Sugarcult guitarist Marko DeSantis looks back on the 10-year anniversary of the group’s Lights Out album with a lengthy Instagram post. The post talks about the hardships of being in a band that comes with the music industry, as well as, the group’s future.

A photo posted by Marko DeSantis (@markodesantis) on

This week marks the 10 year anniversary of our 3rd record Lights Out, which was bookended by what history has revealed to be prophetically titled cuts (Lights Out & Hiatus), it was our proverbial one that got away. Probably our darkest & heaviest record, Lights Out was essentially a two-part dissertation on self-medicating through one-night stands & loveless sex (Do it Alone, Shaking, The Investigation, Made a Mistake, Hiatus) ; and frustration w/ the music industry (Dead Living, Out of Phase, Explode, Start a Riot, Los Angeles) After years of gradually working our way up from the back alleys & side streets to the main drags & fast lanes of rocknroll, the stars were aligning for this record to be our grand arrival. Our record company had been absorbed by V2 Records, a fantastic label originally founded by Virgin Recs/Air/etc impresario Richard Branson & run by a select cast of street-smart sweethearts w/ impressive record collections & enough savvy to snag future heavyweights like The White Stripes, Moby, Phoenix, etc early on. After bumping our heads on glass ceilings w/ our first 2 records, we were thrilled to have found an equally graceful yet much more powerful engine. Or so we thought. The first single (of a 4-single plan), “Do It Alone”, was released to radio & MTV (we shot 2 expensive videos for it on the label’s dime, since they wanted to get it just right!), the record came out packaged in a beautifully designed matte-finish gatefold case; we embarked on headlining tours & all was well. They signed a slew of great bands from our touring community like Alkaline Trio, Straylight Run, Blood Brothers, The Adored, etc. Our next single, “Los Angeles” readied for an early new year’s launch & then… V2’s calls & emails slowed down; the jovial voices of their staff was EQ’d to hushed tones & awkward silences. We received the official communiqué that the label was being shut down effective immediately: all employees terminated & all bands basically fucked! To paraphrase John Lennon: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…”

While we were surprised & disappointed; we knew things like this can be par for the course in the music biz, and since we had built a strong foundation on our own, we would be fine & figured our record would eventually land in its feet & find a new loving home. By now, they owed us (& many other bands) small-fortunes in unpaid royalties. We lawyered up & got in line. They gave us the run around, pushed the limits of every deadline & grace period while we sat around trying to make ourselves as unattractive to them as possible in hopes that they would relent & cut us & out records loose. We turned down tour offers, stopped doing press & basically went into a holding pattern until we finally cajoled them to let us out of our future obligations & settle for pennies on the dollar. By now the record cycle had lost all momentum & we were exhausted & heartbroken. We resumed playing shows & touring, but with no outside support there was only so much we could do. We all began settling into domestic lifestyles and strayed into our own individual projects: Airin focused on he & his friends’ side project record that eventually manifested as Edward Sharpe & the Magnet Zeros (the record yielded the now modern-classic song “Home”); Tim began co-writing/producing for other artists & scored a huge hit w/ his first try… Neon Trees “Animal”; Kenny started an Americana group Good Man Down w/ his pals from Lefty & Lit & started KennyDoIt a charity foundation where he raised health awareness by riding his beach cruiser bicycle (across America!). I dove into family life, DJ’ing, lecturing/artist-coaching & some touring with my side bands (The Playing Favorites & Bad Astronaut)

Sugarcult played shows here & there until our activity slowed down to a defacto hiatus (also the name of the last song on Lights Out; Hiatus!) It remains to be seen if/when we’ll rock again as Sugarcult. Time will tell.

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