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Friday, October 20, 2006

Rising Stars Revisted - BLUE SUGAR


1. Get Ready To Rock first interviewed Blue Sugar back in the summer of 2003. What's new since then? (Line-up changes, new music etc)

Martin – Well, only me and TJ are left from the original line-up. I won’t bore you with the details but let’s say some of the others were missed more than others…….. We changed about a bit, brought in a new girl singer, Kirsty, for one gig, and gave the job of second guitar to Matt, who was originally our stage tech. Then we went into hiatus as me and TJ were doing a lot of other stuff, both on stage and behind the scenes. The opportunity to open for Nazareth gave us the impetus to actually get our shit together and get in the studio. Davy Gray came in on drums, who happens to be one of the best drummers around, and Steve, who TJ worked with before, came on board. The, after the gig, TJ moved to handle vocals only, and we added Craig on Bass. He’s the cousin of Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s Chris Glen, so obviously we hope he even half as good, which he is. And I forgot to say, we added a stack of new songs, so our style is varied, but certainly a bit more straight ahead Rock ‘n’ Roll.

TJ – And somehow I managed to end up fronting the band - still not sure how I managed to do that. The girls leaving was sad but they wanted to do their own thing and good luck to them both.

On the plus side it means we only need one dressing room now, although Martin's Ego is trying to get its own limousine to the gigs. Since, of the old line up only myself and Martin remain, this year has been spent cementing a new line up and working on some new material.

Martin – But that’s where you belong, and my ego deserves its own space….., or is it my head?

2. What bands have Blue Sugar been involved with since the last time we spoke to you.

Martin – We’ve played gigs with Doctor & The Medics, Nazareth and Zhain. They’ve all been fun, and each one of them has seen us move forward. They’ve all been fun, and I would say that we’ve generated a decent fan base out of these shows.

TJ - Martin and I also do a lot of work with Dan Baird and Homemad Sin. Dan used to play with the Georgia Satellites. We have been working with him for the past 3 years and I cant begin to tell you how much fun it is (especially when our tour manager manages to get us lost 500km in the wrong direction!). Sounds like an idea for a song……

3. What have been the highlight(s) and low point(s) of Blue Sugar's career to date?

Martin – Losing Lynsey was initially a blow, but I think we’ve both developed from it. Her new stuff is great, and we’re more conventional in our approach now as well. I think we’re having more fun as a band now. Me and TJ joining Dan Baird’s band on stage in Newcastle in 2004 was a lot of fun, although it made the stage quite crowded as we were both quite a bit bigger back then – all that good living and no playing….. The main highlight for me this year is still to come. Playing with Waysted. I’m a big fan of the band and really like the guys as well, so I expect that to be a great night.

TJ - Highlight so far for me was supporting Nazareth at the Glasgow Cathouse in March this year. A sell out show and Nazareth fans were great with us. Low point?? Well the long awaited album is still not done as the producer we were working with has gone off to whore himself as musical director with a boy band.

Martin – Yeah well, money talks and all that.

4. Is your audience the same people who have followed the band since its early days, or are you picking up a different fan base?

Martin – Everyone who has heard us loves us! Seriously, we’re getting great feedback from every gig we’ve done, and it is a broad mix of people, some of whom possibly are not directly fans of our rock ‘n’ roll. However, we have a simple philosophy that we just go out and have fun, break sweat, and try to get everyone involved. Seems to be working so far. Some of the fans from the past have stayed with us, so it’s definitely on the up.

TJ - Yes its a new fanbase now as I have a new girlfriend and we have a new bassist who's sister comes to see us !!

Martin – In fact his whole family can make about 50% of our audience these days.

5. What songs/albums are available from Blue Sugar, and where can we find them?

Martin – We recorded an EP for the Nazareth show, as we felt we couldn’t really stage a comeback without something new. "Here We Go Again" is available from or form our Agents website, It only costs £3.00 so everyone can afford it. You will not be disappointed. The first track is "The Ballad of Tommy Joe". A little song about our travels to Europe with Dan Baird. Every word is true. "RoadTrippin" is a new arrangement of one of our most popular live songs, and "Looking Back On Yesterday" is a nice romantic song which thinks about what might have been if a relationship had gone differently.

TJ – I am Tommy Joe. Told you it was true.

6. Spinal Tap moments.... Every band has them.... Ever lost the way to the stage? Tell us about Blue Sugar's most embarrassing moments.

Martin – A friend of ours has this Bar near to where I live in Glasgow, and we’ve played it a few times. However we really should reconsider, as the first time we played we blew up the Bass Amp and the second time, our drummer passed out mid song. Any other embarrassing moments shall remain secret to protect the guilty.

TJ – I’m surprised that Martin didn’t tell you it was my dress sense! Octopants look good on stage I tell you ! He and I have different views on presentation. But it seems to work for us.

7. The current music scene.... Discuss!

TJ - Its dreadfull, dire and horrible. Too many dance acts with no original ideas stealling classic songs and ruining them. The rock scene also is pretty stagnant but thankfully there are the indy bands making some decent noises - I like stuff The Automatic are doing at the moment. Other than that I'll stick to my fave German bands Rammstien and In Extremo.

Martin – To me, it’s better than it was when we last spoke. More guitar orientated bands, play more indie Rock style as opposed to the straight Indie stuff. Band like The Answer, Roadstar and Rattlesnake Remedy are great. Also, many of the bands who have been around for a while have brought out great records as well, Thunder, The Quireboys, SAHB. I really like bands like The Zutons, The Feeling and Richard Ashcroft, but most of the male "singer/songwriter" brigade leaves me cold. James Blunt, James BLAND more like. It’s still hard for musicians in general unless you are part of the whole "Big Label conspiracy", but more direct sales opportunities are coming through with downloads, wap, myspace and the like.

TJ – Have you started to wonder yet how we’ve managed to stay together through all of these years. (sings) Sometimes I wonder, how did it all start…….

8. Which up'n'coming musicians/bands do you think have got what it takes?

Who would you like to work with in the future?

Martin – Saw The Answer and then Roadstar open for Thunder in consecutive years and really like both of them. I’d play with them any day; it’s all really good stuff. There’s a good few bands of that ilk, like Red Star Rebels and Rattlesnake Remedy. It’s all great, hook-driven songs that are all about having a good time. I’d also work with anyone who would happily pay me……

TJ – ….You musical whore! Although he's been kind of quiete recently but I'd love to work with Rico. Hes been describide as Glasgow's answer to Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor which whilst very complementary, also takes away from what Rico does as he shouldnt be seen as a NIN clone. I loved his last album "Violent Silences" and the collaboration he did with Gary Numan on the single "Crazier"

9. What would you like to achieve ideally by the end of 2006?

Martin – World peace…No wait, that’s my Miss World speech….??? I’d like to get good sales of the EP, and finally get the album finished. Our producer, Greg Friel, has just secured a gig with a new boy band, so we’ve found someone else. We may be cursed to finish this album, but at least we get to write lots more songs, and they are better each time. I’d also like to get to the Classic Rock awards, as I think that’s one helluva party. You can keep your Brits!!!!

TJ - Well it would be nice to have the album done by then but dont think its going to happen. Dan’s tour will put paid to that. Just to see out the year in good health would be nice and build on what we have done this year in 2007

10. Message to your fans.

Martin – We’re back, again! But this time it’s personal. Come along and join the party!!!

TJ - Yeah, be good...both of you!!


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