The Supersuckers take no prisoners and make no apologies, churning out indie cow-punk for the masses on stages large and small around the globe, year after sweaty year.
Their earliest recordings arrived courtesy of Seattle’s Sub-Pop Records—the same self-starter label that introduced the world to Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and Nirvana. A slew of studio albums followed the 1992 singles compilation The Songs All Sound the Same and debut LP The Smoke of Hell, along with a batch of brow-bludgeoning live discs. The next two and one-half decades saw The Supersuckers tearing up concert halls and festival grounds on storied bills with The Ramones, The New York Dolls, Social Distortion, White Zombie, and Reverend Horton Heat.
The band’s non-nonsense M.O. permeates its latest effort, Get the Hell, out now on Acetate Records. Packing a dozen defiant tracks onto a 35-minute slab of fist-pumping fury, the album continues the grand Supersuckers tradition of thrusting a middle finger at power-brokers and bullshit artists (“Shut Your Face”) and making time for musical merriment (“High Tonight,” “Rock On!”). The twin guitars ride high and loud in the mix, the drums and bass comprise a primal rhythmic engine that churns out hell-raising grooves, and the vocals strike as quick and clean as a dagger between the eyes.
Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t “fix” it.
Still fronted by bass-wielding singer Eddie Spaghetti, The Supersuckers are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary by hitting the highway. The Tuscon, Arizona bred-quartet will be supporting alt-rock titans The Toadies (“Possum Kingdom”) on several dates—including Sunday’s gig at The Grog Shop—then headline a dozen or so nights through June.
Their first release in five years, Get the Hell finds Spaghetti and his fellow hellions in top form on a dozen cow-tipping, tractor-flipping, torpedo-like tunes that dispense with all pleasantries and go straight for the gut. The tracks were recorded at Arlyn Studios in Austin, Texas—a facility owned by the group’s Farm Aid friend, Willie Nelson—and produced by punk vocalist Blag Dahlia (The Dwarves), so the music bristles with extra rural appeal and urban aggression.
Which isn’t to say Spaghetti’s angry; he isn’t. The Supersuckers have always endorsed and advocated for America’s blue-collar everyman, liberally sprinkling their powerhouse grooves with cheeky lyrics and Dukes of Hazard determination.
“You’ve gotta trust me,” says Spaghetti, with the conviction of someone who’s earned our confidence.
An introductory air raid siren preps listeners for the incipient sonic assault; the title track carpet bombs eardrums with uproarious, “run for cover” cacophony that’s equal parts dismissal of the status quo and invite to…well, something better. “Hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down,” Eddie interjects, his thick, thunderous bass warbling over Christopher “Chango” Von Streicher’s drums. Tandem guitarists “Metal” Marty Chandler and Dan “Thunder” Bolton dole out the distortion in controlled bursts, occasionally working wah-wah swells and sharp string bends into the mix for flavor.
“Something About You” glides along crisp power chords and a recurring slide riff as Eddie divulges his shoddy track record to a prospective paramour. “High Tonight” is a chicken-picking, barn-burning ode to weekend benders whereon Spaghetti’s bass propels the pill-popping and beer-swilling bacchanalia. “Pushin’ Through” is an homage to rock-bottom underdogs, a “waiting for the wind” aural shot of adrenaline for anyone feeling a little down on his (or her) luck.
Elsewhere, Eddie offers barrel-chested boasts over his bad-assedness. Sure, the ownership of loser-hood (“Fuck Up”), confessions of excess (“Gluttonous”), and acceptance of societal inferiority (“Disaster Bastard”) are mostly made in jest. But there’s something sincere-sounding about Spaghetti’s black sheep self-actualizations. He makes no apologies on “Bein’ Bad,” yet bullet-points his faults and aspirations on “That’s What You Get for Thinking.”
Get the Hell also serves up a couple choice covers: Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” receives turbocharged tweaking halfway through the disc, and Gary Glitter’s good vibration party chant “Rock On!” becomes a fitting album-capper. Heck, there’s even a bit of trumpet (“Shut Your Face”) and harmonica (Mickey Raphael) sprinkled in the revved-up guitar madness.
So crank up your summer with Get the Hell, and kickoff Easter weekend with a dose of Supersuckers live in Cleveland.
Toadies, Supersuckers, with Battleme. Saturday, April 19, 2014 at The Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, Cleveland Heights, OH 44106). Tickets $20.00. 9:00pm (doors at 8:00pm).