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INTERVIEW – Eddie Spaghetti, The Supersuckers – June 2014

| 23 June 2014 | Reply

INTERVIEW – Eddie Spaghetti, The Supersuckers – June 2014
By Shane Pinnegar

They call themselves “the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world”, have been described by others as “literally a human cartoon”, and they’re playing The Astor Theatre in Mount Lawley on Wednesday 25 June. They are The Supersuckers, and singer/bassist Eddie Spaghetti tells SHANE PINNEGAR to “wear their clean underwear because we’re definitely going to rock your pants off.”

Supersuckers - Eddie Spaghetti 01

Formed in Arizona in 1988, the band relocated to Seattle just as grunge hit. Despite sounding closer to a grittier Cheap Trick, with songs heavy on melody and a sense of fun. They managed to get signed by seminal grunge label SubPop regardless, releasing four studio albums and a best of through them, including 1995’s The Sacrilicious Sounds Of The Supersuckers which flirted with cross-over success with the minor alternative hit Born With A Tail.

As Spaghetti kicks back in his “luxurious hotel in beautiful Raleigh, North Carolina,” he is at a loss to pinpoint what the band could have done to better capitalise on the success of that song at the time.

“I’m sure there was, although I have no idea,” he says wryly. “Even hindsight doesn’t provide me with any real glowing missed opportunity or anything like that. I just feel like we were not the right band for that time. I don’t know what else to chalk it up to because the material was great. The songs were really good. I guess the production, maybe, could have been a little bit different. But other than that I feel like we did everything right.”

Four albums followed over the next decade before The Supersuckers took a hiatus in 2009, during which Spaghetti continued to record and tour solo. He says the relocation to Seattle felt right at the time, and getting signed didn’t make him feel vindicated at the bold move, as such.

“Kind of, but we kind of just felt entitled to it,” he says with a laugh devoid of arrogance. “We just felt like we were so good that there’s no way someone wouldn’t want to put out our music. We were young and cocky. We thought we would come to Seattle first of all and be the greatest band they had ever seen. We had no idea that there was even a scene there, much less how good it was. All these great bands were already there when we got there. So the whole thing was pretty eye-opening, but we always felt really good about ourselves and just knew that we would be where we needed to be.”

The Supersuckers 01

Had the band cracked the big time while with SubPop, Spaghetti’s not sure whether they would have flourished, or possibly burnt out in a blaze of glory.

“That’s a good question!” he laughs deeply. “I think we still had a few more good years in us, but then we probably would have started tapering off and we would have been disillusioned and given it up. To go so high, it’s hard to come back down to to where you really are.”

Coming down to Australia in support of their first new album in five years, Spaghetti says the band had something to prove with the album Get The Hell.

“Oh yeah, for sure,” he insists, “because [2008’s] Get It Together was poorly received, it’s kind’ve considered to be a weak record. I listen to it and I’m still really happy with it, but I see the point: it was a lighter record, I guess, and that’s not what people have come to expect from The Supersuckers, so this time we knew we needed to do it right, and we sure did!

“We’ve been busy and we’ve made a really great record so people should notice. Hopefully they are noticing, because we’re really happy with it. We feel like we have no business putting out a record this good, this late in the game.”

Supersuckers - Eddie Spaghetti 03

These words he speaks are true – Get The Hell is a rollicking, bollocking, kick-arse rock n’ roll record full of riffs and hooks and underdog lyrics that will have you humming along for days. Many critics are calling it The Supersuckers’ best album yet.

“It was just kind of incredible!” he explains. “I don’t know how to explain it. We had a lot of time to write these songs – it should be good because we took five years between records. It should be really good! We had a lot of time to pick the best songs that we had out of the bunch of ones that we had been writing. And the line-up is perfect now, and just the vibe in the band is really excited about the whole thing. We’re being creative again – we’re still writing new songs even as we speak. So the band is on quite a roll!”

It’s a legitimate resurgence in the career of a band who for over 25 years have flirted with cult success but never really managed to get a hit across the line, and in many ways the story and sound of The Supersuckers has parallels with that of the U.K.’s Wildhearts.

Spaghetti says he’s acutely aware of Ginger Wildheart’s success in recent years using the Pledge Music crowd funding platform, and briefly considered doing something similar for this album, before deciding to go with Acetate Records.

