
SLM: Ryan was more than my best friend. We formed an instant, consuming bond and shared absolutely everything with each other. We taught each other things, exposed each other to bands, books, films, and artists. We had each struggled with illness and felt much older than our respective ages. He remains the only friend who truly understood that about me.
JYA: Is there anything in particular you always remember when thinking about him?
SLM: Everything about him made him special. He twisted little sections of his hair when he read a book, woke up by smoking “shorts” out of the ash tray, and loved speaking in a Scottish accent. I feel that if you didn’t know Ryan, you were cheated out of something special. This is our way to share him with the world.
JYA: And so was born Thirsty.
SLM: I think Ryan’s father knew that his friends needed a focus, a way to survive our loss, so Thirsty became the outlet – an extension of the “Ryan Sez” bulletin board where he recommended shows and events around Chicago.
JYA: How did you get involved in writing in general? Were you always a writer or is this something you’ve cultivated through meeting with bands and musicians along the way?
SLM: I started writing short stories when I was about six years old and always wanted to be a writer, especially once I got into music. I was never satisfied with just going to a concert. I always wanted to meet the band. I was a major “Metal Edge” reader growing up and thought it was so cool to be backstage. I became the Entertainment Editor of my high school paper when I was 15 and stayed on staff all four years. I studied Journalism at Purdue and wrote for the local paper in Lafayette, Indiana. But I always wanted my own magazine. I laugh now when I remember saying I was “too old” to start one. I was 25! Thirsty was born that same year.
JYA: Tell me a little about the structure of Thirsty online. You really cover everything from politics to music to literature and somehow it all works together.
SLM: Ryan’s father, Dusty Sang, is our Wizard of Oz! He’s always pushing us outside the box. We work together on ideas that really set Thirsty apart from anything else, making it very difficult to categorize. Being “Thirsty” is a lifestyle, and we try to translate that on the site – publishing promising authors, throwing benefits, etc.
JYA: I love Trash. It conveys a certain nitty gritty that happens to you when you are out until the sun rises drinking whiskey with strangers and singing along to 90’s metal. Tell me a bit about why you started Trash and where it all came from?
SLM: We’d kicked around the thought of a column for awhile, and came up with this great rock n’ roll version of “Sex and the City”. Before Trash I would do occasional “Letters from the Editor”, but Trash REALLY shows my life as a music journalist in NYC. I’m constantly at shows, waiting for the next show, promoting a show, meeting artists, and going to parties. I want people to know what it smells like backstage at the Coney Island Sideshow, how to negotiate with cabbies in the Lower East Side, and what magazines Lemmy has in the bathroom. Where else would you read that??
JYA: Nowhere – that’s why I read your column. haha. Explain Thirsty Beach for me. It seems like your go-to place for all things random and I’m pretty sure I hear the ocean when I’m on the page…
SLM: Thirsty Beach is our destination shopping center! We tweak it now and then, but basically you pick a category, go inside the little beach hut, and shop for anything you need for your Thirsty lifestyle. It could be a t-shirt, a coffee table book, or some concert tickets. We hook you up, and you get to listen to the ocean as you shop!
JYA: I heard rumors that one of your publications (Stay Thirsty has a publishing company too, so, that’s awesome) is being made into a major motion picture…true or false?
SLM: Yes! One of our writers, Susanna Lo, is brilliant. Her screenplay, Manson Girls is being made into a feature film, starring Bill Moseley as Charles Manson. It’s still in the beginning stages, so you’ll have to keep checking back! But Thirsty is helping to produce, and we’re all unbelievably excited to be part of it.
JYA: Let’s move on to some of the cool things Thirsty has been a part of: how did you guys get together with the Joey Ramone Foundation?
SLM: I discovered the Ramones through Guns n’ Roses, who are my other obsession. I was 12 years old, and went and bought the “Loco Live” tape from Disc Jockey at the mall. I just fell in love, particularly with Joey and Dee Dee. They represented New York City, a place I knew I’d live someday, and a side of punk I hadn’t heard before. I just knew the English bands and the west coast stuff. I didn’t connect with it. But with the Ramones, they sang about love and fast cars and you could dance to it. I met Joey’s brother Mickey on my first trip to NYC and Thirsty decided to sponsor the 2007 Joey Ramone Birthday Bash.
