If Big Sugar digs it, then they'll play it - Regina Leader Post
ARTICLE BY GORD BROCK, FOR THE LEADER-POST
REGINA — It is the fertile soil of folk music that holds the roots of the non-conformist stylings of rock/reggae band Big Sugar, says primary songwriter and frontman Gordie Johnson.
His inspiration comes from listening to Scottish and Jamaican folk music, and even turn-of-the century blues and ragtime when he’s penning a new tune. Then he turns loose on his composition the talents of the other members of Big Sugar.
“They (songs) start out with those forms. Then obviously they morph into what they’re going to be,” explained Johnson. “Once the band gets hold of it, it takes on a whole different life. But it doesn’t matter how tall the tree is, you still have to plant it in the dirt.”
About a quarter-century after it sprouted in Toronto, Big Sugar is itself still evolving, according to Johnson. Longtime fans will recognize that there’s more reggae in their shows nowadays.
“We have no one to answer to so we just do what we want.”
A dormant period for the band set in during 2003, only to lead to its rebirth in 2010 and a new studio album in 2011. Called Revolution Per Minute, the release led to two tours across Canada in support of the band’s latest groove.
“We just play the music that we dig. That’s the only criteria,” Johnson said in an interview leading up to the sold-out show at Casino Regina on New Year’s Eve, which pairs Big Sugar with Wide Mouth Mason.
It’ll be a busy night for Johnson, since he’s also in Wide Mouth Mason as its bassist and backup vocalist.
The evening’s lucky ticket holders can expect Big Sugar to play the songs they shelled out to hear, according to Johnson. But other than that, who knows? The band is renowned for making each show different.
It’s latest commercial success came from Road Ahead, a rock number off the Revolution Per Minute album.
“It was in the Top 10 for about 40 weeks. It was crazy, man,” he said.