Jon Spencer of the Blues Explosion: My Life in 10 Songs

From Pussy Galore to 'Freedom Tower,' the combustible blues-punker looks back

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Pussy Galore, "HC Rebellion" (1985)

Pussy Galore was a band I started with my friend Julie Cafritz. We left, dropped out of Brown. I guess we're still technically on leave? We weren't really playing hardcore, but we were definitely influenced by the scene. Hardcore was my real university. How I learned about putting on a show, putting out a record, booking your own show.

We did the first two records at Barrett Jones' home studio, the Laundry Room, in the living room of a suburban house in Virginia. That first Pussy Galore EP, Feel Good About Your Body, we'd never been in a studio before, didn't know anything about it. We jumped into the deep end and we tried to swim.

That song, Julie's reading from letters section of Maximumrockandroll. Most letters in Maximumrockandroll, they were just these people complaining so bitterly about "the scene." How things weren't being done correctly or what wasn't right about it: It's kind of ludicrous because this is basically an offshoot of punk-rock which was, to me, this free, anarchic thing. . .I think Pussy Galore was definitely trying to knock things down a peg. How did it become so self-important? But also, Pussy Galore was also anti- kind of everything. We were very, very angry and also sort of confused people. I think we were also kicking against the local scene, the Dischord scene. We make a half-hearted jab against them on the artwork on the single. We didn't know those people, it was sort of a bratty move. But that was all part of what we were doing. I now have a great respect for the Dischord label.