|S&M magazine featuring a Boss Hog live review, album review and interview with Cristina Martinez. This was packaged with a compilation album including an interview track.|
Recovering from the shock of not having the angry in-ya-face one chord power grunting you love so much and have come to expect, you realize we have an older, matured band here. Not quite pipe and slipper yet as proved with the likes of ‘Ski Bunny’, but a band more content with life, a continuation from their funky Girl Positive 10″, they’re making love rather than fucking. Memorable whistleable bitchin’ tunes more loveable than their noisy brashy predecessors.
|TJ’S, NEWPORT 31/10/95:|
| Boss Hog: TJ’s, Newport 31/10/95
4.30pm and at TJ’s babysitting the Boss Hog gig until one of Cheap Sweaty Fun could turn up. This is the thing I hated most (along with fly posting in Winter) about putting gigs on, the waiting around.
It’s 5.30pm when Hollis Queens, the skinny Boss Hog drummer shuffles through the door. I have seen a decent photo of her yet, always a fuzzy blur in the background of band shots as with all drummers. She wasn’t wearing make-up, looking tired, anaemic and had bags under her eyes blacker than mine. The phone had been ringing constantly with various enquires. I handed her a piece of paper with some names on it and said that these people (record label and agents) wanted to ring back. She grunted a syllable (or cleared her through, I couldn’t decide which) and traipsed off. The remainder of Boss Hog trudge through with corresponding downtrodden happy to be here deportment.
Cristina Martinez – the singer, devoid too of make-up and with just-got-out-of-bed hair is clad in the most unflattering full length black skirt, ankle boots and a leather overcoat. But, she still looks good.
Jon Spencer looks good without even trying. He has good hair, he’s slim, no beer belly, handsome mush and can look cool in shitty old jeans and a wrangler – BASTARD!
He seems as miserable as he did when he last paid a visit, confusing seeing as the lovely Cristina (a.k.a. Mrs Jon Spencer, that’s right she’s his wife) is keeping him company. Being distanced from her long spells, and having to snuggle up to Judah Bauer and Russell Simins at night I suspected probably accounted for his prior demeanour. If I was Jon Spencer I wouldn’t be barking ‘Blues Explosion!’ instead you’d be accosted with the cry of ‘COCK A DOODLE DOO!’, the biggest constant beaming smile and a big fuck off constant stalk on to match. But, I’m not him – BUGGER!
Jon Jurgensen is the bassist and slowest moving, comatose, member of the band. Whereas the rest of the band look unhappy, Jens is beyond that. He has a tearful gaze, he possesses the entire Joy Division back catalogue and he knows the Samaritans telephone number off by heart. The happiest people of all by far in this throng are the keyboard player, the soundman, and the road manager. This has to be the most miserable fucking band I have ever met. You know that shite saying ‘Cheer up, it may never happen!’, well with Boss Hog, what it was, it just did. I’m sitting on the bar as Jon walks past, I strike up conversation by asking if they’ve got any T-shirts, then ask if he recollects our last meeting (I did an awkward interview with him and gave him a present of a John Spencer and The Louts single which he loved – he collects records by other Jon Spencers), he remembers. I have more presents for him (I had to butter him up, not in the Marlon Brando sense mind you!). I pulled out a copy of FRUG! (issue eleven), which had the interview in and a smart live photo of him on the cover, he’d seen this before but didn’t have a copy, also, a CD by John B. Spencer’s Parlour Games.
“AND THEN THERE’S THIS…” I reveal a copy of S&M 001, and start talking fast. “EVEN THO’ YOU SAID YOU DIDN’T WANT TO CONTRIBUTE A SONG TO THE ALBUM, I USED THE SPOKEN WORD INTRO TO YOUR SET, THERE’S NO MUSIC ON THERE AT ALL…”
“How many did you get pressed?”
“Only a 1000”
I explain quickly the idea of the album, and that it’s to help promote local bands etc.
“Can I have one of these?”
He doesn’t seem too displeased and Dave Hardacre relaxes his finger from the trigger of his camera, no shot of Jon punching me out then (I’m sure I heard Dave mutter ‘Damn’ under his breath).
Unprompted he starts making conversation asking about the structural changes to the club, I’m slightly taken aback by this, that he’s showing interest in something and that he’s using sentences that don’t consist of just one word, he is human after all then, but we’re interrupted by yet another phone call.
The sound check takes a while (don’t they all!). Cristina stood, bottle of beer in one hand, cig in the other. Can’t hear her and the sound ain’t too hot either. Bollocks, depressed band and shit sound. Before heading off to the pub I ask Cristina if she’d be OK for an interview later on and explain that I’d done Jon before so I wanted to do her this time (oo-er misses!). En route to the Ivy Bush me and Emma B have the misfortune to bump into Beddies (Cowboy Killers) returning from his daughter’s Hallow’een party (from where he was probably forcibly ejected), he’s had a head start in the inebriation race and we don’t find his endless Eric Morecambe impersonation with pumpkin shaped glasses funny.
On Thursday the 26th of October I officially released S&M 001. I had Cargo lined for the distribution deal, ‘cos they did such a good job on the Cowboy Killers CD me and Beddies put out (only 150 left kids!).
Vital, the company formerly known as Revolver are probably the UK’s largest distributors and are doing the TJ’s and FRUG! labels. I was told of their interest in doing my label, probably a good idea I thought if one distribution company deals with all the Newport labels, plus Cargo would still be up for the export deal. I tried twice to get through to a Geraint Jones on the 30th, the receptionist answering told me that he wouldn’t speak to someone like me (a nobody!) and I’d have to go through someone else first. I corrected her with the fact that he requested to speak to me and was put on hold for ages but ‘he was away from his desk’. Jesus is this really the company I want to handle my record? I can’t get to speak to anyone.
Anyway, back over at TJ’s, it was mentioned that Russell from Vital was here, oh good, I’d rather chat face to face than over the phone and perhaps I can get this sorted now. He’s pointed out to me, I grab an album and go over to him. ‘Russell from Vital, yeah?, Can I have a quiet word with you?’. He give same daggers and replies ‘In a minute!’ in a really pissy manner. Well fuck me, sorry for interrupting you sir, you arrogant four-eyed ginger wanker! Needless to say he doesn’t get back to me. Are these really the people I want to be dealing with?
The next day I manage to get though to Geraint Jones and have a difficult conversation about what it really is I’m selling, I send him a copy to clear up any queries and the following morning I get a timid (way too) early call from him. He played side one but had trouble keeping up with the track listing, perhaps it’s only gonna sell in Newport, perhaps Cargo best do it after all, it’s more their cup of tea… but if it does sell OK we’d be interested in doing the next one or any offshoots. I see, so let Cargo do all the work on this one and if it takes off then you’d be interested? I don’t think so. I ring Cargo up, they’re are all gagging over my release (ooh er!) (well, Simon’s more interested in what Andrea from the Buds is up to, but we won’t go into that). I have no trouble getting through to them, they’re showing enthusiasm and they understand perfectly the concept of an ‘album that comes with a magazine’.
Back to the gig. I’m down the front of a 250 plus attendance for when Boss Hog appear. Jens, Hollis and the keyboard player make their entrance wearing Lone Ranger masks followed by Jon and finally Cristina. Wow! black knee length leather boots, fish-nets, mini-skirt and mask, she’s pandering to my perversions!
The sound I’m relieved to say has improved greatly from the sound check, the stage is a bit cramped and I get a couple of shots from the front right of the stage while juggling some punters back with my free arm. In the first song some fat specky bloke with a Polaroid right in front of Cristina has second thoughts about his position and exits across Jon’s compact playing space only to receive Mr Spencer’s toe up his arse. It’s into the second song that I move to centre front ‘cos it’s getting a little rowdy and the people helping out down the front are having a hard time. I’m in a fucking excellent position for snaps, Jon just to my left and Cristina directly to my right. I go to roll off some more photies from my prime position, but my camera’s not clicking on, I look down for a closer inspection OH SHIT! It was only a 24 exposure. Where’s my other film I brought it along? It’s in my case under the bar. DOH! DOH! DOH! STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! I could cry, there’s no way I’m gonna be able to leave and get it.
I scan the set list and am a little disappointed to see stuff from the latest album and the previous 10″ Girl Positive, nothing off the first album and only Gerard off Cold Hands. Cristina retains a wide smile for the entire set, evidence that she’s really enjoying this, I might have glanced a smile from Hollis but Jon is totally transformed when on stage, he’s charged up and comes to life, he was born to be an entertainer, I couldn’t imagine him doing anything else, showing us he even has a sense of humour when introducing the keyboard player as the Anal Intruder, they look like they’re actually having fun. Jens, well… Jens still looks suicidally tearful, he’s just out of reach for me to kick, to see if he’ll start crying. The set over, Jon’s unplugged and ready to leave only Cristina’s having too much of a good time and insists they continue a little longer, letting us witness the particularly sweet sight of her mopping Jon’s sweaty brow with loving affection.
