By Scott Deckman
The Supersuckers have long been one of America’s great rock’n’roll bands, tearing through the States (and other parts), spreading their love of everything raunchy and heartfelt, filling car speakers and home stereos with the love of Marshalls and Gibsons from a campy, postmodern hillbilly perspective.
Some have had trouble taking them seriously, but listening to their records, they can go from jokey to serious in a heartbeat. Much the same sentiment was made of the Ramones, who, along with AC/DC and Motörhead, make up their holy triumvirate of rock’n’roll. Like the Ramones before them, they’ve toured heavily for two decades sans many creature comforts, never taking much of a break. The band was on the way to play The Uptown in Oakland, California, when we spoke with bassist and lead singer Eddie Spaghetti.
“You know it’s a great life. We’re lucky that we get to do this for a living. You know we scrape by sometimes, sometimes it’s lucrative. You know it’s a rollercoaster ride for sure, but we’re all grateful that we get to do this for a living and we feel really lucky and fortunate that things have gone our way so far and we’re able to continue to do it. So, ah … hopefully we’ll be able to do it for another 20 years.”
They are, however, coming off one of their most tumultuous years. They changed management, lost longtime guitarist Ron Heathman to drugs and alcohol (he seems to be doing better, by the way) and have decided to try and find a label to put their next record out, mothballing their own Mid-Fi Recordings label for the time being. The band isn’t a stranger to hard times or even tragedy, as they lost original singer Eric Martin to drug addiction back before they even cut an album. (Martin had been out of the band for awhile before he died.) The loss sparked one of their classic songs, “Marie” from 1995’s The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers, dedicated to Eric’s mom.
“It’s kinda been a transitional year for us. But ah, you know, spirits are high and everybody’s looking forward to the future now so I think we got everything in order right now, so it looks like we’re gonna start kickin some ass here again real soon.”
Luckily, they nabbed guitarist “Metal” Marty Chandler (“Totally killer,” Spaghetti says) who will play on the new record they’re working on. As of now they’re fielding offers from labels, with two in particular they’re looking at.
“We’re about halfway there. Hopefully with this downtime that we’re gonna be taking this summer, we’ll be able to crank out the rest. We’re gonna go for something a little more aggressive than the last record was. We were really happy with the last record but ah, you know it didn’t do what we were hoping it would do so ah, you know, we’re gonna try and be a little bit more balls-out this time around.”
He’s referring to 2008’s Get It Together, with its spit-shined production and slower, more mainstream tempos. Despite the clarity of production, it was a major letdown from their previous high-octane efforts. Here’s hoping the band sticks to what it does best, and also that the new album doesn’t revisit the same result as 1999’s Evil Powers of Rock ‘n’ Roll, a brilliant record who’s mishandling by Koch Records led to the band forming Mid-Fi in the first place.
We even got to talk a little about trash TV, in particular Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Given Seattle alum, former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr is the latest rock-star casualty featured (and on follow-up show Sober House as well), we asked him if he watched the program. Turns out he’s a big fan.
“Yeah, totally, I love that show. You know, he was always a major party animal. He grew up in that sort of environment, his dad used to sell the drugs to everybody, so ah, you know now he’s like a vegetable, he’s practically a walking zombie. So it’s really sad to see how he’s fallen. You gotta know your limits, you gotta figure out where your boundaries are and stick to’m.”
When asked about last season’s worst-case scenario, former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler, Eddie had another anecdote.
“We met him one time. He came up to a show of ours, we were playing in Vegas and he was living there, and he really wanted to get up and play a Gun N’ Roses song with us but we didn’t know it. He was super-belligerent, really drunk and ah … just a real, real big pain in the ass.”
Some of you younger readers out there who think Kid Rock or even Queens of the Stone Age are badass, do yourself a favor and pick up one of the Supersuckers’ earlier records. How about this Spaghettism:
Origivation: “Is there anything you want to tell your fans that are waiting for this new record?”
Spaghetti: “Just to wear their clean underwear when they get it because it’s gonna rock their pants right off of them.”