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Sugar Ray flying high with new hit

Sugar Ray September 9, 1997
Web posted at: 10:05 p.m. EDT (0205 GMT)

From Correspondent Michael Okwu

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The members of the Los Angeles-based band Sugar Ray could hardly have come up with a better title for their current hit if they tried: "Fly," a Carribbean-tinged, dance hall-flavored tune, has helped them soar right into the top of the charts.

"We're a rock band that likes to experiment a lot in the studio and have some fun with things like hip-hop sounds and sort of reggae or any kind of fusion we want to put together," said Mark McGrath, Sugar Ray's lead singer.

Their style -- called schizophrenic, even by their record company -- hasn't hurt their career. After a world tour for their first album, "Lemonade and Brownies," Sugar Ray was hand-picked to record songs for the Robin Williams-Billy Crystal movie "Father's Day."

Click here for a Quicktime movie of the video

Their second album, "Floored," which includes the single, "Fly," looks poised to keep them in the public eye for at least a little longer.

Sugar Ray takes its name from the sport of boxing. McGrath says it was a lucky one-two punch that helped the band score with "Fly."

First, he said, the song was created "equally by five guys. It's one of the only songs where all five of us really got to it, massaged it and took it to another place."

Then the band connected with Supercat, the Jamaican dance hall artist. McGrath mentioned Supercat's name to his producer at Atlantic Records, David Kahne, on a whim.

"He goes, 'Did you say Supercat?' And I go, 'Yeah, you probably don't know who he is,'" McGrath recalled.


His assumption was far from the truth. It turned out that when Kahne worked at Columbia Records, he produced a couple of tracks for Supercat, and the artist owed him a few favors.

"To make a long story short, he was in the studio five days later with us, recording the song," McGrath said. "He just came in and did his job and took the song to the next level."

The album title, "Floored," was originally a reference to the band's state of exhaustion after finishing the album. With time, however, it's taken on a whole new meaning.

"I look at it now as us being on all cylinders," McGrath said. "Right now, like, everything's floored."

Tours and festival appearances are already planned for the United States and Europe, with the band also scheduling in some dates as openers on the KISS reunion jaunt. As it conquers the world with its knockout, "Fly," Sugar Ray may successfully become one of the new musical heavyweights.


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