The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Lights The Fuse For Another Charge

Saturday, 13 August 2011

It may have been almost a decade since last the band launched a large-scale tour but, since the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion unveiled its mammoth reissue project last year, they've fallen right back in step with old practices and taken every opportunity to remind the world what they're made of. Most recently, the band embarked on a gale-force, whirlwind tour which has found them touching down on four continents with dates in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy and Japan in just two weeks flat before winding down with shows in Vancouver, Canada, Seattle, WA and Portland, OR between August 16 and 18th. The breakneck pace has proven to be jaw-dropping from the outside, but even Spencer himself he's been amazed by his band's capabilities and gratified by the response JSBX has received from crowds. “I keep thinking that maybe we should start building some more travel days into our tours or something,” chuckles Spencer while on a brief, two-day stop at home in New York before he, drummer Russell Simins and guitarist Judah Bauer have to get on another plane to hit the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan. “I mean, it's 2011 – not ten years ago – and while I can't speak for the other guys in the band on this, I'm certainly conscious of the extra years and can really feel them sometimes [laughing].

“So far the shows have been really great though,” continues the singer. “The crowds have been great, so it's been a good time. The band is really strong so we've been able to stay up until all hours of the night and get on a plane or a bus or in a van and just go to somewhere else, sort of napping when we can, and still be able to perform.”

Such a fine reception would be inspiring for any band but, according to Spencer, the Blues Explosion has been truly invigorated. With the reissues project that the band embarked upon last year having reignited interest in their catalogue, a flurry of discussion has started regarding the possibility of further catalogue releases [including live recordings, “and various bits and pieces and odds and ends” to be tentatively released on Spencer's own Shove! Records imprint –ed] and the shows drawing a tremendous amount of fanfare, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is now right on the cusp of jumping back into the game with both feet as plans for recording new material have begun to firm up for the first time in seven years. “We put out the Jukebox compilation album in 2008 and that really marked when we started to come out of hibernation, but it wasn't until 2010 when we started releasing the reissues on Shout Factory that we really started to play again in earnest,” explains Spencer of the sequence of events which made the possibility of making a new album tangible. “Because we did the reissues last year, we've been playing songs from all of the albums at the shows we've done as well as a couple of covers, but we've also written quite a few new songs since we've been playing, and worked those into our sets. We've been writing a lot – it just sort of happens when we get together.

“When we get together, we have to rehearse and get ready to go out on tour of course, and we end up writing more songs as well,” continues Spencer – beginning to show some very carefully contained flecks of excitement. “Because the writing has come as easy as it has, and because we've all pretty happy with the results so far, we're now looking at recording studios and are making arrangements to begin recording in the Fall. At this point, it's too early to say what a new album would sound like, but we've got a good half dozen songs and probably twice as many as that in various forms and stages of completion kicking around, but because of the way things may change in the studio – as was the case on all of our albums before – everything is still very open. It would be hard to classify them as sounding similar to anything we've done before given where they are right now, but I do think that the whole reissues project and re-examination of the catalogue that we did has played an influential role on some of this new material.”

Dropping a bombshell like the possibility of a new Jon Spencer Blues Explosion album – the band's first in seven years – is huge and would get any fan excited, but the singer is very careful as he says the words. It's almost as though Spencer is being cautious so as not to jinx it; like saying the words might cause it all to not come true, but the fact of the matter is that it all boils down to timing, and the singer is very aware of that. “I'm excited about the possibility of getting to do another Blues Explosion record, I won't deny that,” says Spencer pensively, “but I don't want to get too excited about it and then have it not happen. I mean, each of us is involved in other projects – Heavy Trash is ongoing and Matt Verta-Ray and I have already started writing and recording our fourth album, Judah's work with Cat Power is ongoing and there will be another record for them coming out early next year so he's going to be busy with that soon in addition to being committed to touring and promoting that album and Russell is currently working with a few different people – so we all have responsibilities that we've committed to and it's really just a matter of working out when we can play with the Blues Explosion and working out a recording schedule; when it could happen and how it could work.

“I don't want to get too excited because I'd hate to see my hopes and dreams get dashed. It feels more and more real with every show we play, but I'll wait until we're actually in the studio and working before I just let go with my excitement.”



For an updated list of upcoming shows by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, click here .


The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion reissues are out now. Buy them here on Amazon .

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