Sugar Ray turned out several of the most breezily infectious summer singles of the late '90s, hitting on an appealing combination of sunny pop, lightly funky hiphop grooves, and reggae lilt....
Sugar Ray turned out several of the most breezily infectious summer singles of the late '90s, hitting on an appealing combination of sunny pop, lightly funky hiphop grooves, and reggae lilt. Pegged as likely one-hit wonders after their 1997 breakthrough smash "Fly," Sugar Ray managed to maintain their career momentum far longer than many observers expected.
Sugar Ray was formed in Orange County in 1992 after guitarist Rodney Sheppard, bassist Murphy Karges, and drummer Stan Frazier had been playing parties together in a hard rock/heavy metal cover band, Shrinky Dinx, since the late '80s. Mark McGrath became the lead singer of Shrinky Dinx after jumping up on-stage to perform one night, and they soon began collaborating on original material. The band played around the L.A./San Diego area, building up a following, and got one of its friends to finance a music video for one of its original tunes; it wound up getting them a deal with Atlantic in 1994. The threat of legal action by Milton Bradley, which owned the rights to the original Shrinky Dinks toy, forced the band to change its name to Sugar Ray (after boxer Sugar Ray Leonard). Around the same time, they began augmenting their live shows with the turntables of Craig Bullock, aka DJ Homicide, who later became an official member of the group.
Sugar Ray released their debut album, Lemonade and Brownies, in the spring of 1995. Their next album, Floored, became a double-platinum hit thanks to "Fly," a laid-back groove tailor-made for summertime. Sugar Ray delivered their third album at the beginning of 1999. The title, 14:59, was a wry reference to Andy Warhol's "15 minutes of fame" dictum, but as it turned out, the group's time wasn't up by a long shot. 14:59 wound up outselling its predecessor, eventually going triple platinum with hits such as "Every Morning" and "Someday". In 2001, the million-selling "Sugar Ray" found the band in a sunshiny state of mind, blending laidback island rhythms, funky hip-hop grooves, and infectious melodies, like "When It's Over", into their unique pop/rock cocktail. Their success continued with this release which garnered the band its first-ever top-10 album. Then in 2003 the band released the fresh grooves of In The Pursuit of Leisure. To date Sugar Ray has sold more than 8 million records worldwide.
Mark McGrath has also been hosting several shows; hosting 2 seasons of "The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll" as well as hosting Extra for several seasons. In 2004, Mark was a guest judge on the television phenomenon "American Idol." Additionally, he has made guest appearances on the hit television dramas "Law & Order: SVU," "Las Vegas" and "North Shore." He has also been featured on a number of MTV and VH1 programs, including the "Teen Choice Awards," "My VH1 Music Awards," "The American Music Awards," the "ESPY Awards" and was a "Rock 'n' Roll Jeopardy" champion in 2002. McGrath has hosted VH1's "I Love the 80's" and "The Greatest: 100 Most Shocking Moments in Rock and Roll" and the primetime specials "The World Music Awards," "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" and "Fashion Rocks." He also appeared with Sugar Ray in the feature film "Scooby-Doo."
Sugar Ray are in the studio right now recording their next album set for an early summer release.