Interview by tosnob
I've got a special treat for our readers (okay and a treat for me too). I recently had the opportunity to do a Q&A with Rontrose Heathman, guitarist and founding member of one of my favorite bands, The Supersuckers.
Here's the conversation I had with Rontrose:
TO Snob: Let's start with an easy one. The new album, Get It Together, came out on November 25th. Five years between albums, WTF?
Rontrose Heathman: We are lazy and busy. It has been too long, we all agree on that. We went through 3 drummers and have been on the road non-stop in that time. It won't happen again I assure you. Sometimes things take a bit longer when you are doing everything yourself but now it is time to celebrate as the new record rules and i think worth the wait.
TO Snob: Eddie had a couple of solo records in that time, when do we get the Rontrose Heathman solo album?
RH: Well I don't really have plans for one. I will be playing on a couple other folks records next year but I have never really considered myself a writer. I am a guitar player and have quite a bit of studio experience. I am looking into getting into producing (so any bands out there that need a good ear, here I am). That said, I am not opposed to putting out my own record but it would have to be a inspired effort, not something to do just for the sake of doing it.
TO Snob: What can fans expect from the new album?
RH: The best album we have done. Period. It has a little of everything. Most of all it just has one great song after another and it rocks!! All the fans will have new tunes to hum in the shower and air guitar to the hearts content!
TO Snob: This is the Supersuckers' 20th anniversary year and you're marking it with a big blow out concert. When you formed the band did you ever dream it could last this long?
RH: Hell no. I had no idea where this thing was going and really still don't. I just wake up everyday and hope to do the best I can and now it is 20 years on. It has been quite a ride. I am grateful for the experience and hope the next 20 years are even better.
TO Snob: I've seen you guys perform four times now and you put on consistently killer shows. How do you keep up the energy and passion after all these years?
RH: It is not easy. I think allot of it is that we all truly enjoy performing. That and a high powered cocktail of hard drugs and junk food. I think that the lack of mainstream success has helped keep us hungry and focused on the task. We also feel that we are still coming up with some of our best material. We haven't even come close to running out of great songs and that is the most important driving force.
TO Snob: How are you adjusting to you, and your audience, getting older?
RH: I really don't give it much thought. It is just a number and it is all relative. There are times now when I feel younger than I did at 23 when I was hitting it hard if you know what i mean. We have mellowed a bit, but not in a bad way. More in a fine wine sorta way.
TO Snob: After all these years there must be songs that you're sick and tired of playing. What is your least favorite song to play but the fans keep demanding?
Wow that is a pointed question. I guess "Bad, Bad, Bad" or "Born With A Tail" but I wouldn't say I am sick of them and I am sure I will be playing them for years to come. We are rehearsing a bunch of older stuff now to add to the set. It has been fun to look back at our catalog and re learn some older songs. They feel new again.
TO Snob: You have worked with Steve Earle and Willie Nelson among others. Who else would you love to work with, either as an entire band or on your own?
RH: I would love to work with Paul Westerberg. I think it would be great to go on tour as his band and play all Replacements songs. I would love to jam with Buddy Guy once. I think I could do a much better job that John Mayer kid!!
TO Snob: On the flipside, rock has had some great feuds: Stones vs. Beatles, Oasis vs. Blur, Sonny vs. Cher, if you had your choice who would Rontrose Heathman feud with?
RH: The Supersuckers!! I mean we have been a band for 20 years. The Stones and the Beatles was made up. They loved each other and I think Oasis feuded with Oasis more than Blur.
TO Snob: I'd like to do some quick word association with you: Canada RH: Great!
TO Snob: Captain Sensible RH: Whatever
TO Snob: Encores RH: Shakespeare
TO Snob: Touring RH: Necessary
TO Snob: Get It Together RH: Rules!!
TO Snob: Jackalope RH: Awesome!
TO Snob: I'd like to get you to make some choices for me. It's an exercise I'll call either/or. Feel free to elaborate: TO Snob: Satan or Santa? RH: I'll take Santa but both are made up!
TO Snob: Country or Rock? RH: Rock!! It is where my heart is. A good song is a good song though no matter how it is played.
TO Snob: Beer or Shots? RH: Beer!! Strong northwest IPA! No contest.
TO Snob: Target or Wal-mart? RH: I'll go with Target as Fred Meyer wasn't a option.
TO Snob: Sex, Drugs, or Rock n' Roll? RH: Sex!! Kinda hard to live without. Rock and Roll is right in the top 3. Drugs are not in the top 3.
TO Snob: Hard shell or soft shell? RH: Hard Shell! Especially peanut MnM's (ha ha).
TO Snob: Super or Sucker? RH: Super!! However tootsie pops are a great sucker!
TO Snob: Finally, this has been eating away at me for years: did you guys really blow off the Canadian dates?
Yeah we did once. We couldn't get in the country so we blew it off for a while. We had no choice.
TO Snob: Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us.