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I had flown into Philadelphia to meet with the band and do some touring.  Eddie had some of the songs from the new Paid EP.  The idea was to release more songs or singles and not to do a full blown album during this time.  This would obviously buy the band even more time before they would release what would become their opus and grand finale with Rontrose ; Get It Together.

I was anxious to hear the Paid EP.  I knew this was going to be something different.  It was going to be a departure from anything they had done before.  Everyone was a bit older and the shows around this time were some of the best.  Most importantly, the band seemed real excited to be working with this engineer they had known for years;  Billy Bowers.  Billy, Rontrose, Eddie, and Dancing Eagle were all in a band called Thai Pink in the 80’s in Tucson…

Billy went on to become an engineer working with Brendan O’Brien and Brendan is world famous in the music business.  It was everyone’s hope that with these songs being such a departure in sound and style from their past work, would finally launch them into the mainstream.  Tracks like “Paid” or even “Breaking Honey’s Heart” would capture everyone’s attention at radio and press, and sales would be huge… and all our dreams would come true.

Eddie and I sat in that big white van with a couple of cold ones parked outside the Starlight Bar, hopefully for the last time, listening to the first track from the EP.  I remember being blown away by how different it sounded.   I was amazed at the playing.  It was a great moment for the band and a chance taken…  Ron’s guitar playing was perfect, Eddie’s vocal’s sounded great and Mike Musburger’s drumming just knocked my socks off.  Go back and listen to the guitar parts in “Breaking Honey’s Heart”…  it’s brilliant.

Once again we gathered the team to plan radio, press, retail, pre-orders, fan club members, street team members and our internet guru’s; Hal the Web Guy and Doug over at DPX.  The 40,000 email address’ we’d compiled since I collected the first one in 2001 would be an essential ingredient. Hopefully this time we’d make just enough of an impact to set ourselves up for success…   More on that later!  Chris Neal of Midway

May 19th 2006 Eddie Spaghetti writes…

People get ready, there’s some rock a’ comin’!

And you can pre-order it NOW my friends, right freakin’ now! So click here and make yourself happy, scratch that rock-n-roll itch, satiate your hunger for quality and quench that thirst for brand new Supersuckers music. It’s the best we’ve ever made.

Or maybe you’re one of those highly intelligent People of Impeccable Taste who already know the joys of our fan club. Is that you? Well, if it is, don’t bother clicking up there because your copy of our brand new, six song EP will be arriving in your mailbox right around the 6th of June. I know, too cool! Want in the club? Well, er, uh, I don’t know… might be too late… Oh screw it. Just get in if you want to.

I really hope you guys like the new stuff, we’re pretty proud of our little selves right now and we’re really excited to hit the road next month in support of the new EP. We’re also extremely happy to announce that the man behind the drums for this tour and, for that matter, all future Supersuckers tours will be none other than the incredible Mr. Scott Churilla! That’s the facts, Jack. Scottzilla has left his former employer, The Reverend Horton Heat for the greener pastures of Supersuckersville and we couldn’t be more honored to have him on board. Don’t miss us as we destroy every stage we hit from now on! The dates are in this email somewhere – notice the Social Distortion dates? Nice!

Well, I gotta go finish this song I’m making up for my solo show tonight here in Seattle at the Sunset Tavern. Do you happen to live up this way? Well, come on down! I’ll be playing in between some good rock bands – The Ones (featuring the fine talents of Mr. Metal Marty Chandler!) and Huge Spacebird (I think). It’ll be a guaranteed good time here in my neighborhood too-nite!

I really have to get a grip on these exclamation points. They are outta hand in this message! OUTTA HAND I TELL YOU!!! OH NO, NOW I’M USING ALL CAPITALS TOO. LIKE YOU NEED ME E-YELLING AT YOU!!! AARRRGGHHH!!!!

EDDIE SPAGHETTI!!!

Here’s another clip…

We used it as a tool to promote and market the band, shows, new releases, merchandise, contests, etc…   I would often build an auction around a show where I knew we needed more advertising or word of mouth.  Nothing got people talking like a Supersuckers eBay Auction.  Often local papers would mention our clever contests giving us even more exposure.

eBay gave us a lot of bang for the buck too.  And most importantly our auctions were great and fans were happy to click that bid button.  A show auction might include a pair of tickets, a leather jacket courtesy of Hot Leathers, hotel room, and goodie bag which included posters and CD’s.  We’d often donate some of the profits to the WM3 too.

