Thursday, October 13, 2005
By Linda East Brady
If you have the chutzpah to call your band the Supersuckers, you'd best have the chops to live the name down.
Not to worry. The Supersuckers are a punkabilly force of nature.
Frontman Eddie Spaghetti (born Edward Carlyle Daly III, or so he claims) writes ferociously funny songs full of heartache and hot twanginess. These are songs meant to be danced to, turned up really loud. With titles like "Born With a Tail" and "Creepy Jackalope Eye," how can they miss?
For those who loved the band's performance at Park City's Suede earlier this month or for others who want to see what all the fuss is about, this weekend brings two more chances to see Eddie Spaghetti perform.
Spaghetti and sideman Jordan Shapiro are playing a free afternoon performance at Bountiful's Big E Records, with an evening show at Salt Lake City's Piper Down, both to celebrate the release of Spaghetti's solo effort, "Old No. 2."
"Well, everybody seemed to like the first solo one (2003's 'Sauce')," said Spaghetti from his home in Seattle, explaining why he made the new record.
"The Supersuckers are working on a new one, too," he added. "I'm trying now to get people to hear the solo record, but really, it all goes in the Supersuckers' bin anyway. It's an extension of that thing, and we'll definitely play all these songs, too.
"I don't have illusions of being this big ol' artiste or nothing. I make up the majority of the Supersuckers' songs, so it's not like I'm this frustrated guy in a band. I just like keeping busy, because it's fun."
Spaghetti and his fellow 'Suckers grew up in Tucson, Ariz., surrounded by country music.
"I kind of ran from it as a kid," said Spaghetti. "There were always things I liked here and there, but living there, it was just everywhere. So I sought out things kind of urban instead. First, I liked new wave and rock 'n' roll."
In his high school years, Spaghetti confessed to consuming the musical equivalent of junk food -- loud and not particularly noteworthy commercial fare.
"But I just kept writing these things that lent themselves to being country songs as well as rock songs," he said. "Eventually, I just sort of started putting it together that the punk rock that I like and the country that I like were really kind of the same thing."
He added, "Hank Williams is as punk rock as the Ramones. You swap out your political upheaval for trucks and trailers and crying in your beer, and there you go. So I set out to show other people who think they don't like country that they really do."
In 1988, Spaghetti and Ron Heathman (guitar), Dan "Thunder" Bolton (guitar), Dancing Eagle (born Dan Siegal, drums) and Eric Martin (lead vocals) formed the Black Supersuckers, named for a pulp porn paperback.
Shortening the name to Supersuckers, the band decided to take the show to Seattle, arriving just as the grunge scene was busting wide open. Martin soon left the band, and Eddie took up vocal duties.
"We moved up here without knowing anything other than there's a thing called the Space Needle up here and that they got some professional sports teams," said Spaghetti. "Plus, we could wear our leather jackets year-round, and that was appealing.
"So we were caught by surprise by this entire music scene up here. But that's exactly what we wanted. We didn't know we were moving to the place that would have the biggest spotlight on it, and right then. It was cool. That spotlight didn't shine quite so brightly on us -- but here we still are, after all.
"We eventually ended up on Sub Pop Records, the coolest label at the time. It was just we sounded kind of different from what the kids were eating up all across the world. But that ended up being good, too."
In the '90s, the Super-suckers made their mark as a fun-lovin', slighty nasty, punk/country outfit. With original-material albums in the double digits, including an EP featuring alt-country rebel Steve Earle and Willie Nelson, Spaghetti says he wasn't looking for a solo career. He says his first solo album happened purely by accident.
Spaghetti said, "My friend has a studio, and he said, 'I got a few extra days. You want them?' I did. I had a couple of songs, but then recorded a lot more. I was really pleased how it came out."
As with the first, his second effort is more stripped down than the typical (if there is such a thing) Supersuckers' record. He is joined on the CD by drummer Mike Murderburger and string man Jordan Shapiro, formerly of Ray Price's and Bob Dylan's touring bands.
"(Shapiro) makes it sound like a bigger, more professional thing than the first one," said Spaghetti. "He's really great -- fun and real spontaneous. Anything that sounds hard on there, that's Jordan."
But despite the solo fun, Spaghetti assures Supersucker fans not to worry about the future of the band.
"I am and always will be a Supersucker, no matter what else happens. But this album is a mighty good one. Come on by and check this CD out at the in-store. Everyone's invited."