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This article appears in the January 2012 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit

Before Sarah Teeple was comfortable as the lead singer of the 

Ladybirds, performing meant middle and high school theater: Maria in West Side Story, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. “Coming from a more controlled background — learning your lines, making sure you’re on pitch — it takes a while to switch your main focus,” says Teeple, who’s from Louisville and is also the manager of the store Cherry Bomb. “A rock band is a lot freer than theater. You want to be on pitch, but it’s just as important to dance around and show some attitude. But we’re not sloppy; we’re like a tight garage band.” She met her husband and Ladybirds bassist Jaxon Swain in college at Indiana University, the two of them staying up until dawn listening to bands like the New York Dolls and the Sonics. Teeple went to plenty of shows back then, but for a while the only time she used a microphone was for karaoke. “I knew in my head that I rocked hard enough,” she says, “but I hadn’t had the experience to prove it.” When she’s onstage now, she says she tunes into Tina Turner, a cross between rock and soul. “I think people like to see a lady in charge, bossing around the boys,” Teeple says. “I try to milk it."

Photo: courtesy Mickie Winters

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