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Music

Sugar Ray: 'Fly'-ing to success

Web posted on: Friday, January 22, 1999 5:46:58 PM EST

From Correspondent Mark Scheerer

NEW YORK (CNN) - When California alternative-rock band Sugar Ray hit the airwaves with their breakthrough hit "Fly," many listeners may have thought they were destined for "one-hit-wonder" status. With the release of their latest album "14:59" (Atlantic Records), the band can put those rumors to rest.
Members of Sugar Ray (left to right): Stan Frazier, Mark McGrath and Rodney Sheppard

With an odd mixture of musical styles -- everything from Reggae to speed metal -- their music appeals to a broad range of audiences. While "Fly" represents perhaps their most radio-friendly song to date, their new single "Every Morning" should be finding its way onto playlists soon.

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But don't try to label their records. With their diverse musical influences, every track has its own sound. But that's the point, according to front man Mark McGrath.

"We started this band for fun," he says, "and we haven't changed."

For "Fly," the band brought in Jamaican toaster Super Cat to infuse the tune with dance-hall stylings. The track helped propel "Floored" into 1997's top-twenty, and brought the band critical success. An unexpected result was the elevation of McGrath to sex symbol status. While neither the band nor their record company (Atlantic) planned it that way, McGrath says "it's something that other people have picked up on and ...there's sort of a symbiosis there happening."

McGrath keeps it all in perspective, however.

"We're gonna sell records and have a good time and maybe make people smile, you know, and if that's part of the deal, that's part of the deal," he says.

This laid-back attitude and sublime sense of humor are reflected in the title of the band's new album. "14:59" is an acknowledgment of the fleeting nature of success, a reference to Andy Warhol's prediction that one day everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes. Sugar Ray recognizes that true success isn't built on one big hit -- it just starts there.

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