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June 9, 2005

WHO'S YOUR SUGARDADDY? Before Columbia, S.C. band Sugardaddy Superstar received the go ahead for its major label debut, it had to agree to one thing: "we had to change the stupid name," says lead singer/guitarist Ed Sloan.

Rechristened Crossfade, the Columbia Records quartet entered Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart at No. 44 last week with a remastered version of its self-released 2001 effort "Cold." Enlisting veteran rock engineer Randy Staub, the group remixed the eight original songs and added new tracks "So Far Away" and "The Unknown" to the now self-titled set.

The retooled album's former title track serves as the first Columbia radio single, which climbed into the top 10 of Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it sits at No. 8 this week.

Crossfade originated in the late 1990s as the Nothing, before the trio of Sloan, bassist Mitch James and drummer Brian Geiger hooked up with club DJ Tony Byroads to become Sugardaddy Superstar.

The group wrote, recorded and produced 2001's "Cold" by itself in a garage-based home studio. Sloan says that since that experience, the group has learned "to make our songs happen for as many people as we can. You can't just play these five minute epics [that only] other musicians or your friends will appreciate," he says.

Crossfade's start as the Metallica-influenced the Nothing is evident on tracks like "So Far Away" and "Disco," which build their dramatic choruses off of an intro of heavy guitar and drums. Sloan -- who writes most of the lyrics and melodies -- gets his best chance to showcase his vocals on such acoustic tracks as "The Unknown" and "Starless."

Crossfade will perform at radio station-sponsored festival concerts throughout the country this summer, and play in Milwaukee for Summerfest on July 4. "We're newbies to touring and just getting our feet wet," says Sloan. "We just want to put all of our concentration into that right now."

-- Margo Whitmire