Former Supersuckers guitarist Ron “Rontrose” Heathman has died

The Supersuckers during Voodoo Music Experience 2003 at City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
(Image credit: Frank Mullen/WireImage)

Former Supersuckers electric guitar player Ron “Rontrose” Heathman, who was a part of the band’s classic lineup, has died. His passing was confirmed by the Supersuckers on Facebook, writing, “Rest in peace brother Ron. We’ll post more once we process this.”

No cause of death has been reported as yet.

Heathman was a member of the original lineup alongside bassist Eddie Spaghetti, guitarist Dan "Thunder" Bolton, drummer Dan Siegal and singer Eric Martin. 

Posted by supersuckers on 

The band formed as a straightforward punk unit, the Black Supersuckers in 1988 in Tucson, Arizona, and the next year they relocated to Seattle, with Spaghetti taking over on vocals. They recorded a series of early singles, including offbeat punk covers of songs like Madonna’s Burnin’ Up and the Flamin Groovies’ Second Cousin, and eventually landed a deal with Sub Pop Records.

Their debut Sub Pop full-length, The Smoke of Hell, was released in 1992. A second record, La Mano Cornuda, followed two years later.

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The band then went on haitus, and when they reformed for 2014’s Get the Hell, Heathman had been replaced by guitarist “Metal” Marty Chandler.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!”

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.