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Big Sugar coming back to Lethbridge

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Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson believes in helping his friends.
“I wouldn’t want to be successful if I couldn’t bring my people with me. Big Ben, the bassist from Grady will be taking care of lights,” Johnson said, driving in Kamloops with a reinvigorated Big Sugar.

 They come to the Stone, Nov. 7 with Wide Mouth Mason, with whom Johnson will be playing bass.
Big Sugar didn’t play together for seven years, until the Trews, one of many bands Johnson has produced, came to him with an idea.
“They convinced me to do a couple of  shows of Big Sugar songs. And I was very flattered they would take the time to learn all of the songs,” he continued.

Big Sugar plays Lethbridge, Nov. 7. Photo by Michael Maxxis
 That lead to Johnson contacting the other members of the Big Sugar and asking them if they wanted to play again, which they did, so they played a couple shows and recorded a new CD “Revolution Per Minute.”

“ There is a bit of a trend with guys from ’90s bands putting their bands back together even though they couldn’t stand each other. We didn’t want to be that way with Big Sugar,” he said.

“There are also a lot of bands playing the greatest hits circuit and we didn’t want to do that either, because if you come to a Big Sugar show three or four times it will be a different show every time. It will still be Big Sugar songs. Though I might throw in a verse of a Joel Plaskett song or a Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers song, just to see if the band is paying attention. But I can’t fool them anymore,” he laughed.

“ We’re all on the same page musically and spiritually.”
The new CD has a lot of great guests on it like Warren Haynes of Govt. Mule and the Allman Brothers, plus Tim Chiasson and more.

“I just got together all of the people I knew. We were all just so blissed out. Say Jay (Malinowski) from Bedouin Soundclash wanted to be on it. We’d say ‘Cool, let‘s do it,’” he said.

 He is glad to be playing with Big Sugar again.
“You can’t divorce your family. You can break up with your girlfriend or divorce your wife, but not your family,” he said. He is touched by fan support to Big Sugar and their new music.

“The only reason there is a Big Sugar is because of the people who listen and remember the music,” he said.
 They are doing a 40 city tour on the new CD with Big Sugar and Wide Mouth Mason.

“Another great thing about it is playing with Wide Mouth Mason and getting those guys back on track,” he said.

 He is enjoying playing bass with them and is glad to have them playing on stage with Big Sugar. Wide Mouth Mason’s Shaun Verrault plays rhythm guitar for Big Sugar, while drummer Safwan Javed adds percussion.

“They  used to be a blues band with pop songs. So they’d be playing pop songs and go off on a jam, and I said rather than apologizing for going off into a jam, why not just do that,” he said adding they started recording a new record but the bassist quit in the middle of it, so Johnson stepped up on bass.

“ I love it. I’ve actually played bass a lot longer than I have been playing guitar. It’s a natural state of being for me. And I’ve played bass as a session musician on a lot of different records. I love it,” he said.

 They even recorded a Christmas song together.
“It’s Called, if Santa  don’t Bring You No Funk, then I will. We’ve been playing it in the concerts. It’s about time there was a dirty Christmas song,” he chuckled.

“I’ve got three bands plus Grady, so scheduling is a problem, so I thought why not bring them all with me. And Big Ben, the bassist from Grady is  running the lights,” he said.

 “When I get back to Texas I’ll play with Grady,” he said.
So what about a Grady/ Big Sugar tour?

“That might be a little hard on my constitution. Music is my gig. I’m blessed in a lot of ways that people are still interested in my music. I know a lot of really talented people who struggle,” he said.

Big Sugar and Wide Mouth Mason play the Stone, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $40
 A version of this story appears in the Nov. 2, 2011 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 November 2011 11:03 )  
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