Eddie Spaghetti of rock-country band the Supersuckers is used to the middle finger—in fact, he encourages his audiences to flip him off and then photographs the occurrence during his live shows.
But over the last year, it’s the Supersuckers frontman who has been flipping the bird—to cancer, that is.
Spaghetti returned to stages last year after his battle with Stage 3 oropharyngeal cancer—right after the disease was declared to be in remission. He’ll be back at Pappy and Harriet’s for a performance on Friday, Aug. 12.
During a recent phone interview while touring in Europe, Spaghetti said he’s almost back to feeling normal.
“I feel so much better than I did when I was at the darkest part of it, for sure,” Spaghetti said. “I always felt fine before I had the cancer. I felt that fine was kind of the way I always thought of myself as feeling.
“It’s good to be feeling close to that again,” he added with a laugh.
As friends, family and fans raised more than $68,000 via YouCaring.com, Spaghetti went through a radical tonsillectomy and had all of the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck removed.
“It was hard, a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “The pain and wanting to sleep all the time—I didn’t feel like doing much of anything—was very difficult for me, because I’ve always been a regularly active dude.”
He was afraid that his vocals might not sound the same after the surgery and treatment, but he’s been kicking ass ever since returning to the stage.
“It was super-rewarding, and I was super-grateful that I had a job I wanted to get back to,” he said. “It made me feel really good about my life’s work, which is something I really hadn’t felt in a while. It was one bad thing after another for this band for so long. To feel grateful about it after all this time—that’s one of the things I’m thankful for after getting cancer. It’s not like I had this religious epiphany or anything like that. My belief system is still largely the same, and all that sort of basic DNA hasn’t started to unravel yet—but, yeah, I definitely feel grateful for the things I do now.”
The last couple of Supersuckers records—Get the Hell in 2014, and Holdin’ the Bag in 2015—have contained a lot more of the Supersuckers’ country music side. While the Supersuckers have always included a country sound and were once labeled as “cowpunk,” Get the Hell is genuinely a country album.
“We just wanted to make a solid country record. We don’t hear a lot of good country that turns us on anymore,” Spaghetti said. “We wanted to make something that we wanted to hear with songs we liked that definitely had the spirit of the band, but were laying down the country angle of things. I feel like there’s so much crappy country music out there that to make a good country record is an achievement these days.”
The Supersuckers are definitely more comfortable doing country music today than the band was in its earlier days; the band was formed in 1988.
“The first time we really dove into it with Must’ve Been High (in 1997), we thought we were on to something special,” Spaghetti said. “It turns out we were, but when the record came out, everybody hated it, and it was totally, roundly booed. Revisionist history has changed that perspective: Now it’s this great influential success story, but at the time, it was a bad experience, and it was horrible to go through that.”
Their band’s four albums, concluding with Must’ve Been High, were released on Seattle-based alternative label Sub Pop Records, famous for bands such as Nirvana, Mudhoney, Beach House, Low and others.
“It was amazing. It was a thrill of a young kid’s lifetime to be involved in that scene,” Spaghetti said. “It happened for us when we were so young. As soon as we moved to Seattle, we attracted the interest of Sub Pop, which was amazing. We went to Japan on their dime, and all the stuff we got to do because we were on Sub Pop was great. I feel we owe our career and legitimacy to the label being such a legitimate force in music, and I appreciate that.
“That’s something new for me as well (post-cancer)—appreciating that whole period. There were some negative things toward the end involving over-expectations and spending too much on the band, and the disappointment that lingers after that happens.”
What’s in the future? A new record, Spaghetti said.
“I’m going to start polishing the turds for that sucker here soon, and I think we’re going to get in the studio next year at some point and forge on,” he said.
Will there be a new Eddie Spaghetti solo record? “Not currently, but I’m sure I will at some point, when we get some down time. I’ll fill (the time)—that’s what I do!”
After Spaghetti plays a song live, he’s been known for him to end by singing, “Cha cha cha.”
“I really don’t know how that started, but it started as a way to get the crowd to react after every song when it was over,” he said. “It’s sort of become a thing, and it’s steamrolled out of control, and I think we need to bring it in a bit. It’s getting obnoxious, but it is a fun thing to motivate the crowd to cheer after the song. But it works, right?”
On the bill at Pappy’s with the Supersuckers will be local band Throw Rag and Los Angeles-based group The Hangmen.
“Dude, I’m so stoked! I couldn’t be more excited for our drummer (Christopher “Chango” Von Streicher), who used to play for Throw Rag,” Spaghetti said. “He’s going to play with them again, and I’m beyond excited that it’s actually going to happen. The Hangmen are on the bill as well, who are another legendary and influential band in my life, so it’s going to be a good time.”
The Supersuckers will perform with Throw Rag and The Hangmen at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.