I met Michael Granda, known to the world as “Supe du Jour,” in 1990 while playing around 2:30 a.m. at Bruce’s Tavern. Supe, bassist for and a founding member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils (celebrating 40 years as a band in 2011), had a beer tent gig for the duration of the Illinois State Fair and one night after his show made the rounds of town bars.
We hit it off and the next year during OMD’s fair stay connected to finish a cynical Supe composition called, “Yuppie Blues” (I got scratches on my Gucci shoes…). From then on we hooked up whenever he played the area (I remember a fun night at the Venice Café in St. Louis where another of Supe’s groups, the Garbanzos, opened for Tiny Tim and once in Decatur when the Ozarks sonically battled in concert with a concurrent tractor pull at the Macon County Fair).
Through the years I spent several nights on the pullout couch at Supe’s place after he moved to Nashville, Tenn., from Springfield, Mo., in 1991. He’s the first person I met with gold records, those indicating large units of professional recordings sold, hanging on the walls in his house. He’s had a song recorded by Chet Atkins, been played on the Dr. Demento radio show, written hundreds of humorous songs and jammed with the shining lights of the music business.
“Life’s been good. Every time I put on a guitar I feel like I’m nine years old again. I’m really looking forward to coming up there on Saturday and playing with a band,” said Supe during a recent conversation. “I’ve been doing a lot of Supe Songs solo gigs lately plus working on putting the book out.”
Oh yeah, over the last few years, our intrepid artist wrote his memoirs of nearly 40 years in the music business and then set out to sell the tome as well. After dealing incessantly with “the book people,” as he calls them, Supe is “ready to get back to music after getting the book out of my system.” Sales are steady and satisfying, but more than anything the book captures the life of a working musician in the last half of the 20th century, preserving the anecdotes and tales for other generations to ponder. (He’s at Recycled Records from 2 to 4 p.m. Sat. signing and selling, It Shined - The Saga of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.)
Anyone in any business for 40 years would notice changes and the one most obvious to our hero is the same life-altering one for many in the 21st century.
“The Internet is huge and it’s good and bad. I can sell a song like, ‘You Ever Seen a Hog Eat a Snake’ to a guy in Czechoslovakia in 30 seconds, which is great, but he can also steal ‘Pasta Man’ in 20 seconds,” waxed Supe. “The newest recording technology is fantastic too. I’m not a Luddite. I don’t disregard the technology, but I want to use it as a tool, not a crutch.”
Currently the diehard, lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan is in the process of promoting his newest silly single, “I Married a Cubs Fan” with a video shoot in St. Louis the week before his Springfield show. Why write all these funny, goofy songs Supe, why not one about the worries of the world?
“I don’t like to hear songs complaining about something. Somebody has to keep the Spike Jones and Homer and Jethro stuff alive,” he explains. “I grew up on the Three Stooges and Marx Brothers, ‘Purple People Eater’ and ‘Alley Oop.’ Later I walked right by the Moody Blues albums and went straight for Frank Zappa. I was that way as a kid and still am, as a big kid now. I appreciate the serious stuff, but it just ain’t me.”
Contact Tom Irwin at firstname.lastname@example.org