open for anybody
But now Supersuckers are opening for Perl Jam
So now the Seattle-based quartet finds itself supporting Pearl Jam on the first half of the latter act’s sold-out, 16-date cross-Canada tour.
Is this one of those ‘not too proud’ moments, Eddie?
“I don’t know a whole lot of their songs, but I like the way they operate,” says Spaghetti (whose real name is Daly) on the morning of the tour’s first show in Vancouver.
“I’ve always liked the way they run their show and I felt — when they went to battle against Ticketmaster and none of the bands that could have helped them stood up — I kinda felt a kinship towards them in that regard.
“I think that their spirit is very similar to ours. Although they’ve got 12 semis rolling down the road and we’ve still only got a van and a trailer, I think we come from the same ethical place.”
Both bands also call the Pacific Northwest home, and both made their bones at about the same time. Supersuckers —which also includes guitarists Ron Heathman and Dan Bolton and new drummer Dusty Watson — originally formed in Tuscon, Ariz., in 1988 but tossed a coin and moved to Seattle a year later (the other choice was New Orleans).
There they found the nascent scene that eventually yielded Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. In those early days, bands were young and ambitious and mostly supportive of each other.
“Yeah, we knew them a bit,” Spaghetti recalls. “We had met Stone (PJ guitarist Gossard), and Ron knew Mike (McCready, the other PJ six-stringer). We didn’t know each other real well or anything, but we ran into each other at the same parties and stuff in Seattle.”
While Pearl Jam lived through the whirlwind that was Ten and Vs., Spaghetti and co. became Seattle’s premier party punks, signed to Sub Pop and released indie cult classics such as The Smoke of Hell, La Mano Cornuda and Sacrilicious before signing to Interscope and getting dropped before they even released an album. Along the way, they became a favourite of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, with whom they collaborated on a track, Poor Girl, for the 2000 album Free the West Memphis 3, a benefit for three Arkansas teens who may have been wrongly convicted of murder in 1993 (see wm3.org for more).
Supersuckers and Vedder remain close, to the point that the band played at the singer’s 40th birthday bash last December.
With five rock CDs and a country album’s worth of material to choose from, Supersuckers have put together a 45-minute set for this tour that represents all aspects of what they do.
“I’m guessing that these fans are just gonna perceive us as something in the way of their Pearl Jam show,” Spaghetti laughs. “So I wanna get up and surprise ’em and get off. My theory is that it doesn’t matter what we play ’cause they won’t know any of it, but we kind of reworked some classics to sound a little better in these giant places.
“We’re gonna try and stay away from the fast, Motörhead beat that we do oh so well. And we reworked some of the country tunes, because I like the songwriting on those, things like Roadworn and Weary or Supersucker Drive-By Blues.”
Some new tunes may also be included, as Spaghetti has recorded and released two solo albums, The Sauce and Old No. 2, since the band’s 2003 album, Motherfuckers Be Trippin’. A new ’suckers studio disc is also on the verge of being recorded.
“We’re gonna use a semi-big-time producer fella to make it sound really good. His name’s Billy Bowers, and he’s Brendan O’Brien’s engineer, so he’s done Springsteen and Papa Roach and everything,” Spaghetti says.
“The thing of his that I like best are the first few Frank Black & the Catholics records. Plus he’s an old friend of mine. He and I were in a band together in Tuscon back in the mid-’80s, so it’s a real full-circle experience for us.”
Still, those recording sessions lie far off in the distance. At the moment, Spaghetti and co. have to liven up a Pearl Jam audience for six shows.
Any last words?