It’s been a minute — six years, in fact — since we last had an album from Sugar Ray. But frontman Mark McGrath is quick to counter any “common misconception” that group, best known for late ’90s hits such as “Fly” and “Every Morning,” had broken up.
“We were still playing music,” says McGrath, 41, who spent part of the interim as a host on the TV entertainment show “Extra!” “We still did about 30, 40 shows a year, still enjoyed playing music. We just weren’t creating and writing in the studio.”
McGrath says the break was simply a case of he and his four bandmates reacting to the commercial failure of 2003’s “In the Pursuit of Leisure” and “knowing what a Sugar Ray album meant, or didn’t mean, anymore.” So the band members concentrated on other projects, coming together briefly in 2007 to record a song for the “Surf’s Up” soundtrack.
The new “Music For Cougars” came about when producer Josh Abraham, a friend of the band’s, invited Sugar Ray to record for his new Pulse Records label. “We said, ‘Y’know, we don’t have any songs, but what the heck. Let’s do it.’ ” McGrath recalls with a laugh. “We had fun doing the ‘Surf’s Up’ thing, so why not?
“Everything came about organically, with no designs,” the singer adds. “We certainly weren’t like, ‘Oh, this is gonna be a big comeback and we’re gonna make tons of money.’ This wasn’t a blink-182 or No Doubt thing; those tours generate millions of dollars and everybody’s happy.
“If you play in Sugar Ray now, you better enjoy playing music. There isn’t a lot of money to be made. There aren’t a lot of records to be sold. But that passion to play music still exists in all of us, so that’s why we’re here.”
Sugar Ray and Fastball perform Tuesday (July 28) at the Emerald Theatre, 31 N. Walnut St., Mt. Clemens. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of show. Call (586) 913-1920 or visit www.emeraldtheatre.com.
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