Big Sugar
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Big Sugar

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Rock Reggae

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"Mix of Six: Big Sugar, lounging around and a time to remember"

Who Wants Some Sugar? As in Big Sugar! Saturday the Canadian blues rock band will be hitting the stage at the Burton Cummings Theatre right after their warm up act – The Balconies. (They’re a rock band with a lead female vocalist who, in a way, reminds me of Heart. They have a great sound, cool vibe, and great stage presence – definitely worth the $46/ticket.) If there is one thing I have noticed over the years about Big Sugar, it’s the fact that their look is always changing. Who knows, Gordie Johnson could be in some cowboy get up, be rockin’ the greasy slicked-back hair look, or even making a shout out to the ‘60s hippie look. Guess you’ll have to go to find out… - The Metro


"The Storm is already brewing in anticipation for Big Sugar’s return to Thunder Bay"

THUNDER BAY Entertainment – This Sunday November 11th marks the day of our National holiday Remembrance Day but also marks the return of legendary live performers Big Sugar to Thunder Bay.

Netnewsledger’s Raechel Reed in a telephone interview with Gordie Johnson had a chance to talk to him about the Tour.

The Eliminate Ya Tour is a 2 disc CD/DVD filmed live in front of a sold out crowd of screaming fans at The Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg. Having remixed the audio and editing the DVD Johnson said “we always set a high standard in every show we do. Putting everything together other than 2 songs that didn’t get recorded and just a few technical issues here and there I’m really pleased with it and the DVD looks fantastic”.


Willie Williams is currently on tour with Big Sugar and Johnson explained his excitement when the Reggae legend came on board for the tour. Willie Williams has been a big inspiration and a major influence on the band since the beginning so I’m happy he’s with us.

Are we going to see more of Big Sugar once the tour is over? Johnson says he’s currently in 4 bands himself but Big Sugar is always coming out with new material.

“We’re playing some acoustic based tunes something completely different from our usual, so we’re definitely breaking new ground” says Johnson.

If you’re a huge fan of Big Sugar in Thunder Bay you may spot the boys hanging out at their favorite after hour’s bakery in the wee morning winding down to some delicious eats in the heart of the harbor.

Big Sugar plays Live at Crocks Thunder Bay Sunday November 11th and doors open at 8pm. Get there early folks and get ready for the most anticipated concert of the year!! - NetNews Ledger


"Music preview: Gordie Johnson keeps his promise to play Irene’s pub"

Gordie Johnson says he’s going to do something, he makes it happen. That’s the main reason the Canadian guitar god is performing at Irene’s Pub Nov. 20. The last time Johnson was in Ottawa (opening for George Thorogood in June), he visited the Bank Street pub with his friend, MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner, after the show. To the delight of owners Alex and Kara-Lee Golota, he loved the place, and promised to return for a gig.


Best known as the creative force behind the band Big Sugar, Johnson is a guy who keeps his word, no matter what needs to be overcome. Consider the tour with Thorogood: Johnson got the call last spring that the American blues-rocker needed an opener. He’d just had carpal tunnel surgery on his left wrist and wasn’t sure if he could still play.

“My hand was still wrapped up and I was just starting to use it,” Johnson explained in an interview, turning his wrist to show the scar. “I thought, what better way to get it going? The doctor didn’t want me to sit around doing nothing, but I couldn’t go out and do the full-on Big Sugar tour. I knew my hand wouldn’t be strong enough to do that.”

The agent wasn’t interested in a solo act. Thinking fast, Johnson proposed a duo of guitar and drums that mixed traditional gospel and blues numbers with dub. “I was making it up as I went along,” he says. At the time he was listening to some of his favourite Staples Singers songs. “Mavis was singing a song called Sit Down Servant, and I said, ‘That’s the name of the band.’”

When the agent requested some tracks, Johnson got off the phone and got to work. By day’s end he had two songs recorded and mixed, and Sit Down, Servant! got the gig, with Big Sugar’s Stephane Beaudin on drums. They finished the album, I Was Just Trying To Help, in time for the tour, which turned out to be an excellent opportunity for Johnson to recover the muscle memory on songs he’s known most of his life.

“I was able to put the guitar down and play it like a lap steel for half the night. After 30 years of this,” he says, demonstrating his usual guitar-playing position, “I just switched it to this.” He puts his hands on his lap. “No strain. As the tour went on I was able to play more and more regular guitar so it turned into a great rehab program for me.”

Johnson, in his late 40s, has been playing guitar for most of his life. Born in Winnipeg to an Air Force family, the Johnsons moved around before settling in the Windsor area. Young Gord was fascinated by music and pestered his parents to buy him an instrument. They got him an electric bass, which he taught himself to play. His next challenge was to get his hands on a guitar, and master it.

For practice, he would flip the radio dial and learn the song that happened to be playing. “I didn’t play songs I liked, I just played whatever came on,” Johnson says. “To train my ear, I had to figure it out by the time the song ended.”

Although music was not the career his parents envisioned for him, Johnson was determined. By the end of high school, he was performing regularly with far more experienced musicians, often crossing the U.S. border for gigs. He played anywhere, from jazz clubs to weddings.

He moved to Toronto in the mid-1980s and soon formed Big Sugar, initially as a backup band. “We weren’t trying to be rock ‘n roll stars,” Johnson says. “That was the time of Nirvana and kids who couldn’t even play their instruments. It was all about the haircut and jeans, and it was not really what we were about.”

Big Sugar evolved into an alt-rock act infused with blues and reggae influences. Through the 1990s, they sold hundreds of thousands of albums, and had a string of hits, including Diggin’ A Hole, The Scene and Turn The Lights On. But, unimpressed with the music industry and beginning to feel numbness in his hand, Johnson called a hiatus a decade ago and retreated to his adopted musical home of Texas.

The musician, his wife and three young children live outside Austin, Texas, where Johnson is a session producer at Willie Nelson’s family studio. Among the artists he’s booked to work with in the coming weeks are Gov’t Mule and North Mississippi All Stars.

Big Sugar was revived a couple of years ago with a fiery new album, Revolution Per Minute, and a tour schedule that kept the band hopping. That’s when the wrist problem resurfaced. “As soon as I put Big Sugar back together, the numbness came back,” Johnson says. “It got to the point I couldn’t hold a pencil. I couldn’t hold a fork. I was dropping my drinks.”

