ARGUS LEADER

Return to Eddie Spaghetti

Supersuckers 'give 'em hell'
Seattle hard rock group adored despite lack of hit songs

ROBERT MORAST
rmorast@argusleader.com

Published: 09/8/05

With a flip of misfortune, Eddie Spaghetti and his boys in the Supersuckers could be waist deep in water so nasty the alligators won't touch it.

In 1989, struggling to make a soundtrack for sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll in a Tuscon, Ariz., scene that wasn't near the national radar, Spaghetti and his bandmates tossed a coin in the air and let fate guide their future.

If the coin landed tails, the band was relocating to Seattle. If they stared at heads, the Supersuckers were moving to New Orleans.


High and dry

Fortunately - and in the wake of hurricane Katrina there's more emphasis on that word than ever - the coin sent the Supersuckers north.

"I think it was the greatest thing that we could have ever done," Spaghetti says from his home in Seattle.

So, rather than fishing guitars and amps out of a flooded New Orleans garage, the Supersuckers are still riding the wave sent out of Seattle during the so-called "grunge" era.

"We had no idea that we were moving up to 'Rock Mecca U.S.A.,' " Spaghetti says.

But they did, and they did it years before every music-sniffing hound was combing the Washington city for flannel-clad rockers with bellowing voices and loud guitars.


Not quite grunge

If you don't remember the Supersuckers leeching on to the Seattle craze, it's because the band didn't fit into the media mold.

Rather than refitting classic rock riffs into cathartic, emotive burners, the Supersuckers played its dirty, garage rock with comic book lyrics about Satan and rockabilly flair.

And while Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Tad and even Nirvana were wearing flannel as a practical fashion, Spaghetti was covering his head with a cowboy hat - long before the hipsters found irony in such things.

This is the band you'll get at the Mad Rock Pub, a group that hasn't really fit into many rock trends, but manages to survive in a climate that has little time for bands that do what they want to.

"We work hard. We do more than 200 shows a year as a band. I do another 30 to 50 myself," Spaghetti says. "Right now we're all humping T-shirts and albums from our garage into the van to go on tour with Pearl Jam."

Well, some of the Seattle connections paid off.

"We hung out a lot with local crusties, and some of the local crusties turned out to be rock stars," Spaghetti says.

The same can't be said for the Supersuckers, whose signature tunes such as "Creepy Jackalope Eye" and "Born With a Tail" weren't MTV or rock radio fodder.


Where Jackalope play

Still, it hasn't been a bad trip for the band named after a porno book. Despite not selling millions of albums, the Supersuckers have become a "band's band" adored by their fellow Seattle scenesters and country legends such as Willie Nelson (whom the band backed during a "Tonight Show" appearance). Even more recent "it" bands like My Chemical Romance seem to have taken cues from the Supersuckers. The group's song "Give 'Em Hell Kid" starts with a bassline and drum rhythm very similar to the start of "Creepy Jackalope Eye."