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Artist Spotlight: The Sugar Report

28 Dec, 2008 Musicians

When asked why do you play music, Curtis, the lead singer of The Sugar Report, responds, “I’m called to do it. I wake up some days and I just have to write. I like playing music for myself and if people like what I write as much as me-well, that’s amazing!” “My ideas are unclear to me, my id doesn’t look like me”, Curtis Williams sings these lyrics originally written in Newark airport. Their drummer, Joe Zdaa, continues in his precise ferocious beats as Daniel Plenge, bass player and back up vocalist, chimes in with Eric Stephenson, keyboardist and back up vocalist, to create a harmonious sound that creates goose bumps on your arms. Finally, add the lead guitar player, Sean Kinchy, to the mix and you have a perfect sound to nod your head to.

They earn their stripes in NYC by doing it the old fashioned way-playing the local circuit at all the well known venues. But truly, the enthusiasm is when their fans actually travel over 50 miles to see them play live. Or when their fans dub their songs over their favorite video game and skateboard videos. Or when their fans confess it was their songs that they listen to on the treadmill at the gym or helped them when recovering from kemotherapy or that helped them through a break up.

The Sugar Report writes music that people like. When asked, what do you sound like? The Sugar Report responds that they are not your typical NYC band. On Myspace.com under influences they write: “a good time.” These are the real inspirations: David Bowie, Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin, The Pretty Things, The Smiths, The Cure, and The Beatles. When asked why, you get: “Originality, it’s out of left field and on another playing field, heavy and memorable, dark and depressing lyrics yet somehow oddly uplifting, and never locked into one idea.” These are the characteristics that The Sugar Report encapsulate. Every show there is something different- a new song, a different rhythm, a darker rhyme. Yet their sets are unified and you can’t mistake the sound that is The Sugar Report. Psychopedia’s Jennifer McMenamin describes the music as, “Drop-dead sonics that make you feel the Edge from U2 already came back for a second reincarnation.”

Band Website


Froman: Which of your songs would make for a good porn soundtrack?

The Sugar Report (in the words of Daniel Plenge): Points of Light, which is also known around the Lower East Side as The Fuck Song. It’s on our new Espace EP. Go to our website and get free. The first taste always is kids.

Froman: Is it true for the guitarist if the audience can’t see your cock it isn’t rock?

SR: No, not true. The cock doesn’t have to be seen. Scott Stapp hid his behind leather pants. So I guess when you see leather pants, you’ll know its cock rock.

Froman: If you could add one member from any band who would it be?

I always thought Gino Vannelli had a killer voice. So I’d ask him to come sing with us. But he’d have to grow his hair back out like the good old days.

Froman: Drum solos…only good for other drummers or audience pleasing?

SR: Drum solos are cool but Joe usually shows his talent in a more low key way. That guy can drink 3 Skittle bombs in a row and not puke.

Froman: Record companies. Need them or want them?

SR: Ehh.,.,don’t even know anymore…We’ve been doing it ourselves like every other band before getting signed. Of course, broadening our reach would be great, but things are so messy right now you can’t even understand whats going on anymore. You’ve heard the horror stories of bands getting signed and then getting all sorts of money to hire a big-name producer at a big-name studio and after all is said and done the label doesn’t find the album ‘commercially viable’ and ends up shelving it. One guy in the band picks up a trendy coke habit and next thing you know the band’s in debt 100 grand with no album released.

Froman: Do you all have equal say in songwriting?

Curtis comes in with the ideas and we work them out into songs in our cramped practice space on Stanton St in the LES. We’ve all started bringing ideas to the table so its really nice to have such a wealth of ideas swirling around.  We have an intense work ethic so we get together 3 or 4 times a week after we get done making rent money.

Froman: What band/artist would you like to beat up?

Not gonna start any shit but we were playing at Pianos a couple months ago and this band after us went up to our buddies in line for the bathroom and was like ‘I’m going in there next – I’m in the band that’s playing now.’

Hahaha I mean really – we’re all fuckin no names here so who do you think you are?

Froman: Ever play a concert where you were almost too fucked up to go on stage?

I try to keep it in line but yeah a couple times I lost myself and had to pull the trigger to get it all outta me before we played. I learned my lesson the second time.

Froman: What’s the creepiest venue you’ve ever played? Ever fear for your life on stage?

There’s this big old church in Montclair, NJ where the local youth group kids have shows and its really crazy cause you don’t wanna do anything ungodly even if you don’t believe in god. As for fearing for my life, I always worry about getting electrocuted from all the electricity flowing. Ever see Almost Famous?

Froman: Of course great movie, fantastic soundtrack…..Is there anyone in the band that you have to dress b/c he’s embarrassing?

Luckily we all look the same. Black shirts and tight ass jeans. And dress shoes. It’s pretty easy. Sometimes at practice I wear a wig to remind me of the good old days, but thankfully the guys are ok with who I am.

Froman: Describe your sex: light some candles or lay down the tarp?

Well, each time is different. But do keep in mind they call me Slow Horse.

Froman: Who gets the most groupies? Or at least give us a best groupie story?

Eric gets the most action cause he has this quality where you feel really safe and he makes you laugh. Next thing you know you’ve got your arm around him and he’s pouring whiskey down your throat. And then you get outside and its 6:30 in the morning and the birds are chirping and you get that feeling that no other experience can give you. Its trouble, its danger, its nostalgia, it’s the end of high-school.

Froman: Next time I need roofies I’ll call Eric. Aquanet or paul mitchell?

Hahaha I use this shit called Johnny B. Its this rockabilly pomade that smells fucking great.

Froman: What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen requested for backstage (aside from 1000 brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass)?

Well once we asked for a Red Bull refrigerator and not to name any names but this dude comes in and fuckin takes it out like we hadn’t asked for it. It was so weird. So we’re sitting there with a bunch of warm drinks.

Froman: A 17 yr old gorgeous little groupie comes in thru the bathroom window…play ball?

Oh man.,.,no way.

Froman: Any spinal tap moments?

Yes definitely. You should see us try to figure out our vocal parts after not playing for a couple days. Hilarious.

The day your band dies, what would u like its epitaph to read?

“Here Lies The Sugar Report – Party Band of The Lower East Side. These guys could get anyone to take their shirts off, especially at St. Jeromes on July 4th.”

Hell yeah, we’ll be there Slow Horse.

The Sugar Report - ‘It’s Good to be Back’ - Live


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