Three of the five members of Sugardaddy have been playing in various bands together since 1986. Cousins, Steve Grimes and Laura Fjellestad Tjaden, have been making music together since they were children putting on concerts in the backyard with original songs for their families and neighbors. This love of music connected them with Sugardaddy’s current line-up of members, and this coming October the band will celebrate their twenty-seventh anniversary.

Forming Sugardaddy was the brain-child of guitarist Steve Grimes. His cousin, Laura, was at the time singing with four women in an a’ Capella Christmas group called Anjelic. He wanted to know if Laura would have any interest in putting a band behind the girls and playing cover songs featuring powerful harmonies. The girls jumped at the idea, and rehearsals started with Steve on lead guitar, Mike Larsen on bass, and Todd Hauge on drums. Their first show was at a restaurant called Sanchez Taquitos in October of 1997. Current Sugardaddy bass player Curt Hauff ran sound for their first show. This group of musicians played numerous shows at Skelly’s Pub, some out of town shows including the Chalet in Yankton, and many weddings and private parties. However, as happens with young bands, members would come and go due to job opportunities, family commitments, and pursuing other passions. Cara Soper who was among the four front-women from Anjelic, became the lead vocalist and remains so today.

As a band they have been offered a few unique opportunities. Playing for elementary school pep rallies and dances has ensured they get fans hooked at a young age. Known for their tight four-part harmonies they have been asked to sing the National Anthem at various sporting events. In 2002 they became the official Sioux Falls Skyforce house band, entertaining the crowd playing during time-outs and half time at home games. Through the years they continued to play various bars and clubs in eastern South Dakota, southwest Minnesota, and Northwest Iowa. Curt Hauff joined the band on bass in 2004, and he, Steve, Laura and Cara are current members today.

In 2013, one of Sugardaddy’s founding members, drummer Todd Hauge, passed away unexpectedly. For such a close-knit group of friends, the loss was devastating. Todd’s passion for Sugardaddy was unparalleled, and they felt very blessed to have shared the stage with him. One of the featured pieces at his funeral was a framed Sugardaddy memories wall-hanging he created that hung in his office at Hauge Associates. He was a great drummer, a faithful friend and is truly missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Steve, Curt, Laura, and Cara knew they wanted to continue playing, so the search for a drummer began. They didn’t need to look far, as the first person Steve suggested was Brett McCarthy. Brett had been the drummer for other Sioux Falls bands and was currently available. After their first rehearsal together, it felt like the pieces had finally fallen into place. The group overhauled the set list a bit, and after a few months of rehearsing, booked their first show at The District in April of 2014. Since then, they have been in the regular rotation of bands of area clubs and continue to play street dances, weddings and private parties. They even partner with the Shriners every February to co-host a Sugardaddy Pub Crawl to raise money for charity. This year marks ten years with the current members, and they are still going strong with no end date in sight.

The band also acknowledges the incredible soundmen that have been part of the Sugardaddy family. Mike Schmidt of Hazy Dayz Productions ran sound and lights for the band for nearly twenty years, and Vance Tuffs of VT Productions has held the position for the last five. They feel indebted to these gentlemen for their tireless work and dedication.

Being in Sugardaddy has always felt like a family affair in that they consider each other brothers and sisters. The club owners, staff, and people that attend their shows have become friends that feel like family. The band considers themselves fortunate to have had a following of fans that have been there since the beginning, and are thankful to their parents, spouses, partners, and children for supporting their dream of making music.