Episode 110: Jon Spencer
Jon Spencer is tired of talking about music. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s been talking about it professionally ever since Pussy Galore emerged from the garages of Washington DC 30 years back. Or maybe it’s because he’s knee deep in the press junket for Blues Explosion’s 10th full-length, Freedom Tower No Wave Dance Party 2015. I met the musician at his practice space, a nondescript spot, located in a lower-Manhattan basement down a dank flight of stair a few days after I managed to catch him during the final show of his five boroughs tour. It was an explosion ending at a brewery in Astoria, Queens, which found Spencer unraveling and wearing a giant American flag and hanging from a balcony while performing daring feats on rock and roll. As excited as I am to talk about what I’ve just seen however, the singer really comes alive when the topic of comics arise, as he discusses collaborations with cartoonists like Paul Pope and Tony Millionaire, and his love for the magazine Heavy Metal, whose back page rock writing turned him onto rock and roll oddities like The Residents. Spencer also happily discusses the late night horror films that introduced him to the otherworldly sound of the theremin that has become tentpole feature of the group’s unhinged sound. By the end of the conversation, he pulls out a backpack full of the week’s scores at the nearby comics shop, Forbidden Planet.