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Monday, February 04, 2008

Sugar - Whatever Makes You Happy

Sugar - Whatever Makes You Happy frontFrustrated with the business operations of major record labels, Bob Mould left Virgin after the release of Black Sheets of Rain; they would later release a compilation of the two albums, Poison Years. Mould then formed an independent record company, SOL (Singles Only Label), which released 45s from new, developing bands as well as cult bands. In 1992, he formed a new trio, Sugar, with bassist David Barbe and drummer Malcolm Travis; the band signed with Rykodisc in the U.S., Creation in the U.K. Sugar's first album, Copper Blue, was released in the fall of 1992 to enthusiastic reviews and became Mould's most successful project to date. Copper Blue nearly went gold and spawned several alternative radio and MTV hits, including "Helpless" and "If I Can't Change Your Mind." Mould envisioned Sugar as a similar musical venture to Hüsker Dü except with him writing all the songs and calling all the shots. Their sound was more radio-friendly than that of Hüsker Dü, though with similarly dark undertones.
Their first live show was February 20, 1992, at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA, after a few weeks warming up in R.E.M.'s downtown practice space. It was a "secret" show, not advertised in the local media, bumping Athens band Roosevelt from headliner to opener. Word got out and the club was packed.

What They Played that Night:

The Act We Act  5:16
A Good Idea  3:27
Changes   4:19
Running Out of Time  3:13
Helpless   2:55
If I Can't Change Your Mind 3:11
Fortune Teller  4:46
Sugar - 40 Watt Club, Athens Ga 1993Slick   4:55
Hoover Dam  3:29
Clownmaster  3:42
The Slim   5:30
The Door Into Summer  2:42
Armenia City in the Sky 3:27
Dum Dum Boys  6:29
Helter Skelter  6:24
Man on the Moon  4:33

LOCATION / VENUEAthens GA 40 Watt Club DATE20 Feb 1992

First Sugar show ever.  Mastered from a low-gen copy of the audience tape Chuck Erb recorded on his DAT Walkman, complete with shifting soundstage and somewhat brittle midrange.  The guitar is very low in the mix, but that was the fault of the soundboard guy.  Five songs were cut out between "Clownmaster" and "The Slim" due to CD time limitations.  Omitted  are "The Right Words" and the first four songs of Beaster (then simply called 1-2-3-4 and referred to collectively as the "Jesus Christ Cycle"). Front inlay features a band photo from the time of the "Helpless" promo video and back inlay has a photo taken during the spring 1993 tour.  Tracks misidentified on the inlay:  "Clownmaster" is called "Beaster" and Mike Nesmith's "The Door Into Summer"  is called "Penny Whistle Band."  This version of "Clownmaster" has lyrics. 

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