Jon Spencer rules. Eye Weekly recently asked the Blues Explosion man if he regrets wearing “rubber pants” in the 100-degree Chicago heat at the Pitchfork Festival. His response his classic Spencer:
No! I don’t know what the fuck is up with these squares today. I’m in a rock ‘n’ roll band and I was there to play rock ‘n’ roll. I didn’t go there to work on my tan or play hacky-sack. Jesus Christ, what’s this world coming to? Everybody gets so upset about me trying to look good! I’m getting to be an old man, but I’ve got a job, and I’m going to do it the best I can. Fuck these squares.
Awesome. Spencer also points ramps up his feud with Chicago critic Jim DeRogatis (“this fucking asshole”), and I gotta say: I tend to get a kick out of DeRo’s vitriol but in this case the dude is way off. To simply dismiss the Blues Explosion as “blackface parody” and “making fun of black music” is to virtually ignore the entire history of rock and roll. Spencer’s oversized self-aggrandizement has certainly always been tongue-in-cheek, but to question his sincere love for the foundation of this music is preposterous and shameful.
Jon Spencer fucking is rock and roll, man! How can you fail to see that? Dang!
Every year that I’ve gone to the Fork Fest, I’ve been surprised how many people actually show up for it. Rationally, I know it sells out and that there are 18,000 people there, but I forget how many bodies that really is until they’re surrounding me. It’s a lot of people.
And it seems like most of them are really into the music. Of course, there is also a good percentage of folks who are just there for the experience. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I would guess that the majority really gets into the performances, packing themselves densely into the fields, singing along, and paying attention to the music. There are moments when it feels like a community, and that’s pretty exciting in these days of extreme cultural fragmentation.
Billboard has the news that Shout Factory will be resurrecting the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion with a best-of compilation and an expanded reissue series starting next spring. “There isn’t going to be tons and tons of unreleased stuff,” Spencer says. “We’re trying to keep them to single discs.” There’s even hope for a reunion:
The Blues Explosion, meanwhile, remains “very much in deep hiatus,” though it did play a show during the summer in New York City. But Spencer predicts “there might be some more activity” in the wake of the reissues, and he doesn’t rule out the possibility of another new album. “We’re all up for it,” he says. “We’ve thought about it, talked about it, just haven’t done it.”
Meanwhile, Spencer is keeping busy with Heavy Trash. I had wondered why the JSBX stuff on Matador had gone out of print. I’ve got Orange on vinyl, but when I recently tried pick up a digital copy (CD or MP3), I was shocked that I couldn’t find it for sale anywhere. They must’ve had an exclusive licensing deal that’s expired. Anyway, let the 90s revival begin!