Eddie Spaghetti of The Supersuckers: "We've Purposely Tried Not to Evolve"
For over 25 years, Eddie Spaghetti and The Supersuckers have been playing a raw brand of hillbilly soaked rock and roll in just about any venue that would care to book them. Over the years, a definite country influence has steadily wormed its way into the band's creative center resulting in 1997's signature statement, Must've Been High. Since then, The Supersuckers have released a horde of good music, including the recently released Get The Hell.
From a tour stop in Marietta, Ohio and in anticipation of Saturday's show at Dada, Eddie Spaghetti spoke with DC9 about the Supersuckers' surprising longevity and how doing it the band's way might have hurt them career-wise.
DC9 at Night: You come to Dallas fairly often. You always get a good reception here?
Spaghetti: Yes, we've played there many times. We come to Trees pretty often. We do seem to get a good reception every time down there. It's always been good there. We've always felt like adopted, native Texans. I am kind of at a loss to explain why. I think the fans there identify with the rebel rock and rowdy country ways that we have. It does make sense.
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Do you think the reaction became more positive after you started incorporating the country influence into your sound?
Yes, I do. I think that it really helped us out. That helped us out in a lot of those areas that had a more country identity. That vibe has definitely paid off for us for sure.
When you released the first all country album, Must Have Been High, back in 1997, there was quite a negative response. But since then, that material has really been embraced by your audience.
At first, everyone said it sucked. It was a big disaster. But over time, it became our best-selling record. It's become a real blessing for the band.
When you made the record, were you kind of making fun of country music?
Oh no, not at all. We love country music and always have. We wanted to make an awesome, honest and genuine country album. We did that. I felt like it was mission accomplished. But then the album came out and the initial reaction was pretty negative. I think everybody gets it now.
How much of the set is made up of the country material?
Usually we just do a straight rock show unless it is a special country event of some sort. That's what we are, first and foremost: a rock band. We are a rock band that plays country, not a country band that plays rock.
The country you are talking about is the traditional old school country of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr.
Right, exactly. We are talking about your old school variety. When we made our country record, we wanted it to sound like Marty Robbins or something like that, something old school and genuine.
What do you think about new country music?
It sounds to me like mid-'80s heavy metal. For me, that's what country music has become. It's all bombastic explosions on stage. Replace the Sunset Strip with a barbecue and a pickup truck. That's country music now.
There's not much difference in the vibe of old school country and old school rock and roll.
Right, that's what I've found. When I was listening to a lot of music when I was young, eventually I stumbled across country music. I found that the differences between Hank Williams and The Ramones were just nominal. All of their songs kind of sound like each others'. They are all simple, three chord songs with cool lyrics. I feel like the line between real good country and real good rock is so thin.
Do you think that is why a lot of punk acts, like Social Distortion, gravitated towards country?
Yes, I think so. Any time you spend as much time listening to rock and roll as I have, you're going to discover country music eventually. I just call what we do rock and roll. People try to call it other things to try and sell it.
The new album, Get the Hell, was recently released on Acetate Records. You've also been on Bloodshot and Subpop.
It was hard for us to find someone who wanted to take a chance on the Supersuckers. We are such a nonentity. No one wants to be responsible for dropping the ball. It took a while to find a label with the balls to put the new album out. We are glad we found someone because we think the record is phenomenal.
You've together for over 20 years now. How have both the music and the demographics of the audience evolved over time?
With the music, we have purposely tried not to evolve. Our influences are bands that have kind of remained remedial and have stuck with a formula, bands like AC/DC, The Ramones and Motorhead. Those are the three bands that we have emulated. We write songs that sound like The Supersuckers. We don't want to grow too much. I hate it when an artist makes a record and talks about how much they have grown on it. That is code for saying that they now suck.
You've released some solo material as well. What's the biggest difference between your solo stuff and the music with the band?
Well, with my solo stuff, I do a lot of covers. It's just a fun way for me to flex my entertainer muscles and get out there and stay busy when the band is not working. I just put out my first solo album of all original material last year. Now it's something viable for me to do.
You started the band in Tucson, Arizona. Why move to Seattle in the late '80s?
We wanted to go somewhere and we thought L.A. was too clichéd. We had a friend who lived in Seattle and we thought it sounded like a cool place. We thought we would go there and be the best band they had ever seen. We didn't realize that there was going to be a bunch of other bands already there. There was a great scene already going on when we got there. It was kind of a surprised. We were always the odd man out as far as the grunge scene went.
That seems like a position you enjoy.
Yes, it does. To our detriment career wise, we've always dodged whatever spotlight or tag anyone ever wanted to put on the band. We've done it our own way and maybe it hurt our own pocketbook. We've always had a good sense of humor about what we do. That is an important thing about our identity. That's one of the things we do that might sell us a little bit short.
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