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

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

Jon Spencer

Jon Spencer performs in London on May 9th, 2014.

Robin Little/Redferns/Getty

For 30 years, rock & roll powder keg Jon Spencer has been a flailing, wailing presence in the American underground: from the transgressive noise clang of Pussy Galore to the high-octane avant-blues of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, from Boss Hog's major label dirt-groove to Heavy Trash's rockabilly rumble. Once again — alongside drummer Russell Simins and guitarist Judah Bauer — his most acclaimed band, the JSBX, is returning with their 10th album, the Gotham-ist Freedom Tower: No Wave Dance Party 2015 (which you can still hear in its entirety before its March 24th release date). We caught up with Spencer to ask about some of his most well-regarded recordings.

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Jon Spencer performs in London on May 9th, 2014.

Robin Little/Redferns/Getty

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, “Do the Get Down” (2015)

I had had the title Dance Party in my head for months, and then one morning it kind of hit me: I don't even think they use the term "Freedom Tower" anymore. They kind of backed away from it. But that seemed to be a very apt title for this record and what it's about. . . I mean, who would have thought there'd be a hole in the ground for how many years was it? That it took that long, it's just shameful. So, the new record turned out to be very New York-centric. A theme emerged and it was something that kind of happened, organically. When I sequenced the album I purposefully went for the songs which worked together on this theme. I lived in New York City for 29 years or something, I've lived here most of my life — and I still don't really feel like "a New Yorker," but at this point, fuck it. I'm gonna claim something.

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