Judah Bauer stands stage right and plays guitar with The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and fronts blues band 20 Miles. He is currently on the road promoting the new JSBX album Plastic Fang (Matador) and 20 Miles album Keep It Coming… (Fat Possum/Epitaph).
Sleep. I seem to have forgotten how. Fond memories.
Mind-altering work of art:
I just saw the new Surrealists (sic?) exhibit in Paris. I almost gave up guitar. Good painting is better than good guitar (just my opinion). My ego was crushed. Practice couldn’t get you that good.
Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Some nameless bar bands in Midwest when I was young — they were bad but inspiring ‘cuz it showed what I was gonna do for a living. Or Tom Waits’ last NYC show; I never seen people bust out crying. I felt like I was watching Louie Armstrong in his heyday. Got to sit behind Keith, man!
What has been your career high and low?
Drugs circa Orange; the last show I played.
What should everyone shut up about?
I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
I played one for Tibet and New Yorkers against Violence. I’ll play if my friends ask me to, it’s not my favourite thing.
What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
Today it would be always trying to evolve, and worry, respectively.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
When I think of Canada I think:
Canada has always been good to us — caught on earlier than the U.S. Bands have been well received up there since the ‘50s so it’s always been a good place to play. The best comedians.
What is your vital daily ritual?
How do you spoil yourself?
Don’t answer the phone, don’t leave the house. It’s like that movie Repulsion.
What was your most memorable day job?
Cemetary caretaker-gravedigger. It was a good metaphor and a good job.
If I wasn’t playing music I would be:
Getting more sleep. Lathe operator, drywall contractor, etc.
What is your greatest fear?
Life, balding, jury duty, day jobs.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
To be as talented as my heroes (Dali, Eggleston, RL Burnside) — it seems like a superpower.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
I don’t know where to start, I’ll have to pass on this. Watch Elvis perform “Hound Dog” on the Ed Sullivan show — it’ll help you understand.
Strangest brush with celebrity:
When I met with John Lee Hooker. I’ve been into him since I was 15, my favourite musician. It was unreal to hang out and play some guitar. He was the coolest and he had the softest hands I ever felt (when I shook his hand) I only bring it up ‘cuz I think it has to do with how he plays — very loose. And his sense of timing.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Rimbaud. Whatever he wanted. I’m sure those dinner parties with Verlaine were legendary.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
She’s into it!