We’d use it to promote new releases 

Here’s two examples below both written by Eddie…

Hey there and happy new year to you all! I’m celebrating the start of 2004 by releasing my first solo record, The Sauce, on the 13th of this month. To help kick things off, I’m holding an ebay auction to offer you some cool keepsakes from the making of this record. Included in this package up for auction is the first mock-up of the art work and accompanying proof sheet, a napkin featuring drawings by artist Tim Gabor of ideas for the disc and poster signed by Tim and an envelope with the real, “saucy” fingerprints Tim used to draw from. It’s stuff I really shouldn’t part with, but maybe one of you will take better care of it than I would. All of this and a signed copy of The Sauce as well! Remember, you can order this record on our site today and it will be in stores on the 13th, but you can get yours now by winning this auction!

Good luck,

Eddie Spaghetti

Here’s another piece of history up for grabs from the making of The Sauce. It’s the original test pressing of the LP! There were only four of these made and I’m offering one up to you. David Fisher and I used this test pressing to approve the mastering for the vinyl and we both agree that it sounds WAY better than the C.D.! The CD is out on the 13th of this month but the LP isn’t due to hit the stores until next month, so, if you still have a record player, here’s your chance to get your (hopefully) sticky mitts on one now!

Good luck,

Eddie Spaghetti

eBay was a great way to test new merchandise.  We would auction off Zippo lighters on eBay way before we sold them in the official Supersuckers store.  An auction would show me page views, amount of bids, and would often get us a new customer.   A lot of items including Cowboy Hats and Pillow Cases were tested on eBay way before we sold them as “store items”.  I remember a fan offering $500 to Eddie for his hat, which Eddie didn’t wanna part with for some reason.  So I had a few signed and sold them at the merchandise booth on tour.  Of course I didn’t sell them for anything close to $500 but it helped.  In fact there’s a signed Stetson on eBay now that a pal of mine is selling.  

It’s no secret my last year with the band was anything but a financial success, so eBay became more of a last resort than a marketing tool or focus group for products.  It was where I sold all my memorabilia to help pay down some bills.  Rontrose was glad to help get the word out about the auctions and even Dan Bolton mailed me some items he had collected too.  So what was the craziest item I think we sold?  Dan “Thunder” Bolton’s jeans with the legendary “Thunder Cuffs”, belt, and shirt.  Someone in Canada purchased the entire outfit –   That story also made the paper.

http://www.nnsl.com/frames/newspapers/2008-04/apr30_08cth.html

I’ve tried to carry on some of that same spirit here

https://rockonomix.wordpress.com/ by doing these crazy contests, auctions, parties, etc…  I hope to have a new shirt designed here shortly too and there’s a rumor about doing a golf outing.  Stay tuned and don’t forget to check out my latest contest which ends July 15th.

Thanks everyone.  It’s great to see that I’m approaching 400 likes on Facebook!  Help me get that number to 40,000 –

tell a friend about the site and have them tell a friend.  Link is below…  Chris Neal of Midway UT

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rockonomix-Tales-from-the-PIT/143655802312101

If the Supersuckers were Apple Pie then Jordan Shapiro was the à la mode…

The dynamic he added was pure and simple magic.  I’ve written about it many times, and that period around 2005 was my personal favorite.

Here’s a little clip and I’ve got more coming.  Enjoy…

Chris,

I’m really enjoying the stories!

I have a question for you. I am amazed at all of the stuff that the Supersuckers did besides kicking ass at their shows. Anything from in store appearances, singing the national anthem at a ball game to pouring beer at “The Great American Beer Fest” and doing a lot of it traveling in an Econoline van. Were there times when you had too much stuff scheduled , transportation or legal problems and didn’t make it or almost didn’t make it to an appearance?

Thanks,

Grababrewski (Tom)

I always tried to keep the schedule full and I would look for things to do to keep everyone busy.  Being on the road was the one time they were together.  We needed to take advantage of this time and accomplish as much as we could.  I would reach out to TV, Radio, Press, Record Stores, Tattoo Shops, Skate Shops, etc…  I would schedule bowling events, baseball games, in-stores, or whatever it took to get people excited and get the band exposure.

There’s an excitement about a full schedule and staying busy.  And the band did a great job going along with these crazy ideas too.  I can’t think of another band to this day that’ll sit down with a fan and teach them guitar licks but Rontrose was happy to do it.  We never had any problems with too much going on but we did have problems with that van.  It seemed as though it was always either in the shop or on the side of the road.  It wasn’t uncommon for Dan “Thunder” Bolton AKA Dan “Van” Bolton to invite the folks at the Ford Dealership to the show whenever it was in the shop.  I think it was El Paso where we had about 12 tickets set aside for the local dealer – Ford Dealer that is.

