The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Alternative Press: Interview / Acme [Review] (PRESS, US)

November 1998 Alternative Press

These article originally appeared in Alternative Press but was later included in a press release sent out by Matador Records to promote The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion release Acme. Also sent out with several other photocopied articles/reviews and a 10″ x 8″ black and white band photograph.

“Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

New York’s pre-eminent trash rockers got their groove on and retain the human element.

Though it was pasted together from over six months worth of session tape, in collaboration with about a dozen hip-hop and techno producers, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s fifth full-length feels more like a live act than do most bands’ live acts. Restraint is the key here, as Spencer, guitarist Judah Bauer (who plays a lot more bass on Acme than he did in the past), and especially drummer Russell Simins hone in on the sort of ’60s-singles-factor soul power that punk was too proudly undisciplined to imitate.

Acme marks JSBX’s return to steady rhythms-more in the vein of 1994’s Orange than it is of 1996’s jolting Now I Got Worry. But Now, instead of hitting and quitting, Simins’ jungle beats come in gleeful conflict with Spencer’s uniquely unrefined melodic sense and proceed to work it out. Songs like “Magical Colors” and “Do Ya Wanna Get Heavy?” plunge into new groove streams without need of a bridge – they’re like haiku’s with riffs in the place of words. Those tracks, along with “Blue Green Olga” and “Torture,” are smooth enough that Spencer’s characteristic raggedness at first seems absent. Turns out he’s channelled his raw energy into Acme’s undercurrent, from which it gradually spurts, squalling, like air from a stretched-necked balloon. (Matador) Adam Heimlich


Jon Spencer On Why The Blues Is Still No. 1.

What was different about the recording of Acme, as opposed to the sessions for your previous albums?

For me, it was a life change, I became a father about a year ago; that was a big influence on me. As far as the other guys – for Judah, I think there was a big influence from country and bluegrass, (especially) a guitarist name Clarence White. Russell, I think, was really influenced by Crystal Meth.

The drug?
It’s a drug?

Did all of Acme’s collaborations go smoothly, or was there static? Alec Empire and [the Automator] Dan Nakamura worked together on the song “Attack.” Judah and Russell described it as a real battle. They were doing things simultaneously, and the volume was ear-splitting and neither of them would pause to five the other a chance to check out what the other had done. They were really sort of battling across the mixing desk. That sounded kinda exciting, but I missed it.

Are there any records you’ve been bangin’ this summer?

Listening to?
Oh, I honestly haven’t bought a record in a long time. I have a lot of records that I bought during the last bunch of touring, but I’ve yet to make my way through all those. It’s not like it’s a hugh amount, but I swear to God I’ve gotta listen to those records before I buy any more.

– Adam Heimlich.”