Eleven months after the surgery, Johnson is almost back up to his usual speed. The Irene’s date marks a brief departure from a cross-Canada tour with Big Sugar, featuring reggae legend Willi Williams. There was also a recent tour with Canuck rockers Wide Mouth Mason, with whom Johnson plays bass, and some gigs over the summer with his noisy Texas-based band, Grady.

“I moved out to the Texas hill country and stopped caring what anybody thought,” J - Ottawa Citizen


"Big Sugar explodes live on disc"

by Stephen Cooke

FOR BIG SUGAR, whose reputation is built on the intense power of its live shows centred around the forceful bravado of guitarist frontman Gordie Johnson and anchored by the rhythm section’s fathoms-deep groove, releasing a concert album is a pretty big deal.

But at the same time, Johnson and his bandmates had to pretend like it was business as usual when they stepped out onto the stage of Winnipeg’s Burton Cummings Theatre just over a year ago, in order to preserve the true Big Sugar experience on the Eliminate Ya! Live! CD/DVD two-disc set. “We just had a regular night, we took all the same amounts of chances,” says Johnson, heading to Halifax for a Big Sugar show with guests the Balconies on Friday night at Olympic Hall.

“I think if you know you’re being recorded or filmed, you might play it a little safe. Once you’re aware it’s being recorded for all time, it makes people more cautious.

“So we were all our usual, carefree, adventurous selves that night.”


Over the years, concert albums have lost some of their appeal, seen by some as contractually obligated catalogue filler or viewed with a cautious eye as to their authenticity by skeptical listeners in an age of auto-tune and one-hit wonders.

But Johnson has his favourites, like Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies and the Who’s Live at Leeds.

The latter was the “first record I ever acquired, I actually stole it when I was a rebellious youth,” he chuckles.

With very little sense of the presence of the audience, he notes that even that acknowledged classic is missing something.

And don’t get him started on the first two Kiss live albums, Alive and Alive II, which he later learned were heavily laced with overdubs after the fact.

“They were my favourite live albums as a kid and they wound up being my favourite studio albums,” reasons Johnson. “They’re still great sounding records, whether they were recorded on stage or not. They sound better than the original Kiss albums that came before.”

For his money, the best overall live experience on record is Humble Pie’s Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore from 1971, capturing the British blues-rockers in their final days, with both former Small Faces singer Steve Marriott and guitarist Peter Frampton playing together in peak form a few months before Frampton’s departure for a solo career.

“It’ll blow your mind, but you’ve gotta have all day because it’s long,” says Johnson

He notes it includes a 16-minute version of Muddy Waters’ Rollin’ Stone and a 23-minute version of Dr. John’s I Walk on Gilded Splinters.

“There’s a certain commitment to rock and roll required to get through the whole thing,” he says. “I used to run around the house as a kid listening to it on eight-track, that’s how far back I go with it.

“When I still had a house in Toronto, Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes had a day off and he came over and we were drinking wine and listening to records, and I put on Rockin’ the Fillmore. Anyone who was walking down Euclid Avenue could have looked in my window and seen us jumping up and down on the couch, playing air guitar and having one of the most glorious, juvenile times imaginable.”

Time will tell if future generations of listeners will be air-aping Johnson’s technique on his signature double-necked Gibson, although on the DVD my eyes were glued to the non-stop hip-shaking of dreadlocked bassist Garry Lowe, but it’s to Johnson’s credit that he kept the warts-and-all approach to the project, preserving the event as a live document.

“There’s a dropped drum stick in there, there’s a missed toggle switch on the guitar or something, but I left it in there because … I could have fixed it, but why? It happened that night and it was part of what made that night what it was.

“There’s lots of crowd noise in there and a good sense of the room. I really didn’t want it to sound like a studio recording. I wanted the listener to feel like they’re in the room, and even with the DVD’s surround-sound mix, you feel like you’re sitting directly in front of the soundboard on the main floor.”

But if you want to hear the real thing with organic surround sound, tickets for Big Sugar with the Balconies are available online in advance for $32.99 at www.sonicconcerts.com, or on day of show online and at the door for $37.99. Doors open at 7 p.m., show time is 8 p.m. - The Calgary Herald


"Big Sugar Launching New Album"

Port concert on Sunday night features hard rock, blues and reggae from Canada's loudest group


Fans of Canadian rock and blues band Big Sugar are rejoicing these days.

The band, once known as the loudest group of musicians in the nation have done something fans across the country and around the world had almost given up hope of: They've recorded again. And best of all, they're touring to promote the band and bringing their show to the Port Theatre on Sunday at 7: 30 p.m. along with Wide Mouth Mason.

Revolution Per Minute is the first new and complete Big Sugar album that's been produced in a decade and, as the groups press releases says, fans can "thank whatever God it is you pray to for that, but you should spare a little gratitude for Texas, too."

After a jam-packed year of production work with artists including Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes, North Mississippi Allstars, The Trews and Wide Mouth Mason, "I really walked into the studio with the attitude, 'We run tings, tings na run we'," says Gordie Johnson, the now Texas resident and guitar genius who unleashed the Hugo Boss clad Big Sugar back to grunge era audiences.

"It was an attitude I always had germinating, but coming to Texas and living here has really nurtured the outlaw side of me." In other words, the band Johnson had created and nurtured to national institution was under pressure when he bid goodbye to Canada in 2003.

It was a rough time for Big Sugar fans who wondered if they'd ever again rock out to the high energy explosion that is Big Sugar in concert.

"There were a lot of external forces at work in that time," Johnson says. "When committee decision-making started to encroach upon our creativity I could see it was time to split."

End of story. Except that one day Johnson took a gander from his porch in the Texas Hill Country and saw a whole different landscape - finally.

"It was like Groundhog Day," he laughs. "I stuck my head out of the hole, I looked around, I went, 'Look, no weasels, I guess it's safe to come out'."

And that brings us back to Revolution Per Minute, an album that puts Big Sugar back in the driver's seat, featuring Johnson as a reborn Texas soulman on tracks like "There's No Tellin' Me" (featuring Ian McLagan of the Faces) as much as it reconfirms his role as a prime purveyor of scorching hot arena rock with more than a flavour of Jamaican reggae about it.

But what has many people talking about Revolution Per Minute is its looseness. This is as open and groovy as Big Sugar has ever sounded, Johnson says, as if some of that Texas heat traveled with Johnson to Toronto and relaxed the band's connective tissue.

It's something he attributes to a limber line-up that includes drummer Stephane 'Bodean' Beaudin and keyboard-savant, 'DJ Friendlyness', along with veterans Garry Lowe on bass and Kelly 'Mr. Chill' Hoppe manning the harps 'n' horns.

