Sugarcult takes Tokyo (then Ventura) by storm
By Ian Morton 09/07/2006
Forget the cool equanimity of his vocals; Sugarcult frontman Tim Pagnotta is actually one excited guy. Fresh off a trans-atlantic flight and he’s a flurry of conversation topics, from breakfast foods to earnest songwriting, giving each response to my questions a genial lilt. Of course, it isn’t hard to see why Mr. Pagnotta is a little giddy; having just returned from their tour with Green Day, Sugarcult seems to be breaking into today’s Pop Rock pantheon. “We just played a show in Tokyo and it sold out in three hours,” he says over the phone, taking a moment to let the numbers sink in, “we’ve never had something like that, it’s living out a childhood fantasy.”
The Japanese en-gagement proved a huge shot in the arm in the promotion of Sugarcult’s upcoming album Lights Out, the band’s attempt to “go out and try something new.” “We approached [Lights Out] completely differently,” Pagnotta explains. “We wanted the music to be still heavy but with an element of escapism to it.” Listen to Lights Out and you see that the recording’s ethic mirrors its content; filled with songs about indefinable relationships and foiled expectations, the album freely mixes introspection with understated come-ons and gains a well-rounded brawn that earlier Sugarcult albums lacked. “On a lot of this album, I just wanted to sound honest, even if it didn’t sound like the ‘right’ thing to say,” Pagnotta confesses. He offers up the track “Los Angeles” as an example. “Here, I’m basically saying ‘I want a life without frustrations’… here’s some tough [things] to say but I wanted to say them, to make it lyrically different. We’re showing different sides of the band.”
Luckily, what isn’t different is Sugarcult’s chemistry, evidence on Lights Out’s other standout tracks like “Riot” or single “Do It Alone.” As Airin Older and Kenny Livingston provide a sturdy rhythm section, guitarist Marko DeSantis gives melodic progressions as crisp and smartly arraigned as the band’s attire. (Pagnotta remembers meeting DeSantis because they were “wearing the same suit backstage and we hit it off like a couple of girls, fighting over an outfit.”) Now endorsed by Green Day and a substantial Japanese hipster following, Sugarcult will be ready to rock the Ventura Theatre on Sept. 8.