Mark McGrath: Sexiest Rock Star

updated 11/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

While Mark McGrath was growing up in Newport Beach, Calif., "there was nothing to suggest the kind of adulation" he now enjoys as lead singer of Sugar Ray, says his mother, software trainer AM McGrath. As Mark himself explains: "I was a break dancer with zits, a skinny body and dyed bangs, thinking I was [Duran Duran bassist] John Taylor. No one except me was feeling it."

But with his spiky blond-tipped hair and multiple tattoos, McGrath, 30, is now considered as "Fly" as his band's hit single. "Chicks, I mean girls, are a motivating factor," he admits, "but you go home and your dog goes, 'I wanna be walked, jerk.' " And while stylist Noel Cianci, who worked on the group's "RPM" video, moons over his blue eyes ("You look into them and see joy"), you won't find hearts and flowers. "I'm not romantic in that Hallmark way," the 6' bachelor says, recalling the time an old flame tried to set a mood with candles and the sexy strains of Sade. "I said, 'I can't possibly take you where this setting wants me to go,' " he recounts. "Fifteen minutes later we were watching ESPN."

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