By Al Kaufman
You can tell spaghetti is done by throwing it against the wall and seeing if it sticks. Eddie Spaghetti takes the same approach to his music. He grew up in the south where his parents listened to a lot of country. Eddie found solace in punk rock and metal. He threw them all in a blender, and the quasi-legendary Supersuckers were born. The guitar- and attitude-driven band that is too rock for country and too country for rock is loved by many a talented musician, most notably the rebel Steve Earle, who cut an EP with them, and Willie Nelson, for whom they have served as a back-up band. They’ve toured with bands as diverse as The Ramones, Motorhead, Reverend Horton Heat, Neil Diamond, The Rolling Stones and Nashville Pussy.
Solo, Spaghetti’s attitude is just as large. The guitars are turned down a bit (simply because there are less of them), but the personality is blistering. Sundowner is Spaghetti’s third solo album, and his first for Bloodshot, the label that makes a living on signing these rebel-country-alternative-rock-fused-punkabilly-otherwise-unclassifiable artists. His formula is the same as on his others. He wrote a few good time tunes, and surrounded them with various covers, upon which he leaves his indelible boot prints.
It’s a credit to someone like Spaghetti that he can mix genres like the outlaw country of Johnny Cash (“What Do I Care”), with the punk sound of the Dwarves (“Everybody’s Girl”), the big rig rock and roll of Del Reeves (“Girl on a Billboard”), the lounge lizardness of good old Dean Martin (“Party Dolls and Wine”) and finally the alternative Lee Harvey Oswald Band (“Jesus Never Lived on Mars”), and give them all that same boot-stomping, dust-spraying, fist-pumping, good-time sound. This has the feel of being at a barbecue when, out of the blue, the big, burly, loud, obnoxious guy comes over and starts wailing on a guitar (or, in this case, bass) and surprises the hell out of everybody by actually being able to sing, and doing it his own damn way to boot. It’s a great feeling.
While Spaghetti’s cover of Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” is totally unnecessary and does nothing to improve upon the iconic original, his take on Steve Earle’s “If You Fall in Love” is super-charged and dynamic, and the aforementioned “Jesus Never Lived on Mars” is almost Zappa-esque in its delivery.
This is meat and potatoes country rock. Spaghetti doesn’t try to dazzle. He just sings of wine, women and song (and boots and a guitar playing Jesus) and has a helluva good time doing it.
Eddie Spaghetti plays at Smith’s Olde Bar on March 25 and 26.