If you’re looking for a musical journey back to the 1990s, Mark McGrath has just the trip for you.
The Sugar Ray frontman is the mastermind behind the Under the Sun Tour, which opens up a musical wormhole that allows concertgoers to time jump into the past for a few hours.
McGrath, who has hosted television programs such as “Extra” and “Killer Karaoke,” was in Pittsburgh recently when he took time to answer a few questions about Under the Sun, which hits Fraze Pavilion in Kettering this Sunday, July 20.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: This is the second year for Under the Sun. How’s the tour going?
A: “It seems to be getting bigger every year. People now know what to expect from this tour, which is No. 1 songs from the ’90s. These aren’t bands trying to push new records that nobody believes in. It’s pretty powerful when you have a product you know people like. I essentially have four headliners. For the first time I’ve had to tweet every day who is opening and who is closing because any of us could open or close. Every decade seems to have its core and we’ve got the ’90s on lock. If you don’t like No. 1 music from the ’90s, please don’t come.”
Q: Why does the music from that era have such staying power?
A: “I’ll tell you why, the ’90s never ended. There’s still a giant ’90s hangover. If you look at Pollstar (the music industry concert tracker) right now, the top 10 touring acts are Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Dave Matthews Band, Soundgarden. It never ended, and I think it’s because they stopped making rock stars. They make DJs now, so we have a real nostalgia for that era of the ’90s when there were record companies. You released a record, and people went down to Tower Records and bought it. The video premiered on MTV, and the radio station was playing it, too. It was an exciting time. We all received new music the same way, and that’s gone. Not only is it nostalgia for that great music we all miss, but we also miss the way we used to have music delivered to us. We miss the routine, the ritual if you will, of going down on Tuesday night and getting the new releases.”
Q: What has been most surprising about this tour?
A: “When you look up ‘nostalgia’ in the dictionary it means fond memories, things that make you feel good. These are the adjectives used, and, wow, to me to be considered part of the past that people hold onto is amazing. We know how fortunate we are. We aren’t reinventing the wheel. The Turtles from the ’60s, God bless them, are still doing their Happy Together Tour, and it’s bigger than ever. I can name 50 ’70s tours that get together. Styx, Foreigner, Supertramp and bands like that have been doing their thing forever. There are new wave ’80s tours. Let’s be honest, there’s strength in numbers. We can play these great venues again, make it fiscally responsible and make some money, and audiences get these bands together with all these giant hits.”
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How to go
What: Under the Sun Tour featuring Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Blues Traveler and Uncle Kracker
Where: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, July 20
Cost: $25 lawn & terrace, $35 side orchestra (sections A&D)
More info: 937-296-3300 or www.fraze.com
Fraze upcoming shows
Who: The Purple Xperience: Prince Tribute
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24
Who: The Romantics with Tommy Tutone
When: 8 p.m. Friday, July 25
Who: Lynyrd Skynyrd with openers Drake White and The Big Fire
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26
Cost: $46 lawn/terrace in advance, $51 lawn/terrace day of show. $61 side orchestra (sections A&D), $71 center orchestra (sections B&C).