Jon Spencer – Pitchfork Music Festival – Jon Spencer Interview (PRESS, US)

19 July 2010
Jon Spencer - Pitchfork Music Festival - Jon Spencer Interview (PRESS, US)
Interview with Jon Spencer from the Pitchfork Music Festival on 17 July 2010.
Pitchfork: Why vinyl pants?

Jon Spencer: They’re rubberized denim, actually.

Pitchfork: Yeah? Okay. ‘Cause I couldn’t even stand out there in the sun.

JS: Well, I figured people are paying a lot of money. I know if I had to be standing out in the sun I’d wanna see somebody dressed up and trying hard, too. So I’m just trying to do my job.

Pitchfork: Can you tell me about these reissues that are coming out? I guess, why are these coming out now?

JS: ‘Cause it’s all out of print and they’re good records, you know? I’m proud of these records and I think now more than ever there’s a lot of shitty music out there. It’s the same as when we were making the records when the band started. I think people need to hear the real deal. It’s been a hell of a project, you know, it’s taken a lot of time. Getting all this extra material together and creating these new booklets…

Pitchfork: What’s it like going through all of this stuff? Is it surprising to you?

JS: At first I really didn’t wanna do it. I’d rather be doing something new honestly. And it has been a lot of work, so I guess I was being a little bit lazy, but as I got into it– and I’m a perfectionist– I became totally absorbed with the task. It’s not like a lawyer or some record label just patching this stuff together. It’s the same as when these records came out in the first place: I’m doing it myself and making sure that it sounds good and looks good, and I take pride in these releases.

Pitchfork: I’m amazed how differently this sounds now than it did in the 90s. I mean, I’m old enough that I remember when it came out originally and it just sounds necessary now.

JS: There’s a lot of crappy music out there. Me, I believe in punk rock and independence and creativity and there’s a lot of music that’s just kind of bad 70s rock. And that’s what I grew up hating, and it’s still around there. I think people could be more clever and use more of their grey matter. But there’s also some good music out there, so I’m not trying to be a curmudgeon.

Pitchfork: Now, what does this line-up allow you to do that maybe Heavy Trash wouldn’t?

JS: Totally different things, you know. With Heavy Trash, as a singer, I can do very different things. There’s much more room to actually sing and tell stories. This, Blues Explosion, is more about pure energy and rhythm. They’re just very different bands.

Pitchfork: So will any new music come out of these reissues or shows that you all are playing?

JS: Not yet, but we’re just trying to– we don’t wanna get up there onstage and suck. We’re trying to honor the band and we’re trying to do right by the fans. We’ve always believed passionately about doing the best job we could. And, you know, entertainment and showmanship. We’ve always played with stuff, as far as arrangements and things, but as far as brand new songs, we’ve yet to get there. But we’re not ruling it out. On these reissues, there’s a lot of new stuff that nobody’s ever heard before.

Pitchfork: I saw you a couple of months ago in Brooklyn. It seemed like a very different crowd– a wide strata of people in Brooklyn and a very young crowd here. Do you feel like these reissues are reaching a younger generation?

JS: I have no idea, man. I think this is just the festival crowd, I don’t know. I’m a little bit out of it on the stage. I’m just “Arrgh” and “MMM!” you know. So I come off stage and the other guys are saying, “Oh, did you see that person?” or “Did you see what happened with the fight?” and I’m just like, “What?” I’m just too wrapped up in the performance. –Stephen M. Deusner “