We posted our schedule on the bands site so fans could easily get involved and media folks could see how busy we were.  Also, promoters could see that we were doing our part to get the word out.  Promoters have a responsibility to get people to the show but I always felt we shared in that, we wanted shows to be successful for everyone.  We wanted fans to help spread the word, follow us on tour, join us at a game and meet us at the finish line.

BTW Singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” at the Yankees vs Twins game was a huge highlight for me.  We were able to invite some fans (courtesy of the Twins) to that game in August of 2006.  It was a great memory.  What a lot of people don’t know is, after that game, the band hit the studio in Minneapolis and recorded a song that was never released.  It was the last time I really got to witness the magic of the Supersuckers and their creative force.  Although I didn’t know it then, it was also the beginning of the end of my time with the band – more on that later…

Here’s the email that Eddie sent to the fans on August 1st 2006…

 “…take me out to the crowd! You ever wonder how they decide on who gets to sing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” at the seventh inning stretch at Major League Baseball games? Well, me too! I still can’t figure it out even after being asked to do exactly that at an upcoming Minnesota Twins game this August 13th. That’s right, the good people in the Twins operation have deemed it appropriate that we, The Supersuckers, will get to partake in this time honored tradition when they take on the Darth Vader of baseball, the New York Yankees, in a day game this Wednesday, August 13th. The first pitch will be at 12:10 pm Central Time and we’ll be doing a little show before then somewhere in the stadium at 10:45. If you’d like to come to this glorious event we will be hooking a few people up with tickets but it’s first come first served so get your email requests intochris@supersuckers.com right away for your chance to see The Greatest invade the American Pastime in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008. We will be rooting firmly for the Twins to kick the living crap outta those Damn Yankees so come on out and join us. It’ll be lots of fun for sure!Stay tuned for an update regarding our new release, “Get It Together”, coming real soon to a computer near you!

Keep in touch…
-Eddie Spaghetti ”

Tell me something about Scott Churilla that people might not know?  Dave

Fun Question….  Scott can tell you who plays what on just about every record from the 70’s.  He’s a musical encyclopedia.  He’s also got great taste in “songs”.  We’d room a lot and listen to Gordon Lightfoot and Bruce Springsteen.  He gave me a better appreciation and understanding of drummers, such as Bruce Gary and Jim Gordon.  

Did you know that Ernest “Boom” Carter played drums on “Born to Run”???  I never thought about it until Scott mentioned it.  If there was a 70’s Rock N Roll Quiz Show he’d do well…

Thanks for the Questions everyone…  Until Next TIme.  Chris Neal of Midway, UT 

christophercarterneal@gmail.com

 


Hey Chris –

Long time listener, first time caller. Diggin’ the blog. My questions:

* What was the biggest musical crime you saw? Meaning, which band either failed to live up to their potential and disbanded or never got signed and gave up?

* Being around all this music all the time, how did you keep yourself from turning into a jaded, fun-hating hipster?

* What are some of the biggest mistakes bands (or the Supersuckers, in your opinion), made?

Thanks!

Kyle

Kyle – I’m a little jaded and I’ll never be that hip…    I witnessed some great writers and performers who never got a fair shake but one could argue that’s pretty common in the arts.  In fact, that’s just the way life is sometimes.  You might sell the best burger in the world but chances are McDonald’s sells more.  Nobody can tell me that McDonald’s makes the best burger…

The biggest crime is the value that has been placed on music and the arts in general.  A specific example would be expecting songs for free.  I think the value of a song and the craft of writing has diminished over the past 10 years.  Songs don’t carry much value these days.  Between downloading songs and getting paid peanuts when a song is used in film or TV what incentive does someone have to pursue this craft?

I also believe the music business lacks camaraderie.  It’s sink or swim and that’s a bit disenchanting.   A band should not have to pay to play.  It’s not uncommon for bands to pay to be on tours or receive a meager sum by a huge National Act for a support slot.  Oh I guess bands could always say “no” but that band is essentially gambling on the hopes that because they play in front of more people they’ll get more exposure, sell more records, and get paid a lot more next time around.   I want to make it clear that getting paid peanuts for a support slot or paying to get on a tour isn’t always the case, but the fact that it happens is wrong.   Most of the tours we did and bands we toured with took good care of us; Pearl Jam, The Underground Garage Tour, Reverend Horton Heat but we did turn down tours because the finances made no sense.  In fact some offers were a slap in the face.  And we probably did a few tours that we shouldn’t have done because that “gamble” didn’t pay off.

