“Music is my main thing…”
“Even though I don’t come from a musical family, there was always music going on at the house,” says the Artist Formerly Known as Michael Granda in describing his upbringing in St. Louis, Missouri. “Because my folks weren’t tuned into the Grand Ol’ Opry, I couldn’t tell you the difference between Tex Ritter and Hank Snow. But I could tell you the difference between Count Basie and Benny Goodman. As my musical tastes evolved I could tell you the difference between Hendrix and Clapton. This also shows in my music, which isn’t as rooted in country as it is in rock and roll, big bands and anything with a swing to it. My affinity for country music came later as I entered adulthood.”
A multi-instrumentalist, Supe and rock and roll entered adolescence at the same time-Supe describes himself as a ‘sponge’ in exploring the varied sounds of famed Gaslight Square in St. Louis-and out of the exposure to the vibrant music culture came a mind and soul dedicated to a wide variety of sounds and styles.
At the end of the 1960s, Supe aimed his car and his life in a southwesterly direction from his St. Louis home, and a couple hundred miles on I-44 later arrived in Springfield, Missouri, his home for the next twenty years. There he found a common vibe among a coterie of musicians who in 1971 formed the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. The group’s self-titled debut on A&M Records was produced by Glyn Johns (The Who, Rolling Stones) and spawned a Top 30 hit in “If You Want to Get to Heaven.” The Daredevils were conspicuously eclectic, the group bursting at the seams with invention: five of the members sang lead and contributed songs, Supe among them. The Dares were rootsy and adventurous, capable of digging into the naked heart of a lyric about spiritual renewal as they were in surreally getting lowdown on “Chicken Train.”
The clucking and squawking you hear on “Chicken Train,” the second most requested song in the Daredevils’ catalog, have come out of Supe’s mouth on record and in concert to the delight of fans ever since.
The Daredevils recorded their follow up, It’ll Shine When It Shines, on a farm outside Springfield, with Johns again at the helm. The results were luminous, as nature’s music literally blended with the singers and players of instruments. The album produced a #1 song in “Jackie Blue,” still a staple of classic rock radio. The albums came annually in succession, the Dares exploring country-rock bohemia with a grace and verve that still attract fans new and old.
By the mid-1980s, Supe had regular solo work on the burners and cooking: The Dog People, represented on two albums (The Dog People and Profit Man: A Rock Opera), and Supe & the Sandwiches. The Sandwiches performed more widely and released Greatest Hits Volume III in 1988 and Meat the Sandwiches two years later.
Meanwhile, Supe has maintained a lasting spot and an ever-changing wardrobe in The Garbonzos, a merry-making troupe that performs psychedelic polkas at venues ranging from nightclubs to parades to riverbanks. In 1998 The Garbonzos at last burned onto compact disc the grooves that have been put to service for countless shows, including a supporting role for Tiny Tim, when they issued Eat Our Beans (Missouri Mule). “Producing the disc was a labor of love of the absurd,” explains Supe.
Supe’s latest solo outfit is Supe & the Sheetrockers, who debuted in Nashville on April 1, 1998.
“The Sheetrockers were assembled to play this avalanche of raucous songs I can’t seem to stop writing,” says Supe. “With their ‘drywall of sound,’ I can cop a groove big enough for everyone to climb into.”
“…but not my only thing.”
“To hell with a bunch of gold records on the wall. The greatest thrill of my life was when I delivered my own children. I realize it was a pretty primitive thing to do, but at the time, that’s where my heart and soul resided. Then, after they were born, I built all their furniture. They’re the brightest jewels in my crown.” -Supe du Jour