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INTERVIEW: Supersuckers
Eddie Spaghetti (vocals/bass)

By: Alex Steininger

They may not be selling millions of records, or watching themselves on MTV every other night, but Seattle's Supersuckers continue to tour the nation on strong rock 'n' roll, drugs and alcohol, and a theory that as long as people are having fun they'll continue doing this as long as they can.

Now, some have gone as far as to try and put the nail in the coffin of rock 'n' roll for some time, but as long as there are bands like the Supersuckers, as they demonstrate once again on their forthcoming full-length, THE EVIL POWERS OF ROCK 'N' ROLL (October 19, 1999), rock 'n' roll will always exist. High octane, bloody, alcohol-soaked mayhem at its best, the Supersuckers' frontman Eddie Spaghetti talks about their sound, style, and attitude on life and music.

IMWT: Your music has been called a lot of things, like "the Ramones in a head-on collision with Hank Williams" and "a rock and roll speedball." What do you think about all these descriptions of your music?

Eddie: They usually come up with better ones than I do. I usually just call it "shit ass punk rock" or rock 'n' roll music. But, I've never really thought of us as a punk band. When we first started playing, people were calling us punk, and I didn't mind or anything, because I love punk...when punk is good its about the best thing there is to me. I love it though when they come up with crazy shit like that, because its pretty hard to describe something you hear with words; it's like describing a painting or whatever. So, I love to hear their creative descriptions of our music. Of course, there are always shitty ones, too.

IMWT: Any favorites?

Eddie: There was a favorite one for a long time, but I can't remember what it was. If they reference a band that I really dig, like the Ramones or Motorhead, that is always cool. I can't remember the best one, though.

IMWT: If someone were to ask you what the Supersuckers were all about, what would you tell them?

Eddie: Drinking blood and kicking ass! (laughter). Just doing things you shouldn't do, saying things you shouldn't say, and generally being wrong as often as possible.

IMWT: A lot of current so-called punk and rock bands are writing either political songs about how society is fucked or how their own life is fucked up because they can't get laid or what not, yet the Supersuckers always seem to stay true to the wild, rebellious chaos that makes rock 'n' roll what it is; you guys just keep signing about getting stoned, wanting more drugs, and partying. It has led some to proclaim rock is dead. Why do you think your music stays true to the foundation of what rock was built on and drives against the depression and sad modern rock and punk themes?

Eddie: Well, I think all those things are true; life is fucked and people are shit, but you have to take that, accept it and have fun, or what are you doing? Otherwise, you'll be a miserable martyr. But, if you look at a lot of these bands, whether their shtick is depression or anger, and all-of-a-sudden you see them smiling in a magazine, and you're like, "Hey, they aren't so pissed off after all." I never really felt like that was for me. And, by the same token, it wasn't always a shtick to me to write about these things; I just always wanted to lead this kind of reckless, bohemian life. And, having a rock band is a great way to do it.

IMWT: Do you think there are other bands out there trying to fight the crappy modern rock bands who are trying to take the fun out of rock 'n' roll?

Eddie: I hope so. I'm sure there are, because people still come to see our band and we've been here for awhile. Of course, we haven't had any massive success or anything, but we haven't gone away either. It isn't about breaking out and being huge for us, either. It's just about having a steady job, and making sure the band is as fun as fuck.

IMWT: Do you think rock is dead?

Eddie: No! But, I love that song by Marilyn Manson. (laughter). It's a great song. I just think popular rock right now isn't rock at all. I mean, they're calling Kid Rock a hard rock act. Come on, it's a rap act. Also, Limp Bizkit and who ever else they're calling rock. It's not rock. To me, the band's that rock are the ones lurking underneath the mainstream. Bands like Rocket from the Crypt, Electric Frankenstein, Zeke, New Bomb Turks, The Hellicopters, the list goes on. All these indie rock bands, quote unquote, but we're all trying to take the training wheels off of indie rock.

IMWT: Now, why the move from Sub Pop to

Eddie: Oh boy, that's a long story. We just completed our contract with Sub Pop; it was up. And we planned to put another record out right after we put out the country album, which we released in 1997. The country album was super confusing to people..."Are they a country band now?" No, we're not, we just put out a country album and it happened to be a two-year gap due to the fact we were on Interscope for awhile and then we got dropped. Then, they didn't give us the record that we recorded for them, so we re-recorded it for the new label that we're working with. We chose them because they want to work with us, and not have us just work for them. We're going to work together. We started a label ourselves and are going to do a co-op thing were we split the profits or the lack of profits equally. Basically, we're all just working in a reality-based situation.

