BEND BULLETIN

Return to Eddie Spaghetti

Makin' it up as he goes
Eddie Spaghetti releases his second solo album
By David Jasper / The Bulletin
Published: October 21. 2005 6:00AM PST

In the punk world, there's an unwritten rule that once a song has seen a decent cover, it's done.

That was clearly the case with the killer song "I Don't Wanna Grow Up," first recorded by its co-creator, the inimitable Tom Waits, with acoustic instrumentation behind his trademark croak.

In the mid-'90s, The Ramones tackled it in the twilight of the punk-founders' career. They churned out a revved-up electric version that gave the song - and The Ramones - new teeth.

Of course, rules are meant to be shirked.

Eddie Spaghetti didn't go into the studio intending to lay down his own rendition of the anthemic ditty, a rollicking, acoustic version on his new album, "Old No. 2." Just released Wednesday of this week, the album marks Spaghetti's second solo work of originals and
countrified covers.

The Supersuckers frontman says he had been casually playing The Ramones'
version of "I Don't Wanna Grow Up," but he didn't mean to record it.

"It was kind of the last one we did," he says. "I had been playing it, and it was actually the last one we did. It was aa Tom Waits song, a Ramones song. It just felt done."

He did it anyway. He blames/credits "all the people who were hangin' around with me that day" who told him, "C'mon, put it on."

But that's how Spaghetti operates. Call it a just-make-it-and-see-if-it-sticks-to-the-fridge credo, which he holds to both with his main band, the Supersuckers, and his increasingly interesting alt-country side projects, which began with 2003's "The Sauce," in whose
liner notes he wrote, "Like pretty much everything I do, not a whole lot of planning went into this thing."

A country switch-up came a bit earlier for the Supersuckers, a band whose normally combustive sound and irreverence make it the perfect hybrid of Ramones-type punk and AC/DC-style rock.

In fact, those two bands are Spaghetti's chief reference points for his own. On www .supersuckers.com, the band's official Web site, he writes, "If someone has an AC/DC or a Ramones record in their collection (and actually likes them), I don't see any reason why they shouldn't dig the Supersuckers as well."

Nevertheless, the d. The result is often seen, fairly or not, as a vanity project.

But "Must've Been High" marked a new path for Supersuckers. It was followed by "Must've Been Live," the first release from Mid-Fi, the Supersuckers' own label, then other country songs and projects.

It's difficult separating Spa-ghetti from the Supersuckers, the band he so obviously adores and insists he always will.

The tour in support of his new release will bring Spaghetti to Bend for two appearances today: First, an in-store show at Ranch Records, then a full set tonight at The Grove (see "If You Go"). Spaghetti will be backed by The Thing About That, featuring Mike Murderburger on drums, Mike Fielder on bass and Jordan Shapiro on guitar. Shapiro and Murderburger know the material - they helped record "Old No. 2."

"The backup singers and horn section are staying home," Spaghetti jokes, adding that the tour is "not too big. It's more of a string of linear consecutive dates than a tour. We'll see how the record does. If the demand is there, I might do some more dates. Really, the
priority is to get cracking with the Supersuckers."

In recent years, there has been more straight-up rock than country fare from the band, such as this year's rarities and B-sides collection, "Devil's Food." But there were two country tunes, "Doublewide" and "Born with a Tail," on the album, as well as left-field covers of Jerry Reed's "Eastbound & Down" and Outkast's "Hey Ya."

Two years ago, the Supersuckers toured doing "The Big Show," an experimental
dual show with an unplugged/country set followed by a full-out rock set.

In typical Spaghetti fashion, he notes that "Old No. 2" sounds more produced than his first solo effort - in that they spent four whole days recording it, contrasted with the three days spent on "The Sauce."

But there is a purposefulness - and dare we say maturity? - evident throughout "No. 2" that belies Spaghetti's self-deprecating quips. Most telling of all is the number of original songs: four to just two on "The Sauce" (and one of those, "Sleepy Vampire," was
already a Supersuckers song).

Making it up

Spaghetti still insists he does not write songs so much as make them up. Yet "Some People Say" and "I Don't Wanna Know" are the strongest songs on the album; two tunes that would come off like country classics to the ear that didn't know better. Granted, Spaghetti may have been inspired to put a little extra effort into his own material, but he is
also covering the work of Bob Dylan ("Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You"), Nick Lowe ("Without Love") and the aforementioned Waits.

And by no means is he out of his league.

There's also a beautifully paced spin on "Everywhere IGo," by Willie Nelson, whom the Supersuckers met and recorded with way back in 1995.

Staying true to his rock roots, Spaghetti also offers up a cover of AC/DC's "Carry Me Home." "Old No. 2," like "The Sauce," ends with a song featuring Spaghetti's young son, Quattro, on vocals.

Promotional materials for the new album quote Spaghetti thusly: "I've never been more proud of anything I've ever done. Toot-toot!

Is that my own horn I'm blowing? I guess it is. Well, somebody's gotta do it!"

Whatever head of steam resulted in "No. 2" seems to have stuck around for the next Supersuckers album, already in progress.

"It's a big undertaking. It's a little more ambitious than we've done in the past," says Spaghetti. "We're not limiting ourselves to, like, 'This needs to be this kind of record.'

"We're just putting all our songs out on the table and letting our songs tell us the way they need to be recorded. It'll still be a Supersuckers record, and it will sound as such, but it will be a little more ambitious. Anything that we think that we shouldn't do, we may
just go ahead and do. Not necessarily to grow, or change, but just to, you know, exorcise all the demons."

'Guerrilla warfare' band

The Supersuckers recently wrapped up a number of dates opening for Pearl Jam, and Spaghetti has said that going back to headlining shows "was a cold shower indeed," that going from 14,000 fans to 40 people on a Sunday night in Fargo gave them a case of "rock-n-roll bends."

A recent article in Billboard recognized the Supersuckers for that ability to be flexible. In part, that's due to Spaghetti's single-minded, "guerrilla warfare" mentality when it comes to the band. Mid-Fi Recordings manager Chris Neal told the magazine, "This band is open to so many ideas that a lot of bands will turn down," including selling ad space
on its van and trailer.

Spaghetti sees no conflict between his various projects, be they country, rock, solo or Supersucker: "It winds up in the same bin," he says. "It's just something to keep me busy. Whenever we have time off, I always find myself working."

The prolific song-making-up and steady releases are part of life at Spaghetti's and Supersuckers' level of success, he says.

"You need to advertise the live show somehow. A new record seems to be as
good a way as any," he says with a slightly jaded laugh.

"I try to keep busy and try to keep making up songs. You have to be when you're working on a shoestring. It's paycheck to paycheck, the rock 'n' roll version."