HITS Daily Double
“Josh has a miniature Brill Building going on over there with writers and musicians."
——Mark McGrath


Veteran Act Is Back With New Release on Josh Abraham’s Pulse Recordings Through Fontana
After four years of co-hosting Extra!, Mark McGrath is raring to rejoin his band Sugar Ray to release Music for Cougars, the group’s first album since 2003, for Josh Abraham’s Pulse Recordings through UMG indie Fontana.

“I just feel fortunate to be able to go out there and play rock & roll with the same guys I started with 21 years ago,” he enthuses. “I do this now purely for the joy of performing live. We’re certainly not doing this for the money—this ain’t no Blink-182 or No Doubt reunion. After all the girl squabbles, the drugs, the booze…we’re still here.”

The decision to record an album came about from the longtime friendship between McGrath and Abraham. “We’ve talked about doing something together for a while,” says Abraham, whose company provided the recording facilities and on July 21 will release the finished album, its second after Filter’s Anthems for the Damned.

“Josh has a miniature Brill Building going on over there with writers and musicians,” says McGrath, who worked with Abraham and yet another Pulse songwriter/producer in Luke Walker. “It’s a creative whirlwind over there.”

The band begins its tour next month, while Pulse and Fontana have been setting up the release with an online campaign that includes networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to re-ignite the band’s fan base. A first single, “Boardwalk,” is already out.

“This is a long-term process,” explains Abraham. “We’re getting the word out that Sugar Ray is back. If we can sell 100k, we’re high-fiving each other. Fontana has been very supportive and the staff has been great. It’s been a real joyful process.”

Adds Fontana’s Ron Spaulding: “We have an incredible partnership with Josh and his people at Pulse, whose creative spirit and focus on artist development is unparalleled. We’re very excited about Sugar Ray. They made a great record, and we’re really looking forward to bringing it to market.”

The group’s Floored and 14.59 albums, which produced the #1 hits, “Fly” and “Floored,” sold a total of 5 million, earning double- and triple-platinum platinum, respectively.

“We’ve written some great songs that the public seems to like,” says McGrath. “I’ve had an on-off relationship with key my entire life, but I’ve found a tone people respond to, and I’m fortunate for that. We’re the luckiest band in the world.”

McGrath admits it was time to leave his gig as Extra! co-host to return to rock. “I’m just not cut out to be that guy,” he says. “There’s a certain cheese factor associated with it, and that’s fine because I’m a cheesy dude. But I wasn’t a real 24/7 entertainment journalist like you have to be now. The Internet is making it very hard to keep up.”

As for the tongue-in-cheek title of the new album, McGrath says: “People have really responded to it. Women are passionate about the term. For the most part, they’re proud to be called that. Ladies, I’m trying to hang on, too, at 41, so I get where everybody’s coming from. It’s done from a place of love, but what would any self-respecting cougar be doing with someone my age?”