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Mark Sultan has become one of the leading figures on the Canadian garage punk scene, cranking out high-test rock & roll with a handful of memorable bands as well as making a name for himself as a solo act. Sultan's interests encompass wild garage punk (his work with the Spaceshits and Les Sexareenos), blues-punk performed one-man-band style (his recordings as BBQ, especially 2005's Tie Your Noose), booty-shaking R&B with a garage accent (his collaborations with King Khan, most notably 2006's What's for Dinner?), straight-up garage revivalism (2019's Let Me Out), and much, much more (the ambitious and eclectic 2011 release Whatever, Whenever). Hailing from Montreal, Sultan was a preteen metal fan with a taste for Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden before he was introduced to hardcore punk at the age of 12, and he moved on to raw '60s sounds and garage punk when he was 16. Sultan first began playing out when he signed on as drummer for a band called Powersquat, but his reputation really took off when he helped form the Spaceshits in 1995, moving from the drum kit to the lead vocal mike. The Spaceshits were infamous in Canada for their raucous, over-the-top live shows that sometimes turned violent, leading to them being banned from many clubs, and they released their first 7" EP, "I'm Dead," in 1996. The following year, they dropped their first full-length album, Winter Dance Party, through the celebrated American indie label Sympathy for the Record Industry, and they recorded two more LPs before the band called it quits in 1999. In 2000, Sultan (who sometimes billed himself as "Mark Spaceshit" or "Bridge Mixture") launched a new band with several other former Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos, a less aggressive but more raucous act whose first album, Les Live! In the Bed, came out that same year. Sultan, who played drums and sang in Les Sexareenos, also formed his own indie label, Sultan Records, which distributed records by like-minded Canadian acts such as the Deadly Snakes, the Scat Rag Boosters, the Daylight Lovers, and others. By 2003, Les Sexareenos had run their course, and Sultan began performing as a one-man band, handling guitar, drums, and vocals at once and calling the new project BBQ. BBQ's self-titled debut album was released through Alien Snatch Records in 2003. The year 2005 proved to be very busy for Sultan; the legendary underground label Bomp Records issued his second BBQ LP, Tie Your Noose, while another Sultan project, the Mind Controls (with Mark on guitar and vocals), released their debut single, and Sultan and former Spaceshits bassist King Khan began touring as a double act and released The King Khan & BBQ Show.
A second King Khan & BBQ Show album came out in 2006, and in 2007 Sultan released his first album under his own name, The Sultanic Verses, followed by more touring, both alone and with King Khan. Two years later, Sultan along with members of the Black Lips and the King Khan & BBQ Show joined forces to form Almighty Defenders, a gospel-tinged garage rock supergroup. On the solo front, 2010's $ explored Sultan's noisier, more stretched-out musical side, continuing the following year with Whatever I Want and Whenever I Want (and Whatever, Whenever, a selection of tracks from both) as Sultan eschewed his one-man recording style for a full band, featuring musicians such as Dan Kroha (the Gories), Bradford Cox (Deerhunter), and Erin Wood (the Spits).
Sultan returned to his original one-man-band style, as well as his old handle, on the 2017 album BBQ - Mark Sultan. 2019's Let Me Out found him reaching back to lo-fi '60s garage rock, complete with Farfisa organ, with Sultan once again playing all the instruments himself. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi