Pop Quiz: Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray

Aidin Vaziri | For those feeling nostalgic for the era of cloned sheep, beeping pagers and Thursday nights with Ross and Rachel, this year offers the ultimate package tour. Summerland features Sugar Ray, Everclear, Gin Blossoms, Lit and Marcy Playground – a solid sampling of acts that dominated pop radio in the 1990s. Calling from his Los Angeles home, singer Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, whose hits include “Fly” and “Every Morning,” tells us a tour like this was long overdue: “It’s time to celebrate these songs.”

Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray
Q: Doing a package tour, aren’t you worried about becoming one of those nostalgia acts that plays county fairs?
A: No. I embrace it. I get that there’s a stigma associated with playing county fairs and casinos, but nobody is selling records anymore, and they have become part of the touring regimen. They pay well, and a ton of people show up. Our manager likes to joke that if you can smell funnel cake, we’re playing.
Q: Do you feel like you got away with something in the ’90s?
A: We had two songs when we got signed. We didn’t know how to play our instruments. We lied to the record company. We sold millions of records. We had No. 1 songs. I sang with Willie Nelson. I definitely feel like I got away with something.
Q: And you got to appear topless on the cover of Rolling Stone. How many copies of that issue do you keep in your garage?
A: I don’t think I even own a copy of that. I was never a pack rat. In retrospect, I wish I was. My heroes were on the cover of Rolling Stone. For me to get on there, it was like, my God. The hysteria has gone away. The platinum records have gone away. All we have now is the songs.
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