Professional outlaws

A local musician gets advice from the singer of Seattle’s raucous Supersuckers

Rock ’n’ roll with a dash of country—audible and visible.

Rock ’n’ roll with a dash of country—audible and visible.

Photo courtesy of Harmony Gerber/Photo Graffiti

Catch the Supersuckers on December 15 with openers the BellRays and the Bombpops at Holy Diver, 1517 21st Street. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door.

When I was a young musician, the Supersuckers and their beer-soaked biker rock were integral to my formative years. Now that I’m a decade into pedaling my own brand of nuevo-blues across the states with my band Cities You Wish You Were From, the Supersuckers represent something more: a model for the road-worn but still relevant professional musician. Straddling the fence between raucous barroom-brawl rock and outlaw country, the Supersuckers are the definition of a working band. But the path’s been bumpy for the rock mainstay as they’ve performed for almost three decades. While Eddie Spaghetti (lead singer/bassist) is honest about the pitfalls, the moment they hit the stage, the struggle seems to fade—and the party begins. On December 15, they’re bringing something loud to the new Sacramento venue Holy Diver.

Jenkins: The last couple years were pretty rough with your throat cancer, then your Airstream trailer crashed on tour, and then I heard that your significant other had some health problems, too. How has that affected your touring and work life?

Spaghetti: Well, it’s actually made me have to work a lot harder. I’ve got to be on the road a lot more these days in order to keep up with all the bills, so it’s been rough for sure, but we maintain a positive attitude. We know that all is going to be well at the end of the day.

Jenkins: You guys have been on tour pretty regularly for years now and are known as a road warrior band. How’s the reception been on the West Coast tour?

Spaghetti: We’re just about to get started on Friday, so we’re hoping it’s going to be good ’cause we’re on tour with the BellRays, who are another quality vintage rock ’n’ roll act such as ourselves, and I’m hoping that it’s going to be good.

Jenkins: How did that pairing come about?

Spaghetti: We played a show with [the BellRays] a few months back and enjoyed it so much that we just decided we should do some more together, and we planned it out for the end of the year. So, here we go.

Jenkins: To people who haven’t seen a Supersuckers show before, what should they expect?

Spaghetti: A knock-down drag-out rock ’n’ roll party in the streets. We tell people to wear their clean underwear because we’re gonna rock your pants right off.

Jenkins: What advice would you give to other rock bands trying to make a living?

Spaghetti: I feel bad for anybody trying to start a band nowadays. It’s a tough racket to get involved in … My advice is to have a solid plan B, I guess. Although, if you’re going to have a plan B, your plan A doesn’t usually work out. So, you’ve gotta have something special … To me, the craft is about writing songs. That’s really the job. Not that the world needs another song. You know, “Brown Sugar” has already been written so the world doesn’t really need another rock ’n’ roll song. But I’m driven to do it so … you’ve just gotta be driven.

Jenkins: You guys have been around, more or less, since the late ’80s. What does the future of the Supersuckers look like?

Spaghetti: We’re actually working on new songs right now. I think it might be the first record where we are able to successfully merge the country and the rock ’n’ roll into one sort of crazy product. … I’m sure it won’t break the charts or get us nominated for a Grammy or anything cool like that, but we’ll know it’s quality at the end of the day.