"All we did was hit record and we totally captured Big Sugar live off the floor," Johnson says. "This is the least messed with record I've ever made. Even when it came to mixing at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studio, we just put it up on the desk and moved faders. It just didn't need any help. We let it be what it is." And something else new for Big Sugar is the addition of a new female vocalist, Meredith Shaw.


"I'm just so excited to be getting on the bus with a bunch of boys," Shaw jokes. She has been working with Johnson for the past couple of years. Her recent album, Place Called Happy, was produced by at Willie Nelson's Pedernales studio in Texas.

"I had been writing with him for Big Sugar and then he asked me on stage and it was just awesome singing with them, being the female energy and trying to hold up that end of things," says Shaw.

"This is a great time to be touring with Big Sugar. They're in a good place together, rediscover-ing the band and they have the greatest energy performing together," says Shaw. "At first it was a little tough to hold my own, to get adjusted to the Big Sugar experience. I'd been doing acoustic music and to move from that to the loudest band in Canada, was a challenge but they've been super welcoming and I really feel like they want me to hold my own on stage with them."

She says crowds of Big Sugar fans at first took a "what's with the girl" approach, "but now they seem to be really welcoming too. It's just amazing and I'm really happy about doing this tour."

For tickets to the Big Sugar, Wide Mouth Mason show, call 250-754-8550 or go online to www. porttheatre.com.
- Canada.com


"Back in the saddle again"

Big Sugar has returned with a new album and renewed zeal

IN CONCERT

What: Big Sugar (with Wide Mouth Mason)

Where: Club 9 One 9

When: Monday night (also Nanaimo's Port Theatre Sunday night)

Tickets: $26 (250 383-7137)

Big Sugar is back. And this time, they're here for Big Fun. Period.

So says leader Gordie Johnson, the Canadian rock band's vocalist and guitarist. Big Sugar called it quits back in 2003. Now they've returned with a new studio album - the first in a decade - and renewed musical zeal.

"We're all coming back because we really want to," Johnson said this week from his home in Dripping Springs, Texas, just outside Austin.

"When it came to an end [in 2003], it really felt like, 'OK, we've really done everything we wanted to do with this. Any more would be just a rehash, so let's just leave it ... Now it's coming back as a living, breathing thing."

Johnson professes pride in Revolution Per Minute, released several months ago. In typical Big Sugar fashion, it offers a heady, electric brew of reggae, soul, blues, funk and rock. The hard-driving music, defined by Johnson's over-driven electric guitar, is as gritty and dirty as a New York alleyway.

Big Sugar's leader says the band suffered from "committee decision-making" eight years ago when it hung up its collective hat. Their music-first approach to recording Revolution Per Minute reflects a rejection of any limitations imposed by outside influences. Tellingly, the new album was cut mostly live off the floor.

Johnson said: "For the most part it's the sound of us, the group, just responding to each other ... It's all of us in the studio, just playing together. My vision was absolutely clear: I wanted to stick Big Sugar in the studio and put microphones in front of them."

Often, Canadian groups (stand up, April Wine and Trooper) stick around well past their "best before" date, playing old hits to make a few bucks. Johnson emphatically rejects the notion that Big Sugar is milking any nostalgia cow. There's the new recording, of course. There's also the fact the current band reunites the old gang: bassist Garry Lowe, sax/harpist Kelly "Mr. Chill" Hoppe, drummer Stephane "Bodean" Beaudin and the inscrutable Friendlyness handling keyboards and toasting.

"It's not like me and one other guy and a bunch of new hired kids playing hits and calling it Big Sugar. I find absolutely nothing appealing about that and I will never do it," Johnson said."We're compelled to succeed, maybe even more so than in the old days."

Johnson fans get double bang for their dollar on this tour. The opening act is Wide Mouth Mason, with Johnson joining the trio on bass. After their opening set, he changes his shirt and leads the charge with Big Sugar.

The Wide Mouth/Big Sugar extravaganza will offer a new tune Vancouver Island audiences likely haven't heard. It's a novelty Christmas-come-early number, If Santa Don't Bring You No Funk I Will. Johnson says a Windsor songwriter gave him a demo of the song some years ago.

Recently, he enlisted members of both bands to play it.

Wide Mouth's Shaun Verreault and Safwan Javed will join Big Sugar for the show's second half. Johnson says touring with both bands is something of a family affair.

"Everyone is so happy to be together again," he said. "I'm going to bring my scene with me everywhere I go. These are my peeps."
- Times Colonist


"Whiskey Sours and Sweet Big Sugar"

If you were a music fan in the 90s in Canada and you’re starting to lose your hearing, chances are you caught a couple of Big Sugar shows back in the day. This past Thursday night, the Mod Club hosted Whiskey Rocks, and headliners Big Sugar reminded their fans that they can still blow an ear drum or two, and the fans remembered how much they loved it.

2011 has been a great year for the Big Sugar family. The band released their first studio album in eight years, played an explosive show for Canadian Music Week, and are in the midst of a whirlwind cross Canada tour. Frontman Gordie Johnson, the patriarch of the clan brings back to the stage some familiar faces, Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe and Garry Lowe, and some new little brothers and sisters in Friendlyness, Meredith Shaw and Stephane “Bodean” Beaudin.

The applause was thunderous as Johnson and co. sauntered onto the stage. They opened the show with “Work It Now”, an energetic track off their new record Revolution Per Minute, and it was clear from the first earth shaking riff from Johnson’s guitar that the years have not put a dent in Big Sugar’s massive wall of sound. The vibe in the Mod Club changed from excited to thrilled when the unmistakable opening bass line of “Diggin a Hole” from Hemi Vision emanated from Lowe’s talented fingers. The voices that joined Johnson’s to sing “Roads ahead,” the first single from Revolution proved that the song has made its rounds with the fans. Les Respectables may have lost drummer Beaudin to the Big Sugar family, but the their big single “Sugah” (featuring none other than Johnson himself) finds itself on the set list to the delight of fans of the Montreal group. “Come a little closer” featured an outstanding harmonica solo by the cooler than cool Mr. Chill, and little sister Shaw flexed her vocal muscles on a medley of “Turn the Lights on” and “Acted bad”. But the shows two highlights had to be the face melting guitar solo by Johnson on “The Scene”, with a dash of “Brothers and Sisters” and a heaping dose of James Brown’s “Sex Machine” to top it off, and of course the set closing instrumental rendition of “Oh Canada”, Big Sugar’s answer to Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” that had every Canadian’s heart soaring.

