Most times when a band takes a short hiatus to focus on other activities and then returns the results usually aren't pretty, but in the case of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, their return to the stage in 2008, after a three year lay off, and subsequent return to record after an almost 8 year gap, signaled the continuation of the work they began in the 1990's and continued up until the start of the new millennium.
They needed to get back to laying down some of the gnarliest, garage rock influenced blues punk that the world has seen. It's music that is filled with blood, sweat and a heavy amount of distortion. It's the best of the past decades primitive rock filtered through the band's over the top take on these more, shall we say, degenerate genres.
Granted, some people were skeptical, but after getting some shows under their belt, the old magic was back and the band, which also features Judah Bauer on guitar and Russell Simins on drums, was firing on all cylinders. For Spencer, who is mild-mannered and polite in interviews, getting back into the game was easier than you think. "It's a switch that gets turned on. You just get your mind to that spot. The hitting of the first note just transports you," he said. When they played those first few shows back in 2008, the plan was to see how they went and go from there. There was no grand plan. But those shows led to more shows and eventually they got the itch to record another album. The result of their return to the studio was last year's "Meat & Bone", which signals a fine return to form for the band.
"In a way, it's like another first record. It stands on its own, but it also stands with the records in our discography. It was so good to get back to this. There is a power and purpose to this recording," said Spencer. "Meat & Bone" eschews some of the more experimental tendencies of their past few records and returns back to the dirty rock n roll the band was originally known for producing. Spencer's vocals and over the top personality are in fine form, while Bauer adds some nice slashing guitar work, bolstered by random explosions of fuzz, and Simins beats his kit into submission with his clipped, funky beats. It doesn't sound like a band returning to the studio after an eight year layoff. In addition, the band released an awesome promo video for the lead off track "Black Mold". It's a beautifully shot and gruesome homage to old school trashy exploitation movies. It's a combination of the band's low-brow meets high-brow aesthetic. Spencer explained that the video was the idea of the director, Toon Aerts, who is a friend of the band. It was all his concept. They were very happy how it turned out, with Spencer admitting he is a fan of the types of movies that the video mimics.
For the immediate future, the band plans to play more shows and see how it goes. They have no new studio time booked and they are just going to play it by ear. But regardless of how things go, their motivation for playing this type of music has stayed the same. "Even though, things have changed, the main purpose is to play rock n roll and keep this type of music alive. We are huge fans of the type of music we play and that is what motivates us as a garage rock band. We are consumed by it and want to do right by our heroes, which include such people as Link Wray, The Stooges, the Velvet Underground and Public Enemy," said Spencer.
The Outer Space and Manic Productions Presents:The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion / Shockwave Riderz / Lord FowlWednesday, July 17, 2013Spaceland Ballroom295 Treadwell StreetHamden, CT, 065148pm - All Ages - $12 advance/$15 day of show