Sugar Cult Interview:

Sugarcult can’t stand when people attach labels to their music. Fortunately for them, their live show makes labeling refreshingly difficult. Unlike their heterogeneous sound, which mixes a speedy confection of punk and pop rock, the members of Sugarcult can be classified as regular rock and roll musicians and unapologetic “wild childs.” Witnessing them stir up an audience on stage or speaking with them after a show unveils a certain amount of truth within their constant emphasis that the music is “for the fans.”

Or as lead guitarist Marko 72 exaggerates, “It’s a band and its fans against the world.”

While it may sound like fresh spin on an age-old quote, Sugarcult earned credibility points last Sunday at Zetafest, exemplifying a fun-minded devotion to their fans. Singer Tim Pagnotta didn’t seize rocking out, even when a bottle thrown from the audience cut the bridge of his nose, streaming blood down his face and into his denim jacket.

The mostly teenage crowd was left sugar struck by a set that blazed through almost every track from their debut album,Start Static, including the singles, “Stuck in America” and “Bouncing off the Walls.”

Marko, Pagnotta and bassist Airin, alongside a replacement drummer (original member Ben Davis missed two dates due to a family wedding), spent nearly two hours signing autographs, taking pictures and getting to know their fans after an hour long, bloody good set.

Sugarcult formed in Santa Barbara, California in 1998, releasing two independent albums before signing with Ultimatum Records in 2001. Soon after recording and leaving school (Marko graduated from UCSB and Airin from UCLA), they hit the road and have been on tour for more than 14 months.

“We are really lucky to do this and we won’t take it for granted,” says Marko (or his robot), “It is a fun job to have.”

The band says that its major influences are Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick and the Clash. Their newest single, “Pretty Girl,” is currently gaining nice amounts of airplay on college radio. However, the band remains humble and feels that any imagined success has been achieved.

“It all depends on your definition,” says Marko. “Our main goal was to write songs and play shows, so we have been successful for years.”

Sugarcult’s near future consists of more life on the road. “We use each other to get to the top,” says Marko, “we rely on our Sharpies and guitars because that’s what has taken us so far.”

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Diana Pastrana can be reached at