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, "Flavor Pt. 1 & 2" (Beck, Mario Caldato Jr. and Mike D Remix) (1995)

The remix record was sort of a natural extension of the influence and love of rap and hip-hop. The Beastie Boys were very nice and took us out as a support act for a few weeks. It was the Roots, the Blues Explosion and the Beasties Boys. The Roots had just released their first record, and they had only like a 20-minute slot or something.

I think with all those remixes, we sent the tapes out to people and just tried to encourage everybody to just do whatever they wanted to do. Fuck it up however they wanted to do it. Some of the things I got back I had to do a little extra work to edit. Maybe I overstepped a line there, but it was my record, so fuck 'em! 

When we were working on Orange, Blues Explosion was kind of popular, and we had been courted by a bunch of different labels, and I just wasn't interested at all. I wanted to remain independent. It wasn't like, "Hey yeah, buy us this lobster or fly us out here" because most of the time I was just like, "No thanks." But Boss Hog, Cristina [Martinez, bandmate and wife], she was game. So Boss Hog signed to Geffen, to DGC. When Cristina and I went out to do that deal in Los Angeles, "Loser" may have been a hit and Beck, in all his interviews, or some of them, would talk about how much he loved Pussy Galore. I got his number from somebody from Geffen. I hit him up, he said, yeah sure, I'll call you back in about 30 minutes.

[For the original version], we got a Radio Shack suction-cup microphone, put it up to the phone and called him back and said, "OK, we're just gonna play the song really loud in the control room." Beck freestyled and I think that's his first take. You can hear me at the end of it saying, "Yeah that was great."

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