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Published: November 2006
Story: Greg Chance

In case you’re not an avid Fly reader or an obsessive Greg Chance fan, you may not recall September’s Negative Space feature in which I set the records straight about the band’s history. I carefully analyzed the band’s major facelift in 2001 that replaced three members and ushered in a teen-friendly, pop-punk sound. Such journalistic integrity was to ensure that you, the reader, were caught up to speed on the wildly adventurous scene that is Central Pa. modern rock.
What I failed to mention was that the three guys who left Negative Space in 2001 decided to keep the post-grunge dream alive with their new band, Sugarcoat. Fronted by ex-Space guitarist B.J. Huss, Sugarcoat sounds like a less angst-driven 3 Doors Down. Or a tough-guy version of the Goo Goo Dolls. Or Negative Space, circa 1999.
To this day, Huss and Co. have stayed true to their roots. Their live show blends radio friendly modern rock originals with well-known covers, all of which are delivered with a heartfelt, blue-collar sincerity that people seem to dig.
This draws in the same club crowd as their old band, and with the strong crowd comes an unhealthy amount of overzealous fan girls. I say that with envy, as being in a post-rock band has gotten me nothing but weird 40-year-old recluses making creepy remarks to me after shows like, “Brian Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets is better than sex.”
Sugarcoat’s fan base is 100 percent less nerdy and about 400 percent larger than that of bands like mine. In fact, since its conception, Sugarcoat has become almost a household name in the area and is on its way to becoming the most well-known local band in Central Pa.
“We never expected for it to take off the way it did,” Huss says of Sugarcoat’s sudden rise.
The key to success? Losing the pretense. “Our whole goal is to try to be ourselves,” says Huss, who takes pride in both his modern rock forefathers and contemporaries and embraces performing what he calls “ballad rock.”
Evidently, staying true to himself has paid off. In addition to releasing a fast-selling EP, Bed Head on Picture Day, which scored the band a sponsorship with Jägermeister, these guys have attained a rare breed of local celebrity: the select few who get approached for autographs at the mall and make bar-goers smitten over just one chord progression.
These perks, which also include playing to over 400 people at times, have fueled the band to delve even deeper into celebrity status.
“All of us want to be stars,” Huss says. “We want people to notice us for our art.”
The band is currently preparing songs for its forthcoming debut full-length, which is due out late next year. The material on the full-length is primarily new, but will also include some rerecorded versions of songs that appeared on Sugarcoat’s debut EP. Huss said the record itself will be much more produced and polished than the band’s first release. And if all goes according to plan, Sugarcoat won’t have to self-release its next album.
As far as shopping for a label is concerned, Sugarcoat is business-savvy enough to know the cutthroat industry. “A lot of bands that do get interest in labels jump on the first thing they get,” Huss explains. “We’re going to keep going until we basically get what we feel we need.”
In the meantime, the band hopes to keep its buzz alive by performing locally and building up its fan base within the area. Sugarcoat has yet to debut much of its new material in hopes of keeping it fresh for its release next year, but the members want to start cutting back on the cover songs in favor of performing more originals. Sounds awfully similar to the old band, eh?
When Fly last spoke with Sugarcoat in 2005, Huss seemed pretty apprehensive to liken his new band to his old band, despite the glaring similarities. Both still stand atop the local modern rock/cover band scene, performing the same venues and playing similar songs – not to mention sharing many of the same fans. But to Huss, Sugarcoat is an entirely different gig – one that is both refreshing and free. Huss finds Sugarcoat’s collaborative songwriting pleasing, to say the least. “There’s a joint control,” he says. “There isn’t one person steering the ship.”
With freedom also comes the liberty to act in terms of good morals, as opposed to simply making a profit. The profits from Bed Head on Picture Day are all still being donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to benefit victims of natural tragedies like last year’s hurricanes.
“Our payment is our friends and fans,” Huss explains.
It’s impossible not to believe the sincerity of such a selfless act, especially coming from guys who don’t support themselves on their music. But it’s not about the money to Sugarcoat. It’s about building friendships, networking and helping those in need. Oh, and also making some of that prototypical rock and roll that the locals eat up.
“I went out a couple weeks ago and saw a guy playing an acoustic set with his brother, and they played two of our songs,” Huss says. He recalled being humbly choked up by the experience, and happy that his originals were finally catching on in the area.
“We do covers, but we promote ourselves as an original band,” Huss explains. “It’s starting to get to the point where people want more of our stuff.”
When it comes down to it, Sugarcoat is in its element and remains completely content with its situation. Faced with the choice of performing at a local club for four hours or playing a measly 20-minute set at a national club where no one knows them is a no-brainer, especially when you realize how many die-hard fans this band has around here. For example, earlier this year, an acquaintance of mine told me she was appalled by the fact I had never seen Sugarcoat live. I replied with some snobby remark, most likely namedropping Steve Reich and contrasting his experimental vision with the more easily digested songwriting formula Sugarcoat uses. But my music history lesson obviously meant nothing as she slapped me across my face for being a pretentious asshole. You can’t teach that kind of dedication towards a band!
Sugarcoat’s approach to music may be less profound and groundbreaking than Steve Reich, but I don’t even think anyone really cares. These guys are satisfied performing standard rock and roll songs and they have the sponsorships, the fans and the good press to show for it.

- Fly Magazine


our self titled full length album
Sugarcoat has two songs, "Sugarcoated Fake" and "Down", from the new CD currently in rotation on 105.7 WQXA FM (The X) and on 97.3 WRVV (The River) and are working to get even more stations to spin the tunes. By 2009 they will have singles in rotation in radio markets across the United States . Digital distribution includes Yahoo! Music, FYE,, Virgin, Verizon wireless V-Cast, and Appleʼs iTunes,.
Sugarcoat has 2 trax currently being played on



Sugarcoatʼs music is best described as catchy modern rock with a killer rhythm section, hook-laden melodies and three-part vocal harmonies.

Though they have only been together three years, Sugarcoat brings many years of stage experience and a highly energetic show to hundreds of their enthusiastic and devoted fans each and every night from the first chord to the last. They make a point to bring an interesting, unique and original show each and every time they hit the stage, giving the band a competitive edge over the other bands in the genre. Not only is each show a performance, but the band strives to make it feel like a party for all their new friends. The band cherishes their relationship with the growing legion of fans and tries to make themselves available to hang out and chat as often as they can before, during, and after every performance.

Sugarcoat is now a proudly endorsed Jagermeister band. They also endorse SIT Strings and Addictive Expressions Tattoos.
One thing everyone agrees on, all who have experienced SUGARCOAT insist that they are destined for bigger and better things!!

Their second full-length offering, co-produced by the band and Marshall Deasy and mastered by Tom Baker (Deftones, Velvet Revolver, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails) is slated for release in November 2008. The band will spend most of 2009 touring in support of their self-titled full-length album.

Sugarcoat has two songs, "Sugarcoated Fake" and "Down", from the new CD currently in rotation on 105.7 WQXA FM (The X) and on 97.3 WRVV (The River) and are working to get even more stations to spin the tunes. By 2009 they will have singles in rotation in radio markets across the United States . Digital distribution includes Yahoo! Music, FYE,, Virgin, Verizon wireless V-Cast, and Appleʼs iTunes,.