Los Angeles-based Rock Sugar takes "mash-up" music to a new level, melding heavy metal songs with seemingly incongruent pop hits of yesteryear to create singular, flawless tracks.
Think AC/DC mixed with Madonna ("You Shook Me Like a Prayer") or Queen combined with Mötley Crüe ("We Will Kickstart Your Rhapsody").
And did we mention they play their own instruments?
"It's great fun," says lead singer Jess Harnell of the arrangements. "And since we've started and traveled the country, now there are bands everywhere covering our material."
Rock Sugar takes the stage at Harrah's Tahoe Saturday – their third appearance there. Harnell said he loves playing Tahoe: "Everything is great, but being in the same dressing room where Frank Sinatra hung out? Come on!"
Harnell is more than a singer. His flexible voice – which can hit the Steve Perry high range and then drop into a James Hetfield growl, all in the same song – has paid off in another way as well.
"For over 30 years I've been making my living with my voice," he said. "I do a whole lot of voiceovers."
Not minor ones, either. He'll be heard in the upcoming "Transformers" movie (he spoke robot in the first three as well). He played Wakko Warner on the popular cartoon "Animaniacs." For 13 years, he's been the off-screen voice for "America's Funniest Home Videos." Disney hired him to do Brer Rabbit for the Splash Mountain ride (he's done seven other voices for Uncle Walt's company).
Harnell has also found a niche "looping" dialogue for movie stars.
"There are certain stars whose voices I master," he said. "When a movie is being edited and they need some re-recording of sound – and the star is unavailable – they call in people like me.
"Recently, I've been voice matching Jeff Bridges and worked on 'R.I.P.D.,' which is funny because he comes with his band to Harrah's the week after I'm there"