JYA: And this year you guys did a silent auction in addition to the birthday bash – how did that come to be?
SLM: My friend Erin O’Brien and I decided to throw the official “Silent Auction” this year and it was a huge success! I met Joey after a Ramones/White Zombie show when I was 14, and my dream was to interview him (or marry him, or both) in New York, which sadly never happened. So the birthday bashes and auction are my way to celebrate his life.
JYA: You had some pretty fucking awesome items to auction, by the way. How did you end up with stuff from Anthony Bourdain, Cyndi Lauper, KISS and Henry Rollins?
SLM: Erin has the Cyndi Lauper connection! Erin has been promoting in NYC for years and knows just about everybody, including KISS’s business manager, who hooked us up with all that great swag. Tony Bourdain and I share that Ramones love, so I reached out to his production company and they were very excited to help out. As for Henry Rollins, I’ve interviewed him twice and he is very generous. I knew he’d be the perfect person to reach out to.
JYA: Most importantly, have you successfully stalked Bourdain, found where he sleeps and snuck into his bed? Because I can’t guarantee I wouldn’t…
SLM: I have not officially stalked Bourdain, but he’s on a Thirsty “Top 5” interview list. We’ll get you, Tony!
JYA: Ok. Your relationship with Lemmy Kilmister (of Motorhead fame, duh) is so curious to me. How did you originally meet the Ace of Spades himself?
SLM: I met him five years ago at a Head Cat gig in Chicago. He walked in with those tight jeans, his bolo tie and cowboy boots, and I almost fell off my bar stool. Five minutes later we were drinking Jack and Cokes and having a great conversation. I’ve been in NYC, Chicago, Texas, and LA with him and it’s always a great time. Being invited to his apartment in LA was really cool. It was his day off and he really went out of his way to do the interview. He’s just cool – always keeps your drink filled, lights your cigarette for you, plays you new music. He loves women. I went to the strip club with Motorhead in Austin and he was in heaven. His reputation is well deserved!
JYA: So, nice guy?
SLM: He’s always shown me respect and kindness. Lemmy is god, the last rock star.
JYA: Finally, Thirsty has gotten into so many artistic endeavors, but fine art has been conspicuously missing. Is there a reason you haven’t gotten into that area?
SLM: We have profiled Joe Coleman several times and he’s classified as an “outsider artist” but his paintings are displayed all over the world in fine galleries, and he’s becoming more of a mainstream exhibit artist. Ryan introduced me to Joe’s work, he was a huge fan. I suppose there’s no specific reason we’ve not profiled fine artists but we’re open to anything, as long as it’s Thirsty in spirit.
SAME QUESTIONS WE (SORTA) ALWAYS ASK
MUSIC YOU LISTEN TO WHILE WORKING:
I tend to listen to the artist I’m working with at the moment. Today for example was all Hank 3, from the moment I woke up until the last sentence I wrote!
FAVORITE WORK OF ART:
Cadillac Moon by Jean-Michel Basquiat. It was Ryan’s favorite piece and has always been very special to me. I also love Joe Coleman’s portrait of Hank Williams. He tells a great story of how when he was painting it, he became very frustrated. He punched it square in the face. When he sanded it down to repaint, his subject evolved to wear a mysterious smirk. Classic!
FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT:
My trip to London was incredible in many ways. I can’t wait to go back and spend more time there.
MATERIALS MOST OFTEN USED:
I am rarely without my digital recorder. Those nights that I do forget it, I always end up needing to do an interview! But of course.
WHY DO YOU LOVE SHOWGIRLS:
Oh my. So many reasons. From Nomi’s gold lame ensembles and cowboy hats, to her “sexy” stripper routines. The whole thing is just so much work, it tries so hard. I read somewhere that it was the least sexiest movie to ever be made about sex. SO true!
*Stay Thirsty is more than an idea. It is a call to arms. Founded on the philosophy of Ryan Licht Sang, a shining young musician, artist and writer who passed away at the age of 24, “stay thirsty for life” is Thirsty’s clarion call to shine a spotlight on creativity in all forms from around the world.
We invite you to Stay Thirsty.