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With Halloween coming up, Big Sugar had one more trick up their sleeve, and it was a real treat. As the band returned to the stage for their encore, they brought with them a very special guest: Ian Thornley. The former Big Wreck frontman resurrected the songs that his band were known for, with a little Big Sugar sweetness added in. Blending “The Oaf” with “If I had my way”, and “That Song” with “Jet” left every person in crowd with a massive smile on each of their faces, the memories that all of those songs represent no doubt flowing back. Finishing the massive two hour – plus set off with “I’m a Ram”, Big Sugar and Thornley took their bows and left the stage, and their audience, exhausted and completely satisfied.

By the mid-nineties Big Sugar had cemented their reputation as one of the best live acts in Canada, and over half a decade later that reputation remains intact. Thursday’s performance was an absolute joy to behold. Johnson, Lowe and Hoppe were at their finest as always, and the new additions in Shaw, Beaudin and Friendlyness proved yet again that they have earned Johnson’s support. Topped with the wonderful surprise of Thornley’s appearance, the blast from the past blew up the future, and kept a tantalizing promise of the future. Didn’t get a chance to catch these cats this time around? Well, brothers and sisters, get ready, because rumour has it the crew will be back in town on December 10th. Your eardrums will surely have recovered by then.
- The Examiner


"Pass the Sugar"

Big Sugar records new album a decade after its last one

Big Sugar released its last full-length record a decade ago, with bandleader Gordie Johnson folding the group and moving south to Texas to escape the pleasure-destroying pressures that the music industry brought to bear on him and his musical compatriots at the time. After three albums of metal-heavy Texas blues with Grady, in 2010 Johnson put his old band back together for some festival dates before releasing the full-on reggae rock of Revolution Per Minute this past summer. Johnson recently spoke with Vue Weekly about the creation of the new album.

VUE WEEKLY: What made now the time that you wanted to put Big Sugar back together?
GORDIE JOHNSON: Because I feel like everybody spiritually and musically is realigned. There were a lot of conflicting tensions in the group before. It just seemed like all the forces of nature were pitted against us and we were just trying to make our music and live our lives, and it just felt like everything had to have a meeting and be put to a vote and committee to decide on it. It just got to be a drag, and it was making the music not fun to play. I can never just walk out there and go through the motions because it's making somebody money, including me. I don't do this for money: I do this because it's what I do. You can't buy my allegiance to a thing I don't believe in.
We're happy to just let ourselves be weird, and if we feel like playing a bunch of reggae jams one night, well, that's tough. If you don't dig it, you're at the wrong show, man. If we want to get all tripped out or we want to play some old blues, we're going to do what we're going to do. Come on in, anybody's welcome, but we didn't promise we were gonna please everybody. We're just there making our music. It just seems like now at this point in history it's a really good time to do that.
Even making Revolution Per Minute was, I don't think instantaneous, because it does take a lot of planning and effort, but it certainly was a trouble-free and everything-moving-in-a-positive-direction experience in the studio. All I did was record it. There were no technical interventions necessary.
Even when it came down to mixing that was all obvious, too, because I took the audio back down to Texas with me and I was watching reggae movies on the screen in the studio and dancing around. I didn't even use a chair. I was like, "This is mixing?" This is a technical thing you do and yet I'm dancing around like I'm in a reggae dance hall the whole time I'm mixing a record. This is a really good sign, man.

VW: How long did it take to make Revolution Per Minute once the band got back together?
GJ: We had done a bunch of shows last year, just festival shows, you know, and of course we played a bunch of the old songs—that's what we have, you know—and we started infusing those with new attitudes and approaches and some new jams put in between to tie the songs together, and it was just this huge wellspring of new ideas that we were putting into the old songs, and I was like, "Oh, oh, oh. Everybody hold that thought." I had a bunch of songs that I'd been gathering up for years that had no home because I had no Big Sugar. Let's go into a jam space for a couple of hours and just see what these songs would sound like.
Literally, one evening we went in a jam space and we played through the songs and we were like, "Let's go into the studio tomorrow." The next day we went to the studio, we spent a week, week and a half recording; I only took a couple of days to mix it. Once we said, "Yes, we're doing this," it all came together pretty quick.

VW: In the liner notes, you thank [the Black Crowes'] Chris Robinson for the initial inspiration for "A Revolution Per Minute."
GJ: He's a brethren that I've known for years and years and we really bond over our common love of reggae music and Jamaican culture and Rastafarianism and all these different levels, and he's always been a guy where it's not a professional relationship: we don't work together, we play together.
I went into the studio on my own one day with my engineer and I played some drums and some bass and some guitar and I just made a bunch of old-school reggae rhythm tracks and I was like, "I'm gonna send these to CR and just blow his mind." And he was like, "Man, you should do something with that. You should put Big Sugar back together and make it all sound like that." Yeah, I could do that.

Thu, Nov 3 (8 pm)
Big Sugar
With Wide Mouth Mason
Edmonton Event Centre, $35 - Vue Weekly


"Big Sugar/Wide Mouth Mason to perform"

After an eight year hiatus they are back, bigger and better than before and soon Yorkton and area residents will have the opportunity to enjoy them up close and personal.

Accompanied by bluesy rock band Wide Mouth Mason (www.widemouthmason.com), and playing numbers from their brand new album Revolution Per Minute, Big Sugar will take center stage in Yorkton on November 8.

"This is the first Big Sugar record in 10 years," says Gordie Johnson, Big Sugar guitar/vocalist. "We're picking up the story line kind of where we left off but of course everyone has grown and matured in the interim so we're making something new out of the Big Sugar recipe.

"We didn't really have any interest in coming back as a 'reunion, greatest hits' type band," Johnson detailed in a recent interview with The News Review, "although we have lots of older hits that people love to hear and we're happy to play them, that wasn't enough reason to put the band back together and to go on tour."

From the outset he adds, the band sat down together to both create something new and to make sure it was every bit as good as older material.

Comprised of Johnson; Garry Lowe on bass; Kelly "Mr Chill" Hoppe – harmonica/sax/melodica; Friendlyness – keyboards/toasting; and Stephane "Bodean" Beaudin on drums, each band member brings something unique to the stage says Johnson.

"There are blues musicians in the band, rock musicians, reggae – all coming from different worlds and once we get in the studio together it includes all of those things," – creating the Big Sugar recipe.