Next door in the dressing room I’m tired and soaked with beer and other people’s sweat, Jon’s concerned that the crowd isn’t dispersing ‘They’re just standing there!’ it’s gone one and he hasn’t intended doing an encore, ‘Fuck ’em’ I selfishly exclaim, I don’t wanna go back out there, ‘Well tell ’em to put some music on or something’. I’m on my way to the PA to do just that when they decide to return. You bastards, I’m fucked. The same fat specky bloke who decided to was too rough earlier, walks straight across the stage, interrupts Cristina as she’s about to start and announces to her that ‘I need to go to the toilet’, well everyone stop! Forest Gump here needs to go for a wee. The mummy’s boy receives many unwelcomed backside aimed boots on route to find relief. The encore was rewarding for including my fave Dandelion. I’ve got the interview to do now. I’m a bit apprehensive, I’m not in a particularly good mood, I’ve been drinkin’ on an empty stomach and a little squiffy and as much as I like interviewing people I admire I fucking detest making conversation with strangers, I find it incredibly uncomfortable (that’s probably why I don’t like going to the barbers – Yes I have got a day off, no I haven’t been anywhere nice on holiday, just shut up and cut my fuckin hair so I can piss off out of here will you).
Undecided, I stall for time. Jon’s busy putting way his guitar as I approach with a box full of albums and cheekily ask “Hey, Jon, do you wanna autograph some of these albums for me?” ‘I don’t think so’ was the expected response.
I grab my recording gear and nervously make my way over to Cristina who’s sat amongst various Boss Hoggers and crew. She’s been drinkin’, had a good time and appears more relaxed and cheerful than before.
|CRISTINA MARTINEZ INTERVIEW 31/10/95:|
“Hey Cristina, are you still up for that interview?”
“Can we go somewhere more private for it?”
“Oh, are we shy? Shy boy. Shy boy. He’s a shy boy” she taunts me.
Well interviews are an intimate thing. I get flustered, I don’t like doing them with an audience and some of the questions are a little risqué and I want them to be out of earshot of Jon especially.
“Is this your magazine?”
“What, the pervy one? Yeah…”
“Is that your birthday? 23rd of February 67”
“Er, Yeah…” I respond cautiously, expecting an embarrassing knob piercing question
“That’s my birthday as well”
“No way! wait there!” Wow, what a coincidence! I’m overcome with excitement on discovery of this common ground we share and frantically plug my gear in and start.
That was one of my questions. I was born on the exact same day as you.
You’re a piesces then?
That’s correct. Would you think me something else?
That was gonna be one of my first questions.
Really? Why would you want to know that? Why the fuck would you want to know that?
Not what your star sign is but…
How old I am? I’m the exact same age as you.
That’s weird. I’ve got this thing that if you know someone’s age, and if they’re older than me and more successful, well, perhaps I’ve got a couple more years to make something of myself. But if they’re about five years younger…
No, we’re old fucks now. Yes I thought that was quite a coincidence.
Where were you born?
Oh go on then stuck that one in. You do the interview, go on.
Where were you born?
Where I born, Where was I born?
Where I born! Are you nervous?
I am! I am! A boring question. Why did you leave Pussy Galore?
I didn’t leave, I was kicked out
Yes, I was kicked out by Jon Spencer
That’s a fact
And so you decided to start up your own band up?
Er, there was a little something in-between happened called The Honeymoon Killers and also Judah did. So it’s a little incestuous thing going on in New York.
So you wasn’t going out with Jon at that time then?
Oh yeah, I was.
Oh, he’s cruel isn’t he? That’s not very nice.
Er, y’know it’s…
How old is Jon then?
(laughs) Jon is thirty, Jon was born on February 5th 1965.
Is that Aquarius?
Yes it is. A bad match for a Pisces I might add.
Is it? I can’t remember, I think everything is a bad match for Pisces.
No, no, no, Cancer & Scorpio. Scorpio’s the best. Good sex with Scorpios.
All my previous boyfriends were Cancers.
I godda find a Scorpio.
That’s right Scorpio women are evil…
I think my last Ex was a Scorpio. Everyone said it was a bad mix.
Well bet you had good sex didn’t ya?
See! That’s the key between Scorpios & Pisces
Yeah sex, but everything else was shit!
Yeah, but what else matters?
Er… Yeah. Is it a pain in the arse being on tour with your husband or is it nice?
It’s mostly nice.
One thing I was gonna open this interview with was have Boss Hog got a sense of humour?
What do you think?
On stage I thought yeah, but when you all turned up I thought this is the most miserable fucking band I’ve ever met in my life.
Well, we’re all miserable lots but we have a good sense of humour.
I interviewed Jon before…
I know, I read it.
