- For the coalition of sugarcane farmers located in Clewiston, Florida, see US Sugar Corporation.
Gordie Johnson and Kelly Hoppe of Big Sugar
|Also known as||Alkaline|
|Genres||Blues, rock, reggae|
|Years active||1988–2004, 2010–present|
|Labels||Bread & Water, Universal, A&M, Hypnotic|
|Past members||Terry Wilkins
Big Sugar officially formed in 1988 in Toronto, Ontario, consisting of vocalist and guitarist Gordie Johnson, bassist Terry Wilkins, and drummer Al Cross, though the three musicians had already played together for several years as an informal jam band with members of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, and as a supporting band for Molly Johnson's jazz performances. After Molly Johnson returned to rock music with Infidels, she helped her former bandmates to secure a record deal; their eponymous debut album was released in 1991 on Hypnotic Records.
After Wilkins left the band in 1993, Big Sugar recorded the album Five Hundred Pounds with the help of guest musicians; including harmonica and tenor saxophonist Kelly Hoppe, also known as Mr. Chill. Hoppe brought a blues and old-school r'n'b influence into the band's sound. Hoppe would become an official member of the band in September 1994. He would later add keyboards and melodica to his sideman responsibilities. In July 1994, bassist Garry Lowe joined the band. Lowe had moved to Canada in the mid-1970s from Kingston, Jamaica. Soon after arriving in Toronto, he became an in-demand bass player for touring reggae recording artists. He often accompanied them at Toronto's famed Bamboo club on Queen St.W., among other venues. Lowe was a founding member of "Culture Shock", a popular Toronto reggae band. Johnson, an avid reggae maven (and one-time bass player), had been a fan of Lowe's and was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to join Big Sugar as a full-time member. Also in 1994, Al Cross left the band and was replaced by Stich Wynston, formerly of The Shuffle Demons.
Big Sugar had slowly built a reputation as an outstanding live band, and Five Hundred Pounds consolidated it; the album sold 10,000 copies in Canada on the strength of their live shows without any real publicity or radio airplay. During this time, Gordie Johnson also recorded an album as Don't Talk Dance, with Tyler Stewart of Barenaked Ladies and Chris Brown of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir.
In 1995, the band released two EPs; Dear M.F., which featured a cover version of Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy"; and Ride Like Hell. Following the release of these EPs, Stich Wynston left the band and was replaced by Walter "Crash" Morgan. During the band's tour that year, however, Morgan suffered a heart attack, collapsed, and died on stage during a show in Iowa. Longtime band associate Raffa Dean was enlisted to finish the tour, and former Odds member Paul Brennan subsequently joined as the band's new drummer, appearing on one of their most commercially successful albums, 1996's Hemi-Vision.
Hemi-Vision's single "Opem Up Baby" was a notable first for the band, who recorded a French version of that song, "Ouvres-Toi Bébé", for radio stations in Quebec. The song gained widespread airplay in the province, and for their next album, 1998's Platinum-selling Heated, the band recorded a French version of each single they released; the French songs were collected on the 1999 EP Chauffe à bloc. Also that year, Johnson and Hoppe performed several acoustic shows as a duo under the names "Little Sugar" or "Two Fools on Stools".
In 2001, Big Sugar released Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready? Taking their interest in writing and performing French material to its logical conclusion, a complete track-for-track French version, Brothers and Sisters, Êtes Vous Ready?, was released the same year. Only the English album concluded with a blistering rendition of "O Canada". Towards the end of this tour, Al Cross again left the band to pursue percussion studies in New York state. He was replaced by Eric "Speedstick" Paul.
Big Sugar, known for its loud rock shows performed without set lists, played their last concert before splitting up on December 31, 2003, at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. Afterwards, Gordie "Grady" Johnson joined the Austin, Texas-based band Grady. Kelly Hoppe formed Mr. Chill & The Witnesses, a roots music group. Mojah and Garry Lowe went on to form Truth and Rights Revue, a reggae band, and have released one album to date. Eric Paul played with Truth and Rights and Thornley but has since left music to work for Bell Canada.
The band reformed in 2010, playing their first show since 2003 at Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler, B.C. on April 23,  with tour dates through summer 2010. The band released a new studio album in June 2011, titled Revolution Per Minute.
Gordie Johnson is also an acclaimed producer and session musician. To date, he has produced albums and tracks for Joel Plaskett Emergency, Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes, Taj Mahal, Wide Mouth Mason, The Trews, The Respectables, Tim Chaisson, Len, Reel Big Fish, Chris Duarte, John Ford, Chris Kirby and Meredith Shaw, as well as playing and/or recording with Chris Robinson, Rich Robinson, Default, Honky, Len, Molly Johnson, Jonny Lang and Double Trouble, Ashley MacIsaac, the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Big Rude Jake and many others. He is also the songwriter/ cowriter of numerous hit songs.
Studio Albums 
|1993||Five Hundred Pounds||-||Gold|
|2001||Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?||12||Gold|
|2011||Revolution Per Minute||34||-|
- Hit & Run - 2003
as Alkaline 
- Extra Long Life – 2000
|Year||Title||Peak Chart Position||Album|
|1991||"Sleep in Late"||—||×||Big Sugar|
|1993||"Ride Like Hell"||—||×||Five Hundred Pounds|
|"I'm a Ram"||—||×|
|"All Over Now"||—||×|
|"Wild Ox Moan"||—||×|
|1995||"Dear Mr. Fantasy"||59||—||Dear M.F.|
|1996||"Diggin' a Hole"||9||—||Hemi-Vision|
|"If I Had My Way"||13||11|
|1997||"Open Up Baby"||52||16|
|"Gone For Good"||—||—|
|"Better Get Used to It"||17||18|
|1999||"Turn the Lights On"||—||8|
|2001||"Nicotina (She's All That)"||—||×||×||Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?|
|"All Hell for a Basement"||—||×||×|
|2003||"I Want You Now"||—||×||×||Hit & Run|
|2011||"Roads Ahead"||—||45||5||Revolution Per Minute|
|"Little Bit a All Right"||—||—||13|
|"If Santa Don't Bring You No Funk"||—||—||—||non-album single|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.
"×" denotes periods where charts did not exist or were not archived.
See also 
- "Big Sugar". bigsugar.com. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- Big Sugar Reunite | CHARTattack
- Peak positions for Big Sugar's albums in Canada:
- For "Hemi-Vision" "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 64, No. 8, October 07 1996". RPM. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- For "Heated" "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 67, No. 26, September 21, 1998". RPM. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- For "Brothers and Sisters, Are You Ready?" "Big Sugar - Billboard Albums". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- "Gold Platinum Database: Big Sugar". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
- "Big Sugar Top Singles positions (153 - 316)". RPM. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Big Sugar Rock/Alternative positions". RPM. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Peak positions for Big Sugar's singles on Canadian Active rock Chart:
- For "Roads Ahead" "Canadian Active Rock & Alt Rock Chart Archive: Active Rock - October 4, 2011". America's Music Charts. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- For "Little Bit a All Right" "Canadian Active Rock & Alt Rock Chart Archive: Active Rock - January 24, 2012". America's Music Charts. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
- For "Eliminate Ya!" "Canadian Active Rock & Alt Rock Chart Archive: Active Rock - September 4, 2012". America's Music Charts. Retrieved 2012-09-04.