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Big Sugar always adds spice to the mix - The Star Phoenix


On Dec. 31, 2003, Big Sugar decided the sound wasn't sweet anymore.

Lead singer/guitarist Gordie Johnson had moved down to Dripping Springs, Texas, leaving the signature Hugo Boss suits and finely groomed look behind for a cowboy metal makeover. He began working on the power trio concept that became Grady as well as producing albums by The Trews, Wide Mouth Mason and others. Band members went on to various projects and it looked like a chapter in Canadian music history had ended.

Everything changed thanks to The Trews.

"I got up to play with them at the Calgary Stampede a couple of years ago thinking I was playing some of the songs we'd written together and wound up doing six Big Sugar tunes they'd learned inside out, and man, it was really fun and the crowd went mental," said Johnson.

Assessing the market for his old group's unique blend of blues rocking reggae as hungry, Johnson made calls to his former bandmates and on April 23, 2010, the new Big Sugar debuted at the Telus Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler, B.C. Things felt just right. Everyone was having a really good time.

"Almost immediately, the guys were like, 'We have to do a new album. We have some old songs we never got around to doing, some new stuff, let's do it.' So we did."

Revolution Per Minute fits right into the Big Sugar style. The album yielded a big hit with its first single Roads Ahead, which peaked at No. 5 on the Canadian Active Rock Chart and shows little sign of leaving. Little Bit A All Right followed.

"It's a nice problem to have being back in the charts. But really this band has always been about earning the following through playing live," said Johnson.

For this tour, the band is bringing reggae singer Willi Williams to perform his classic hits with the band.

"We tend to find a new ingredient to throw in on every tour and Willi is one of the greats from my favourite reggae eras, the rockers sound of the '70s," said Johnson.

Read more at The Star Phoenix

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