Return to Eddie Spaghetti

Supersuckers glad to be in a Jam

By MIKE BELL - Calgary Sun

How do you get a choice opening spot on a huge arena tour? According to Eddie Spaghetti, you wear the band down slowly.

That's what he credits as the reason he and his band the Supersuckers were chosen as the warmup act for Pearl Jam's Canadian tour, which rolls into the Saddledome tomorrow night.

"We've known these guys for a long time, and we've always begged them to take us on tour," Spaghetti says from his Seattle home.

"We never really thought they would.

"But they finally relented."

It's not too difficult to understand why.

For the past decade and a half, the Supersuckers have been responsible for some of the most gritty, fun and incendiary indie rock 'n' roll produced in North America, with the odd foray into punk, country and country punk.

But, despite a few brushes with the mainstream -- they appeared on The Tonight Show with Willie Nelson, and their music has been featured on Beverly Hills 90210 and an ad for Mountain Dew -- they've always been on the fringes of rock.

For example, previous Calgary shows by the band have had them playing to smaller -- but, it should be noted, rabid -- crowds in venues such as The Night Gallery or Mac-Ewan Hall.

Whether or not the Pearl Jam tour will change that, Spaghetti is uncertain, pleading, for the most part, ignorance about the grunge veterans and the fans they attract.

"I don't know anything about them -- I really don't," he says of his Seattle brethren, although he did record a track with PJ frontman Eddie Vedder for the Free the West Memphis Three album.

"They're a staple of this town, obviously, and they're insanely popular.

"Tomorrow night we play to 14,000 people and that's the smallest show on the trip -- it really blows my mind.

"And I couldn't sing you a single song -- maybe that Jeremy song or the Daughter thing."

Spaghetti does know enough to admit there are those in the crowd with more mainstream tastes -- i.e. most of the Pearl Jam fans -- who may not know what to make of the Supersuckers, but he's willing to help them learn and bring them over to the dark side.

"I think it's an odd pairing, musically, but I think the Supersuckers, there's this misconception -- if you have a conception at all -- that we're sort of one-dimensional and cartoonish, which is something that I always play towards," Spaghetti says before adding, "but that's because I'm clever and I know better.

"I always forget that the average joe needs everything really spelled out for them."

And, as long as we're spelling things, what should we tell the average joe who may not know the Supersuckers or their music?

"That they should," Spaghetti says.

"If they've embraced rock 'n' roll as their personal saviour there's no excuse for not having us in their record collection."