Got a minute? Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath talks about the band's first album release in six years (out 7/21), the Pussycat Dolls, and being mistaken for Ethan Hawke.

Q: The title of your new release is Music for Cougars. What is that about?

A: We're a humor-based band. Let's be honest: I'm getting older. I'm 41—I'm Propecia and veneers, all that. We were doing a show and a buddy of ours looked around and said, "You've got a lot of cougars in the audience." And I said, "Bam! We're making music for cougars now."

Q: Is the album about your own love life?

A: I think what's interesting about our band is where we got the motivation to write the record. We all write the songs—someone might take a verse, someone might take a chorus, and it will have two different meanings that somehow universally connect. So to have an umbrella theme is hard. My personal way of writing is based on my relationship, because I've been with a girl for 15 years on and off.

Q: At one point, you turned down a role on the TV show Charmed because of scheduling conflicts. Would you like to do more acting?

A: I think I would. I've done a few things, like being a guest on a Law & Order episode. I'm older now, so I'm not being offered those One Tree Hill guest spots. For every Marky Mark, there are a thousand Vanilla Ices littering the highway. But my best friend, McG—who directed Charlie's Angels, Terminator Salvation—he's always been encouraging me to get into it, so I might just take him up on that in the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie.

Q: One more TV question: You hosted the Pussycat Dolls reality show. How hard should it really be to find the next member?

A: It is a little difficult, in retrospect. The first girl the judges picked never joined the group. She had a list of demands the Pussycat Dolls didn't want to meet, which I thought was funny. I don't think we need any new Pussycat Dolls—I think the country kind of decided that. Do you know how many there were in the band period? There were six, and now there are five. But I couldn't even name them all.

Q: I read somewhere that you used to get mistaken for Ethan Hawke.

A: Back in the early nineties—it was my Reality Bites years—I had the hair like that and wore the real dark clothing. The weirdest thing was with Chris Farley. I think it was '94, and a friend of mine who knew Chris said, "Hey, this is Ethan Hawke," as a joke. And Chris Farley wouldn't hear that I wasn't him.

Q: On CNN recently, you offered Obama a challenge: You would give up drinking if he quit smoking. Will you hold up your end of the bargain?

A: If he ever did! I'm Irish, and to put down the beer is a huge sacrifice—a giant sacrifice.

Q: What is that bruise on your face? Did someone pop you one?

A: You can see that? It's from a Botox injection. Propecia, veneers, and Botox!

Vanessa Rothschild


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