…And it was all one word answers. Give us a break Jon “Yeah, No, I dunno”…
Until you gave him a gift. Did you bring me a gift?
(A golden opportunity for a cheap joke has arisen. I could say “Yes, it’s in my pants. You’ve got to tap and unwrap it for it’s my magic lucky willie. Give it a rub and it will bring you nought but luck” It only works for me and good looking women unfortunately and Richard Jackson of Novocaine’s Brasso in hand badgering polishing offers are futile).
I didn’t. I didn’t know what you was into. You tell me what you’re into and I’ll arrange a gift for next time.
I like cheese.
(Bingo! she’ll definitely love my magic lucky willie then!) Caerphilly, Welsh cheese next time.
I also like Tom Jones, could you bring me Tom Jones?
Can I get all romantic now, ‘cos Pisceans are old romantics aren’t they?
They are? That’s right I’m the same as you. You don’t need to ask me any questions, you could just answer them all yourself.
When were you married then?
Legally it was in 1991. June 8th.
Was it a traditional wedding?
No, that was the… We were married twice, the first wedding was a…
Once wasn’t enough?
No, it wasn’t enough. I like weddings. I’d like to get married again. My next wedding is gonna be a Jewish wedding although… neither of us is Jewish.
Was it a celebrity wedding?
The first one was a bit of a star fest yes. It was a legal wedding in upstate New York, and it was at Chris Lombardi’s house who runs Matador, or owns Matador basically, and then a year later we got married in a big Catholic ceremony in Spain were my mother’s from.
New album on Geffen. Does that mean you can give up your day job? ‘Cos you work on a magazine. Are you the editor or something?
I wish I were the editor. I was merely the production manager.
Which magazine was it now?
I worked for several. I started working for Us magazine initially, and I worked for Esquire in the States and then Rolling Stone and Alor and Details…
Oh Details! I’ve had one of those. Lots of bloody adverts.
Yeah, it’s sorta like Loaded.
So have you given up your day job?
Are there any bands that aren’t signed to Geffen?
Are there any bands that aren’t signed to Geffen?
Everyone’s on Geffen!
Geffen is a good label so it’s er, y’know understandable… You’re asking these questions and not waiting until an answer!
I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
You’re very nervous aren’t you? relax, it’s OK, remember we were both born on the same day.
I don’t mean to be ignorant. I’m paying attention, I’m just trying to keep ahead of myself (I’m trying to jiggle the list of questions I’ve got round the answers I’m receiving, it’s the first time I’ve interviewed a woman which makes me doubly nervous plus I’m trying really hard not to look down her loosely falling top at her partly exposed breasts. I’m trying really hard not to, but as all men know, it could be your granny with the plunging neck and no matter where you try to avert your eyes, they will always (subconsciously?) come to rest on the cleavage – The other one is when you’re sitting across from a short skirted seated woman with a possible lucky glimpse of panties).
I’m taking this away from you (she snatches the list of questions from my hand, oh my God! I’m lost without it, don’t read them especially the ‘do you wanna recreate the first album cover short but we’ll have to improvise with a pair of wellies and some marigolds question)
Are you happy with the Latest album?
No I hate it (laughs). Of course I am!
(She has a nice laugh)…It’s a bit of a different direction innit?
No, I worked hard on that record. I’m very proud of it.
When I first bought it I thought “Oh I dunno” ‘cos it’s not like the first two albums which are quite heavy… (I seize my moment and grab my treasured questions back).
Give em back!
No! No! No!
…But it is a real grower. Ski Bunny is probably the best ever track you’ve done…
…Next to Dandelion – which I’m glad you did in the encore. I’ve been playing that in the past couple of weeks, that goes down really well at the weekend, no one knows that they fuck it is, but they all jump around to it…
That’s good. What’s the question? (laughs)
Doh! Can’t remember, er…, why the new direction?
The new direction is because er, people evolve and change and play new music and it’s not…
The obvious answer!
Yeah, well, it’s a stupid question, what do you want. (laughs)
Er, you seem to have this fetish about bunnies, Sugar Bunny, Bunny Fly, Ski Bunny…
I do, you’re right
Take for example the track Ski Bunny, what’s that…
It’s a suicide song
So it isn’t like about a rabbit that’s quite partial to winter sports then?
No Ski Bunny is a euphemism for y’know er, a…, kind of… loose woman
Er, y’know a vacant loose woman. Someone who hangs around the lounge apres ski. So it’s like, anyway, so it’s a song about… just self hatred basically.
The album, you know I’m gonna ask this, there’s no photo of you on the font.
Ah, there is, it’s an illustration of a photo.
