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Sucker Punch

You remember that song "Hey Ya," right? Great beat. Rocked like a motherfucker. Done by the white trash guy in a cowboy hat who pledged his soul to the devil.

Oh, you thought I was talking about the OUTKAST version. No, I meant the cover of it the SUPERSUCKERS did last year. 'Cause let me tell ya, if there was anything cooler in 2004 than hearing EDDIE SPAGHETTI--the man who wrote the trailer-punk classics "Born With a Tail," "She's My Bitch" and "I Want the Drugs"--sing "shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture," I don't know what it was.

Newbies might have considered it a novelty record, but longtime fans know the Supersuckers are the best hip-hop band to come straight outta the hard-rock meth lab. Word is bond, but considering that Spaghetti and company have set up a compound in musical territory somewhere between AC/DC and X, it's really more of a spiritual bond. Still, between their kick-ass cover of ICE CUBE's "Dead Homiez," original songs like "Supersuckers Drive-By Blues" and the title of their 2003 album, Motherfuckers Be Trippin', it's pretty safe to say they're feeling it.

Certainly the Supersuckers aren't the first band to explore the link between outlaw cowboys (in this case, cowpunks) and outlaw gangstas. The GOURDS' banjo version of "Gin and Juice" is probably the most downloaded cover song of the last five years. And as Americana spiritual leader RAY WYLIE HUBBARD once put it, "RALPH STANLEY has killed way more people in his music than ICE-T ever did."

But there's something about Spaghetti's deadpan humor that makes it more fun--hell, it makes everything the band does more fun. This is the guy who, when an interviewer asked him, "Would you say your songs are mostly about liquor, women, drugs and killing, for the most part?" paused for a minute and then simply said "Yup." This is also a guy who gives his band's albums titles like How the Supersuckers Became the Greatest Rock N Roll Band in the World and The Evil Powers of Rock N Roll.

By way of backing up both, I'd go so far as to say that the latter, released in 1999, was indeed one of the greatest hard-rock albums of the '90s, the record on which the Supersuckers truly found their calling. Built out of monster riffs, it balanced thrashing call-outs like "Dead Meat" and "Fisticuffs" with more introspective, rootsy jags like "Dirt Roads, Dead Ends and Dust," and contained probably their best song, "Stuff N Nonsense."

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this was also about the time that the Supersuckers became a true cult band. Signed to Sub Pop in the early '90s, they never fit in with the Seattle sound and were bizarrely lumped in with grunge in cultural artifacts like the 1996 film Hype! That got them buzz, but later stuff like a split record with STEVE EARLE and a full-on country album (in some cities, they'll do a country show one night and a rock show the next) were simply lost on a larger audience.

It's their loss. 'Cause what's cooler than being cool? Ice cold.

Steve Palopoli

Upcoming

THE LOYAL SONS AND DAUGHTERS will be playing at the Next Door, located adjacent to the Rio Theatre, on Wednesday, March 23, at 8:30pm. While their bassist TONY demurely calls the DAUGHTERS' style "college rock," they are capable of much more than shoegazing and open tunings. Combining the sounds of '60s pop and psychedelic rock with '90s alt-tunes, their main songwriter JOHN describes their sound as "what would happen if the RONETTES and the BYRDS were to drop acid at DINOSAUR JR's house." Most of the tunes revolve around the guitar and the trumpet and their newly stripped down lineup is reminiscent of some early REM jangle pop. Irony may also make an appearance, as will THE MOST and San Diego's DAY AND AGE.

Though raised singing good, square and monophonic Methodist hymns, JAKE AMERDING has forsaken the Lord and taken up with the inbred, playing violin and drinking moonshine. Despite his cavorting with Southerners, he still calls Boston home, where he no doubt forsakes the clambake for the potluck and the whalers for the whiskey. Amerding performs on March 16 at Don Quixote's at 8pm.

Peter Koht

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From the March 16-23, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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