Reputation, The
Label: Lookout Records
Genre: Rock
Online: Artist Website


Elizabeth Elmore made a substantial mark on the American indie rock scene in the late 90's. Her former band, Sarge, exploded with a barrage of press coverage and fanatic fandom, not only dominating the indie press circuit but appearing everywhere from Rolling Stone (named "Hot Band" in 98's "Hot Issue") and Spin to Playboy and Interview. Elmore wasonly 22 at the time and, in her own words, "had no clue what to think." The attention was well deserved. Sarge played fast power pop with scathingly honest vocals, and Elizabeth never pulled a punch or hesitated to speak her mind. Then, at the height of their popularity, they quietly disbanded in December 1999. Elizabeth entered Northwestern Law School, began touring simply under the name "Elizabeth Elmore," released a split single with Hey Mercedes / Braid's Bob Nanna, found permanent members, then christened the band with the moniker they found most fitting - The Reputation. So why give the project a proper name and not continue under her own name? Elmore explains, "It is my band but it's a band, y'know? I write the songs and take care of the business, but when we're in the van together, we function as a band. Plus, as a woman and the front person, I get way more attention than I deserve anyway. If we'd played under my name, they could have been seen as 'backup players' but they're all an invaluable part of this band." Rounding out the band are Joel Root (bass), a current member of Chicago avant-jazz group Andiamo, Sean Hulet (guitar), formerly of Moreno, and drummer Steve Van Horn. Elmore's music draws its influence from a wide, and seemingly unassociated, variety of sources - Washington DC post-hardcore, alt-country, 70's singer/songwriters, indie rock, and her own favorites from childhood. "The thing is, it would be hard to find direct connections between most of the music I listen to and the music we play," Elizabeth stresses. "I don't know why, the music I listen to has just never sounded much like the music we play. Actually, my old bandmates used to tease me because they thought my songs had a melodramatic show tune influence from years I went to show choir camp. So who knows? I grew up on classical music, old country and bluegrass, 80's pop - Madonna, Debbie Gibson, Cyndi Lauper, the whole bit. I'm sure all of those things have worked their way into my brain somewhere along the way." Whatever the source, The Reputation takes considerable leaps and bounds in Elmore's songwriting abilities. A focused, concise, and -dare we say it? - mature pop sound. When asked about her lyrics, Elizabeth states, "The best way I can explain it is that as far as I can tell, I am too brutally honest and opinionated for most people. Generally, I think people wish I would shut up. I think with Sarge, I was usually trying to understand why people acted the way they did. These days, I don't even try to understand it."