American mainstream band Sugar Ray, comprising of Mark McGrath (vocal), Rodney Sheppard (guitar), Murphy Karges (bass), Stan Frazier (drums) and DJ Homicide (turntables, joined in 1996), first enjoyed success with the album “Floored” (1997), a Top 20 hit on the Billboard 200. Their first of a string of collaborations with producer David Kahne, the album went double platinum in the U.S. It spawned their first mainstream hit with the single “Fly” (1997), which rose to No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs), Billboard's Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks and Billboard's Alternative Songs. The band experienced further victory with the single “Every Morning” (1999), which was taken from the triple platinum release “14:59” (1999). In addition to topping the three aforementioned Billboard charts, the song also became the group's first and highest charting single on the Billboard Hot 200 (#3). They went on to produce three more charted singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Someday” (1999, #7), “Falls Apart” (#29) and “When It's Over” (2001, #13) before recording “In the Pursuit of Leisure” (2003). Sugar Ray returned with an album of new material titled “Music for Cigars” in July 2009. The band has also appeared on a number of soundtracks, including “Father's Day” (1997), “American Pie” (1999), “The Beach” (2000), “The Sweetest Thing” (2002), “Scooby-Doo” (2000) and “Surf's Up” (2007).
Childhood and Family:
Guitarist Rodney Sheppard (born November 25, 1967) and drummer Stan Frazier (born Charles Stanton Frazier on April 23, 1968) formed a band called The Tories in 1988 while attending Corona del Mar High in Newport Beach, California. The group changed their name to Shrinky Dinx when bassist Murphy Karges (born Matthew Murphy Karges on June 20, 1967) joined the group in the late 1980s. They recruited former high school classmate Mark McGrath (born Mark Sayers McGrath on March 15, 1968) as the band's vocalist in 1992. Shortly after, they began working on original material. A graduate of USC with a degree in communications, McGrath becomes the group's only college graduate. He worked as a truck driver before finding his true calling was music.
In 1994, after scoring a recording deal, the foursome changed their name to Sugar Ray (named after the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard). The switch was made after Hasbro threatened to file a lawsuit against the band because they had the rights to the original Shrinky Dinks toy. DJ Homicide (born Craig Bullock on December 17, 1970) became an official member of the group after the completion of their debut album.
Formerly a hard rock/heavy metal cover band, Sugar Ray began collaborating on new material in 1992 and soon gained a fan base through their live shows in the Los Angeles/San Diego area. With financial support from a friend, they were able to make a music video for one of their original works. The video caught the attention of Atlantic Records, who the band signed with in 1994.
The band's first album, “Lemonade and Brownies,” was launched on April 4, 1995, with Joseph McGinty Nichol and DJ Lethal producing. The album was basically a flop. Despite the disappointment, the band's second album, “Floored,” was released on June 24, 1997, and produced by David Kahne. The album ripped apart the Billboard 200 and peaked at No. 12. The lead single “Fly” (1997) topped the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs), the U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks, the U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs, went to No. 29 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 58 on the U.K. Singles chart. “Fly” was featured in the album twice, one version with reggae artist Super Cat (track 4), which was more prominent on the radio, and the other without (track 13). The follow up single, “RPM” (1998), enjoyed moderate success and charted at No. 35 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. Thanks to the success of “Fly,” “Floored” sold extremely well and was eventually certified double platinum by RIAA. The album went platinum in Canada.
Also in 1997, Sugar Ray performed the song “Speed Home California” from “Floored” in the comedy film “Fathers' Day,” which was directed by Ivan Reitman and starred Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. The song was also included in to the film soundtrack. The group also provided the soundtrack to the Wes Craven horror sequel “Scream 2” (1997) with the song “Rivers.” Following the group's success with “Floored,” the single “Mean Machine” was used as one of the soundtracks of the popular PlayStation game “Road Rash 3D” as well as the Nintendo 64 (Road Rash 64) version of the game.
The group released their third studio album, “14:59,” on January 22, 1999. The album, which showed the group's transition to a more adult contemporary style, went to No. 17 on the Billboard 200 and charted at No. 19 in Australia and No. 24 in Austria. The album earned triple platinum certification from RIAA for selling over three million copies in the U.S. alone. The single “Every Morning” (1999) skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs), No. 38 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also made the Top 10 in the U.K. (#7). The next single, “Someday,” (1999) peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on the Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs). The single “Falls Apart” (2000) rose to No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 5 on the Alternative Songs chart. It also peaked at No. 7 on the Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs) and No. 16 on the Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks.
After contributing to the soundtracks of the films “Wild Things” (1998) and “American Pie” (1999), Sugar Ray recorded a cover of the John Cale and Brian Eno song “Spinning Away” for the soundtrack of “The Beach” (2000), a thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio that was directed by Danny Boyle. On June 12, 2001, the band released the fourth studio album “Sugar Ray,” which rose to No. 6 on the Billboard 200. The album, however, only went gold in the U.S. despite its strong charting performance. The lead single, “When It's Over,” (2001) peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 32 on the U.K. Singles chart, and went to No. 9 and No. 2 on the Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs) and the Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks, respectively. The hit song was featured in the 2002 film “The Sweetest Thing,” which starred Cameron Diaz. The subsequent single, “Answer the Phone,” made the Top 40 on the Mainstream Top 40 (Pop Songs) (#39) and the Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks (#33). The last single off the album, “Ours” (2002), did not chart. Also in 2002, the group performed the song “Words to Me” on the feature length live action film version of “Scooby-Doo,” which starred Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard and Linda Cardellini.
On June 3, 2003, Sugar Ray released the album “In the Pursuit of Leisure,” which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 29. It produced two Mainstream Top 40 and Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks with the singles “Mr. Bartender (It's So Easy),” “Love Is Like Oxygen” and “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” Two years later, on June 21, 2005, Sugar Ray launched their greatest hits album titled “The Best of Sugar Ray.” It was comprised of 15 songs, 3 of which were new recordings. The 3 new songs were “Shot of Laughter,” a cover of Cyndi Lauper's “Time After Time” and a song written by a teenage Howard Stern, “Psychedelic Bee.” The album charted at No. 136 in the U.S.
In 2007, Sugar Ray recorded the single “Into Yesterday” for the motion picture “Surf's Up” soundtrack. Other artists involved in the soundtrack included Incubus, Pearl Jam, The Romantics, Lauryn Hill, 311, and Nine Black Alps. The same year, in August, the band headlined SingFest in Singapore. In May 2008, Sugar Ray appeared in episodes of “Cold Case” and “American Dad.”
“Music for Cigars,” Sugar Ray's first album of original material in six years, was released on July 21, 2009, under their new record label Pulse Recordings. The album rose to No. 80 on the Billboard 200 and spawned three singles with the songs “Boardwalk,” “Going Nowhere” and “Closer,” which charted at No. 22 in the U.K.