Daniel Joseph AKA Sugarlips
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Daniel Joseph AKA Sugarlips

Castleton, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Castleton, Ontario, Canada | SELF
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"Harmonica Player AKA Sugarlips Planning Metallica, Heavy Metal Covers Album"



When you think harmonica players, the general typecasting puts them somewhere between Blues Brothers' Dan Aykroyd and Jimmy Fallon-as-Neil Young. So you can't help but get intrigued when some dude who looks like he should be in Mudhoney scores U.S. radio play with a harp version of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" and claims he's doing Metallica next.

That's what Daniel Ouellette (a.k.a. Dano a.k.a. AKA Sugarlips), a man who wants to let the rest of the world see (or hear) the harmonica isn't just for playing back-up in a country band, intends to do.

Dano picked up the name Sugarlips from Jughead, his first band, in which he played harmonica with the 10-piece "bluegrass, east coast, Canadiana" act, but says he always wanted to take his instrument a little further.

"I actually wanted to take an instrument that was kind of pigeonholed in certain genres and break it out of those, just for my love of the other types of music," he says.

"I think the harmonica kind of gets a bad rap sometimes as far as not being considered a real instrument."

But with his cover of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" getting a lot of airtime on U.S. radio stations, Dano seems to have accomplished his goal of surprising people who believe the harmonica is only suitable for certain genres. So how do you follow something like that? With an album of metal and grunge covers, of course.

"I'm an old metalhead at heart," Dano says. "And again, I've never heard real harmonica in those genres and I knew I could do it. I mean, I've been playing along on my own for years and I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to formalize this, turn it into a solo project, just take it a little more seriously.'

"And I do love Metallica, you know, whatever my friends say. Some of them think I'm crazy because a lot of them are purists of the bluegrass country world. But I'll do whatever, metal, you name it."

This attitude, which Dano says he acquired from Bill Monroe, the late godfather of bluegrass, seems to be the driving force behind AKA Sugarlips. If you like what you're doing and are having fun, what does it matter what other people think?

"At the end of the day, you can't really care too much about what other people do. Because I think if it satisfies yourself, it's going to satisfy a certain element of the population.

"And you can't please all the people, all the time. You gotta please yourself as far as the satisfaction goes, and hopefully some people will buy into it. And buy into it with as much passion as I guess I had doing it."

Dano hopes to get more of his music licensed to movies and TV. He says he sees that as a way of putting his music out there and getting paid so he can continue to share his recordings with fans for free.

"I'm one of the very first web developers, if you will," he says. "And I've got a lot of big awards in web development and new media and digital media. So that's my world and a big part of that world is just this general attitude of sharing.

"Music is almost part of the branding, so I thought, 'You know what? It's better to have this song in every household than to try and make a bit of money off it.'"

Further on, there's the tentative January 2011 release of the newest album, which will feature harmonica-ized songs by bands like Metallica, Foo Fighters and Judas Priest as well as some original material and a large summer tour to support the album with stops in the U.S., Europe and parts of Canada.

"It's fun and the momentum is getting there and as long as it stays fun, I'm going to keep doing it."
- ChartAttack


"Groundbreaking CD puts harmonica in the spotlight"

Belleville – His work is rather remarkable but the man himself is quiet and understated.

He goes by Dan or Dano or even Sugarlips and excerpts from his bio explain a bit of that:

“New Media Pioneer Daniel Ouellette is an award-winning artist who’s been honoured twice at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for his work as a New Media producer. He’s also a recent Canadian New Media Awards winner and won numerous international digital media awards since 1995. . .
To many Dano is recognized for his harmonica playing with his long time band, Jughead, . . . known for its twisted Bluegrass versions of punk and heavy metal songs as well as delivering kick ass bluegrass originals and country classics.”

He has crisscrossed the country as a musician and the long list of bands and individual artists with whom he has shared stages and studios (from Buddy Guy to Sarah Harmer) suggests both a boundless breadth of musical tastes and a wealth of talent. He is also a full-time professor in Loyalist College’s animation department.

So to describe Sugarlips as simply a creative harmonica player would be among the grossest of understatements. And even if it were his only talent, it would be akin to saying Sidney Crosby has pretty good puck sense.

But understatement goes out the window with the release of his first solo CD entitled, AKA SUGARLIPS Harmonican Idol, where Ouellette clearly puts no restraints on a simple wind instrument he can hide in his hands. From there it can become anything he wants it to be. And on Harmonican Idol he wants it to be big and right up front. And the harmonica, he says, can fit anywhere.

“I play the music, not the instrument,” says a matter-of-fact Ouellette, who had the nerve to offer up harp covers of Scott Joplin and Eminem on the same disc. Not to mention Linkin Park, The J.Giels Band, Lady Gaga, Supertramp and Johnny Smith, alongside a few originals.

His repertoire also includes music by Henri Mancini, Pink Floyd, The Ventures, Dvorak, Motorhead . . . anyone really. And to hear him play live, you’re left wondering where all those sounds came from and exactly what kind of music that was. Each at the same time both obvious and mysterious.

With a few fresh copies of the soon-to-be released disc in hand, also available in coming weeks on iTunes, Ouellette performed briefly at the Loyalist College Shark Tank as part of Media Mash Up last Wednesday night, leaving his spellbound audience on their feet screaming and chanting for more. In short, he blew them away.

