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Kick Out the Jammies

Not even a baby boom can sidetrack Sugar Shack's garage-punk express

"We're influenced by a lot of bands from the '60s, but we're not purists," says Wright, who pens the majority of the band's music and lyrics. "It's not like we have to use vintage equipment and have a certain haircut."

Otis joined in '91, Gibson in '94 and Friedman in '96. She was dating Wright at the time and had just left Austin and her previous group when Sugar Shack's drummer suddenly quit.

"She saw me crying about it," Wright says with mock emotion. "And she felt sorry for us. But she's the best drummer we could hope to have."

According to her bandmates, Stefanie Paige Friedman is the only Shacker with any talent.
Chris Killingsworth
According to her bandmates, Stefanie Paige Friedman is the only Shacker with any talent.

"Awwwww," Friedman says. "That's so sweet."

"Yeah, she really puts the sugar in Sugar Shack," Gibson adds.

"Besides Stefanie, none of us have any musical talent, as if you hadn't noticed," says Otis in one of several comments that firmly fixes him as the band's sardonic pessimist.

The band has received a strange modicum of national fame, as evidenced by last year's VH1 Bands on the Run. It seems that one of the harlots from Harlow, in an effort to demean the band Soulcracker, called them "that fucking Sugar Shack" in several episodes. Wright says that their phone would ring constantly after each mention. Friedman e-mailed the member, asking why she would make their beloved band name a derogatory epithet. The dark queen responded that she was not familiar with the band, but Friedman doesn't buy it.

"Hey," Otis chimes in. "That might be true. There are a lot of bars and strip clubs probably called Sugar Shack…"

Over the next few months, the quintet plans to play more often to support Spinning Wheels, including a high-profile gig at the three-day Gearfest in Austin. But on this night, these maturing punks are pondering something a bit more pressing: finding ear protection for baby Baxter to wear at the record release show.

"I went out and bought a pair of those big orange headphones they use at gun ranges," Friedman says. "I hope they'll be okay."

Protecting your newborn from your own ear-shattering decibels? Now that'spunk rock.

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