4Sugar Ray Used to Be a Metal Band
The Band You Know:
These days, Mark McGrath is probably more well-known for his work as a host on the entertainment tabloid show Extra than for his work as the frontman of '90s pop-rock band Sugar Ray. But during their heyday (which lasted approximately 18 months), Sugar Ray was huge. Their brief flirtation with mattering earned them two multi-platinum albums, a gold album and three Top 10 hits.
And it didn't go to their heads at all, sadly.
Their ridiculously catchy brand of pop-rock endeared Sugar Ray to legions of fans who never once questioned why such a feel-good band would have a member named "DJ Homicide" in their ranks.
The Band You Don't Know:
Sugar Ray used to fucking rock. Mind you, we don't mean "rock" in a good way, necessarily:
That video even features a clip of a mosh pit. At a Sugar Ray show. That's news that's as shocking as it is disappointing, given our tendency to use "when a mosh pit breaks out at a Sugar Ray show" as a slightly more modern twist on the classic "when pigs fly" phrase.
Even more interesting is how Sugar Ray's radical shift in style came about. The band was indulging in a little inter-band bickering during the recording of their 1997 album Floored when Mark McGrath stormed out of the studio, leaving the band with a whole bunch of nothing to do. Out of sheer boredom, they started riffing over a drum loop and, a few minutes later, had tossed together "Fly," the song that would eventually make them famous.
Of course, seeing as how they were still holding onto their dreams of being metal, "Fly" stuck out like a sore thumb as the only pop-rock tune on an album full of aggressive rock songs, leaving fans who purchased the album (people still did that back then) wondering why that dreamy guy from that band with the pool in their video was screaming at them.
Sugar Ray would address this concern by cashing in and doing absolutely nothing hardcore for the remainder of their time as a band.
Five seconds later Christina was wearing a nun's habit.
3Vampire Weekend Used to Be a Rap Group
The Band You Know:
Vampire Weekend is one of those bands that people like to hold up as an example of why an entire segment of the American population sucks. In this case, let someone rant about trust fund hipsters for more than 30 seconds, and you will hear this band's name. You can attribute that to lead singer Ezra Koenig and company's conscious decision to appear in public looking like this ...
The sweater is the lead singer.
They also have a member whose name is basically Batman, and they named one of their albums Contra, inspired by the classic NES game that popularized the most famous cheat code in gaming history. So how bad can they really be?
Hint: The code will not make slightly puzzled women appear at your door.
Besides, if you think you hate them now, just wait until you see what kind of band they were before they set Paul Simon's music to a Tommy Hilfiger ad and found success.
The Band You Don't Know:
Vampire Weekend began as what could have developed into one of the worst rap groups of all time. They were called L'Homme Run and they made absurd songs like this one:
It's a song about ordering pizza. It's called "Pizza Party." The band members were enrolled in an Ivy League school when they recorded it.
Shockingly, the project stalled because people just flat out refused to believe that the entire thing wasn't one big joke. Koenig bemoaned this fact in an interview, saying, "It was hard for me to take seriously because no one else would take it seriously."
That's probably because they took "promotional" photos that looked like this:
If the Taliban shopped at J. Crew.
It's easy to see why, to this day, people still don't believe that L'Homme Run was an entirely ironic act. But the band has evidence on their side. In 2010, Vampire Weekend had a hit with a swinging tune called "Giving Up the Gun," a song they promoted with a slick video that awesomely featured the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA as a tennis umpire:
But fans with lower standards who have been following the band since their "rap" days will recognize that single as nothing more than a reworking of a song by L'Homme Run called "Giving Up Da Gun."
You can tell that's the rap version because they substituted "the" with "da." That's how you do it in the streets. Other than that, the songs are damn near identical. If Vampire Weekend cared enough about this holdover from the L'Homme Run days to rework it and release it as a single, how much of a joke could that shitty rap group have really been?