“Yeah, I am actually [aware of that],” he says with the tone of a man who has been keeping his eye on this very subject. “It’s pretty inspiring to see him do so well with that.

“I think it’s the future for some people. You know, you have to have a big enough audience and a devoted enough audience, and an audience who cares enough about what you’re doing in order for something, for that to work. Ginger definitely has that! He is really he’s a strong presence on the Internet. He’s got a lot of integrity as a musician. Musicians respect what he has done. He is a good example of how to do it when you’re going to do it small like we do.

“For sure that’s something that we’ve always kind of known was there in our back pocket. We came close to using it for Get The Hell, [but] we didn’t wind up doing it, so… you never know! Our next record maybe?”

The Supersuckers

Spaghetti also agrees that with every local band in the world now trying to use the crowd funding concept to finance their projects, it’s in danger of losing a little of its edge.

“I know first-hand how difficult it is to get somebody motivated and believing in something when very few other people do,” he laughs. “You have to [make fans] feel somewhat validated and vindicated in [their] decision to support something.”

Talking of supporting a cause, Spaghetti and his band are long-reknowned for their selfless charity work, having played benefit concerts for years for causes as diverse as Farm Aid, children’s and homeless veteran’s charities, and even curated a couple of benefit albums in aid of the West Memphis Three.

Supersuckers - Eddie Spaghetti 02

Spaghetti says it’s gratifying to see that hard work pay off with results.

“Yes! From the time we made that first West Memphis Three benefit record,” he exclaims, “and within a short couple of years after that, all those big heavy-hitters were involved all of a sudden. That’s when Eddie Vedder got hip to the whole thing and he made a huge impact on their case.

“In a roundabout way you help to make it happen for them, so it feels really good.”

On top of all this, Spaghetti has recorded and touring with artists as diverse as Willie Nelson, Eddie Vedder, Steve Earle, Motorhead, The Ramones, Nashville Pussy, The New York Dolls and many more. With such a colourful life under his cowboy belt, is there a biopic or an autobiography swelling inside him, desperate to burst out?

“There kind of is, yeah,” he admits. “It’s something that I’ve toyed with for a while, yeah, [but] I’m such a lazy fucking typist… and it just makes it so painfully slow for me to get it written down. I feel like if I dictate it, it’s not the same as how I would write it. It’s a quandary because I do enjoy writing, and it’s a strong suit of mine! I would want it to be written by me, be MY writing! It’s not going to be exactly how I would speak, though. It’s something my wife pesters me about on an almost daily basis!”

With that description of the band as “literally a human cartoon,” maybe there’s the way to go – a full-length animated biopic?

“That would be the shit, man.” He agrees, slightly in awe at the thought. “That would be so killer. That would be an epic project for somebody to take on!”

The Supersuckers 03

So, on the eve of their Australian tour, which Spaghetti says is “exciting indeed – we are looking forward to it,” one question remains unanswered: are The Supersuckers the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world?

Spaghetti doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t laugh or even smirk. He just shoots straight.

“That is true.”

Why don’t more people realise that?

“That’s a good question!” he says, laughing now. “I think they’re waiting for us to die or something before we get anointed as the greatest rock and roll band in the world!”

Let’s hope that won’t be necessary. In a very real sense The Supersuckers are just about the best band that most people have never heard of. Is it too late to turn that around?

“Well obviously we hope not,” he says thoughtfully. “I mean, otherwise why would we be doing it? I think our lack of real big-time success has motivated us to keep going, in a way.”

Spaghetti has one last piece of advice for those whose pants he’s planning to rock off in Aussie venues this month: If you prefer to go commando, “you might want to stand in the back behind something… or wear a long jacket.”

Don’t miss ‘The greatest rock n’ roll band in the world’ when they rock pants off around Australia this month.

Thursday 19th June 2014 – BRISBANE, The Zoo – QLD
Friday 20th June 2014 – SYDNEY, Manning Bar – NSW
Saturday 21st June 2014 – MELBOURNE, Ding Dong – VIC
Tuesday 24th June 2014 – ADELAIDE, Engima Bar – SA
Wednesday 25th June 2014 – PERTH, Astor Theatre – WA

An edited version of this interview was first published in X-Press magazine’s 18 June 2014 issue



Category: Interviews

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