Most all of us can relate to doing the jobs we have to do to survive versus the jobs we live to do.
Consider how you feel that first day back on the job that you love to do and you might feel like The Supersuckers guitarist Dan "Thunder" Bolton of the self proclaimed "greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world" going back on tour in October after a summer off laying pipe and doing construction work.
I haven't done this job long, and I knew there would be interviews that I wasn't psyched about because I couldn't find a way to relate to the music or the band, or their arrogance. I didn't expect it to happen so soon in the game.
When Bolton failed to take my call days earlier, making me late to tuck my kids in, I told my editor, "These guys apparently think they are worth it, and they'd better be worth it if I'm going to disappoint my kids."
Later I found out that a guy named Scott with a number close to mine had been fielding Bolton's anxious attempts at a call back, and I softened. It didn't hurt that when I finally got him on the phone, and he asked me to call him back, that it wasn't a flippant request.
"I am so sorry it sounded like I was flying a biplane," Bolton said later Wednesday. "I was driving the work van home and the passenger left the window down and I got on the freeway. The van doesn't have automatic windows and I couldn't reach across to roll it up."
After reading all the hype and in-your-face declarations of their prowess, I expected a foul-mouthed degenerate to pick up the phone. In fact, I can't really name most of their albums because it would all end up in "%&*&" kind of veiled blackout of foul language. But beneath all the stage promises and play-for-beer contract attitude, Bolton is just a regular guy who really misses playing for a crowd.
"We have a traditional saying: 'Wear clean underwear 'cause we are going to rock your pants right off of you,'" Bolton said. "We are hungry to get back out there and do a kick-ass show."
But right now, Bolton is just hungry, and happy to be off work for the night.
"It was not good to have the summer off," Bolton said Wednesday night, back at his San Diego home with dachshunds Wrigley and Gus, patching together a pizza for himself and his wife—pepperoni, jalapenos, olives and red onion for him, ham, artichokes, goat cheese and red onions for her. "I've been doing construction, and every day I'm a little closer to cutting my fingers off. I'm ready to get out of here."
Whether or not you agree that they are the best band in the world, it would be hard to say they weren't working hard at it. They've been hitting notes since 1988, when high school friends Bolton and singer, Eddie Spaghetti and two others in Tucson formed a band.
They've produced a few albums, shifted members, dropped and added agents and labels, changed their sound to country for a bit, moved to different states and gotten older.
This latest spell of time off was due in part to a lackluster booking agent who has since been replaced with Scott Weiss, who has the band booked almost nightly through the end of the year.
"Throughout the entire time, our sole mission has been to create and perform timeless, quality music and get as many people as possible to hear it," Spaghetti writes on the group's website. "That goal has never changed. The pursuit of that perfectly imperfect rock-n-roll moment is all we've ever been after. We've been doing this for well over a decade now and we're just getting started."
Dedication to music, loyal fans, cooperative employers and "just being kinda too stupid to know when to throw in the towel and the lack of success," keeps them pushing forward, Bolton said. "Too dumb to die."
One thing that hasn't changed, Spaghetti writes, "The next time you see The Supersuckers name, whether it's in the record store or on the marquee at your local nightclub, know that there's some quality, honest, ass-kicking, hard-working individuals in there, trying to make your life a little better through the 'Evil Powers of Rock-n-Roll' and we'd love nothing better than to have you there with us."
Bolton said he has been fortunate to work for a Mormon family who are willing to hold jobs for those who do good work, affording their employees time to serve missions, which in Bolton's case have been to tour.
"We went to Europe and opened for Thin Lizzy last winter," he said. "Talk about an ego killer, you get back and it's 'oh yeah, I gotta get up and go to work at 6 a.m.' It keeps you humble, but it keeps you wanting to get to what you love, too."
To get a glimpse of the "rawkous" side of The Supersuckers, visit their website at www.supersuckers.com or catch their show Wednesday, Oct. 5. Though Bolton admits that there's "more dye covering the grey, and the bitchin' and moanin' starts earlier," rest assured that "we are going to rock the mother #@&*#^$."
Supersuckers at Whiskey Jacques'
Oct. 5 with Old Death Whisper, $10.
Jennifer Liebrum: firstname.lastname@example.org