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Sugarcult Poster.jpg
Background information
OriginSanta Barbara, California, U.S.
GenresPunk rock, pop punk, alternative rock
Years active1998–2011 (Hiatus)
MembersTim Pagnotta
Airin Older
Marko DeSantis
Ken Livingston
Past membersBen Davis

Sugarcult is an American rock band from Santa Barbara, California formed in 1999. The band currently consists of Tim Pagnotta (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Airin Older (bass guitar, backing vocals), Marko DeSantis (formerly known as "Marko 72") (lead guitar), and Kenny Livingston (drums, percussion).


Formation (1998-99)[edit]

Tim Pagnotta met ex-drummer Ben Davis during a cigarette break at school. Davis (who then played bass) and Pagnotta started to play together on a regular basis. Pagnotta met Airin Older in a music class where Pagnotta was copying Older's work. They became good friends and Pagnotta invited Older to join his band.[1] Davis moved to the position of drummer and Older filled in for Davis on bass. Marko DeSantis was added into the band after meeting Pagnotta backstage at a Superdrag concert. The pair apparently met because Pagnotta was wearing a suit that resembled the one DeSantis wore to the show. Pagnotta asked DeSantis to join the band before even hearing him play a single note on the guitar.

Early releases (1999–2003)[edit]

Sugarcult released their first collection of demo recordings, Eleven, in 1999. Their second collection, Wrap Me Up in Plastic, was released in 2000. In 2001, the band released their debut album, Start Static, which featured the hit singles "Pretty Girl", "Bouncing Off The Walls" (also featured in the movie and soundtrack to National Lampoon's Van Wilder. This was a new recording and mix of the song, produced by Mark Trombino at harddrive analog and digital in NoHo) and "Stuck in America". In early 2003, "Stuck in America" won the Los Angeles Regional Poll in The 2nd Annual Independent Music Awards. Start Static featured several songs that had previously been released as demos on Wrap Me Up in Plastic. In May 2001, the band re-released Wrap Me Up in Plastic with a new track listing that included songs from both Eleven and the original Wrap Me Up in Plastic, as well as new artwork. In 2003, Davis officially left Sugarcult. Davis had been regularly missing shows since the release of Start Static, and left Sugarcult to enter rehab to get help for his alcoholism. Pagnotta was close to Davis, and wrote the song "Champagne" about his addictions when he was forced to leave the band.[2] Davis was replaced by Kenny Livingston, the former drummer for the band Lefty. Sugarcult toured with Green Day in America for five weeks in 2004 and again in Japan for one week in March 2005, but Marko had to miss the final show in Sapporo because his wife was giving birth to their first child.

Later releases (2004–2008)[edit]

On April 13, 2004, Sugarcult released Palm Trees and Power Lines and performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. This album featured the MTV hits "Memory" and "She's the Blade". Sugarcult successfully landed a spot on the Warped Tour 2004 main stage and they also supported Green Day on their American Idiot tour and Blink-182 on their December 2004 European tour. They released Back to the Disaster, a feature-length documentary film (with a bonus live EP), in late 2005. Lights Out, their latest studio album, was released on September 12, 2006. The release of Lights Out was immediately followed by two tours, a fall tour and a winter tour. Their fall tour included So They Say, Maxeen, Halifax, and The Spill Canvas. Their winter tour included such bands as Meg and Dia, Damone, The Pink Spiders, All Time Low, and The Adored. In 2006, Sugarcult song "Do It Alone" was featured on the CW's show One Tree Hill during Season and in the film Employee of the Month. Sugarcult played at the Soundwave Tour in 2008.

Hiatus and occasional shows (2009–present)[edit]

The band members took a year off in 2009 from Sugarcult for their 10-year anniversary to do their own side-projects. They were neither broken up, nor were known to be working on new Sugarcult material as of mid-2010.

At the end of 2010, they announced that they would play at least two shows in the United Kingdom and then perform at the Belgium music festival Groezrock, all at the end of April.

Sugarcult (with Davis) played a one-off show at the Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California on December 10, 2011, where they celebrated the tenth anniversary of the release of Start Static. More recently, members of the group performed with members of 5 Seconds of Summer (who have cited Sugarcult as a primary influence on their band) and past tourmate Goldfinger frontman and acclaimed record producer John Feldmann for Strange '80s, a benefit concert on May 14, 2017 at the Fonda Theatre.[3]

More recently, Pagnotta has had success as a producer and songwriter for bands such as Blink 182, No Doubt/AFI collaboration Dreamcar, Neon Trees, Walk the Moon, Coin, Elle King, The Strumbellas and Saint Motel. After leaving the band, Davis launched a successful career composing music for film and television. Marko DeSantis remains active as a DJ and as a music college professor in Los Angeles, California as well as being involved with several side-project bands such as Bad Astronaut with Joey Cape from Lagwagon, The Playing Favorites, etc. Airin Older is a producer/composer and played bass and co-produced the debut album by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, as well as performing with Thenewno2 featuring Dhani Harrison (son of George Harrison from The Beatles); Street Drum Corps, etc.

