or Eddie Spaghetti, it all started with The Knack’s “My Sharona.” In this instance, “it” means two things: Spaghetti’s infatuation with Rock & Roll and, by proxy, Supersuckers, the raucous outfit he’s spent his adult life leading.
“When I heard that song, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to do this. This is what I have to do,’” says the perpetually cowboy-hat-clad bassist/vocalist born Edward Carlyle Daly III. “It totally changed my life, and I still love the song. It’s really stood the test of time.”
Based on his calculations, Spaghetti first caught “My Sharona” in 1979 — the year of its release — when he was just 12 years old. As a teenager a year later, he and some neighborhood kids in his hometown of Tucson, Ariz., would form what would be Spaghetti’s first band. The Scumbuckets, as they were known, involved “kids playing an acoustic guitar or a piano or whatever was laying around or beating on the backside of a guitar,” Spaghetti says. Although that band went nowhere of note, Spaghetti was still very much bitten by the Rock & Roll bug.
After high school, he helped form another band, The Black Supersuckers, whose name was reputedly swiped from a porn novel. Early on, a creative conflict within the band would determine the group’s path. Lead vocalist Eric Martin wanted The Black Supersuckers to sound like Faces or The Rolling Stones whereas Spaghetti wanted more of a Motörhead-meets-Replacements sound, emphasizing energy over technique. Being that he was the group’s primary songwriter, Spaghetti won the battle. Martin left the band, and Spaghetti transitioned to lead singer of the group, rechristened Supersuckers.
“In retrospect,” Spaghetti says, “I wish we would have stuck it out because I think we would have been a much more dynamic sort of band with the lead singer we had at the time.”
If it’s any consolation, the group has largely adhered to the template Spaghetti originally aimed for, even as the decades have passed and several members have moved in and out. The Supersuckers are committed to flippant, hooky, high-energy, underground-friendly Rock & Roll that heavily draws from Rockabilly, Garage Rock, Country and Punk. As a whole, they channel the same kind of spirit that makes “My Sharona” so lovable and liberating.
Humor is a fundamental piece of the band’s appeal, too. During one show in the 1990s, somebody found a trophy backstage. The Supersuckers claimed the prize and brought it out to award it to themselves for being “The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World.” Since then, the nickname has stuck around.
“I always liked fun music. I like funny songs. I like bands with a sense of humor,” Spaghetti says. “When I was in high school, I really liked Van Halen. That sense of ‘Oh my God, this could be so fun!’ never really left me.”
The scope of that band’s success would also play into Spaghetti’s ambitions for his own.
“We never thought we’d be this little boutique-y Indie Rock darling band that we are, playing small clubs for the duration of our career,” he says. “We thought we’d be like Van Halen-sized enormo-dome Rock & Roll, pulling limos up to our house, parking Ferraris in our garage.”
After their formation, the majority of the Supersuckers shacked up in a small, one-story adobe house in Tucson, but were desperate to get out and set their roots in another city. Their choices for a new home were Seattle or New Orleans. Since they had trouble deciding, the group found a way to solve the problem. It was the same way they solved several problems: They flipped a coin.
“We were reckless. If we had to do it all again, it probably wouldn’t happen the same way, but we didn’t really give a shit,” Spaghetti says.
Seattle ultimately won that most vital of coin tosses, with the Supersuckers making the move and signing to influential Seattle label (and then-Grunge hub) Sub Pop in 1992. As time has rolled on, the band has amassed a substantial discography and logged a hell of a lot of highway (and airline) miles.
Things haven’t always been smooth sailing. In 1998, they moved from Sub Pop to Interscope Records, which soon dropped them.
“That almost killed the band, but we had just made such a great record for them that we couldn’t see letting it die,” Spaghetti says, referencing 1999’s The Evil Powers of Rock ‘N’ Roll, which would be mostly re-recorded and released on Koch Records. “It was a victory to get that record out, but that record sold disappointingly at first. Just getting through all that was a big transition.”
Get the Hell, the group’s latest album (released on Acetate Records), proves that not a lot about the Supersuckers has changed over the years, but Spaghetti takes pride in that idea. He’s one to bluntly emphasize the importance of stability. He doesn’t see his band ever breaking up for any reason — the most they’ll go on is a hiatus — and he likes the idea of guiding a Rock & Roll outfit that stays “remedial” and honest to its roots instead of veering toward terrain outside their lane.
“What a band can’t or won’t do is just as important as what it can or will do — maybe even more important. In the case of The Ramones and Motörhead and AC/DC, those are the three holy trinity pallbearers of Rock & Roll for us. Their bands intentionally don’t grow too much,” he says. “I feel like whenever a band makes a record that it’s like, ‘Oh, we really grew on this record. We really matured,’ it’s code for ‘We really suck now.’ We try not to start sucking.”
But even with that insistence on consistency, there’s one new thing the man still wants to try.
“It’d be great to have a big stinking hit song at some point. I feel like the Supersuckers are so good that the world ought to notice,” Spaghetti says. “At some point, you just think that somebody’s going to look up and notice eventually. But we’re still working on it. That’s kind of what has kept us going. The lack of success is a very motivating thing.”
SUPERSUCKERS play Bogart's Thursday, April 17 with Toadies. Tickets/more info here.