After 13 years away, Bang Sugar Bang are still true to their name — a 1-2 punch of pop-punk, with a little sweetener. This week, the L.A.-birthed trio releases their first single since 2007. “Little Bit of Hope” comes with a long story.
Bang Sugar Bang — singer-bassist Cooper Gillespie, guitarist-vocalist Matt Southwell and drummer-vocalist Chris Black — released three albums between 2003 and ’07. They were co-founders of Kiss or Kill, a welcoming collective of punk, pop-punk and power-pop bands that put on shows at various clubs around town — artists that didn’t fit with the industry-obsessed Sunset Strip or the burgeoning Silver Lake scene, which they found “too cool for school.” Kiss or Kill (The Dollyrots are the most notable alums) had a fun five-year run, and it was even the subject of a documentary, “In Heaven There Is No Beer.”
Good times were had. In 2005, around the time Bang Sugar Bang released their second album “Thwak Thwak Go Crazy!,” they won $35,000 in gear and services in a contest run by a CD manufacturing company and ended up opening for the Dead Kennedys.
When Bang Sugar Bang broke up in 2007, they vowed they would make more music, but geography got in the way of that proposition. Gillespie (who has gone on to make music in Mad Planet and LANDROID) now lives in Landers; Black lives in Madison, Wis.; and Southwell lives in Alpena, Mich.
But last summer, with the help of a fan-funding campaign, the trio got together in Madison. Rehearsals were held at Black’s daughter’s pre-school. A 10-song album was started at Clutch Studios, finished in Ann Arbor, Mich., and sent to Josiah Mazzaschi in L.A. for the mix.
Voilà. Bang Sugar Bang’s new album “Invisible City” will be out Aug. 24 via Gillespie’s Mojave Beach Records.
Bang Sugar Bang always had a strain of X’s musical DNA running through their work, and so it is with the propulsive first single “Little Bit Of Hope,” which was actually written as the band was breaking up in 2007. “No matter how dark life gets, we always need a little bit of hope,” Southwell says. “The human mind needs that.”
The video for the song was filmed by the respective band members and assembled by Mike Schnee from one of Kiss or Kill’s stalwart bands, Pu$$y Cow.
||| Watch: The video for “Little Bit of Hope”