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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The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "2 Kinda Love" (1996)

One of the Australian stations had a program called Rage that would go all night, and they would show videos. And then they had a program called Recovery that was on Saturday morning or Sunday morning, I guess. It was more like a talk show, and they would have segments about this and that and they would have bands. So we do the song — and this was not rehearsed — I think something clicked in my head like "fuck it" and I went off. And Judah and Russell just stayed with me. And God bless the Australian Broadcasting Company. It wasn't like anybody came in screaming, "Shut this down," or got yelled at afterward.

What's funny is like two years ago, we had a video for the song "Bag of Bones," directed by a young woman named Lucy Dyson. She's Australian, and she was actually working on the program at the time and was going to do some cooking demonstration. When I was talking to her about making this video, she said, "You know we've sort of met before. . .I was there when you did Recovery and if you watch the clip, at one point you run into me. I'm over by the stove on the kitchen set."

I never really felt like I was the "theremin guy." The only time I ever really felt good about it when there was a film, Theremin, which is a great documentary. And i went to see it at the Cinema Village. . .and went to buy the tickets, and in the lobby they had a big poster for Orange which has a line drawing of the Moog Vanguard that I used to play. That was the one time I felt like, "oh cool!" I think the theremin is a beautiful instrument but maybe sometimes I feel a little sheepish because I'm playing it in a very wrong way. I don't think Leon Theremin would approve.

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