"We've all grown as musicians as musicians do, but everyone is still identifiable, everyone has a signature sound... anywhere you put the needle down on the record you would know it's Big Sugar," he says.

"We didn't try to make it sound more modern or anything like that. We weren't interested in that. Twenty years ago we weren't interested in sounding like what was current. We were only interested in sounding like ourselves... We didn't have any preconceived ideas going in that it must include certain ingredients. We just sound the way we do."

When in Yorkton Johnson says the audience can expect to hear a taste of the old and a twist of the new.

"Having the band be a living, breathing entity that exists in 2011 with a new record and a new reason to go out and play and perform for people certainly gives us a lot of inspiration.

"It's a new day for us."

The long time performer says he's particularly excited to be on tour with Wide Mouth Mason – a band with which he is also involved so the upcoming show will be a two-fold performance.

"This is twice as exciting for us because I'm also in Wide Mouth Mason. I'll spend the first half of the show playing the bass for Wide Mouth Mason who we adore; we've known them since they were kids. We took them on their first tour back in the early 90s. We kind of discovered them in Saskatoon and we asked them to come on tour with us the next day. That was 15 years ago so it's kind of like a family reunion bringing both bands together on the same bill."

The second half of the set, Johnson performs with Big Sugar with Wide Mouth Mason members accompanying.

The plan after Yorkton is to keep touring he adds, bringing the band to as many venues as possible.

Big Sugar has also put together a Christmas album that fans can look forward to hearing in time for the holidays.

"It's called 'If Santa don't bring you no funk, I will.' There's an awful lot of boring, old rock n' roll Christmas songs and we decided we needed to do something that had more of our own take on Christmas." The album was also recorded with Wide Mouth Mason.

It's a new day and there's a new Big Sugar energy to keep a forward moving momentum he believes.

"We didn't want a greatest hits tour, like I said. It had to be vital and relevant and everyone on a personal level had to want the same thing. When all of those things came together it just didn't require any more thought or discussion. It just felt really right. When everyone's energy is channeled in the same direction, it's nice to get swept up in that positive vibration."

Johnson states, "All we did was hit record and we totally captured Big Sugar live off the floor. This is the least messed with record I've ever made. Even when it came to mixing at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studio, we just put it up on the desk and moved faders. It just didn't need any help. We let it be what it is."

Big Sugar, along with Wide Mouth Mason, will be performing in Yorkton at the Agripavillion on November 8. Call the Gallagher Centre for tickets or visit: gallaghercentre.com.
- Yorkton News


"Big Sugar focused on the future"

Unique band hits Regina this week

Big Sugar has no intention of getting out of the music business anytime soon.

After a six-year hiatus ended last year, the rock band went full speed ahead in the recording studio and emerged with Revolution Per Minute. After releasing the album in June, Big Sugar is currently on a crossCanada tour in support of the disc.

Although Big Sugar has produced six albums since 1988, the band is hopeful that fans will be particularly pleased with their newest album. Gordie Johnson, the band's lead guitarist, stated in a recent telephone interview that the new album provides a vigour that will charge their live performances more so than in the past. Revolution Per Minute, which features singles such as Little Bit A All Right, If I Were Heaven and True Believers, picks up on the storyline from the band's last recording in 2003.

"Although we have all matured and grown as artists, the sound is still classic Big Sugar and any fan can recognize that," Johnson explained.

Big Sugar has brought a unique genre a long way since the initial recordings of Johnson, Terry Wilkins and Al Cross from the heart of downtown Toronto.

The band does not identify themselves as a blues, rock, or reggae band but rather a combination of unique musical identities that simply "does what comes naturally to them as musicians and allows the music to be what it is."

The band intrigues a variety of audiences not only with their distinctive sound but also by offering a diverse selection.

The band has now recorded popular albums Heated (1998) and Revolution Per Minute in both English and French. Johnson elaborated that this decision was less to do with the political aspect of language in Canada but, more important, it "allows another form of communication between artist and fan in a different way."

Through this tour Big Sugar hopes to enhance the mood and attitude of fans by opening people up to a musical connection with the band.

Johnson stated simply, "we are just performing music and taking people with us."

Some hit singles fans can expect to hear throughout the tour include Diggin' A Hole, The Scene, Girl Watcher and Roads Ahead.

As well as great tracks, fans can expect a lively party atmosphere performance from the band, as Johnson explained, "it's like the party in the dressing room stumbled out onto the stage and the crowd was all invited."

BIG SUGAR

(with Wide Mouth Mason) 8 p.m., Wednesday Casino Regina Show Lounge - Leader-Post


"WHO NAMED THE BAND: Big Sugar returns, sweet as ever"

You usually don’t get to pick your own nickname – so you better hope it’s a cool one because you’re going to be stuck with it until you die, or at least kill the people who gave you the nickname.

Being stamped with a name against your will can even happen to a rock band, from time to time, when the originally chosen name has to be changed. It happened to Big Sugar, which returns to Edmonton after a long hiatus, playing a “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” style show with Wide Mouth Mason at the Edmonton Event Centre on Thursday.

Big Sugar did not name Big Sugar. The band actually started life back in the late ‘80s as the Mean Red Spiders. As singer Gordie Johnson recalls, it was a name chosen after months of careful discussion, and found on a Muddy Waters record. “We loved that name,” he says. They put up posters all over Toronto, played their first gig and were promptly served a “cease and desist” order by lawyers representing a band that had already taken the name Mean Red Spiders. What are the odds?

“They were from Hamilton or something,” Johnson says. “Of course no one’s ever heard of them since. But whatever. So there we were, with glum faces, sitting at the Pilot Tavern in Toronto, faces down in our beer: Oh, man, now what do we do?! It was such a nice poster.”

Enter one Harry Doupe, a stand-up comic buddy of theirs, who joined them at the bar and – being quite hungover – ordered coffee. He goes to sweeten his coffee, rips open the packet – which unbeknownst to Doupe had apparently gotten wet a few days prior – and an entire lump of solidified sugar plops into his cup, spilling coffee on his tie.

Harry said: “Huh, Big Sugar – there you go, that’s you guys.”

Gordie’s reaction was instant: “You have named the band Big Sugar! Thank you very much. I don’t want to hear any more. We’re Big Sugar. Everybody else just shrugged and said, yeah, sure.”

