The Sugar stems is Milwaukee’s power pop, indie rock band. With their upbeat tempos and cheerful lyrics they’ll send you to a giddy state of mind. Because of the timeless essence of their music, I can imagine this band in the mid 50’s singing and performing the same catchy songs.
Band members include: Betsy Heibler-lead vocalist, Drew Fredrichsen-guitarist, and backing vocals, Jon Heibler-drummer, and Steph Conrad-bassist. All members started at a pretty young age going to shows, which is how they all met. Since forming as Sugar Stems in 2007, they have been a tight-nit group performing all over the US and Canada. Releasing their album in Germany by Screaming Apple Records and in Japan by Dream On Records have found them a huge fan base overseas.
In the beginning, the band had a hard time finding a lead guitarist. They gained some serious momentum when Drew joined the band. “We’ve been playing together for 6+ years. The music has grown and changed in its own way, I think that’s just something that happens naturally. We’re making bigger, better music and travelling to new places all the time,” says Betsy.
Sugar Stems and Their Music
Sugar Stems’ 2012 release, Can’t Wait, is their most matured album while staying true to their buoyant sound. Evan with the mellower parts in songs like Landline Static and Love You To Pieces, the album still has that light and bubbly signature tone, . “I think everyone hears music differently and feels music differently. If our music compels you to tap your foot and sing along, that’s good enough for me,” says Betsy.
Coming soon from Sugar Stems will be a live acoustic album released by Milwaukee-based independent record label, Dusty Medical Records, featuring all the hits from their first two albums. “Our fans can expect to be very pleased and we hope to be recording our 3rd album as well,” says Betsy. Keyboard player-Andrew Harris, who was the newest band member, but had to step away from the performance side, will be returning to take part in the 3rd album which will be released by Dirtnap Records.
Sugar Stems and Ordinary Life
Not only do they have a Rockin band, they also have full-time day jobs. It’s not easy! Betsy admits how hard it can be to balance rock life with personal life. “We make time for music, but it can be hard to muster up the energy for shows or band practices after a long stressful work day. But I can honestly say playing music with my friends is the best way to blow off some steam and get my mind off of any work related stress. Being in a band is way cheaper than therapy,” laughs Betsy.
Sugar Stems has performed and participated in quite a bit of charity events over the years. One of the band’s first shows ever was actually a benefit for MS called Rock for the Ride. Bassist-Steph Conrad is a co-coordinator for the annual event.
The band has also taken part of the Pablove benefit for childhood cancer back in 2010. And last year they played a show for a local arts and crafts fair in Milwaukee called Hovercraft whose mission is to encourage makers of all sorts.
Harmless Troubles for Sugar Stems
Being an upbeat pop band doesn’t mean you always have to be sweet. Apparently they have gotten into some mischief with their state mascot. After finishing a set at a bar in Wausau, WI, a few drunken patrons walk in with a wooden Bucky Badger statue they stole from someones yard. ”All I can say is we were involved in some lewd and lascivious behavior with Bucky Badger. And that there may be photographic evidence somewhere,” says Betsy.