Blast From the Past: What A Sugar Rush!

I just stumbled upon one of my old show reviews featured in the entertainment section of my daily college newspaper. Intertwined was my interview with Sugarcult guitarist Marko DeSantis that I wrote about yesterday. You can read the article here, where it was originally published or below. What do you think? Has my writing progressed at all over the years? Curious to know what your take is.

With a new album out, a new tour, and a new sound, Sugarcult continues to keep things fresh.

Annie Reuter
Targum Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sugarcult’s latest album Lights Out gives fans a different sound than they’re used to. Guitarist Marko DeSantis describes it as loud and sexy, dealing with “escapism and the guilty pleasures people indulge in that bring temporary happiness but are ultimately self destructive; casual sex, drugs, pop-culture.”

The band has just wrapped up the first leg of its Lights Out Fall 2006 Tour with opening acts The Spill Canvas, Halifax, Maxeen, and So They Say.

Sugarcult played an hour set of 15 songs at Starland Ballroom in Sayerville. Their first song, “Lights Out,” got the crowd pumping. One of the crowd favorites included their radio hit, “Memory” while many in attendance could be heard singing and seen crowd surfing throughout most of the concert.

“It’s very good to be back here at the Starland Ballroom,” said lead singer Tim Pagnotta.

Perhaps the best guitar sound of the night came from Sugarcult’s performance of “Los Angeles,” one of the deeper songs from the band’s new album which talks of casual sex.

DeSantis explained how each of their records stands up on their own.

“We don’t want to be redundant and puke up the same old same old,” DeSantis said. “On Lights Out, we broke new sonic ground, we nearly killed ourselves in the studio trying to make sure the music and lyrics were the best they could be.”

While some songs on the album deal with casual sex and guilty pleasures, other songs sound like anti-radio anthems.

On the song “Explode”, Sugarcult sings, “The radio is here to stay/Turn it off and walk away.”

“I guess after five years of doing this professionally we’ve had our hearts broken enough times to see that there’s a reason it’s called the ‘music business’ and not the ‘music friends,'” DeSantis said. “It’s all so political, but at the same time we can look on the bright side and be happy that good music is getting a fair shake: the White Stripes, the Killers, U2, Tool. It’s just sad when places like Philadelphia and New York City don’t even have a station that plays rock music anymore.”

So where does DeSantis and others find out about new music if they don’t listen to the radio?

“Growing up it was all about going to shows, word of mouth, mix-tapes, magazines, hanging out in indie record shops and digging through the racks,” he said. “Today it’s not much different, but things like iTunes, websites and file sharing just make it easier to get turned on to stuff. My favorite way to discover a band is to see them play live and unexpectedly be blown away by undeniable greatness.”

DeSantis explained that he likes bands that are “rooted in the tradition of rock n roll, but update it and push it forward.”

The energy by the end of Sugarcult’s set was intense. As they played their last song for the night, “Bouncing Off The Walls,” singer Pagnotta told the crowd, “I wanna hear you bouncing off the damn walls!”

So does Sugarcult ever get tired of performing some of the same songs over and over again?

“Not really, because you’re feeding off the energy of the crowd, and it’s either a new song or an old song that brings back fond memories of the old days. Hearing 1,000 people scream along to a song we wrote six years ago in a tiny practice space in our hometown when nobody cared about us is always a thrill,” DeSantis said.

With the start of a second leg of their fall tour, DeSantis also wants to play in all the countries Sugarcult hasn’t yet been to.

His plans for the future: “Basically keep making good music, becoming a better band, and chasing new adventures… Fuck it, while we’re at it, why not sell a million records too!”

For more on Sugarcult, be sure to visit them on MySpace.