If you’re a fan of rock music and you hear the term “supergroup,” your mind most likely immediately jumps to thoughts of Temple of the Dog or Audioslave or Velvet Revolver. Here for you to help mock the rock and roll supergroup is Supagroup, a real band led by Chris and Benji Lee from New Orleans, Louisiana. Supagroup has been going now for roughly a decade and has come up with their very own rock subgenre called kung fu rock and roll. Supagroup’s most recent release was a 2007 record titled Fire For Hire which has been among the band’s most popular releases yet. Currently the band is not doing any extensive touring for the summer aside from a few shows here and there over July and August. Recently we spoke with Supagroup, specifically frontman Chris Lee about all things Supagroup which turned into one of the funniest interviews we’ve ever done. Here’s what Chris had to say…

Supagroup has been a band now for over a decade. Back when you started the band, did you ever think you’d still be doing this so many years later?
Chris: Hell no. I thought we’d have broken up, be washed up, and had a failed reunion try or two by now. I also expected that I’d be making tired old strippers fight for the right to blow me while they rub my bald spot on a reality show. Ahh, dreams, the stuff of youth, I guess.

Although the band is stationed out of New Orleans, you guys grew up in of all places Anchorage, Alaska. What was it like growing up there? Were you exposed to a lot of rock and roll?
Chris: Growing up in Anchorage is like growing up anywhere. High school sucks and you’re always on the verge of a murderous rampage. Mostly because you can’t get laid no matter how many wine coolers you bring to a slumber party. Of course, there were differences: having to fist fight a grizzly bear everyday for my lunch box, dog sledding to the Ice Mall to hang out and drink blubber shakes, and the occasional Donner Pass situation on road trips to Fairbanks (I’m sorry we have to eat Earl to survive, but he is delicious!). As far as being exposed to rock and roll – the only rock I remember coming up there was Sammy Hagar. To this day, my mind mostly consists of a Red Rocker box set.

How did you come up with the name Supagroup? Is it at all meant to make fun of all the rock and roll so called super groups out there?
Chris: Yes, the idea of a supergroup is pretty funny to me and Benji. Early on, I would introduce everyone in the band as a dead rock star. “And on bass, Cliff Burton!” We used that name for a while until we saw somebody else had it in Chicago. We changed it to Supagroup as that is how our Chinese father pronounced it. He pronounced it something like this. “You know what? You guys are a bunch of pipe dreamers! You go to college and get a job like normal people. You not Supagroup. More like Stupergroup! Or POOPERGROUP! HHHHAAAAAAHAHHAAAAAAHAHAA!” (maniacal laughter)

As I mentioned earlier, Supagroup originates from New Orleans which unfortunately also happens to be where Hurricane Katrina wreaked the most havoc back in 2005. Were you in New Orleans at this time? What was it like living through this disaster?
Chris: We were in NOLA when it was coming and luckily, we all got out of there before it hit. We didn’t get back for nearly two months. When we did we had a lot of house fixing to do. While I would not wish the experience on anyone, I am glad to have gone through it. A thing like that puts your priorities in order. Number one is “Family and Friends.” Number two, surprisingly, is “Boiled Crawfish.”

Now not too long ago you made a trip over to Europe and won over a lot of new fans. What are the fans like over in Europe in comparison to here in North America? Who would you say are bigger fans of Supagroup?
Chris: A European’s musical experience seems to go something like this: Music is presented to them, on radio or TV, or some publication or online. Then, they listen to it. Then they decide if they like it. And when it comes to Supagroup, they fucking LOVE it. Seems simple right? Well, more and more here in North America, people are having stuff shoved down their throats. To discover something new that hasn’t been pre-packaged, focus grouped, and mass marketed is very hard. And for the most part, by the time the machine is pushing something, it fucking sucks donkey dicks. I may be wrong, but most people (with the exception of Donkey Fuckers like Simon Cowell, and really, he just likes to see OTHER people getting Donkey Throated) don’t really like big, fat donkey dicks being shoved down their throats. People often ask me questions like, “say Chris, why do you think the recording industry is collapsing? Why doesn’t anyone listen to the radio or watch MTV anymore? Where are all the record stores going?” And I always answer “Donkey Dicks, that’s why.” That being said, we love our fans in North America and Europe equally.

Let’s touch on your last studio record Fire For Hire which was released back in Fall 2007. Now that it’s been out several months, how do you feel about the album and how does it compare to Supagroup’s other CDs?
Chris: It’s pretty good. I still listen to it three times a day. Whereas Rules and Supagroup only get two, maybe two and a half listens each a day. In their entirety. Yes, you may call that absurd, but I call it efficient time management.

Aside from the leaders of the band, Benji and Chris, Supagroup’s lineup has changed quite a bit over the years, although it has remained the same now since your 2005 record Rules. Is this the quintessential Supagroup lineup that we can expect to see for years to come?
Chris: Actually it’s been the same line up since 2003’s Supagroup. I don’t expect it to change again until the aforementioned reunion featuring just Leif and three random hired guns.

Fire For Hire contains a couple of politically influenced songs such as “Bow Down,” a song basically encouraging people to get involved and take action. Has politics always been something the band has been interested in exploring through its music or is this a more recent influence?
Chris: Well, on Supagroup, which was before the war, we have a song called “Bats in the Belfry” because we already knew we were fucked. That song’s about all the robots and US treasury robbers behind George W. I believe I said “it’s a wild eyed money grab and useless to resist, power for the sake of it, and now you’re on their list, stepping out of line will get you two to five, that is if they can find you, that is if you’re still alive”….. yes, I’m a douchebag for quoting myself, but in just a few lines I called secret prisons, Guantanimo Bay, and the amazing amount of money that’s disappeared into the blacked out part of the defense budget. I CALLED IT!! Rules mmmm, I was drunk for two years, so not so much. So, yeah, politics is a hobby. But it just makes me so mad and I don’t want all of our songs to be angry, you know?

What are Supagroup’s touring plans like for the summer and the rest of the year?
Chris: We’ve got a bunch of radio dates this summer (we’ve submitted to the machine) and then we’ll be on proper tours in the fall and winter. Hopefully we’ll get to Europe by next summer’s festival season. We’re in a movie called “College” where we play a band at a big frat party named “Supagroup”. It comes out August 29th, come and check out the method acting.  [ END ]