And so a legend was born. Well, not quite a legend, not yet, anyway, but one fine rockin’ blues n’ reggae band that cut quite a large swath through the Canadian music scene back in the day with songs like Sugar in My Coffee, which Johnson claims he’d been working on long before the Big Sugar name came along. Coincidence, you say? Johnson wandered off for a while there, landing near Austin, Texas as some kind of cosmic cowboy in a band called Grady. Then, when bassist Earl Pereira left Wide Mouth Mason, Johnson became their bassist. Yes, he’ll be opening for himself at the gig.

Johnson would like fans to know that this isn’t your usual reunion tour where the band just gets together to phone in the old hits and make a pile of money. No, they reunited to make a new record, Revolutions Per Minute, “to be a new band again and go out on the road and prove it all over again.”

The singer’s ongoing sojourn where he lives in Dripping Springs, Texas – a short drive from Willie Nelson’s studio, where Johnson has done most of his recent work – has given him a more “rural” attitude about the band, about music, about life in general. Willie is “the original redneck country rebel,” Johnson says. “You do what you’re going to do and let people catch up to you. I thought: man, that didn’t hurt old Willie none. I’m going to try that.”

After Harry dubbed the band, it only occurred later to the musicians that this was in fact a pretty cool name. Big Sugar is of course the nickname for the sugar cane industry in the Caribbean, whose culture and music have always been a big part of the band’s sound. No one else out there was combining reggae with blues with rock quite the way these guys were.

As for Mean Red Spiders, “I think I would’ve got sick of that by now,” Johnson says.

Big Sugar fits the band perfectly – just like any good nickname.
- Gig City


"Big Sugar back on the road, in Medicine Hat Nov. 6"

Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson believes in helping his friends.
"I wouldn't want to be successful if I couldn't bring my people with me," Johnson said while driving in Kamloops, B.C. with a reinvigorated Big Sugar.
"I've got three bands plus (Austin-Tex.-based cowboy metal band) Grady, so scheduling is a problem, so I thought, 'Why not bring them all with me?' And 'Big' Ben (Richardson), the bassist from Grady, is running the lights."
Big Sugar plays The Esplanade on Nov. 6.
The legendary Canadian rockers didn't play together for seven years, until The Trews, one of many bands Johnson has produced, came to him with an idea.
"They convinced me to do a couple of shows of Big Sugar songs. And I was very flattered they would take the time to learn all of the songs," he said.
Johnson contacted the other members of Big Sugar and asked them if they wanted to play again. They did, so they played a couple shows and recorded a new CD, "Revolution Per Minute."
"There is a bit of a trend with guys from '90s bands putting their bands back together even though they couldn't stand each other. We didn't want to be that way with Big Sugar," he said.
"There are also a lot of bands playing the greatest-hits circuit and we didn't want to do that either, because if you come to a Big Sugar show three or four times it will be a different show every time. It will still be Big Sugar songs, though I might throw in a verse of a Joel Plaskett song or a Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers song just to see if the band is paying attention. But I can't fool them anymore," he laughed. "We're all on the same page musically and spiritually."
The new CD has a lot of great guests on it such as Warren Haynes of Gov't Mule, the Allman Brothers, plus Tim Chiasson and more.
"I just got together all of the people I knew. We were all just so blissed out. Say Jay (Malinowski) from Bedouin Soundclash wanted to be on it. We'd say, 'Cool, let's do it.' "
The Medicine Hat-raised Johnson says he's glad to be playing with Big Sugar again.
"You can't divorce your family. You can break up with your girlfriend or divorce your wife, but not your family."
He is touched by the fan support for Big Sugar and its new music.
"The only reason there is a Big Sugar is because of the people who listen and remember the music," he said.
"I'm blessed in a lot of ways that people are still interested in my music. I know a lot of really talented people who struggle."
Big Sugar is on a 40-city reunion tour with special guests Wide Mouth Mason, with whom Johnson will be playing bass. Wide Mouth Mason's Shaun Verrault plays rhythm guitar for Big Sugar, while drummer Safwan Javed adds percussion.
Wide Mouth Mason started recording a new record but the bassist quit in the middle of it, so Johnson stepped up.
"I love it. I've actually played bass a lot longer than I have been playing guitar. It's a natural state of being for me. And I've played bass as a session musician on a lot of different records," he said.
"Another great thing about it is playing with Wide Mouth Mason and getting those guys back on track. They used to be a blues band with pop songs so they'd be playing pop songs and go off on a jam, and I said rather than apologizing for going off into a jam, why not just do that?"
They even recorded a Christmas song together.
"It's called, 'If Santa Don't Bring You No Funk Then I Will.' We've been playing it in the concerts. It's about time there was a dirty Christmas song," Johnson chuckled.
Big Sugar is at the Esplanade Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $42 plus service charge and GST and are available at tixx.ca, at the Esplanade or by phone at 403-502-8777. - Medicine Hat News


"Finally, A Cool Christmas Tune"

“If I hear that Paul McCartney Christmas song one more time, I’m going to scream.”



Gordie Johnson is no fan of the ex-Beatle’s perky 1979 holiday hit Wonderful Christmastime and, in fact, finds much of the contemporary Christmas music canon pretty dismal.

But the lead singer and guitarist for recently revived blues/rock/reggae band Big Sugar says he had no interest in adding his own holiday song to the mix.

That is until he heard a demo — sent to him by a Windsor, Ont., songwriter — which contained a dirty little ditty called If Santa Don’t Bring You No Funk.

“It was the funniest Christmas song I’d ever heard in my life,” says Johnson.

“It’s so dirty and so wrong and so funky. I passed it around to friends saying, ‘You have to hear this.’ ”

According to Johnson, the song has been going over exceedingly well each night on the band’s current cross-Canada tour, which comes to the Century Casino Showroom on Saturday night.

“People have been killing themselves laughing,” he says. Despite the positive response to Big Sugar’s first holiday offering, Johnson isn’t sure he wants to follow it up with full Christmas record.

“I don’t know if I have enough material to sustain an album of seasonal favourites,” he says, laughing.

Johnson has a lot on his plate anyway.

He’s been busy promoting Revolution Per Minute, Big Sugar’s first album in eight years, and is also playing bass with Saskatoon blues rockers Wide Mouth Mason.

He joined the band after its bass player quit halfway through recording its new album, No Bad Days, which Johnson produced.

“We had such a great time playing, so I decided to stay in the band,” he says.

WMM is opening for Big Sugar on this tour, meaning Johnson is pulling double duty each night.

