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An ad for the band's debut album Start Static (2001)
An ad for the band's debut album Start Static (2001)
Background information
OriginSanta Barbara, California, United States
Years active1998–2011 (hiatus)
  • Tim Pagnotta
  • Airin Older
  • Marko DeSantis
  • Ken Livingston
Past membersBen Davis

Sugarcult is an American rock band from Santa Barbara, California, formed in 1998. The band currently consists of Tim Pagnotta (vocals, rhythm guitar), Airin Older (bass), Marko DeSantis (lead guitar), and Kenny Livingston (drums).


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.

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) 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]

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]

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • Tim Pagnotta – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1998–present)
  • Airin Older – bass guitar, backing vocals (1998–present)
  • Marko DeSantis – lead guitar (1999–present)
  • Kenny Livingston – drums (2003–present)
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)
  • A Hard Day's 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]


  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. ^ https://www.billboard.com/artist/sugarcult/chart-history/alternative-songs
  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.