Imagine that Deep Purple and Sly and the Family Stone had a love child that grew up in New Orleans listening to Ray Charles, Black Sabbath and Booker T. That love child would be the Sugar Free Allstars. With their diverse musical influences and unusual instrumentation, this funky organ/drum duo from Oklahoma City doesn’t quite fit into any given pigeonhole. The music blends New Orleans funk, Memphis soul and Hammond organ-drenched gospel, wrapped in a colorful rock and roll package. Add to the mix a touch of pop songwriting sensibilities, humor and a high-energy live show and you’ve got the Sugar Free Allstars.
Chris “Boom!” Wiser (Hammond B-3 organ, lead vocals, saxophone) and Rob “Dr. Rock” Martin (drums, back-up vocals) make up the dynamic duo of Sugar Free Allstars. As Wiser multi-tasks the outfit covering bass lines on the B-3 and cranking out soulful sax solos, Martin lays down a rock-solid beat that keeps the heads bopping and hips shaking. His in-the-pocket style of playing has made him a high demand drummer and aside from his work in Sugar Free Allstars, he is the first call studio drummer for the legendary Bell Labs in Norman, OK (where all SFA’s albums are recorded). The connection and fire between the two musicians is obvious in their live performance. “We try to provide a good mix of humor and a tight performance,” explains Wiser. “Even in our kids’ shows, it’s meant to be a rock and roll party for all ages.”
The Sugar Free Allstars are always on the road. Calling Oklahoma City home, they perform at venues around the Midwest, South and Rocky Mountain States. In 2008 SFA toured Europe for the first time, spending 11 days in Italy playing to very receptive crowds. Beginning in 2007 SFA performed their first family concerts and since then have played at the Jiggle Jam Family Fest in Kansas City, on the Little Rocker’s Stage at the Norman Music Festival in Oklahoma, at the Kindiefest Family Music Conference in Brooklyn, NY and on the Austin Kiddie Limits kid’s stage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, TX. The educational aspect of their music shines through at elementary school performances and Summer Reading Programs at libraries in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas. SFA is listed on the Oklahoma Arts Council’s Touring Roster and the Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Artist Registry.
In spring 2010, the band released its second family music CD, Funky Fresh and Sugar Free, to rave reviews. Some of the highlights since its release have been: a review on People Magazine’s website, a mention in Parents Magazine, a starred review in School Library Journal, a National Parenting Publication Awards (NAPPA) Gold Award and a second #1 hit on the Sirius-XM Satellite Radio Kid’s channel (the James Brown-influenced “Tiger In My Backyard”). In addition, following this release SFA was one of twelve family music acts included in a photo essay on Time Magazine’s website featuring some of the “Kindie Rock” (indie rock for kids) genre’s top stars.
SFA’s first kid’s album, Dos Ninos (2007) also received national critical acclaim and was among the Fids and Kamily critics’ poll as one of the top 15 “Best Music of 2007 for Kids and Families.” The first song on the disc, “Bathtub Boy”, was in the Sirius-XM Satellite Radio Kids channel’s top 13 charts for thirteen weeks, peaking at #1 for two of them. The song is still in regular rotation on Sirius-XM’s Kids Place Live. In 2008, SFA released the live concert DVD, Gettin’ Funky with the Sugar Free Allstars!, recorded with a family audience at the City Arts Center in Oklahoma City. The band’s three other studio albums are meant for grown-ups: the self-titled Sugar Free Allstars, Dos Machos and Return of Dos Machos. Songs from these last two albums have appeared in episodes of PBS’ “Roadtrip Nation,” and both releases have spent time on the Jambands.com’s top 30 radio charts. Return of Dos Machos also features a guest appearance by Fred Tackett, guitarist for Little Feat.
|Chris “Boom” Wiser – vocals, Hammond B-3 organ, saxophone
Rob “Dr. Rock” Martin – drums, bkg vocals
|Mike Satawake – guitar
Andy Moore – drums