Legend has it that Depression-era Delta bluesman Robert Johnson met the devil at The Crossroads and there he sold his soul in exchange for musical immortality. To hear the few remaining thin recordings of a solo Johnson playing and singing what sounds like a duet, or more, and to know he died young and suddenly just before a pivotal Carnegie Hall date, the story is almost conceivable. And to hear Dan Ouellette aka Sugarlips make an almost invisible musical instrument seem as big as the room, or bigger, you might begin to wonder if he didn’t find a Canadian crossroads somewhere in his travels where he managed to cut a similar deal. With softer terms and a more cozy out-clause, of course.

At the moment Ouellette is readying for his Harmonican Idol release party, scheduled for Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern next weekend (Nov. 7), having already enjoyed airtime with the single Poker Face on Top 40 Pop stations in the US.

Band members joining him for The Horseshoe show include former long-time Blue Rodeo keyboardist, James Gray, lead guitarist Bobby Lavigne from Canada’s top Metallica cover band Misery, and “studio musician extraordinaire,” Hamish MacKenzie on drums. Juno-nominated Travis B. Good of The Sadies and Crawford Teasdale of Zeppelinesque fame also play guitar tracks on the CD.

The CD artwork and design is Ouellette’s as well.

And in keeping with the man himself, a gently understated liner note on the back reads: “This is crazy, man. So crazy it just might work!” Oh it works.

You can reach Dan at <akasugarlips.com> or E-mail him at <dano@akasugarlips.com> to order his CD. It will be available in area stores soon. - By Richard Turtle - EMC


Discography

"Harmonican Idol" CD released 2009.

"Foo Fiver" CD released 2011

"WTF" CD released 2013

Photos

Bio

WTF! Who knew a Harp could shake dance clubs, rock arenas and deafen metalheads.

The new CD “WTF” by Daniel Joseph aka Sugarlips takes a post-modern attack on hits and delivers them soaked with harmonica as though he's fulfilling a contract with the devil.

Compared to Tom Morello of “Rage” by Chart Attack Magazine, Daniel’s harp playing feels more like the attack of a shredding guitar.

“WTF” takes you from the dance floor to the mosh pit!

F**king around with tunes from The Foo Fighters, Linkin Park, LMFAO, The Ventures, War, Judas Priest, Guns N Roses, Edward Maya, Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas. A never been heard before sound!

You wanted COWBELL? - check out the infectious first single “Low Rider”! Or perhaps the Youtube sensation "Numb".

• SUGARLIPS received U.S. Top 40 airplay with “Poker Face”.
• Lemmy from Motorhead stated in a BBC interview that a bluegrass version of Ace of Spades by Daniel’s former band
Jughead was the only cover of his song he really liked!
• Jughead was known for their “Hockey Song” that went Gold in 1996 and for doing bluegrass covers of metal and punk tunes.
• A worldwide fandom is growing quickly for Sugarlips through Youtube gathering some very high praise and big numbers from fans around the world!

Audiences are reacting with a rabid response at the live shows, recently hosting a CD release party at Toronto’s Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to a packed house.

“… Daniel performed briefly at the Loyalist College Shark Tank as part of Media Mash Up last Wednesday night, leaving his spellbound audience on their feet screaming and chanting for more. In short, he blew them away.” - Richard Turtle, EMC News

"When the Poker Face Track started getting radio airplay in the U.S. without any kind of promotion I thought OK, people might actually enjoy this stuff as much as I enjoyed making it."

Typical feedback after a show: “Wow! We’ve never heard anything like that before! We loved it.”

Quotes:
"This is Bad ass!! I love it!"
Celina Denkins - Booking Agent - Whisky a Go Go, L.A.

“a great harmonica player...you’re amazing!”
Gina Zamparelli, LA’s Top Rock Concert Promoter

Favorite Cover Songs 2010
“With a little help from our friends” USA

“Groundbreaking CD puts harmonica in the spotlight” - EMC News

Contributing members include former long-time Blue Rodeo keyboardist, James Gray, the lead guitarist Bobby Lavigne from Canada’s top Metallica cover band Misery, Andy Joseph on Drums, Colin Willis on drums, Justin Lester on Bass. Hamish MaKenzie on keys, bass and drums - and Daniel Joseph (aka Sugarlips) on harps, DJ and vocals. Juno winner Travis B. Good of The Sadies and Crawford Teasdale of Zeppelinesque fame also play guitar tracks on the first CD.

“Basically I just wanted to record some great guitar songs that I loved that were never intended for harmonica.” “The harp is one of the most passionate sounding instruments and should be able to play any piece of music out there!”

"OK it's true, my dream is to be the Richard Clayderman of the 21st century!"

Daniel is an award-winning artist who’s been honoured twice at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for his work as a New Media producer. He’s also a recent Canadian New Media Awards winner and won numerous international digital media awards since 1995.

Currently Mastering next CD "Here come the 70's" featuring cuts like "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", "Baker Street" and "Turn the Page". Next on deck are 2 collections, one of Herp Alpert classics and the other a collection of Ventures numbers.

Listen to tracks online at http://akasugarlips.com

CD orders can be made online at: http://djostudios.com/akasugarlips/
Available on iTunes U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan & Australia.

Email: dano@akasugarlips.com
Web: http://akasugarlips.com or http://www.youtube.com/motorgrass

Band Members