Integrity, modesty, majesty. Without these three founding pillars, it’s impossible for any rock band worth its Gibson SG to stand tall and achieve true greatness. With integrity and modesty but no majesty, one’s fate is sealed as an also-ran; with modesty and majesty but no integrity, you are consigned to the novelty bin; and with integrity and majesty but no modesty, you get U2, and no one wants U2. However, when the pillars are equal, the results are undeniable. After 30 years in the game, constantly teetering but never falling, Supersuckers are back with album number nine, and the balance is looking pretty level from where we’re standing.
Ever since day one, way back in 1988, Supersuckers have done exactly what they wanted, veering from rock to blues to punk to country and everything in between, never chasing the almighty dollar and never trying to be anything other than the greatest Friday night pub band in the world, whether that means performing in a dirthole greaser bar or Bob’s Country Bunker. They are what they are and they do what they do and if that’s not for you, so be it.
Their first album since frontman Eddie Spaghetti’s successful fight with stage 3 oropharynx cancer, Suck It presents a band with zero fucks left to give, letting loose and showing the world that there is literally nothing that can stop them anymore. As one of the most honest representations of what makes the Supersuckers not suck, Suck It feels more jam-based than its predecessors, created 100% from the heart, allowing for the plaintive, campfire blues of Cold Wet Wind to nestle side-by-side with punked-up rockers like What’s up with This Mf’n Thing.
It takes a certain kind of tongue in a certain kind of cheek to proclaim oneself “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World” for some 30 years, but with Supersuckers you know they mean every word, even if they also know the world itself hasn’t realised yet. It’s incredibly telling that on lead single The History Of Rock and Roll, not only do the band label themselves “a footnote to an anecdote”, but when it comes to listing their heroes, acts such as AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and Motorhead, arguably three of the biggest bands in said history and three of this band’s biggest influences, don’t even get a sniff. Instead, Eddie Spaghetti and co focus on much-loved, much-deserving but oft-ignored contemporaries such as Rocket From The Crypt, The Bellrays, The Dwarves, Danko Jones and Mudhoney, bands that work hard to earn their dues, just not necessarily from the mainstream. Remind you of anyone?
The band’s “liquor, killing, drugs and women” mantra may have died out, or at least dimmed, in the last 30 years, but Suck It is loaded with more classic riffs and choruses than it’s fair to question, proving that Supersuckers can still kick the shit harder and further than anyone you care to mention. Granted, the backing vocals occasionally come across like someone left the door open at a biker bar karaoke party, but when the boogie woogie swing of Private Parking Lot kicks in, you know you’re on to a winner. On top of that, how many bands do you know that can make the catchiest song on their album one about death by asphxiwank (or auto-erotic asphyxiation for the less childish among us). In a fair world, Eddie Spaghetti would be as revered as Lemmy, recognisable by silhouette or Pop! Funko alone.
Integrity, modesty, majesty, three pillars of rock and roll, and still the foundations of the greatest rock and roll band in the world after 30 years. Long live the Supersuckers. If you’re not going to catch them on their 30th anniversary tour later this year, just accept that you don’t like rock and roll.