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A brief chat with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion


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Jon Spencer has been leading his Blues Explosion since 1991, putting out close to a dozen studio albums. The most recent is Freedom Tower, and the band will be promoting it at the Bluebird Theater in May so we spoke to Spencer.J

Yellow Scene: While we were listening to the new record, Freedom Tower, it occurred to us that you’ve played in so many bands like Pussy Galore and Boss Hogg – when do you know during the writing process that a song is for the Blues Explosion?

Jon Spencer: Well, I don’t write the songs by myself. I like to write with other people. With the Blues Explosion, we all write songs together. We play, and that’s how the songs start and where they come from. Lyrically, that’s my bag but we all write together, so that doesn’t really come up where I think, ‘Which band is this song for?’ I used to do it more when I was younger but definitely Freedom Tower we wrote together.

YS: How do you feel the band has evolved with this record?

JS: I don’t know. It’s certainly different from Meat + Bone. This one is sharp and with a more-focussed sound. Tighter. There was an interim step between this record and the last one – there was a whole recording session, almost a whole other album that we had written and just set aside. It didn’t feel right, or wasn’t ready yet. I guess that’s how we grew, or got ready, or got to this point.

YS: Do you like playing Colorado?

JS: Yeah, we’ve had nice shows there in the past. We wouldn’t go there if we didn’t enjoy it – it’s not easy to get to.

YS: What can we expect from the set?

JS: The focus will be on the new songs, but we’ll mix it up and be hitting things from the entire catalog. We’re always trying to keep it loose and open. We never use a set-list. If somebody calls out for something, I usually try to accommodate it. Other than that, we try to play hard and tight, and put on an exciting show.

YS: When the tour’s over, what’s next?

JS: More tours. It just goes for the next nine or ten months. We’re doing a few festivals, and we’re probably going to Australia and Japan, then all over Europe.

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion plays with We Are Hex at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 at the Bluebird Theater; 3317 E. Colfax Ave., Denver; 303-377-1666; $22-$25.

Author

Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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