IMWT: Then, is the reason it took so long for you to get the new album out because of contractual arrangements where you couldn't re-record material you recorded for them for a certain amount of time?

Eddie: No, but they forced us to wait by not giving us any answers. We kept calling and asking them what was going on and they kept telling us they didn't know. Then, finally they told us we were dropped so we asked if we could have the record. They told us yes. So, we kept calling and asking where the record was and they kept telling us that it was coming. We'd call again and ask, "Where's the record?" and they'd tell us, "It's on the way." Finally we were like, "Fuck it, keep the record, we're just going to re-record it." It just took a long time in that regard.

IMWT: When you finally entered the studio to re-record it, did you drop songs, add songs, and change songs around?

Eddie: Yes, yes, and yes. (laughter). We changed things, we dropped tracks, we added tracks, and we just did it kind of different. It was like spending $50,000 on pre-production and $5,000 on recording the album.

IMWT: So, how do you feel about this album compared to the one you recorded for Interscope?

Eddie: I feel much better about it. It's a much better representation of what we're all about. When we finished the Interscope record we were happy with it, but it was pretty sterile and safe. That's not anybody's fault; I mean, I'm too blame for that. That's what I wanted. We worked with this producer who has worked with a lot of bands that we like -- Cheap Trick, Ted Nuggent, Motley Crue -- and we thought it would be cool to work with someone like that. But, it came out a bit sterile and this one is a bit more reckless. It's more like the Supersuckers should be, with warts and all.

IMWT: It's a fucking rock 'n' roll album.

Eddie: Exactly. We went in there, we busted it out live, and we knew what we were doing. I wrote a few more songs at the last minute and they just came out fucking killer.

IMWT: Do you think any material from the Interscope sessions will turn up as B-sides?

Eddie: I'm hoping to bootleg the entire thing. I want to make it available, because I am proud of it. We'll just let this album come out first and then bootleg the bootleggers.

IMWT: How would you describe THE EVIL POWERS OF ROCK 'N' ROLL compared to your previous efforts, excluding the country album.

Eddie: I think it's the album we should have made right after LA MANO CORNUDA, which, in my opinion, is our best record. We ran into trouble making SACRILICIOUS because we lost one of our members, Ron Heathman, for a brief spell. But, we kept plugging away anyway. And, I'm proud of the SACRILICIOUS record; it just doesn't sound like the Supersuckers as much as LA MANO or THE EVIL POWERS do. I think THE EVIL POWERS is as close as we've come yet to seeing the Supersuckers vision on record.

IMWT: So, you think LA MANO is the best Supersuckers album? Is that already released or compared to THE EVIL POWERS as well?

Eddie: Well, I think EVIL POWERS is better. But, they're really similar. All the songs are kick ass; the sonic barrage of noise is real similar. Of course, it's been a few years so some of the tempos are slower and some of the playing is a little better. But, some of it is just as bad.

IMWT: Do you feel the new album has found the band maturing, as often happens when bands progress album after album, or do you feel like you're just getting wilder and more energetic with each release?

Eddie: Yeah, I don't know if mature would be the right word. There definitely has been some growth, as far as abilities go; I can sing, or should I say scream?, a little better and the guitar players are a little better. But, there is not a whole lot of difference. Each time you go into the studio you learn a little bit, so we know just a little bit more than we did, even though we're not really eager to learn anything. We're lousy learners.

IMWT: Is your record label just going to be an imprint to release Supersuckers records on, or are you going to expand and sign other acts?

Eddie: We'll see. Ideally, it would be great to give other bands who aren't getting a shot a shot. It would be great to do that. Though, I'd hate to be that guy screwing another band over. Like, "Aces & Eights is screwing us over." Aces & Eights is our label. I would like to do that, though. We do have a project we're working on that we're going to release next year. It's a benefit for these kids in West Memphis who've been accused -- wrongly accused -- and imprisoned for these murders. There is this documentary about it called PARADISE LOST, so you can see the whole story. It's completely clear these kids are innocent, so their appeal is coming up. Damion Eckles, one of the kids, is on death row. His appeal is coming up in April, so we're going to try and time the release of this compilation album to coincide with his appeal so we can raise a little awareness and get a rocking record out there.

IMWT: How did you get involved in that?

Eddie: Well, it's kind of a twisted story. We recorded some songs with Eddie Vedder and I got to talking to him about this movie that I had seen, and he's all over this thing, and had a lot of information on it, so he turned me onto a lot of this information. Now Danny, our manager, and I have really gotten into the whole thick of it. There is this "Free the West Memphis Three" Internet site and everything. So, it's an organized movement to help get these kids out of jail. And there is an obvious candidate for who really did this crime, but right now it is not about pointing fingers. It's about getting these kids out of jail and then, maybe, we can go after the right guy and get him behind bars.