And you know I’m gonna ask this one as well. Why did you pose naked for the first album? And I bet you’re sick of this question.
It’s a frequently asked question…
I bet it is
…and I’ve got a really good answer for it.
Yeah, fuck off! next question!
(laughs) No, I believe that the album cover should reflect the content of the material within the record…
Which it does
…which it does, and it has in every case, and that’s always been important to me, and the first record was a real sort of raw exposure of myself, and a real changing point, and it was coming out for me.
I believe you got some stick off your friends for doing it?
I did. A lot of people took it the wrong way and thought it was some sort of sexploitation-like cheap thrills, sort of shock value thing on my part, and that was not the case. It was disappointing.
Would you class yourself as a feminist?
I mean most impressions you see of feminists is short hair, dungarees…
I don’t think feminism…yeah, but that’s a misconception. I don’t think feminism…
Well you can be a feminist and still be feminine…
Let me answer damn it, God! (laughs)
That’s another of my habits, go on, sorry, smack me out.
I don’t think that feminism means separatism which I think is what a lot of people have, y’know, come to believe that feminism means and that’s not what it means. I don’t think feminism is devoid of sexuality or that it means that er, I hate men, that’s not the case, y’know. I think feminism means equality for all people, y’know, regardless of their sex, or age, colour, race, y’know, I think… I believe in equality and judging an individual on their merit rather than any of the… y’know, other things.
What was Jon’s reaction to it? He must be a very understanding husband.
Y’know, I don’t really remember. I think Jon’s always been er, very understanding and supportive of anything that I want to do that has to do with self expression. I don’t think it was like “Yeah, that’s great” or “No, you can’t do that”. Jon’s always been proud of me and what I do, and vice versa.
This is a cheesy question. So is…
I like the cheesy questions.
So is this the stuff you wear about the house?
I like to be naked in the house all day long
…”What do you want for dinner Jon?”
I do, it’s true. This is a good question. I love to be naked at home, I love to lounge about my couches naked, and in heels preferably.
That’s not the answer I was expecting!
What did you want me to say?
“Fuck Off!” So the next Boss Hog album cover, is that Jon’s turn to be naked?
I wanted everyone to be naked on the record cover, and me to be clothed, but I didn’t think everyone was up for it, so…
I can’t understand why, y’know?
I think I’m going back to being naked because I was really sorely disappointed in this one that I wasn’t in retrospect.
If you’ve got it, falunt it. Do you get pissed off with the label that you’re best looking couple in rock ‘n’ roll?
People say that sometimes, yeah. Yeah, I think Jon’s good looking, so I believe that half of it.
You’ve at home watching TV with Jon. Will he just blurt out “Blues Explosion!! Blues Explosion!!” for no apparent reason like he does on his record. An’ you’ll be going “Quit that Jon!”. So he doesn’t do that home then?
Fuck off, no he doesn’t do that
I dunno, that was a stupid question…
It wasn’t a question even! It was just a comment
Alright, erm, I can’t think of anything else… (I quickly scan through my questions)
You’ve got to stop relying on those pieces of paper and have a conversation
Here’s a hypothetical question. Right say, like, y’know Jon was out on tour with the Blues Explosion and…
That never happens!
…I just happened to be like passing through New York, could I pop round for coffee?
Are you inviting yourself over to my house? Are you gonna bring a piece of paper? No, that’s Jon’s one rule is that I’m not allowed to talk to anybody when he’s away.
Just like to say good gig tonight…
I seen you, must be two or three years ago at the Marquee, you did a one off…
…with the original line up, that is in my top three of all time favourite gigs I’ve ever been to. Brilliant sound, really loud…
Oh wow, oh great, that’s so cool.
That was fucking awesome.
Thank you, that’s the gift you brought me was that, that was very nice.
One last thing, when you turned up, you looked really miserable, but you looked like you were enjoying yourself on stage.
I do, I have a good time when we play, it was a little hard tonight because the floor was slippery and I wasn’t able to move as much as I usually do. but it was OK, it was nice. I’d heard mixed reviews about this club and so I was happy to see that it wasn’t as bad as the rumours.
Who’ve you heard reviews from then?
Erm…, from… er Jon (laughs)
I do a couple of photos and get Cristina’s P.O. Box number so I can send a copy of the next S&M.I go to nab my pen back, after she’s used it and she grabs it back telling me it’s hers. “Are you sure? Uniball micro?” I look in my pocket and find mine. Same pens as well as birthdays – Spooky! Unfortunately it appears that she’s obviously very happily married and I’m just gonna have to cross her off my shortlist of potential future wives. Ah well…Next!