Might as Well Face It, You’ll be Addicted to Rock Sugar!

Oh Yeah Baby... Pop Rocks!

Mashups are not new in the music world; rap artists have been using them for years.  But this is different.  Rock Sugar has taken Mashups to heights unknown with their awesome collection of 80’s remakes on their self-produced album, “Reimaginator”.

Now before the word “gimmick” flies out of your oral cavity, give me a chance to explain.  Guitarist Chuck Duran can match licks with the best of them.  His covers of widely known riffs from the likes of Kirk Hamet, Randy Rhoades, Angus Young, Slash and others are spot on.  Lead vocalist and co-founder of the band, Jess Harnell, is equally impressive.  He has a solid set of pipes that can easily match the vocal offerings of legendary front men like Steve Perry, Axel Rose, Paul Stanley, or Vince Neil.

Admittedly, my musical tastes are a bit schizophrenic.  Much like my undiagnosed A.D.D., my iPOD playlists are all over the map.  Rock Sugar satisfies my every musical desire.  The beauty of this group is the masterful way the songs are merged.  It’s not just two (or sometimes three or four) songs “mashed” together to form a new song, Rock Sugar has managed to make them sound as though they were written this way in the first place.  

Don't Stop the Sandman

The first cut, “Don’t Stop the Sandman” begins with the opening chords of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”.  My incredibly picky ear instantly notices the top-notch production quality.  Ted Templeton, eat your heart out buddy! This self-produced masterpiece rivals any vinyl album, 8 track, cassette, CD or mp3 in my collection.  As my head instinctively begins to bang, Duran makes a seamless transition from Kirk Hamet to Neal Schon and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”.  Throughout the song the two are perfectly intertwined.  As if toying with my senses, Harnell and Duran keep me hanging on every note- wondering and anticipating where they will go next.

Ever wondered what it would sound like if Vince Neil sang “Bohemian Rhapsody”? Check out track 2, “We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody”.  Harnell is a master of imitation and I have to listen very hard to determine whether it is really him and not Freddie Mercury.  As I am settling into the opening refrain and ready for the first verse of the Queen megahit, my stereo explodes as Harnell transforms before my very ears from Mercury to Neil.  Like lunging over the first hill of an insane rollercoaster ride, Duran grinds out the opening of “Kickstart My Heart” as skillfully as Mick Mars himself.  Even the renowned chops of Tommy Lee are no match for the groves laid down by drummer Alex Track.

And so the album unfolds. Thirteen solid tracks mixing the best Metal/Rock and Pop songs of the 80’s so perfectly you begin to forget that they weren’t written this way originally.

Track three throws together the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Rick Springfield for a new creation called “Crazy Girl.” And, as you probably guessed, the infectious riff of “Crazy Train” is laced with the lyical genius of Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl”. No self-respecting rock connoisseur can deny the uncontrollable urge to belt out the chorus of this 80’s pop hit. “Where can I find a woman like that?”

Imagine for a moment what it would sound like if Axel Rose sat in with ‘Til Tuesday on one of their biggest hits then check out track four, “Voices in the Jungle”. This is perhaps my favorite. If Guns ‘N Roses ever decide to do a reunion tour, Harnell could easily fill in for Axel Rose. Actually, I would rather hear Harnell than Rose sing any G ‘N R song. Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” never sounded this good. Instantly, I am transported back to 1985. I can still remember zipping around the skating rink singing, “Ohhh Hush… Keep it Down, Now… Voices Carry!” If only Rock Sugar had been around back then.

Voices in the Jungle

After rockin’ out on the first four, the boys slow it down a bit with “Here Comes the Fool You Wanted”. I’ve never been a big Eurythmics fan, but this one took me by surprise. Once again, Harnell shines as he makes the transition from Annie Lenox to Jon Bon Jovi as only he can. You have to hear it to believe it. Listen closely and you will also hear a little Cinderella thrown in as well!


Track Six is my guilty pleasure. “Shook Me like a Prayer” is as infectious as any groove I’ve ever heard. I am little embarrassed to admit that I was able to sing along without missing a single word.

Shook Me Like a Prayer

And on it goes throughout the album.  Each song is a new adventure into the fertile minds of two musical geniuses that leave you wanting more.  I can only hope that Rock Sugar is already planning to get into the studio for their next album because I have a massive sugar buzz and I am going to need another fix soon!

Don't take my word for it... check them out for yourself.  I promise you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Comments 7 comments

nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia

being a fan of guns and roses, ac/dc and the like i really tried hard to see what you seem to like so much about rock sugar

and while they are very Very talented,

I personally got frustrated listening to them, wanting to hear the original song. would prefer to hear something fresh from this great group with huge potential

great hub


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello nighthag-

I hear you. I was skeptical when I first heard of this band. But the more I listened the more I liked.

I find it curious that you got frustrated. I was on the edge of my seat smiling the whole time at the genius behind the composition. They are serious musicians that don't take themselves seriously... I think that is so cool.

Give them another listen. Check out to "Round and Separated" if you get a chance. I am pretty sure you can find it on youtube.

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment...


roxsilver profile image

roxsilver 5 years ago from West Coast

I'm glad I clicked your hub because I hadn't heard of these guys. I agree with you that they are actually quite ingenious are just plain fun! What do you think of Chickenfoot? Speaking of another band of serious musicians not taking themselves too seriously...albeit without the mashups...


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello roxsilver!

I have tried to give Chickenfoot an objective listen, but I just can't get into them like I had hoped. I have just about every one of Satrianis CD's and love them all. I love Chad Smith... being a drummer myself, and Michael Anthony is about as solid a musician as you'll find in the biz.

The problem is Sammy. I never cared much for him when he was on his own. I tolerated him as Van Halen's front man, and I actually enjoyed many of "VanHagers" hits, but I just don't care for him. I don't know who writes the lyrics for Chickenfoot, but I would guess that most of them are his, if not strongly influenced by him (based on what I have heard) and it just doesn't work for me.

Musically, Chicken Foot is outstanding. I love Satriani as the as a straight up guitarist. Always hated it when he tried to sing... well except for "I Beleive" was ok... but Sammy just rubs me wrong for some reason.

I will get on youtube later and give them another listen. Do you recommend any particular songs from them?

Speaking of Van Halen... I caught their "reunion" tour last year and LOVED IT! Eddie hasn't lost a step and Wolfie did a respectable job on the bass. Dave... well Dave is Dave. Some of the lyrics were a little hard to make out, and the screams are not what they used to be, but it was great to hear them kickin' it out like they did back in the 80's. If I'm not mistaken, I think they are in the studio working on a new album. Can't wait for that!

Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to respond. All the best to you...

SHD


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

I had never heard of mash up till I came across your hub. Thanks!


germanbini profile image

germanbini 5 years ago from Missouri

You give a great album review - I'm a recent "Sugarhead" myself, having met the band on a flight a few weeks ago. I've linked to your hub from mine about the band. Voted up! :)


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 5 years ago from Georgia Author

I heard these guys on the Rick and Bubba show and loved them. Ordered their album the same day and wrote this hub shortly after. I had a short email correspondence with Chuck. I told him about this hub and and he asked me to send it to him to post on their website. Really nice guys. So cool that you got to meet them! I keep asking them to come out to Atlanta! =)

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