Eddie Spaghetti grew up in Tucson, Arizona trying desperately to ignore the country music that floated all around him. Seems like every pick-up truck and storefront speaker was cranking out the syrupy wails of some heartbroken hick and he just wasn’t having it. So, as a kid, he turned to Heavy Metal, then Punk Rock, to block out the noise and that’s how his band, The Supersuckers, was born.
Formed in late ’88, The Supersuckers aim was to strip away some of the pretense of late ’80’s Heavy Metal and put a little showmanship into the Punk scene. It was a tightrope act few bands could achieve but, by the beginning of ’89, not only had the band done it, they were ready to make a move away from the dirt roads, dead ends and dust of their hometown.
Heads was New Orleans, tails Seattle.
And, in May of 1989, off they went.
Having no clue that Seattle was about to become “Rock City, U.S.A.” for a few great years, Eddie and his grimy gang jumped blindly into a scene that had been thriving unrecognized for years. It didn’t take long however for them to find Seattle to be the perfect place to “not fit in.” “We didn’t sound like the bulk of the Seattle bands and we never really felt the need to change, either,” says Spaghetti from his hotel room somewhere on the road (the band does over 200 dates a year!), “It seemed like they needed a band like us. Sure, maybe we could’ve fared better financially if we’d tuned our guitars down and I tried to sing like Axl Merman but, check it out – how many bands from back then are still together, still making great, valid rock music? Very few, my friend, VERY few.”
The Supersuckers put out a few singles, then signed to Sub-Pop and began what has been over a decade of ass kicking, ground pounding hemi-hogging punk-n-roll.
It didn’t take too long, however, for the country music that he tried so hard to avoid in his youth to start surfacing in the music Eddie was making as a young man. The foray back to the country began in 1993 with the Supersuckers side project, The Junkyard Dogs and the rare, hard to find and out of print recording, “Good Livin’ Platter” (Sympathy For The Record Industry). It wasn’t county per-se, but it was close and the seed was planted.
In ’95, while working on Sacrilicious in Austin, TX the band met and recorded with Willie Nelson and a friendship was born. The experience profoundly affected Spaghetti. “I had long stopped pretending to hate country music,” says Spaghetti, “but hanging with Willie really got me thinking. Why put an age limit or a time limit on the validity of making music? Why does this have to be a young man’s game? It doesn’t. Music is music, it’s either good or it’s bad and rock-n-roll is a very new art form. It’s barely fifty years old! It’s going to be a lot more common, as time goes on, to hear great rock from older guys. I got plenty of time!”
In 1997 Eddie was balls-deep into country music again and what was initially planned as the first Eddie Spaghetti solo record became The Supersuckers’ now-legendary recording, Must’ve Been High. “I had a bunch of these weird songs and I was just gonna do a little country record on the side but, after doing some demos down in Texas, I came back up to Seattle and there we were – The Supersuckers were making a country record! I had no idea what our fans would think and they did freak out at first. But now it’s our best selling record. Ha!”
After the success of Must’ve Been High the band tried (and failed) to work their way up the corporate record label ladder. Spaghetti: “That was a confusing time and it really slowed us down. I felt like we were making some of our best rock ever,” (true enough, 2000’s The Evil Powers Of Rock-N-Roll (Koch) is widely considered one of the groups best records) “but the labels just kept jerkin’ us around. I learned a lot about the business and about myself and what truly makes me happy about making music. And that happiness has nothing to do with what some fat-cat sitting behind a desk spending some young kid’s hopes and dreams on a recoupable expense account thinks about my art.”
Enter Mid-Fi Recordings. “This fella named Chris Neal came scouting us for RCA. But after talking to each other after the show we both realized that we wanted something else, something outside the system. No bosses! So now Chris is The Mid-Fi Guy and The Supersuckers are more successful than ever!”
Mid-Fi has enabled Eddie and the band to finally take matters into their own hands and get the music to the people. Starting with a live country record, Must’ve Been Live, Mid-Fi has been cranking out the product including (but not limited to) 2003’s Motherfuckers Be Trippin’ and Eddie’s first solo record, The Sauce.
“The Sauce was such a happy accident. There were a few days open at this studio here in town and I just grabbed them and knocked it out. I can’t believe how happy I am with something that took so little time to create!” A stripped down acoustified collection of some of Eddie’s favorite covers (“And two originals!”) featuring Eddie on guitar, bass and vocals with Mike Murderburger on drums and few guests sprinkled in, The Sauce has become a fan favorite.
Now Eddie has returned with Old No. 2, his second solo record and by far his best effort to date. Still simple and basic, Old No. 2 sees the return of Murderburger and the addition of Mr. Jordan Shapiro (from Ray Price and Bob Dylan’s touring bands) on “just about anything with strings.” Old No. 2 showcases Spaghetti’s original songs as well as his impeccable selection of covers spanning five decades (Bob Dylan, The Coasters, AC/DC, Tom Waits and Nick Lowe all sit nicely together on this record!). But it’s Spaghetti’s songs that steal the show. “All Along,” “Some People Say,” “I Don’t Wanna Know” and “Here We Go” are some of his best, most confident works ever. It has a bigger, slightly more produced sound that can be largely attributed to the fact that “We spent a whole four days – instead of three – in the studio,” claims Eddie.
“I don’t look at these records as something born of ‘creative frustrations’ or whatever typical reasons singers do these things. I see them as extensions of the story of the Supersuckers. I am and always will be a Supersucker, no matter what I do with the rest of my life, you know? That said, this record is ridiculous. It’s so good. I’ve never been more proud of anything I’ve ever done. Toot-toot! Is that my own horn I’m blowing? I guess it is. Well, somebody’s gotta do it!”