By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Mixing up elements of garage punk, hard rock and southern-fried country, veteran band the Supersuckers have been dealing out their entertaining brand of party-hearty music for over three decades.
Founded as the Black Supersuckers in Tuscon, AZ, by high school friends Eddie Spaghetti (born Edward Carlyle Daly III) on bass, guitarist Ron "Rontrose" Heathman, guitarist Dan "Thunder" Bolton, drummer Dancing Eagle (born Dan Seigal) and lead singer Eric Martin in 1988, the band soon relocated to Seattle in pursuit of an audience more receptive to their raucous sound. The group stripped down to a four-piece as Martin departed soon after the move, with Spaghetti taking over as singer and the band dropping the "Black" from the name.
A series of 7-inch singles for a variety of independent labels led the Supersuckers to getting signed by famed Seattle imprint Sub Pop Records. The band's debut album for the label The Smoke Of Hell showcased their concise, tuneful style of roots-influenced hard rock that celebrated fast cars, good times and loose women while echoing the straightforward punky style of labelmates Mudhoney, the Reverend Horton Heat and the Dwarves.
Two more similarly minded albums followed, but in 1997 the Supersuckers delved far deeper into their country roots with Must've Been High. A full-blown exploration of honky tonk and cow punk that featured acoustic and lap-steel guitars and even a guest vocal spot from Willie Nelson, the recording was celebrated as one of the Supersuckers' best yet. The group also collaborated with latter-era country outlaw on an EP, but band would return to its sleazy, full-throttle earlier sound on it's follow-up album (and first effort after parting ways with Sub Pop), the landmark classic Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll.
Since then, the band has maintained a steady output of records while consistently touring for their loyal fanbase, even after the departure of longtime members Heathman and Bolton in the 2000s and Spaghetti's bout with lymph node cancer that surfaced in 2015. The current trio line-up of the founding bassist, guitarist "Metal" Marty Chandler and drummer Christopher "Chango" Von Streicher recorded the band's latest album, Play That Rock N' Roll, at Willie Nelson's home studio.
Released on Acetone Records in 2020, it featured the trio bashing out its trademark hard-rocking, tongue-in-cheek tunes. Last year, Spaghetti collaborated with fellow songwriter and Streetwalkin' Cheetahs' frontman Frank Meyer for the equally potent effort Motherf--kin' Rock N' Roll. More recently, Supersuckers contributed a cover of the AC/DC classic "Overdose" for the new Magnetic Eye Best of AC/DC tribute compilation.
For their current tour that has two Bay Area dates in San Jose and San Francisco, Supersuckers share the stage with co-headliner and fellow high-octane, punk-meets-country artist Scott H. Biram. A Texas native who got his start playing and singing as a teen in punk group the Thangs, Biram later became fascinated with roots music, particularly early blues, bluegrass and outlaw country.
After playing with two bluegrass outfits -- Scott Biram & the Salt Peter Boys and Bluegrass Drive-By -- Biram would strike out on his own, touring and recording as a solo artist. Accompanying himself with acoustic or electric guitar (sometimes keeping the beat with a stomp box), Biram's approach recalled the style of classic blues legends like John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins or one-man-band outsider Hasil Atkins.
Initially putting out albums on his own KnuckleSandwich Records imprint, Biram was eventually signed to noted country indie label Bloodshot Records which reissued his fourth solo effort The Dirty Old One Man Band in 2005. Since then, the songwriter has put out a steady stream of well-received recordings full of his signature mix of punkish, rough-hewn blues stomps and tearful barroom ballads.
The 2019 compilation Sold Out to the Devil: A Collection of Gospel Cuts by the Rev. Scott H. Biram collected some of the artist's more spiritually minded stripped-down songs, but his latest album Fever Dreams found Biram collaborating with his fellow Austin, TX songwriter Jesse Dayton on a couple tunes including a cover of David Allen Coe's classic "Monkey David Wine." The two acts will be joined at the Ritz in San Jose by South Bay honky tonk act Them Slack Jawed SOBs on Thursday.
Dwarves guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed was scheduled to open the show at the Bottom of the Hill Friday night with his solo band before getting COVID and being forced to drop out. New opening act Rod Gator is a like-minded Austin, TX-based songwriter who has been supporting Supersuckers and Biram for much of their co-headlining tour. Gator's latest swampy roots album For Louisiana pays tribute to the singer's home state and was produced by Black Pumas guitarist Adrian Quesada.
The Supersuckers and Scott H. Biram
Thursday, Jan. 20, 8 p.m. $12
Friday, Jan. 21, 8:30 p.m. $18
The Bottom of the Hill
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