We’re genuinely saddened to learn of the death of long-time Supersuckers guitarist Ron Heathman. We met Ron several times in the early 90s and he was a breath of fresh air – funny, imaginative and a supremely talented musician.
Originally named The Black Supersuckers in 1988, in Tucson, Arizona, they relocated to Seattle the following year, just as the Sub Pop powderkeg of grunge had been lit. Like many punk bands, they recorded 7 inch singles for anyone who asked, before finally ‘settling down’ with the aforementioned Sub Pop in 1992. Now simply The Supersuckers, they retained their tried and tested sound, lurid artwork and keen sense of humour throughout, from
Their debut Sub Pop full-length, The Smoke of Hell, was released in 1992 followed La Mano Cornuda two years later, cementing their position as perhaps the most straight-ahead punk act of the band’s roster at that time.
While Heathman was a part of the band’s classic era, which saw them mix punk with more traditional rock ‘n’ roll, he left in 1995 and was replaced by Rick Sims, just before the band began to garner some mainstream attention with their third album, The Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers.
Heathman returned in time for 1997’s Must’ve Been High, on which the Supersuckers took a hard turn toward their now characteristic cowpunk sound, and remained with them for the next decade, appearing on 1999’s The Evil Powers of Rock ’n’ Roll, 2003’s Motherfuckers Be Trippin’, 2006’s Paid and 2008’s Get It Together.
The band then went on haitus, and when they reformed for 2014’s Get the Hell, Heathman had been replaced by guitarist “Metal” Marty Chandler.
Around the time of Get It Together, Heathman was asked by Reverend Guitars for any advice he had for up-and-coming players.
“Be yourself, for better or worse,” he said. “Find your own sound. Borrow from the greats but make sure you find your own voice on the instrument and play from the gut. Phrasing is everything, perfection is boring!”
Additional reporting courtesy of Guitar World