They may be identical twins, but donít dare get 19-year-old rockers Tegan and Sara confused.
"Weíve always tried not to be look-alike," insists Sara, who bleaches her dark hair white to avoid confusion. "I just canít handle it. But people get introduced to us and are like, ĎHow am I gonna remember?í And Iím like, ĎAre you retarded? How hard is it?í Tegan has piercings, like nine earrings, and I have none. She looks different than me, Iím obviously cuter, and I donít get why people donít know that!"
Nonetheless, the girls are similar in many respects beyond physical appearance. Both possess a facetious, playful sense of humor. Both currently have girlfriends. Both, says Sara, "are really emotional, quite self-absorbed, and always want to talk about us, like Ďme me me!í"
And both are immensely talented in the arena of rock music. Their debut disc This Business of Art (Vapor) features a catchy hodgepodge of well-written, guitar-soaked power pop. They had a prime spot to prove themselves this summer, opening for Neil Young and The Pretenders on tour.
"Iím not nervous to play to that audience," Sara confesses. "Instead, I want Neil Young to think we rock! I wanna get off the stage and have Chrissie Hynde wrestle me and be like, ĎYou kids fucking rock!í"
Hailing from Calgary, Canada, the Quin twins were born on Sept. 19, 1980 ó Tegan is eight minutes older ó and raised in a liberal household by their mother, a therapist who works for a last resort program to reintroduce former teen prostitutes and chemical dependents to schooling.
The girls first got serious about music at 15, when Tegan fell ill and their motherís boyfriend left his guitar where Sara could get to it. Sara reckons their first songs "were probably really dark lyrics, really horrible songs," while Tegan dubs the early days as "out of tune and out of control." After wowing the audience at a local contest, however, the girls found themselves on a magazine cover, touring with a pair of big Canadian acts, and landing a four-record deal.
"Some days I wish Iíd gone to university," Tegan reports, "but most days Iím feeling humbled and blessed by this wonderful industry thatís accepting of our kind of music."
Sara was the first to date other girls, and currently boasts a relationship of two years.
"My momís always really open, and I think that she was just nervous that life wouldnít be as easy," Sara recalls of coming out. "But what Iím doing right now is not hard. Itís less to worry about than if I had a guy in my life. At least she knows Iím not going to get pregnant! And Tegan Iím happy for ó as long as sheís happy I donít care who she dates, and this girl is cuter than any guy she ever dated, so thatís pretty cool."
"Iím at that age where guys seem a little immature to me and so I picked up a girl whoís a lot older than I am!" Tegan says with a laugh. "Weíre in kind of an emotional world; we run a very emotional business, so itís really nice to have emotional support and I think I found that with girls."
Both sisters maintain that their sexuality hasnít made many waves professionally or personally ó although they admit this might not be the case were they men.
"Itís getting more accepted for women but I think is still really hard for guys," Sara says. "Iím not afraid Iím going to get beat up ó Iím scared Iím going to get a dirty look. My guy friends are worried theyíre going to get beat up."
"Girls have it a lot easier than guys, I must say," Tegan agrees. "My ex-boyfriend of four years just came out and itís such a difference for guys. We have a very easy time just doing our thing, I donít think people really care, it comes up so little in our lives. And in our professional life itís not the only thing thatís sellable about Tegan and Sara. Weíve shown people that we are broader than that one world.
"Plus," she notes, "we date really cute girls, so everyoneís totally into it!"