The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Later with Jools Holland, London, UK in April 2002*.
*Broadcast 26 April 2002
Sweet ‘N’ Sour (with Jools Holland)
The following is an excerpt from ‘Later… with Jools Holland: 30 Years of Music and Mayhem’ (William Collins, 15 Sept. 2022):
“Jools has always had a sideline in garage rock. After all, he came of age with punk and his first session was providing a piano part on Wayne County and the Electric Chairs’ ‘Fuck Off’. When the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion came to Later… in 2002 the trio had already been going over a decade, but they retained the chaotic but celebratory take on primal rock ‘n’ roll which had first got their juices flowing in 1991. Frontman Spencer had come out of the underground East Coast punk scene and bands with names like Shithaus and Pussy Galore. Daniel Miller’s Mute Records had just released their ninth studio album, Plastic Fang, produced by Steve Jordan, now the Stones’ drummer who had streamlined their sound without filing off any rough edges.
Jon strode out into the studio dressed in black leathers like the reincarnation of Jim Morrison, boasting the kind of sideburns that a werewolf might envy, determined to shake up the joint and impress fellow guests Patti Smith, Angélique Kidjo, Gomez and Tweet. Jools sat in on ‘Sweet ‘n’ Sour’, the penultimate song in the show and an invocation to the off-the-hook joys of rock ‘n’ roll, guitars distorting on overdrive. The Blues Explosion came screaming out of the blocks with Jools pounding away on the piano on the other side of the studio, giving it his very best Jerry Lee Lewis. A vertical array of metal trusses and a barrage of flashing lights surrounded Spencer while he prowled in the semi-darkness of his own demonic disco. Jools remains the English gentleman in a sensible sports jacket but he too is keen to get gone, twinkling away on his trebly solo while Jon spurs him along, ‘Aw, come on, Jools, get it!’ Jon isn’t the kind of showman who’s going to stay caged in his tidy corner, and before you know it, he’s taken his mike off the stand, yelled ‘Rock ‘n’ roll!’ and dropped to his knees before legging it across the floor to bellow in Jools’ ear. Suddenly he’s up on the piano itself. Jools’ camera gazes up at Jon as he towers towards the studio roof and then he drops to his knees again, his guitar slung round his back, yelling out ‘Rock ‘n’ roll!’ like a call to arms before leaping high off the piano to the floor and stumbling back to the band just as ‘Sweet ‘n’ Sour’ lurches to a halt. The audience roars their approval as Jon then sashays back over to Jools and raises his arm aloft like a prize fighter. He’s rocked the joint and Jools has played his part.” – Mark Cooper