That’s a lot of songs for Johnson to remember, but as he puts it, it’s “the least of my job. That’s easy because the songs all come from the heart,” he says. “The 21-, 22-hours of travel every day is what they pay me for.” - The Calgary Sun


"Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?"

Juno-nominated blues/reggae outfit Big Sugar is back — and it looks like it’s here to stay



Big Sugar is back — so you better get used to it, baby.

When I connect with Gordie Johnson, he’s sitting on the side of the road by his broken-down tour bus somewhere between Vancouver and Kamloops, B.C. Still, the Big Sugar frontman is in good spirits — and with good reason.



"The first week of this tour has been amazing — sold-out shows, amazing crowds," Johnson says, and he’s got the husky voice to prove it. "People are loving the new stuff, too."



That’s right, brothers and sisters — a reunited Big Sugar is back on the scene with this year’s Revolution Per Minute, the first new studio album from the Juno-nominated blues/reggae outfit since 2001’s Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?



Putting Big Sugar back together was "not part of any master plan," according to Johnson, who has called Austin, Texas, home since 2003.



"I didn’t have it on my mind. We got an offer to do a gig — and I had turned down a lot of those offers," he says. "But this time I thought, 'Why not put a call out and see how the other guys feel about it?’ And they were really into it. It wasn’t about money — it was more ‘What songs should we play?’ and ‘What should we wear?’"



After that initial reunion gig at the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler, B.C., in April 2010 and a run of shows that summer, Johnson and his bandmates — Garry Lowe (bass), Kelly (Mr. Chill) Hoppe (harmonica/sax/melodica), Friendlyness (keys) and Stephane (Bodean) Beaudin (drums) — reconvened in Toronto to start work on what would become Revolution Per Minute.



"We decided pretty early on that we weren’t interested in making it a Greatest Hits Tour," he says. "That wasn’t enough of a reason; we all have things going on. To be able to focus on moving forward, everyone was on the same page and feeling the same way — and playing pretty great together, I might add. It made going into the studio a snap. When you have that kind of unified force, you can’t really stop it."



Indeed, Revolution Per Minute came together rather serendipitously; take lead single Roads Ahead, for example.



"Roads Ahead is a song I’ve been carrying around in my back pocket for 10 years," Johnson says. "I’ve tried recording it with other people and getting other people I’ve produced to record it. I thought that maybe this was the time it could work — and at first, it wasn’t working. I was like, ‘C’mon! This song has to work!’ We stepped out and got a bite to eat and, on the way back to the studio, everyone was humming it in different ways.



"That song was in the Top 5 and has been on the charts for a few months, which kind of feels like an ‘I told you so,’" he adds with a laugh.



Now, Big Sugar has a well-received new album on its hands and is playing a string of sold-out shows in support of it — hard evidence that this is something much more than yet another cash-grab reunion tour.



"I think we’ll record again — the response has just been so overwhelming," Johnson says. "I’ll never say anything disparaging about my contemporaries, but there’s a bit of a trend of bands from the ’90s getting together and playing their old hits, and I was like, ‘Gross.’ (To be fair, Big Sugar was always sort of the contrarian in the ’90s Canrock canon, eschewing T-shirts and power chords for Hugo Boss suits and dancehall beats.)



"We’re a living, breathing band that exists in the present," he continues. "I have another band, Grady, who’s been around for eight years now and is doing pretty well, so I didn’t feel like, ‘Uh-oh I need an infusion of cash — let's get Big Sugar back together.’ We don’t deny our past, but this feels forward-moving."

BIG SUGAR
Nov. 10, 8 p.m., Burton Cummings Theatre
w/ Wide Mouth Mason
- Uptown


"Cover Story - Bringing Back The Loud"

Big Sugar returns, and those amps still go to 11

BIG SUGAR

Friday 4

Credit Union Centre

It’s been just under a decade since Big Sugar’s last proper tour — but if you saw the band live back in the day, here’s betting your ears are still ringing.

Well, guess what? It’s time to get ready for another glorious headache.

Before packing it in around 2004, Big Sugar (led by frontman Gordie Johnson) were known for nuclear-level rock riffs combined with dub, reggae and blues influences — all played at ear-splitting volume. Along the way, the band created five studio albums (the last being 2001’s Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?), and a Can-rock legacy that hasn’t yet been matched.

Brothers and sisters, get ready: they’re baaaack. Why? Simple, says Johnson: for the fun of it.

“I hadn’t ever planned on getting Big Sugar back together, because the only kind of offers I was getting was to play the big hits and make big money,” he says, “and when you put it that way it just felt kind of jive. I have reasons to do this and I would almost not do it just to be contrary. I’m really not interested in pursuing it for those reasons. You can only really go where your muse leads you. I’m sure there are maybe some really brilliant things I could havebeen doing with my career, but I was too busy playing music to even ponder what those might be.

“Watching it get swept up, it’s hard to put it down. This is enhancing my life too much right now to look at it as a career move.”



TEXASTIME

When Big Sugar called it a day in 2004, Johnson packed up his double Gibson and headed to Austin, Texas. Holed up on his ranch outside the city, Johnson started cow-punk metal band Grady.

The outfit has released three albums thus far, and they toured as relentlessly as Johnson did back in the Big Sugar days — although the clubs were perhaps a little smaller, and the crowds a little sparser. That last part is a shame: Grady is a vastly underrated band, and the group’s modern take on ZZ Top-esque burners with Johnson’s signature soloing is spot-on for the genre.

Still, Johnson (now a hale and hearty 47) has no regrets when it comes to trading in the bright lights of Big Sugar for the smaller stages of Grady — he follows his muse willingly, and openly admits that he derives pleasure from making his own life more difficult. On the other hand — as the reformation of Big Sugar clearly proves — he’s also not a guy that closes doors permanently.

“When I get around to making another Grady record, I’m sure it’ll be as heavy as hell and not at all what people would expect from Big Sugar,” says Johnson. “And that’s because it ain’t Big Sugar. I’ll do something with that band when I’m in the mood for that.

“Right now, the mood is all Big Sugar and Wide Mouth Mason and that whole family.”



UNREFINED SUGAR

Big Sugar came to life in 1988 in Toronto, and quickly began to chart numerous radio singles and several popular albums. Throughout, the multi-member group established a signature sound that was anchored by Johnson’s guitar licks and cigarettes-and-whisky voice.

None of that has changed: Big Sugar’s new album, Revolution Per Minute, features the same wonderful, road-tested formula of loud guitars and throaty vocals, all infused with jumpy big-band instrumentation.

