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RED Herring
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The Supersuckers Keep it Real

By Jamie Gadette


ddie Spaghetti is a “very highly skilled porcelain engineer.” If the wildman wasn’t so busy fronting The Supersuckers, he’d be raking it in as a plumber. Or a cab driver. Or a tour guide for the Haunted Voodoo Tour of New Orleans. However, Spaghetti’s current gig is yielding enough favorable results to bypass the search for any alternative careers. Nearly 15 years after its inception, his band continues to please a legion of converts by consistently producing kickass rock and roll.

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Arizona natives Spaghetti, Dan “Thunder” Bolton, Rontrose Heathman, Dancing Eagle and Eric Martin originally formed their band out of a desire spend more time together. They quickly learned that their chemistry transcended the typical bounds of friendship and that a few hours spent screwing around in the garage could lead to some genuinely authentic music. Small-town success eventually inspired the group to seek a wider audience—a quest that led its members to Seattle, where a little-known movement called grunge was just starting to take hold. Soon thereafter, Martin departed, citing creative differences, leaving The Supersuckers to gain notoriety as a quartet.

While rooted in humble origins, the band now proudly proclaims itself to be “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band Alive.” Interestingly enough, New York City’s The Mooney Suzuki has adopted a similar title indicating its status as king. Spaghetti remains unfettered by this potential threat to self-appropriated prestige. “They’re pretty good. I saw them play and I liked them a lot,” Spaghetti said. “But you know I’ll go toe to toe, blow to blow with those guys any time of the week.”

Bravado aside, the members of The Supersuckers have proved themselves capable of living up to the hype. Unlike their Suzuki garage-rock rivals, Supersuckers members keep their passions in check. During live shows, the group plays “balls out” every time, regardless of potentially negative crowd response. “A great rock-and-roll band sits there and sucks it up. They don’t throw their guitars down and pitch a fit,” Spaghetti said. “There are no fits to be pitched if you’re the greatest.”
The lead singer is even willing to abandon strength in numbers by baring his talent on stage without the support of a backing band. An affinity for risk recently inspired Spaghetti to start playing solo shows as a supplement to his relatively secure day job. The additional gigs also serve as a way to further increase musical prowess.

“I think it’s a really cool thing to do as an exercise,” Spaghetti said. “Can I entertain this crowd? Are these songs good enough to stand alone on the icy tundra of acoustic and one voice?”

Though a bare-bones approach applies to the band insofar as it promotes traditional, straightforward instrumentation, The Supersuckers would blow the roof off any low-key open mic. The group’s sound falls in a long line of hedonistic rock exemplified by bands such as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Reverend Horton Heat. Live, the synchronization of sinful, dirty guitars and stampeding drums establishes a furious harmony that often results in religious experiences.

Spaghetti even cites the band’s latest album Motherfuckers Be Trippin’, as “the perfect record for someone who has embraced rock and roll as their personal savior.”

However, The Supersuckers’ appeal rests on more than just a gimmick. As a rock group with a country edge, it retains a classic quality often lacking in contemporary music. While innovation is certainly necessary, many new bands place so much emphasis on creating strange, ground breaking sounds, the intensity of which causes listeners to feel pleasurably alienated. Sometimes it’s nice to hear a familiar bass line, tap toes to a recognizable beat and sling back pitchers to a soundtrack that reminds you of home. Spaghetti believes it is that traditional style that “totally pulls the expiration date off The Supersuckers.” He credits Chuck Berry as one of the main sources from which most subgenres of rock have sprung, that every new style is simply a variation of an unbreakable mold.

“It’s the staple that everyone comes back to,” Spaghetti said. “We just stay a little bit truer to the ‘magma’ of rock and roll.”

So can the members of The Supersuckers safely side-step the classifieds and rely strictly on this rock-and-roll lifestyle? Spaghetti feels confident of the path they’ve chosen.

“I think that we can, legitimately, do this for a very long time.”

The Supersuckers will rock balls with openers Throwrag at The Zephyr, located at 300 S. West Temple. It will be well worth the temporary membership.