Sugarcult’s ‘Start Static’ Turns 10

August 24, 2011 at 8:40 pm 1 comment

These days, pop punk bands are a dime a dozen. These cookie-cutter, swoopy-haired, pretty boy groups in girls’ jeans, singing solely about getting trashed and their latest breakup, have infiltrated and oversaturated the modern rock scene. I guess everyone saw that this kind of music was marketable and hopped aboard the bandwagon, following in the steps of early 2000’s pioneers like Fall Out Boy and Cute is What We Aim For.

But before all of this, there was Sugarcult.

Santa Barbara natives Tim Pagnotta, Marko72, Ben Davis and Airin Older formed Sugarcult in 1998. Three years later, they released their third album, Start Static (August 24th, 2001), which spawned the singles “Bouncing off the Walls,” “Stuck in America” and “Pretty Girl.” Clocking in at under 40 minutes, this 12-track collection is a perfectly packaged pop punk masterpiece. Unlike the full-lengths of today (where 75% of the songs are filler), each song on Start Static had the potential to be a single. The tracks are anthemic, bright, and more than ready for sing-alongs in the car, but there’s also an edge there that is hard to find in pop punk now. For example, listen carefully to the lyrics of “Bouncing off the Walls” and you’ll realize it’s actually a story about drug abuse, disguised as a feel-good party song. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics of Start Static are both witty and heartfelt, but without verging into obscene, cliche or immature.

Start Static turns 10 today!

I was introduced to this band when I was in middle school, right after the release of Start Static. Up until this point, the only music I knew was what was playing on the local top 40 station. One listen to “Pretty Girl” and I was hooked instantly.  When Sugarcult released their next album, Palm Trees and Power Lines, I went with some friends to see them play the Avalon (which is now Boston’s House of Blues). I had never been to a rock show before, but that night, I fell in love with the atmosphere, the crowd and the energy of the room. Looking up at this band that I had idolized for three years, it was easy to see how much passion and and talent they possessed. I wanted more than anything to be up there. The next day, I traded in my private school clothes for skate shop apparel, bought a handful of Drive-Thru Records albums at Sam Goody, and the rest, as they say, is history. Five years later, I entered college and made a band of my own, and I still remember that Sugarcult show every time I step on stage.

It’s hard to believe that a decade’s gone by since Start Static was released. Sugarcult themselves have gone through many changes, both personally and as a band. But today, we celebrate this beautiful record in hopes that a new album (and a tour) is on the way. Stay tuned to the band’s Facebook  page for news and updates!


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Marko DeSantis  |  August 25, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Thank you for writing such beautiful, profound and heartfelt words about our band’s effect on your life. Feedback like this is the greatest reward we could ever ask for.
    Marko (Sugarcult guitarist)


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