“How else could it sound?” asks Johnson. “Luckily we didn’t get all paranoid and decide to sound like Kings of Leon or something. We had no thought whatsoever as to what it was supposed to sound like — we just went in and it sounded like Big Sugar. At least we can hold our heads high with that one.

“Thankfully, especially in the live show, the new songs get the same reaction as the old songs, which leads me to believe that we’re doing something right, because people are really attached to the old stuff and they like to remember us in a certain way. It’s not always a given that you come up with something new and people are just going to go along with it to be supportive. I find we still have a large degree of honesty from our audience, and so far everyone is responding the right way to it.”

On Revolution Per Minute, the band blasts through radio-ready funk-infused guitar rock without ever pandering or dumbing themselves down, moving between bluesy jams and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll burners. Throughout, Johnson — who’s always been one of Canada’s most underrated guitarists — holds down Big Sugar’s edge. His vocals are also just as raw as ever, and the group wears their reggae influences as proudly as in the past — as seen in the album’s cover art, which features the telltale Rasta palette of red, yellow and green.

“That’s just us wearing it on our sleeve a bit. Love it or hate it, this is just what we do,” says Johnson.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is just how much of a full-on aural assault a Big Sugar live show is. Johnson has always had a habit of using around eight full Marshall stacks to power his signature double Gibs - Planet S


"Sweet sounds of Big Sugar include rock and reggae"


Fans of Canadian rock and blues band Big Sugar are rejoicing these days.

The band, once known as the loudest group of musicians in the nation, did something fans across the country and around the world had almost given up hope of: They’ve recorded again. And they’re touring, along with Wide Mouth Mason, to promote the album, Revolution Per Minute.

After a jam-packed year of production work with artists including Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes, North Mississippi Allstars, the Trews and Wide Mouth Mason, Gordie Johnson says: “I really walked into the studio with the attitude, ‘We run tings, tings na run we.’ ” Johnson, the now Texas resident and guitar genius who unleashed the Hugo Boss clad Big Sugar to grunge-era audiences, says it was an attitude “I always had germinating, but coming to Texas and living here has really nurtured the outlaw side of me.”

The band Johnson had created and nurtured to national institution was under pressure when he bid goodbye to Canada in 2003. It was a rough time for Big Sugar fans who wondered if they’d ever again rock out to the high energy explosion that is Big Sugar live.

“There were a lot of external forces at work in that time,” Johnson says. “When committee decision-making started to encroach upon our creativity I could see it was time to split.”

Then one day, Johnson took a gander from his porch and saw a whole different landscape — finally.

“It was like Groundhog Day,” he laughs. “I stuck my head out of the hole, I looked around, I went, ‘Look, no weasels, I guess it’s safe to come out.’ ”

And that brings us back to Revolution Per Minute, an album that puts Big Sugar back in the driver’s seat, featuring Johnson as a reborn Texas soulman on tracks like There’s No Tellin’ Me (featuring Ian McLagan of the Faces) as much as it reconfirms his role as a prime purveyor of scorching hot arena rock with more than a flavour of Jamaican reggae.

But what has many people talking about Revolution Per Minute is its looseness. This is as open and groovy as Big Sugar has ever sounded, Johnson says, as if some of that Texas heat travelled with Johnson to Toronto and relaxed the band’s connective tissue.

It’s something he attributes to a limber lineup that includes drummer Stephane “Bodean” Beaudin and keyboard-savant, DJ Friendlyness, along with veterans Garry Lowe on bass and Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe manning the harps ‘n’ horns. “All we did was hit record and we totally captured Big Sugar live off the floor,” Johnson says. “This is the least messed with record I’ve ever made.”

And something else new for Big Sugar is the addition of a new female vocalist, Meredith Shaw.

“I’m just so excited to be getting on the bus with a bunch of boys,” Shaw jokes.

She has been working with Johnson for the past couple of years. Her recent album, Place Called Happy, was produced by at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales studio in Texas.

“I had been writing with him for Big Sugar and then he asked me on stage and it was just awesome singing with them, being the female energy and trying to hold up that end of things,” Shaw says.


“This is a great time to be touring with Big Sugar. They’re in a good place together, rediscovering the band and they have the greatest energy performing together,” says Shaw.

Spotlight

Big Sugar plays the Century Casino Saturday with Wide Mouth Mason. Tickets at Ticketmaster. - The Calgary Herald


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

For a full list of tour dates please visit www.bigsugar.com

Big Sugar is:
Gordie Johnson – guitar/vocals
Garry Lowe – bass
Kelly “Mr Chill” Hoppe – harmonica/sax/melodica
Friendlyness – keyboards/toasting
Stephane “Bodean” Beaudin – drums

“Before indie-blues duo The Black Keys were winning
Grammys, and Jack White’s Dead Weather supergroup reclaimed swamp-rock riffs for the iGeneration,
a little band from Toronto called Big Sugar conquered
grunge and the charts with a Zepplin heavy mix of
blues and reggae” -Eye Weekly

With its successful 2012 release of “Eliminate Ya! Live!” and their 2011 release “Revolution Per Minute”, BIG SUGAR announced that they were not merely content to rest on their considerable laurels of past hits. Known for their innovative style that refuses to be easily labeled, as well as for their extraordinary live performances, which saw them close out last year with a national tour, BIG SUGAR is back and ready to rock harder than ever before.

Legendary for their explosive live shows, “Eliminate Ya! Live!” is the first full-length concert DVD produced by Big Sugar. Filmed during their sold out show at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this concert includes hit songs such as “Diggin’ A Hole”, “Turn The Lights On” as well as “Roads Ahead” off their recent release Revolution Per
Minute. DVD bonus features include backstage interviews with the band and official videos.

“Revolution Per Minute” was the first new studio release for BIG SUGAR in almost a decade, and the first two singles – “Roads Ahead” and “Little Bit A All Right” received extensive radio play, with “Roads Ahead” staying in the top 10 on the charts for the entire summer. Fans were quick to embrace the sounds of not only the singles but of all the songs on the critically acclaimed new album.

It is hard to find a fan of the band who has not found ways to attend multiple live performances, for as classic and well known as their music is, it is the impact the band makes while performing in front of an audience that resonates with music lovers – both old and new.

Respect for the past will always see BIG SUGAR lovingly perform their classics which can be heard hundreds of times every week across Canada, but concertgoers have learned to expect the unexpected. BIG SUGAR’s new tunes take the band into exciting original directions and are a harbinger of things to come as they travel the roads ahead.