Sucker ready to showcase its true sound here

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— After five years of touring, Sucker has developed its true sound -- and more people are beginning to listen, said lead man, singer and rapper Scott Stoughton.

Record companies are listening, too. Sucker will be in the studio in a couple of months to put together an album, which will be a milestone for the Boulder-based band.

Though it will be the fourth time the band has recorded, Stoughton said it will be the first time the band will be able to take a few months to do it. Plus, these will be the best original songs the band has put out.

"It's kind of like a rebirth right now," Stoughton said.

Things are going well and work is paying off, which means one thing to Stoughton:

"No more crappy shows in Iowa City for 10 people," he joked.

Stoughton said his music career has been a bit of a roller coaster. At one time, he performed with Sam Bush and Bela Fleck in front of 10,000 people at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The next week, he was playing in the middle of nowhere in front of a nearly empty room.

"I think that's why musicians do a lot of drugs," Stoughton said. "You feel so high after some show, and then all of a sudden you're broken down in the bus in the middle of nowhere and morale is low."

Stoughton said he hopes those days are over.

"Things are actually awesome right now. The band is energetic," he said.

Sucker regrouped about two years ago, adding Aaron Snyder on bass and keyboard player Steve Vidiac. Along with the keys, Vidiac adds an electronic element to the mix that has given Sucker a new approach to its music. Now, Stoughton said the band has gotten tighter, has focused on songwriting and has finally developed what he thinks is its true sound.

Concertgoers have responded positively.

"It's been really good. The band has been pretty well-received," he said.

The band's sound is something Stoughton struggles to describe. It's part reggae, part funk, part hardcore, part hip-hop and even a little electronica. It's in the vein of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime but still something all its own.

Though Sucker's music may be hard to label, the band has appealed to a wide range of listeners, playing venues that have crossed genres and music scenes. For example, last summer, it went from the hippie-oriented High Sierra Music Festival to play at skateboarding competitions. Stoughton said his goal this summer is to play the HOARD Tour and at Bonnaroo.

Stoughton himself has performed with such jam-and-bluegrass-oriented acts as Sam Bush, Bela Fleck and Leftover Salmon.

Later this month, the band will open and support hard-core band Bad Brains' reunion concert in Boulder.

Snyder, Vidiac and Stoughton, plus Rodney "Rocket" Coquia on guitar and Aaron "JR Mint" Ficca on drums, make up Sucker.

The band formed about 5 1/2 years ago in Vail after Stoughton and Coquia met. In their first show together, the musicians mainly covered Bad Brains songs.

The band has performed in Steamboat Springs for years and always attracts a crowd. It opened for Tone Loc last month and, in the summer, performed a memorable show at Slopeside.

Over the years, it has played in nearly every bar in town, Stoughton said.

"Steamboat has been really, really supportive of us. It's one of those places we like to go back to," he said.

Sucker plays at Levelz Saturday with DJ Cochez and Cat and The Hat.

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