Rough and rawkous, The Supersuckers simply have fun
Staff Writer

The Supersuckers

In this era of put-together-to-have-a-hit bands and elitist, hi-fidelity indie rockers, The Supersuckers are a distraction.

An obstruction. An anomaly.

An annoyance.

Eddie Spaghetti, the band's bassist and lead singer, says he can't spell the words critics use to describe The Supersuckers. He didn't win any school spelling bees, but he says he knows how to "rawk."

"I spell it that way because I don't know how to spell," he said. "With any sort of slang, it's misused for bands who don't rawk at all, if you ask me.

"I'm sure bands like God-smack think they rawk, but they don't."

The Supersuckers, with The Forty-Fives and Rockerfeller Horsecollar
When: 9 p.m. Sunday
Where: New Brookland Tavern, West Columbia
How much: $10
Contact: (803) 791-4413

Rawk music is stripped down and minimal. There's not much in the way of overdubbing, orchestra parts or random synthesizers - the stuff you'd find with bands such as Radiohead. It's basic yet full of energy.

This year, The Supersuckers released "M------------ Be Trippin'‘" on the band-owned MidFi Recordings. It screams with satirical malice: "Through all the smoke and all the beers, I've been doing it for years," Spaghetti sings on "Rock Your A--." "And I think it's understood I wouldn't stop it if I could."

Such songs as "Rock-n-Roll Records (Ain't Selling This Year)," "The Fight Song" and "Bruises to Prove It" play like a sitcom that stars the record industry as butt of all the jokes and The Supersuckers as the jokesters.

"We're escapists. Our mission is to provide the R-A-W-K," Spaghetti said. "It makes you take the beer in your hand and throw it to the back of your throat.

"You put this record on, you put on rock 'n' roll."

But for a band that claims to make feel-good rock (or rawk), The Supersuckers have stayed below the radar of most studded-belt-wearing kids and vintage-clothed scenesters.

Maybe it's because they're from Seattle, home of indie-rock music since the explosion of grunge in the early 1990s. Indie rock is cerebral, a more "educated" form of rock 'n' roll, and most rockers and fans are pretentious about their scene. The Supersuckers are not indie rock.

Maybe it was the country record they put out in 2001 - music fans didn't know how to take.

Maybe it's that the simplicity of their music - verse, chorus, verse - is easy to overlook.

But it's something to appreciate.

The band's best record, 1999's "The Evil Powers of Rock-n-Roll" is a gem, with blistering guitars and unconditional emotion.

That album ended the band's seven-year relationship with Seattle-based label Sub-Pop. It was time for a divergence. It was time for The Supersuckers to rawk out on their own.

So they started MidFi and built on their steady success.

The Supersuckers aren't alone. Their contemporaries - Zen Gorilla and Throw Rags, for instance - play rawk music. But they don't get much fanfare because the dominant sound in the clubs is indie rock, and pop and metal crowd the radio airwaves.

"It's out there. You've just got to keep your ear to the ground," Spaghetti said.

But he doesn't want The Supersuckers' music to be studied, edited for content (spelling), or marketed to a specific group. He just wants to make good songs and keep rawking on tour for the band's fans.

"It's the funnest job you can have. Once you get that touring bone in you, it's hard to get it out," he said.