Supersuckers: The last rock 'n' roll band left?
by John Petric
The sang of booze, drugs, broads and more booze. They had the attitude and confidence of a veteran NASCAR pit crew. They had huge and funn sideburns, were fun as hell and half-a-dozen times proclaimed themselves America's greatest rock 'n' roll band.
I ain't arguin'.
The Supersuckers really and truly may deserve that title. One thang fro sure, they made a happy sucker outta me and a few hundred other happy-to-be-pulverized fans last Thursday night at the Factory. Where the hell were you, lame ass—at a Gallery Hop or something?
Really, now, how many true rock 'n' roll bands are left in the world? Not counting the current wave of Scandinavian retro-rockers (who are good, I'll grant you), I'm scratchin' my head.
Are the Supersuckers the only rock 'n' roll band left in America? Tell ya one thing, baby. It sure felt like it. (Not for nothing is the Supersuckers' new album called (Motherfuckers Be Trippin'.)
The Supersuckers, in their second decade of blowing the doors off of clubs across this great big ol' nation, still boast bravado enough to pick a thousand bar fights—and win. By the time they were done, there was more broken glass and vomit on the floor than at a David Allan Coe show.
Eddie Spaghetti and the boys jumped onstage like macho mothertruckers and ripped through 70 minutes of punk-powered guitar, guitar, bass and drums, starting with "Rock 'n' Roll Records (Ain't Selling This Year)," the new album's opening track.
After the Supersuckers classics "Bad, Bad, Bad" and "Coattail Rider," the quartet from Tucson-by-way-of-Seattle did the second song off Motherfuckers, the understandably titled "Rock Your Ass." This song does what the Roots' version of Cody Chessnutt's "The SEed" does: makes ya dance whether you want to or not.
It was so-o-o-o good live.
Eddie was struttin' with his bass like a happy whore. Dan "Thunder" Bolton was chording guitar like he was wringing the neck of an unfortunate chicken.
Drummer Dancing Eagle bitch-smacked his hi-hat like the spiritual son of Charlie Watts. Second guitariest Ron Heathman, skinny as his guitar strap, added that necessary layer of rhythm guitar crucial to any group that wants to be considered the best rock 'n' roll bank in America. I mean, name one great R 'n' R band with only one guitarist.
The crowd was drunk on the sexy stench of this rhythm-makin' machine called the Supersuckers. Four male muvver-fuvvers bashing the shit out of three- or four-chord strategically arranged progressions, none of 'em stupid, some of 'em quite cleverly conceived.
And "Rock Your Ass" was only the fifth song. Eddie and the lads knocked off 10 more with the kind of rock 'n' roll muscle you really don't hear or see or feel much anymore. Great rock 'n' roll has a deep sex feeling about it, but also a sense of wellbeing. And the Suckers gave us that.
They've been compared to Motorhead and Bad Company, and I wholeheartedly agree. But they really remind me of Humble Pie, the early '70s Brit rockers who combined blues, boogie, beer and 8-foot Marshall amp stacks for a hearty and sturdy combination.
Dancing Eagle could easily be the Pie's Jerry Shirly, and Heathman is sort of a diseased Steve Marriott. There is no Peter Frampton in the Supersuckers, though.
The encore included "Born with a Tail" and "Goodbye" from the new album, which—remember?—contains one of the best songs of the year, "Rock Your Ass."
Throwrag opened the show, and the Forty-Fives, as middle band, took vintage American R&B and soul, and pounded the living daylights of them. But with loads of love and feeling, so it was pretty enjoyable.
I think the Factory is a fine joint to see bands, even with the weird Greek columns behind the stage. But the volume was ear-damagingly loud.
When I turned on the Weather Channel the next morning, the volume was blasting from my TV, which I had cranked up to the max after I got home from the Supersuckers show so I could hear the dialogue on my Sopranos DVD.
What did you say?