IMWT: What other bands are going to be on the compilation?

Eddie: Right now we're working on the roster, but we're talking to John Doe, and we're going to be on it with a song we recorded with Eddie Vedder. We're also hoping to get Metallica, because they did the music for the movie, and they're super into this thing too. I want to talk to Rocket from the Crypt, and I'd love to get Marilyn Manson on it. I'm really shooting high and trying to use the goodness of the cause, and the fact you get to rock, for reason enough to do it. The original idea was to get bands to cover songs about the devil, because these kids were demonized for the clothes they wore, the way they looked, and for the crowd they were in. Basically, for their interests and their curiosity, which is really stupid. It really hits home, because I was one of those kids. I could have been accused of this crime. It's a really shitty thing to happen.

IMWT: Is your label going to fund it all or is going to co-release and co-fund it with Aces & Eights?

Eddie: We're hoping we can fund it with some money that we'll get through someone being interested in distributing the album. We're also hoping bands don't need a lot of money; just recording budgets, no "and pay us this...". It's starting to come together though, because we've got a lot of acts interested. Fastball...from someone poppy like Fastball to someone who is evil and shitty like the Supersuckers. I like the dichotomy.

IMWT: Is there a theme or message you think prevails throughout the new album, THE EVIL POWERS OF ROCK 'N' ROLL?

Eddie: It seems to be an oddly philosophical album regarding the state of the musical community and the state of political correctness today. It's kind of...I didn't really think about that when I wrote the lyrics, but looking back on it, it does have a theme of "just cut loose people." Life is just a blip, so take advantage.

IMWT: So, throughout all the partying, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, you just want people to walk away with a message of "cut loose" and have some fun?

Eddie: Yeah, have fun. Whatever fun is to you, have fun. For me, fun is recreational drug use, drinking, and sex. But, whatever makes you happy, turns you on, and makes you have fun, you should be doing it. You're not going to be young forever, or even alive forever, so go for it and die with very few regrets. It's better to regret having done something than not having done something.

IMWT: What are your expectations for the new album?

Eddie: They are pretty low. Just to get out there and sell at least what we've sold before; I'd love to sell more records and have a more solid career, because each record we have could be our last, you don't know. So, I just want to get out and tour, and have it be at least as good as it has been in the past. I don't see a breakthrough, and I don't hear a radio song; I just want people to dig the rock 'n' roll and come see it.

IMWT: What are your tour plans to promote the album?

Eddie: We're going to tour our asses off. We've been repressed by the man, the man being the major label. They've been telling us to lay low so we can have maximum impact when the record comes out. I can agree with that. But, then the album never comes out and there is no impact at all. I'd like to sue them for the year that I lost. If I could just someone find a figure that a year of my life is worth...

IMWT: What do you want long time Supersuckers fans to say about the new album and what do you want someone hearing the Supersuckers for the first time to say about it?

Eddie: Well, I hope the long time Supersuckers fans go, "Right fucking on. They're still doing it." And someone who is new to the band, I hope they can dig it and get into researching the band's history, because I think we're a cool kind of story. We're a good little group of friends, from the same high school, who have been buddies for a long time. It's interesting to me when a band is like that for real. It's not just a story or a pretend story; it ain't just fiction. For us, it's the "Real Deal" Holyfield. We're really friends, we're really shit-ass dudes from Arizona trying to write good songs.

IMWT: One day the four of you just decided to re-locate the band to Seattle? Just pack up and leave together?

Eddie: Yeah. Well, we formed the band in Arizona with the intent of leaving Tucson, because we were sick of it there, and we held a coin toss between Seattle and New Orleans. We flipped the coin, it turned up heads, and we headed for Seattle. I mean, some people seem to think we moved to Seattle to capitalize on something, but it was May 8, 1989 and we didn't know anything about Seattle. We had know idea that the town was anything more than the Seattle Seahawks. We had no idea. But, we had a friend, Danny, who is now our manager, who moved from Phoenix to Seattle and he told us to come on up because there was a few bars we could play. So, we said "cool" and moved.

IMWT: Anything I left out that you'd like to include.

Eddie: Just that we're out here to take the training wheels off of indie rock. It's old enough now so we're going to take the training wheels off. None of this shoe-gazing, sensitive, teddy bear crap anymore. Let's hear some shit-ass rock 'n' roll.

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