What the music business doesn’t seem to understand is that musicians are people with personalities.  They’re not making burgers but instead they are the burger.  Today we get what we pay for which is crap on the radio.

I think the music business really did a terrible job with consumer awareness and suing people for “stealing” music.  My campaign would’ve been to have had respected artists and writers doing public service announcements making their case.  Why getting paid to create is important much like being able to afford food is important.   But when labels release the same album 3 different times on CD adding a few bonus tracks each time it’s hard to feel sympathetic.  It’s such a slap in my face to pay $16.98 for a CD when I’ve already purchased it twice before (the non-re-mastered version and the re-mastered version) but this time it’s the Platinum Re-Mastered Edition w/ 2 bonus tracks.  Seriously…  What do labels expect from the public they continue to alienate…

In the case of the Supersuckers, we were able to make that connection with the fans.  The fans knew they were a mom and pop business providing a product that supported them, paid their bills, provided food, etc…  It wasn’t a faceless company.  I’ve never met Mr. Warner of Time Warner but the fans could all meet Rontrose of the Supersuckers and when fans purchased a CD, it was a means of supporting their favorite band.  Something that one could identify with and be proud to own.

We all made mistakes, but overall we got most of it right, and laid a great blueprint for bands to follow.  I’d have to say the biggest mistake the Supersuckers made was to not push themselves.  It’s tough going from the excitement and the challenges of the “Big Show” to the predictability of the  “Same Show”.  It’s unfortunate that a lot of fans never got to hear what I heard, which was the reason I invested so much in the band.  As I’ve said, this band was bar none flat out incredible and hearing them play Sweet Emotion, Hey Ya, Mississippi Queen, Sail On, Then I’m Gone, She’s My Bitch, My Sharona, For Those About to Rock, etc…  It was a magic that doesn’t often happen in an industry that wallows in crap.  The lesson here is don’t serve the same old burger everyday…

Have a Good Week…  Chris

And Remember Anyone who donates any amount has a chance to win an iPad 2 (that’s a 64 Gig White Ipad)…  Drawing is July 15th…What will I give away next?  

When starting out, what is the cheapest and most efficient way to spread the word about your band when you live in a rural area and have very few venues to choose from?

A. Wheaton

Buddy Guy said something like, “Don’t ever be the best in town, just try and be the best until the best come around”.   

It’s a tough racket these days and I honestly don’t see it getting easier but the market lends itself well to being creative.   If you love what you do then playing live anywhere shouldn’t be a problem.  Play as much as possible and collect those email address.  The key is playing and exposing your craft to the masses.  Making sure you connect and knowing your customer.  Having house parties, garage parties, doing shows everywhere from the “few” venues to schools, grocery stores, coffee shops, record stores, etc…     Work a deal out with a record store or retailer to record you show, get CD’s made, and split the profits after costs…  I know record stores are few and far between these days.  Consider a contest where you play at a fans house…

CD’s prices have gone from $16.98 to .99 cents and in some cases free.  CD’s are still remains an easy way for your music to get heard, so be creative.  Sell ad space on your CD packaging.  Sell ad space on the CD between tracks…  This CD is sponsored by “ ACME Corp.”

See if there’s a local radio station that you can get involved with especially an independent or college station.  Do as many interviews as you can with all the local papers and online sites.   Take questions from fans too and post them on your site.

Merchandise also helps spread the word on the band from stickers to t-shirts.  Be creative.  Offer up new designs and have fans submit their own ideas.  And think of some out of the ordinary merchandise items too…  Lighters, Baseball’s, Skateboards, Flasks, Guitar Picks, etc…  You can probably find some sponsors who would want their logo on some of your merchandise items and offset your costs.  If some of this sounds like “selling out” well, what better sign to have outside the venue; “sold out”…

It’s really important to have a great website that’s updated, easy to navigate and has links to your Facebook, Twitter or YouTube page.  Current news, content, songs, video’s, bio, updated photo’s in 300 DPI, and contests will keep fans coming back.   Collecting those email addresses and emailing your fans directly every couple weeks will have a huge impact.  Don’t just rely on Facebook.  Take advantage of everything.  If it’s useful and informative fans will appreciate hearing from you.

Encourage your fans to turn people onto your band and don’t turn down the help…  Everyone wants to be part of something new and promising…

Hope this helps some…Chris