Eddie Spaghetti is the lead singer of the greatest rock n roll band in the world: Supersuckers. He is currently touring as a solo artist. By phone, he discussed the evolution of Supersuckers, the approach to being a solo artist as opposed to being part of a band, and just how Supersuckers became the greatest rock n roll band in the world.
You’ve been at this a long time. What were your goals when you started Supersuckers and how have the goals evolved over time?
The goal was not to be a little band still playing nightclubs 20 years down the road, but that said, we’re happy that we’re still able to do it. It’s rewarding to have anybody who likes your music come out to see your shows. It’s just been a reassessment of those goals. As a kid, you think you’re going to be like Van Halen playing enormo-domes to thousands of people all the time, having hit records and videos on TV, piles of cocaine off of strippers’ a**es. Then that doesn’t happen and you grow up and realize you have a career in music and you’re grateful for that.
Is it as rewarding as you thought it might have been when you started?
I think it’s more rewarding than it could have been. When I was a kid, it was all about the tangible successes. I’ve gotten a lot more from this band than I ever thought I could. I got my family through it. Every good thing that’s ever happened to me has been a result of the band. Not that it’s always easy, but it’s super cool.
That’s good to hear. I think a lot of bands start out that way where they think they’re going to be the next big thing, but I don’t know if they find the reward in having a career in music. You have to find what makes you happy even if you’re not the next Van Halen.
For me it’s always been about the songs. As long as that’s something I enjoy doing, then going out and playing these songs for people is going to be something I enjoy. Seeing the reaction to it. You never get tired of hearing someone say, “That new song of yours is so good!” That’s the goal. Just keep up a good quality body of work to leave a legacy behind.
How is your approach to recording and performing as a solo artist different than with a band?
The solo stuff sort of happened by accident. It’s become something that’s really enjoyable for me to do. Now I can tell if a song is a solo song or one the band is going to want to play. Sometimes the lines get a little blurry. I slip up and put a band one on a solo record or a solo one on the band record. Generally I’m able to keep it pretty straight. I’m just now coming to grips with the idea that this solo thing is a viable career for me as well as the band. I don’t ever see stopping with the band, but I definitely enjoy being a solo artist as well. It’s been something that has come as a surprise to me.
Solo shows are a way for me to flex my entertainer muscles really. I take the piss out of being a singer-songwriter up on the stage. “Take me seriously. Listen to my songs.” I don’t really approach it like that. For me, it’s just a way to get the crowd going and entertain some people.
I spoke to Cory Branan once and mentioned how his energy as a guy with a guitar is surprising. He said he has to do it that way because the perception is “I’m going to hear about this guy’s feelings.”
Exactly. That’s not my M.O. when I’m up there. I let the crowd dictate the show. I don’t have to make a set list like with the band. I just do whatever the crowd wants to hear. They’ll pick a song and I’ll think I can kind of get through it and just try to.
I have to ask about the fake encore. Why do you think more bands don’t just stay on stage and keep playing?
I think bands don’t normally think about that too much. I think they’re so flattered that the crowd wants to hear another song or they assume the crowd wants to hear another song, that it’s this rote thing that most bands fall into. I think it’s a load of crap. Encore, it sounds like a French word to begin with and the French don’t like rock n roll. I think it should be saved for the theater.
I’m with you. Of all the albums you’ve recorded, which is the one you’re most likely to listen to?
Boy! Whichever one I’ve most recently finished is the one I’m most likely to listen to. Right now, I’ve been listening to my new solo album that’s going to be out this summer. It’s definitely the best one I’ve done yet.
Why do you think it’s the best one you’ve done yet?
It’s the first one I’ve written all the songs for, so it’s my first real solo record. It’s just awesome. I went to Texas and recorded with Jesse Dayton. He’s this awesome Texas talent and it came out so much better than I thought it would. I felt good about the songs but each song on the record came out so much better than it was written.
How did the Supersuckers become the best rock n roll band in the world?
It’s a good question. It just dawned on us in the mid- to late-90s that we were the only rock n roll band left. Us and The Dwarves. We’re still going now. Supersuckers hold the title.
I wouldn’t dispute it.
Nobody that knows about us could.
Back when you started Supersuckers, there was a coin toss to decide whether the band would move to New Orleans or Seattle. What would have happened if Supersuckers had ended up in New Orleans?
I bet we would not be a band. The band would have moved there and broken up immediately. Having been to New Orleans after the fact, I see what a genius toss of the coin that was to come to Seattle where there was a thriving music scene. We love New Orleans, but it is not a vibrant rock scene.
What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
I’d probably be an English teacher. That’s what I was setting up to do in school. The rock n roll bug hit me pretty hard.
I’m sure lots of rock n roll fans are happy you’re not an English teacher.
Eddie Spaghetti plays South Bay Customs in El Segundo on 26 January and at Spike’s in Rosemead on 31 January.