Preparing for this post reminded me just how great a band Sugarbush was. In 1993, Jim Burns was without a band and Dave Deluca wanted to "fill some holes that Zombula was missing", so the two decided to start something up. Dave knew guitarist Julien Valenstein and I believe drummer Chris Balsam came with him. The Sugarbush sound combined punk rock aesthetics with funk in the vein of Funkadelic.
Sugarbush played all the local clubs (ie: The Right Track Inn, The Roxy, Wayne's Place, Rush, The Raven, Ground Zero, and of course the Juke Joint), and also ventured into the city (ie: CBGB's, The Spiral, Lion's Den). From Aug - Oct '95 the band recorded a 6 song demo, Some Last Words, at Marv Studios in Bellmore – I designed the tape cover (which looked better in color). I don't think anyone would disagree that the demo didn't capture the true spirit of Sugarbush – it suffers from a muddy mix. Nevertheless, it's still a good listen...
[DOWNLOAD] Sugarbush - Some Last Words (1995)
01- Angels Are Burning
03- Last Call
04- Heading Downtown
06- You're The Type Of Girl That Needs A Pair Of Galoshes
In June '96 Dave decided to leave Sugarbush because "it ran it's course", "bickering", and he was "going back to school". Rather than call it quits, the band decided to carry on because of a review in Newsday crowning Sugarbush the "Best Local Band of '96". They found bassist Rich Alfieri through Brian Gressler (who was brought into the Bellmore "unscene" through Jim). Rich came from the jam band school of playing...very loose and fluid compared to Dave's riffs. The band continued to write some good tunes but there was a lot more emphasis on jams during their shows. The new line-up of Sugarbush continued for another year before they finally did call it quits. According to Jim, he wanted to be in The Jesus Lizard and Julien wanted to be in Spyro Gyra.
Here's a pretty good performance from the second wave of Sugarbush at The Lion's Den in NYC – good enough that the band released it as an official bootleg...
[DOWNLOAD] Sugarbush - Bütleg (The Lion's Den, NYC 6/8/97)
01- Heading Downtown
02- Take The Hill
04- Miles Turned Electric
05- Last Call
Jim Burns - vocals
Julien Valenstein - guitar
Chris Balsam - drums
Dave Deluca - bass '93-'96
Rich Alfieri - bass '96-'98