Jess Harnell and his friend since childhood Chuck Duran had a pretty good band, Loud and Clear which recorded two albums but they never made it big until they came up with a novel concept, hybrid agglomeration and glam: Melding metal with ’80s pop music,
“We did well in that melodic rock community,” Harnell said. “It was sort of aggravating because we really wrote great songs and they would have fit right in the the Bon Jovi’s and the Def Leppards of the world. But your chances of getting rich are greater by winning the Lotto than being in a rock band. It does happen. But it happens for a very, very few.”
But when the novel concept of Rock Sugar was born, the band finally made it.
“We thought, what if we combined ‘Crazy Train’ with ‘Jesse’s Girl?’ ” Harnell said. “Our first show was opening for Vince Neil.”
Quickly, Rock Sugar was playing in stadiums, festivals and arenas opening for Aerosmith, Linkin Park and AC/DC.
Now a quartet, the guys spoke onstage in Tahoe with Tahoe Onstage before a gig in Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room.
Harnell, who also works as a voice actor, also channels Christoper Walken and “Pulp Fiction.”