Band members[edit]

Current members
Former members
  • Ben Davis – drums, backing vocals (1998–2003, 2011)


Demo collections[edit]

  • Eleven (1999)
  • Wrap Me Up in Plastic (2000)

Studio albums[edit]

DVDs/retrospectives/live albums[edit]

  • Action DVD (2002)
  • Back to the Disaster: A Film About Sugarcult DVD/EP (2005)
  • Rewind 2001–2008 Japanese Exclusive (2008)


  • Five Demo (1998)
  • Get Street Cred Demo (1999)
  • Hard Days Night Japanese Exclusive (2006)


Year Title Album US Alternative Songs position[4] UK Singles Chart position
2001 "Bouncing Off the Walls" Start Static 40 98
"Stuck in America" 91
2002 "Pretty Girl (The Way)" 30
2004 "She's the Blade" Palm Trees and Power Lines
2006 "Do It Alone" Lights Out 40
"Los Angeles"

Media appearances[edit]

  • 24 (2001)
    • "Bouncing Off the Walls" can be heard during the series premiere
  • Max Keeble's Big Move (2001)
    • "Stuck in America" can be heard when Max is getting of the school bus for the first time.
  • National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002)
    • "Stuck in America", "Bouncing Off the Walls," "Saying Goodbye" and "How Does It Feel" can all be heard during the movie. The film's stars, Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid appeared in the band's video for "Bouncing Off the Walls"
  • Old School (2003)
    • "Bouncing Off the Walls" can be heard during the TV ads
  • American Wedding (2003)
    • A different version that's longer and features another guitar on "Bouncing Off the Walls" can be heard during the end credits
  • Burnout 3: Takedown (2004)
  • NHL 2005 (2004)
    • "Memory" was featured on the soundtrack.[6]
  • Playboy: The Mansion (2005)
    • "Champagne" was featured in Soundtracks in Rock Genre
  • Lovewrecked (2005)
    • "Memory" can be heard when Jenny and Ryan spend the day at the beach together.
  • American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile (2006)
    • "Stuck in America" can be heard near the end of the naked-mile run
  • America's Funniest Home Videos
    • "Bouncing Off the Walls" is used as the sound behind a musical montage in a 2006 episode.
    • played during an episode in session 2 of Phineas and Ferb
  • Employee of the Month (2006)
    • "Do It Alone" can be heard during the movie
  • One Tree Hill (2006)
    • "Do It Alone" was featured during a montage of scenes in the sixth episode of Season 4
  • Burnout Dominator (2007)
    • "Dead Living" was featured on the soundtrack.
  • Burnout Paradise (2007)
    • "Dead Living" was featured on the soundtrack.
  • Moonlight (2007)
    • "Los Angeles" is heard in the extended promo for this series.
  • Over Her Dead Body (2008)
    • "I Melt with You" plays while Kate and Henry are in the car going on holiday.
  • Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief (2008)
    • "Do It Alone" is heard at the party that Courtney sneaks off to.
  • Bones (2008)
    • "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" was featured a scene in the episode of Season 3 "The Santa in the Slush".
  • Wangan Midnight - The Movie (2009)
    • "Riot" plays during the restoration of the 'Devil-Z'.
  • KCAL 9 and KTTV News featured the song Los Angeles for their commercials
  • Chuck
    • "I Melt with You" can be heard in the background a few times in the BUYMORE.


  1. ^ Allen, Jamie (March 22, 2000). "Sugarcult boasts the sweet sounds of yesterday". CNN. Retrieved 2007-05-14.
  2. ^ Black Velvet, Shari. "All Roads Lead To Sugarcult". Retrieved 2007-05-14.
  3. ^ "Tenacious D, Weird Al and That Kid From Stranger Things Rock an All-'80s Night". LA Weekly. May 15, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "BURNOUT 3: TAKEDOWN SOUNDTRACK". IGN. August 23, 2004. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "NHL 2005: THE MUSIC". IGN. September 30, 2004. Retrieved February 15, 2016.

External links[edit]