VISITING ACT ‌ To Suck Without Sucking 

Eddie Spaghetti and the Supersuckers keep fun alive

click to enlarge Super stuff: frontman Eddie Spaghetti (second from left) and the 'Suckers hammer it down fair and square
  • Super stuff: frontman Eddie Spaghetti (second from left) and the 'Suckers hammer it down fair and square

The Supersuckers
w/ Eddie Spaghetti
Mon. Sept. 4 / Tues. Sept. 5
10 p.m.
$12
Village Tavern
1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.
884-6311
www.village-tavern.com

The Supersuckers began as five grade-school pals in Tucson, Arizona, a town with a music scene dominated by country — which they hated — and impotent dreams of a big break — which they didn't have. They simply enjoyed each other's company, goofing off and making a racket.

In 1989, the band relocated to Seattle. The brave, fertile musical culture drove them to refine their music. The foul weather and foul attitudes drove them to have as much fun as possible. By the time Nirvana, Soundgarden, and company hastened the Seattle scene to national prominence, the Supersuckers had crafted a dirty strain of no-pretense rock 'n' roll defined by swagger and humor.

They drank hard. At a time when rock musicians weren't supposed to resemble Hank Williams Jr., they wore cowboy hats and sunglasses. They played balls-out, party-hearty jukebox-rockers without irony. Next to their erstwhile contemporaries, this band was an oasis of fun. Thus, they were bound to endure, goofing off from one strange year to the next.

By the time they "broke," bassist Eddie Spaghetti had taken over lead vocals. (Original singer Eric Martin split, and only Eddie had the lyrics memorized. That's the official story. He quickly proved himself a capable leader and organizer, but you won't catch him bragging about it.) As the band toured and built a national audience, Spaghetti and company slowly came to terms with the country music they once loathed.

In 1997, the Suckers (then signed to the prominent Seattle indie Sub Pop) released Must've Been High, a straight-up C&W exercise which, despite its self-deprecating title, treated its source material with the same irreverent respect the band had applied to its fuzzed-out sleaze rock. Since then, the Supersuckers have played a rich mix of rock and country.

Always rebellious, unpredictable, and hard to market, the Supersuckers were never treated well by a record label. After too many deals went sour, they started their own brand, Mid-Fi Records, which recently rolled out Paid, their eighth studio LP. At a time when ill-advised careerism is once again de rigueur in rock circles (ask a "Pitchfork band"), the Supersuckers embrace a lovable informality, actively soliciting like-minded bands for their modestly marketed label and encouraging fans with filmmaking aspirations to try directing their videos.

The band recently hired Reverend Horton Heat drummer Scott "Chernobyl" Churilla to replace founding member Dancing Eagle. Spaghetti still sings and plays bass. Dan "Thunder" Bolton (back after a brief hiatus) and Rontrose Heathman both still play guitars.

The Supersuckers have played with living legends from Mike Ness to Willie Nelson. While lesser souls have folded, they've kept their shows fun and surprising, pulling out unexpected cover tunes and draining the toughest audiences of their cynicism. In his spare time, Eddie Spaghetti has raised funds for the West Memphis 3 (a trio of Southern metalheads dubiously convicted of murder), organizing and producing the Free The West Memphis 3 compilation.

How does he keep his energy up? Humility and humor play their respective parts, to be sure. For whatever reason, Spaghetti is still on the road, and can still get a laugh without wasting a word — as demonstrated in these 11 points:

1. What, if anything, would make Spaghetti stop playing music?

"Constant, explosive diarrhea. Or incessant 'sharting.'"

2. Imagining he'd have his whole life to live over: In the rerun, everything will be exactly the same, except he can pick one person whom he'll never meet. Who would that person be?

"My ex... Oh, you know... drummer, girlfriend. All them damn exes."

3. What are other bands doing wrong?

"Staying together."

4. What's the best advice no one ever gave Spaghetti?

"Those mushrooms are no good."

5. What makes a great cover tune?

"It's gotta be a little bit of a surprise, a good song that works when no one thinks it will. It's easy for a rock band to do a rock song, but to do a show tune or a rap song and have it not sound like Limp Bizkit ... that takes a little more finesse."

6. What's something Spaghetti always finds funny?

"Colonel Angus."

7. What's the funniest reaction Spaghetti's seen to their music?

"Applause. Standing ovations. Sold-out shows. Who'd-a thunk?"

8. What's the difference between right and wrong?

"I wouldn't know."

9. What's a good hangover remedy?

"An 8:30 a.m. wake-up call from your five-year-old tends to do the trick. Okay, I know that doesn't really get rid of it, but it does force you to have to put it to the side for the day. I guess that's the remedy: ignore it. Refuse to acknowledge its existence. Do not allow it to keep you down. And if that doesn't work, try another tallboy and a big strong Vicodin, call the nanny, and go back to bed."


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