spoonful of sugar: (l-r) Matt Clute, Nick Social
and Fellatio Jones-Lepine of Sugar Eater pose with
a fan (who’s looking over Social’s shoulder).
photo: Chris Shields
Little Bit Punk . . .
a pinch of anger, a dollop of humor, and some good old-fashioned
songs about girls, and you’ve got Saratoga Springs pop-punk
band Sugar Eater
just a few words, the tag- line on Sugar Eater’s MySpace
Web page manages to sum up the Saratoga punk band’s repertoire:
“songs about girls, mullets and hatin stuff.”
Loves Him,” from the band’s 9 Songs album, which
came out in June on Sugar Eater’s own Eyephat record label,
is a good example of the first category of Sugar Eater
song: a true-to-life tale of misplaced or mishandled romance
wrapped up in a pop-punk blast. With a catchy chorus that
recalls shades of Green Day, the narrator tells of a bittersweet
day spent at Saratoga’s Congress Park feeding bread to
the ducks with a girl he loves despite being just her
the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, anger has
been fueling punk bands since the genre’s inception. Sugar
Eater draw upon a near endless number of subjects that
can inspire healthy hatred, or at least snotty disdain.
What is there to hate? Let’s see, age-restricted shows
that keep the underage kids from being able to rock out,
for instance. “People in bars don’t really want to hear
music anyway; you’re just cock-blocking them from listening
to Journey on the juke box,” explains guitarist and singer
Nick Social, who books monthly all-ages shows at the Saratoga
YMCA. Before Sugar Eater, Social helmed the Saratoga band
Razors Never Die.
Social is joined in Sugar Eater by bassist Fellatio Jones-Lepine,
who has dyed-red hair and a tattoo on his calf that name-checks
his former band the Annoying Customers. Drummer Matt Clute,
who taught himself to play drums by playing along to CDs
in his basement, first met Social while both were working
“crappy mall jobs.” Clute and Jones- Lepine both grew
up in Saratoga’s Geyser Crest, a large suburban development
that seems to spawn a particular kind of local angst.
All three band members attended Saratoga High School,
although they didn’t know each other at the time.
Sugar Eater’s vitriolic song “American Idle” has been
getting some airplay on Albany’s Channel 103.1 lately,
thanks to Jason Keller’s local music show Big Break,
somehow making it into rotation despite containing the
obscenity “star fucker” (granted, the lyrics are indecipherable
at points). Although the name of the song shares an unfortunate
similarity to the title of Green Day’s most recent album,
American Idiot, despite being penned well before
that album’s release, the Sugar Eater song bristles with
an indignation that has direct parallels to Green Day’s
sprawling ire-ridden opus.
about Razors Never Die talking to someone in the music
industry,” Social says of “American Idle,” which also
manages to slag the no-talent hacks on the reality television
show American Idol. “The music manager was saying
he could make us the next Good Charlotte,” Social adds,
referring to the mall punk band who have a disturbing
penchant for the sorts of ballads typically preferred
by mainstream corporate rock bands. “I didn’t want to
be the next Good Charlotte, because they suck. And the
guy seemed shady.”
Like the best bands who populated the ’90s West Coast
pop-punk scene, as exemplified by certain Lookout Records
bands, Sugar Eater temper their anger with a healthy dose
of humor. That’s where the mullet songs come in. The band’s
song “Your Dad’s Got a Mullet” is a high-speed thrasher
that ends not long after it kicks off. “My dad had a mullet
at the time we started the band,” Clute admits, as he
flashes camera-phone pics of mullet-donning men, taken,
of course, at the local mall. Another of the band’s songs,
“Even Karen the Douchebag Falls in Love,” directly quotes
from a comedy routine by the up-and-coming cult comic
So between the romantic songs and the humorous songs and
the pissed-off songs, one wonders just where and how Sugar
Eater, who have been known to cover the Undertones, the
Circle Jerks and the Ramones, fit in with the punk scene.
“I don’t think we do,” Social says. “We don’t smell bad
or shoot dope. The normal kids are like, ‘You’re good,
but you swear too much.’ It’s kind of refreshing that
punk rock’s still offensive in some circles. All the kids
that are into our band are girls or kids that get picked
last at kickball. Nobody at all muscular is into our band.
We don’t do heroin, so the real punk kids aren’t into
Jones-Lepine quips, “You don’t do heroin?”
Interestingly, Social is the only band member with any
sort of allegiance to the punk sound. Jones-Lepine proudly
proclaims himself a metalhead, into various forms of thrash
metal and “metal core,” as he cites the death-metal band
Lamb of God as a particular favorite. “Nick’s the punk
kid, I’m the metal kid and Matt just likes [Smashing Pumpkins
and Zwan frontman] Billy Corgan,” Jones-Lepine says.
like average rock,” Clute admits.
whole ’90s Lookout Records sound is pretty influential
to me,” Social says, name-checking Operation Ivy and Crimpshrine.
“I always wanted to do a band that sounded like Screeching
Weasel. It never happened until now.”
At this point, Jones-Lepine leans across the table at
Saratoga’s Uncommon Grounds coffee shop and mock whispers
to Clute: “I’ve never heard of Screeching Weasel.”
have I,” Clute whispers back. “Is that a punk band?”
Sugar Eater will play Valentine’s on Nov. 4 for Metroland’s
Feedback local-music showcase.