Over the past 25 years, the Supersuckers -- Eddie Spaghetti (vocals), Marty Chandler (guitarist) and Chris Von Streicher (drums) -- have released more than twenty albums and toured relentlessly, bringing their badass rock and roll to their ever devoted fans. This past June, front man Eddie Spaghetti was diagnosed with cancer of the oropharynx which put a pause on their touring plans. Now, with treatment nearing completion, they are ready to head out on the road in February to support their recently released album, Holdin' The Bag. Recorded at the esteemed Bismeaux Studios, the album is a collection of songs with humor and heart showcasing cleverly written songs and well crafted melodies. Front man Spaghetti graciously took the time to talk in depth about the album, how he is doing and more.
First off, how are you feeling?
Oh I’m alright. I’m in the throws of radiation, so it’s been rough lately, but I am almost done with it and I’m looking forward to that.
The fans have really stepped up to assist with the cost of your medical care, raising almost sixty thousand dollars. That speaks volumes.
It’s been great and actually is the big highlight to this whole cancer crap. It’s kind of like dying without the dying is how I put it. The reason for it sucks, but seeing how much everybody cares and respects the legacy of the music I have put out over the past couple decades is pretty great.
Very much so.
Well, congrats on the release of The Supersuckers’ new album, Holdin’ The Bag, which is fantastic. You have mentioned that this album is one of the best records that you have ever made. What makes you say that?
Yeah it is right? We have no business putting out records this good so late in the game. I feel like a band who has been around as long as we have should be putting out crappy records by now.
I just feel like I’m getting better though. I feel like anybody who been doing something as long as I have should be good at it. If someone was a carpenter for thirty years they would be a damn good carpenter by now and for writing songs as long as I have, I should be a damn good songwriter. And the making of the songs, that’s my favorite thing about music.
The Supersuckers have leaned country before with Must’ve Been High, so what made it the right time to do it again?
It’s the long awaited country follow up. I’ve done some country releases solo over the past decade, but haven’t really done one with the band for a long time. It just felt like the time was right to show these country fuckers what country’s all about.
How did you approach making the album? Did you do anything differently?
We didn’t really do anything differently because even all of our rock songs are written on acoustic guitar. The difference came when it was time to record. We brought in a lot of other artists and players who countrified the jams with pedal steel, organ, piano and fiddle – things we normally wouldn’t have.
Are the originals that are on the record all recent songs or were some ones that you had in your pocket?
We pretty much use everything I write; I don’t really have a big back catalog of unused stuff. These are all pretty recent songs; a couple of them are very new. “Holdin’ The Bag” as well as “Let’s Bounce” were written a few days before we went into the studio. The last song written for the record was “High and Outside,” which I think is maybe the best song on record.
That’s definitely my personal favorite. What’s the story behind that song?
I had that title for a long time and we were in rehearsals and the melody just came to me. I took a break, sat in a corner and just kind of knocked it out. I like the idea of the double entendre of the title and the baseball reference. I feel like that’s the kind of song that could have been a hit when bands like us were having hits. So in my mind it’s a hit, whether it is one or not.
The other songs encompass the serious and sensitive, the rocking, and the twangy, but a few, like “Jibber Jabber,” are also infused with a humor. Is putting that humor into your writing an important aspect of who you are?
Yeah definitely, maybe almost to our financial detriment sometimes because people don’t take to the comedy. Comedy never wins the Oscar because people just don’t take it seriously if it’s funny. I don’t know why that is.
Another song with clever lyrics is “This Life Would Be A Whole Lot Better,” which you sing with Hayes Carll, who is just a perfect fit for the song. How did that collaboration come about?
We had connected before and hit it off so when he was in town, we reached out to him to see if he would come sing on it. I really like the way it came out with him on there. I think he really brings that tune to life.
Agreed. In addition to duet partners, you also have some incredible players with you on the album including Asleep at the Wheel fiddler Jason Roberts, Butthole Surfers member Jeff Pinkus, and Willie Nelson’s longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael.
We hooked up with these guys through Jesse Dayton, who is a great friend. He was on tour when we were making the record, but he hooked us up with cool musicians and each and every one of them was fantastic. That was best part of the process, hearing these guys put their stamp on our songs.
The regular edition of the album ends with a thoughtful version of “All My Rowdy Friends.” Is that a special song for you?
That song has been floating around the air for a little while now. It was fun to update the lyrics to reference friends and people we think are cool. We’re really glad we did it because it came out really well and makes the perfect album closer.
It’s the one song where I do say fuck and that could be a bit of a problem, but I think we have an edited version they can play if they want to. We normally have a couple songs on our albums that really offend someone, but we really don’t have that on this one. There is the occasional mention of the work dick, but otherwise I think it has the possibility of reaching a broad audience which would be nice for a change. I’ve never purposely shied away from the mainstream, it just happens that I like to make music for a select few people with impeccable taste, as I call them. We’re no McDonalds, we’re the little burger joint down the street that makes really good burgers that not too many people know about. I don't understand it, I feel like most people like crap, that’s why Florida Georgia Line and McDonalds are so popular. We just try and make what we think is good music and hope people like it.
The album will no doubt please your long time fans and hopefully find new ones. Once you are given the all clear, will you resume touring?
It looks like we will be back out on road in February to support this record. We won’t hit it as hard as we used to, at least not at first. We’re going to try and take it a couple weeks at a time because we do all of the driving ourselves with a van and a trailer. We don’t have any sort of crew and it’s a lot of work, so I have to be ready for it. But when we do, make sure you wear your underwear when The Supersuckers come to town because we’ll rock your pants off!
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