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“In a way it’s a nod to the old sister acts,” Jessica says.
“But we don’t want to look like Dreamgirls either,” adds Abigail.
Onstage, there’s no doubt they’re a sister act. You can pick up on the closeness when they fight, or when they share a joke.
“Most people say, ‘I could never be in a band with my sister,’” says Jessica, setting up the punch line.
“Yeah, neither could we,” answers Abigail, “but yet we do.” They all burst into laughter.
“It’s like anything else, you’re at your best and you’re at your worst when you’re with your sisters,” Abigail says. “Every insecurity about your songwriting or the way you look comes out, because you’re thrust back to being 7 years old — it just happens inevitably.”
Abigail adds that she likes talking to other bands because on some level all bands have a kind of familial relationship. They fight about the same things, and it makes her feel like it’s normal to argue — that conflicts arise because being in a band is a creative endeavor and sharing your vision can be really hard.
“We do have a real feeling of loyalty to one another,” says Jessica, “which is real nice.”
Lily smiles and says, “At the end of the day, if there was ever a question of taking sides, we’d fight to the death to protect each other.”
Moving to L.A. also helped the band. In a family full of musicians, it was sometimes hard for the girls to escape unsolicited advice.
“They’ve known you since you were in diapers and they’re not impressed by you looking pretty and being onstage,” says Jessica. “They’ve all been doing it themselves for, like, 40 years. So there’s a lot of ‘You gotta look at the audience more ... ’”
“Or they know when you miss a chord change,” Abigail adds. “Now we can go home and play a show, and say, ‘Look how far we’ve come,’ and they haven’t seen every step of that growth.”
Their growth includes a self-released, self-titled, full-length CD that should be out soon. The sisters worked with Thom Monahan, who recently produced Lavender Diamond and Devendra Banhart, and Mike Daly, who produced Grace Potter.
“Our family is so supportive right now,” says Jessica. “We’d wither up and die without them. We phone them the morning after each show.”
Or their mother calls. She asks what songs they did, how many people were there and, of course, what they wore.
For info on upcoming shows and CD releases, see the Chapin Sisters Web site at www.thechapinsisters.com.
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