"Sugar Red Drive was influenced by Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains." – Interview

Recently I got a chance to talk with Archit Tripathi, lead singer (and all-round dream guy) from the band Sugar Red Drive. They have an album out in stores now; you can pick it up at Best Buy, ITunes and FYE. They have a new single out called “Red Machine.” If you’re especially into the nineties bands like Alice in Chains and Nirvana, but enjoy rock music in general, you’ll dig Sugar Red Drive. It has that nineties rock feel to it, but it also has a great groove to it.

Q - The way the band got together is an interesting story. Could you retell it for our readers?

A - PJ and Dave (drum and bass, respectively) have known each other since they were kids and had been jamming for some time with another guitar player/singer. They added Jim (guitars) to the lineup and played under the name Mercury Rising for some time until the singer left to join the armed forces. Simultaneously, I was at Vassar College desperately trying to put together a band that was as serious about music as I was. I posted and responded to a million ads on MySpace for 'singer wanted' and eventually found these guys. One quick audition later, the band was formed.

Q - Where did the band get its name?

A - I was bored one day and looking at my AIM buddy list in an altered state of mind. One of my contacts’ username started with the word ‘sugared.’ I started experimenting with it out loud and liked the way it sounded split up, Sugar Red. It reminded me of something Scott Weiland might use in a lyric. The Drive part just popped into my head and it had a great ring to it. I took it to the band and of all the other names on the table at the time; it was mutually the least objectionable (laughs).

Q - Tell us a little bit about your debut album?

A - The debut album is a self-titled piece of finely crafted rock n roll wrapped in infectious grooves and pounding and energetic rhythms. Oh man, I should totally do this for a living if the singing doesn't pan out.

Q - What's your favorite song to play live?

A - My personal favorite would have to be “Overdrive,” off this first record. It's just got a really fun, upbeat vibe and it puts me in a fun, playful kinda mood.

Q - Tell us a little bit about the recording process and being in the studio for the first time?

A - This is really a question for Jimmy; he appreciates the technicalities of what happens a lot better than I do, but I'd say overall it was definitely a blast. We loved it. There was the first time jitters going in but Mike and Chris, the guys at Applehead Studio where we recorded, are just awesome. They made us feel totally at ease and now we really look forward to going to studio.

Q - Are there any upcoming tour plans?

A - Yes indeed, we just released a slammin' new single called “Red Machine” that is currently taking over the airwaves by storm and we will be heading out all over the country in early May to tour in support of the single. We will also be doing a really HUGE contest giveaway involving the single this summer, but I'm gonna have to ask you to keep visiting our MySpace (myspace.com/sugarreddrive) to stay posted on the details for that.

Q - Who were your musical inspirations?

A - For me personally, I really loved all the 90's alternative. Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, STP, etc etc. And let's not forget the incredible debt that rock and roll owes to pioneers and legends like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, among so many others.

Q - You guys have opened up for some big name acts such as Seether, Theory of a Deadman, and Live. What was that like and what did you learn from those tours?

A - It's always an awesome experience, especially because those bands tend to draw out a pretty big crowd so automatically you have this great audience whose energy you can tap into and feed off of. It makes a huge difference. Besides that, we've learned other things just by watching them play. We watch and try to see how they got so good, that they are at that place in life, how quickly do they change songs, etc etc. Sometimes if you're lucky the big band of the night might even find some downtime to talk to you and give you some advice. If that happens, be VERY humble and take it; they got there for a reason.

Q - Are there any bands or artists that your fans would be surprised to know you like (any guilty pleasures)?

A – Hmmmmm, I have Bieber-fever! Nah, though I do respect him because he seems like a very respectful, hard working kid. I really like this underground rap group called Cunninlynguists. Great name and, more importantly, they have REALLY good songs. Great rhymes, great flow, awesome beats. It's more the thinking man's hip-hop (ex: Jedi Mind Tricks) than it is club hip hop (ex: Weezy).

Q – Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Anything else you wanted to add?

A - Be sure to stop by our pages (www.myspace.com/sugarreddrive and http://www.sugarreddrive.com/) and check out our latest single “Red Machine.” Oh and hey Tiger, if you're reading this, I'm a sex addict too buddy. Uh huh.


Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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