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Sugar Red Drive is defined by a philosophy that exhibits pure perseverance to achieve a connection with a mass audience, while maintaining truth to who they are as individuals and as a band. There is no shortage of repertoire that has found a connection amongst music lovers across The U.S., and with each passing month their followers and fans exponentially grow. Through trials and tribulations t
hat could fill a season of storylines on a soap opera, these men have come out the other side more focused, and committed to seeing through achieving their collective dreams.
The story began in the Fall of 2007 when the Poughkeepsie-based musicians began their quest to find the right voice for their music. Bassist Davey Alexander, drummer PJ Gasperini, and a former guitarist hit the pages of MySpace. Their search landed them on to the profile of singer Archit Tripathi, the son of an Indian diplomat. Tripathi was born in Zambia, and subsequently moved to a new country every three years as his father's career took him through India, Hungary, Sweden and Venezuela, where he graduated from high school. He then made the move to the USA after being accepted at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, landing him in proximity to Alexander and Gasperini. The moment Tripathi sat down with an acoustic guitar and began to sing, they knew they had found the voice. Gasperini recalls, "The moment he opened his mouth, it was clear that Archit had an emotive presence that complimented the feel we were looking for. Within an hour, we were jamming, and it was so obvious that everything clicked."
The quartet dubbed themselves Sugar Red Drive, and dove headfirst into writing what would become their first album. Six months later, the band entered Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY with longtime songwriter and producer Pat Gasperini, who was the guitarist in former Island Records act Pound (and is drummer PJ's father). A self-titled debut was cut during the sessions. In reviewing the release, Billboard Magazine published, "S.R.D.'s debut album has a muscular foundation and a just-right fit of aggression and hooks that set the band up for an impressionable start."
Their explosive first single "One More Time" delivered a strong foundation at Active Rock radio, and enjoyed a Top 20 run on Music Choice that lasted more than six months. The band toured extensively, completing three tours of the U.S, headlining and sharing the stage with bands that included Buckcherry, Seether, Theory of a Deadman, Flyleaf, Three Days Grace, Finger Eleven, Mudvayne, Black Label Society, Papa Roach, and many others. As everything was flying high, Sugar Red Drive faced a moment of disaster some never come back from, and in its became an act defined by overcoming adversity. As the single grew, and the appearances were yielded an audience growing exponentially, they were in an overnight van crash that left bassist Alexander's arm broken, with a handicap he continues to endure to this day. As opposed to going off the road, they found a temporary replacement, secured a new vehicle, and kept playing shows while Dave recovered enough to come back. Alexander remembers, "When I woke up from the 8 hour surgery, the doctors told me my entire arm was a nightmare. Compound fracture to my ulna/radius, dislocated elbow, shattered thumb/pointer finger, and the list when on and on. My arm looked like Frankenstein. He then told me I'd make a full recovery within 9 months. I said 'Forget that, I'll be playing before Christmas! You'll see.' I was so determined that I performed my own physical therapy (because I didn't have health insurance), and fought through the pain. It would've been easy to give up and cry myself to sleep every night and think 'Why?', but I didn't. Just before Christmas, I was back in the studio re-teaching myself play bass." Sugar Red Drive then went out with Saving Abel for a 50 date run, following which they looked towards the follow-up to the self-titled debut.
With strong repertoire in hand, Sugar Red Drive entered the studio with Grammy Award-winning producer Skidd Mills (Saving Abel / Sick Puppies), who helped them find the sound they had been developing and driving towards. Their second release A Story of Signs, finds the band stronger than ever. Music is deeply rooted in each of them. Alexander offers, "It's a part of me and I'm a part of it. Whenever I feel happy, I'll write a song. Whenever I'm sad, I'll write a song. Whenever I'm nervous, I'll hum a ditty that I just made up in my head. I mean, music is emotion. For all of us, it is with us every breathing moment."
As people, they are the same to the core as they were prior to first pulling out of the driveway. As singer Tripathi shares, "We are a band of the people. We all come from middle class backgrounds, from families that value things like working hard to get what you want and feeling good about an honest day's work. Most importantly, we come from families that value warmth, and close relationships, and those bonds that bring friends and families together." He continues, "We were raised to always be kind to everyone no matter who they are, to do the most that we could for someone in need. To keep our feet on the ground, and our noses to the grindstone. This is why Sugar Red Drive is A People's Band." As they travel the country, this is witnessed daily in the band's interaction with fans.
All who cross paths with them in their travels, see young men who are to the core down-to-earth guys, taking the time to get to know each and every fan they come in contact with. Tripathi states, "While we are lucky enough to have jobs we absolutely love, most people don't. They go to work anyway to make enough money to buy tickets, gas up the car, and drive to a show. They do this just so we can entertain them, and when they come and thank us for a great show, we view that they're the real stars because without that love, we couldn't live our dreams, and we are eternally grateful to each and