Friday, February 25, 2011

Eddie Spaghetti (of Supersuckers) Talks New "Sundowner" LP

As a longtime Supersuckers fan, who has been following the band since it's classic La Mano Cornuda album, I got turned onto them when punk-rock records made up a sizable percentage of my music collection. And coincidentally, as luck would have it,  I began getting turned onto more country-ish music right around the time when the Supersuckers dropped their first country long-player Must've Been High. It's one of the records that, among a select few, directly lead me to discover Steve Earle. And how can you go wrong with that?

The Supersuckers, despite my changing and expanding taste over the years, has remained one of the few constants that I listen to for bringing "the rock" in force, and a twang with tongue-placed-firmly in-cheek, all the while writing catchy-as-hell tunes. It's no use: I'm a fan for life, and dig it all.

Which brings me to Eddie Spaghetti's solo albums. The Sauce and Old No. 2 were fun, laid-back country records by the charismatic and hilarious leader of the Supersuckers, while undoubtedly complimenting his band's catalog. Although these are country albums, they still maintain all of the rock 'n roll swagger, devil-horns in the air, and feet-crushed beer cans of the band's best work.

What I love about all of these records, including Mr. Spaghetti's new solo album Sundowner, is that they are filled with equal measures of the humor, sincerity, and respect for the music which inspires him, and what we all love about rock and country, and the places where they intersect.

So without further ado, here is a brief conversation I had with Mr. Spaghetti, that for me- was just a blast to take part in. As a fan who was there back buying their records and squeezing into stinky beer-soaked clubs during the Supersuckers' early days on Sup Pop, to someone who now has more gray hairs in his beard than he would like to admit, I was totally psyched to throw on Sundowner for it's first spin on the 'ol Hi-Fi.  This is one for the books kids, and makes me feel completely justified in this latest endeavor of mine to begin writing seriously about music. Thanks Eddie!

Congratulations on your new album Sundowner. What made you go with Bloodshot Records for this one?

Eddie Spaghetti: Bloodshot was the first and only label I contracted about putting out this record. 

When Mid-Fi was looking to fold up shop, I knew I'd need someone with a good reputation to handle my solo stuff and I knew they would do a good job. So far, SO good!

What do you think the biggest differences are between Sundowner and your previous two solo albums, The Sauce and Old No. 2?

ES: The only real difference is who I got to play on this new record. The biggest difference being the drummer. I used a fella named Mike Murderburger on the first two, and for this one I went with Supersuckers drummer, Scott "Scottzilla" Churilla, who did an amazing job.

What's most similar between the new record and the others, and what connects them all for you?

ES: I like to think the similarities out number the differences for sure. They were all done at the same studio, with the same engineer in roughly the same amount of time. The artwork is by the same guy, featuring the same cover model. I like them to feel the same-ish. It gives the whole body of work a consistency that I dig.

As the leader of the Supersuckers, a band who's discography spans an impressive output of rock/ and punk-rock records, as well as more country-rock albums (including Must've Been High, Must've Been Live, and collaborations with Steve Earle amongst others), What would you say sets your solo LPs apart from The Supersuckers country albums?

ES: My solo stuff is much more laid back and easy going than even the Supersuckers country stuff. It's the song selection too. These are generally songs I like to play backstage or when I'm just sort of goofing around, so that's how these records generally materialize.

Is your songwriting process different on solo albums as opposed to Supersuckers records?

ES: The process is the same. It's the end result that determines whether or not it winds up on a Supersuckers record or a solo record. Sometimes it's a song that I've shown to the band and it was met with a luke warm reaction, so I just pull it aside and keep it for the solo record if I feel strongly enough about it. Other times it's kind of obvious that it's a solo song.

How do you decide on covers?

ES: I just pick songs that I like and are easy to play on an acoustic guitar. If it holds up all by myself on an acoustic guitar, chances are it's gonna make a good choice for the record.

Who did you work with on Sundowner?

My longtime friend, David Fisher and I did all the recording. The players I brought in were two guys from the current lineup of the Supersuckers - Metal Marty Chandler on guitar and Scottzilla Churilla on drums. And that was it on the record. (Other than the appearance by my son, Quattro that is!)

Who are your influences?

ES: Well, rock-wise I like to say that the (un)holy trinity would be the Ramones, AC/DC, and Motorhead. Throw in a dash of the Replacements and you pretty much have the blueprint for the Supersuckers right there. 

As far as country influences go, it's a little more difficult to pin down. I really identify with Willie Nelson and Steve Earle, who I've had the pleasure of working with from time to time. But I also really dig Billy Joe Shaver, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and even Dwight Yoakam quite a bit.

How does writing, recording, performing, and being a fan of rock/ punk-rock and country music connect for you? How do see them influencing each other in your work?

ES: It's hard to say. I guess I've always seen them as intertwined pieces of the same whole. It's just pop music at the end of the day, isn't it? It's just a matter of what you use to wrap the songs in that makes them genre specific. Sometimes I like loud distorted guitars and sometimes I like loud twangy guitars. Depends on my mood I guess...

What have you been listening to lately?

ES: Zeke continues to inspire me. I really like the new record by Whitey Morgan and the 78's. "With My Own Bare Hands" by Ween is a great song and current favorite...

One thing I have always enjoyed about your solo/ Supersuckers albums and live shows over the years is how fun they are. How important is integrating a sense of humor in your work?

ES: I've always enjoyed a good laugh and anytime I can provide one, that's where I tend to lean. Sometimes to my detriment.

What can fans look forward to at your solo shows?

ES: A surprisingly good time. They'll laugh, they'll cry, they will become a part of me!

What's on the horizon for the Supersuckers?

ES: New record. Hopefully by the end of the year. Cross you fingers. It's gonna be a monster!

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