Welcome to yet another installment of inteREview, your favorite stop for fictional chats with musicians who don't know we're pretending to chat with them. Today we're "here" with the guitarist for 90s pop rock/rap rock/pop rap/etc... band Sugar Ray, which is still around. Really. Anyway, we have with us Robert Sheffield...
Robert Sheffield: It's Rodney Sheppard, actually.
Ultimate-Guitar: Whoops! Sorry about that. We have with us Rodney Sheppard. Hey, I got the initials right though, which is really the important thing for these interviews.
RS: Whatever you say, brotha.
UG: So... You guys are really still around, huh?
RS: Yeah, we're most definitely still playing together and making some stellar music.
UG: I assume you're referring to your last album, "Music For Cougars"?
RS: Hells yes, buddy! That album was the tits, wasn't it?
UG: We at Ultimate-Guitar can't say for certain whether or not the album was indeed "the tits", but I can say that it helped keep the band's name slightly abreast of the pop music charts for a short while longer. Since that release, however, you seem to have fallen out of the spotlight yet again. Any plans for a new album to help refocus that light on Sugar Ray?
RS: Yeah man, we've been doing some hardcore tinkering in our studio. Really gettin' the vibes goin' again.
UG: Have any new songs come out of that yet?
RS: Oh, naw man, I meant tinkering in our studio apartment like... Well, me and our new bass player figured out a way to make a bong using a harmonica and one of those bendy straws. It's pretty sweet. And uh, if you play our song "Boardwalk" backwards, you can get a great recipe for juevos rancheros!
UG: Gotcha. Since you brought it up, let's talk about "Boardwalk", one of three singles you released off "Cougars", all of which failed to chart. Why do you think your songs have become less popular?
RS: Ya know, the economy's pretty bad and people aren't buying stuff as much. So that's probably something. And all the guys in the band have been feeling it too. Like me and Stan [Frazier, drummer during "Cougar"'s recording] were working at a Chic-Fil-A before the album came out to earn some extra cash. In fact, we wrote the rhythm part of "Boardwalk" while we were working the fryer. Same for "Love Is The Answer".
UG: Isn't that a cover of a Weezer song?
RS: Well, technically we just listened to their song on a boom box while we ate waffle fries, but I think it helped our interpretation of the tune when it came time to lay it down.
UG: You did seem to draw a lot of inspiration from outside sources this time around. Rivers Cuomo makes an appearance on "Love is the Answer", Donavon Frankenreiter is featured on "Dance Like No One's Watchin'", and [reggae artist] Collie Buddz shows up on "Girls Were Made To Love". Why so many guest appearances?
RS: We've just got a lot of friends, dude. More friends than we have ideas, really. It's a tough ratio to deal with. It's like having a lot of friends and very little herb. Basically the same thing. But we did come up with this rad new concept where, instead of words, we'd put in these woo hoos and whatever! How's that for some straight-up creative juice?
UG: I imagine that concept was used in the song "She's Got The (Woo Hoo)".
RS: You got it!
UG: That's... Probably all the reviewing we need to do. Let's move on. Your bass player and drummer recently left the band. Did that have anything to do with the album's lackluster sales? Was there a lot of stress involved with that?
RS: Man, we never stress. You ever hear one of our songs? We basically live on a rainbow. No, those guys said something about a sinking ship and jumping the shark and some other stuff like that. I guess they just wanted to get out in the open water more. Those dudes loved the surf.
UG: Any chance you may be misinterpreting that metaphor?
RS: I dunno, I guess they were pretty complicated guys. I mean, they came up with "Answer The Phone". [From 2001's "Sugar Ray".] How do you get inside a mind like that?
[Lead singer Mark McGrath appears, seemingly without using either of the physical entrances to the room.]
Mark McGrath: Hey dudes! What's up? Just wanted to pop in to promote my appearance on "Rock & Roll Jeopardy" next month! Check your local listings, brahs!
UG: Mark? How - what are you doing here?
MM: That's right, for one thousand dollars! And the answer was "Promoting his newest network TV appearance, Mark McGrath popped up on the most b-tchin' music site on the internet, prompting the interviewer to say this."
UG: I see what you did there. But still...
[As quickly as he materialized, Mark McGrath is gone.]
UG: Did that actually happen? Rodney?
RS: Oh, well he likes to remind people whenever he gets to be on TV again.
UG: But didn't "Rock & Roll Jeopardy" end like ten years ago?
RS: Yeah, he really digs reliving his glory days.
UG: Those actually were his glory days, weren't they?
RS: Yeah man. I think so. Thank Buddha the band's glory days are still on the horizon, huh?
UG: Rodney, how much pot would you say you've smoked in the past 24 hours?...
Join us next week when Ultimate-Guitar's collective imagination summons and then interrogates Dave Mustaine!
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