I can't say I've ever been too curious about where the front man of Sugar Ray disappeared to after his days of
and shirtless photo shoots, but I am certain that I never expected to find him ignored in a dive bar shouting the wrong lyrics to classic rock songs and failing to pick up on girls. Out celebrating a friend's 26th birthday, a small group of us walked into a humble hole in the wall in Newport Beach. The bar holds all the key charmingly dingy crap bar attributes: cheap well drinks, "meh" beer, the likely possibility of a rumble, a sometimes-functional jukebox in the corner, dark and crowded pool tables, and old drunk 'n' bearded regulars. No big deal, right? Same thing everywhere. And then we happened to sit down at the booth next to Mark McGrath's.
I thought maybe, just maybe, the jerk who tortured us for years with "I Just Wanna Fly" actually might not be so bad. After all, he wasn't in some swanky Newport Beach lounge avoiding the olives in his martini with his E Hollywood co-stars. Maybe he just got sucked into all that junk by the agents and producers, by THE MAN…like the good kid who just starts hanging around the bad crowd. I spent the next few minutes naively star struck, studying what I figured must be Mark McGrath's much hipper offstage persona.
I wish this could be a "Listen up! Sugar Ray is actually OK!" kind of story, but I was pretty let down. He spent the rest of the time we were there heckling the pool players and over-confidently hitting on high-heeled ladies with silly "Hey, so where you from?" (etc.) lines. When he was left alone for the second time, he shouted to his heavy wingman, "This place is a shit hole!" And just after, when the jukebox and entire bar broke out into Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," he belted along louder than the rest. At first I was actually into this amusing scenario, until he started inserting "Sugar Ray!" wherever he felt the three syllables would fit in to the melody. Mark McGrath shouting "Galileo, Galileo, Sugar Ray!" was a good last impression to exit the bar with, so that's when we left the star behind to bellow in the shit hole.