Musical provocateur Jon Spencer chose the perfect handle for his new project when it was formed back in 1991 — Blues Explosion — and it continues to accurately reflect the visceral sound and fury emanating from his incendiary trio almost a quarter century later.
Spencer and his Blues Rock commandos — guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins — don’t merely dismantle genres with the thought of reassembling them in roughly the same order, give or take a few parts. They blow the Blues (and Rock and Pop and Hip Hop and anything in the kill radius) to shitty-bitty pieces with guitar-based grenade launchers and then recreate a brand-new sound from the few recognizable shards left in the wake of their assault.
Back in the mid-to-late ’80s, Spencer fronted influential Garage/Noise Rock outfit Pussy Galore, with a philosophical ear toward deconstructing (and perhaps destroying) the institution of Rock. While moonlighting with Jerry Teel’s Honeymoon Killers, Spencer met Simins, and the pair began jamming beyond the Killers’ rehearsal time. Simins invited his friend Bauer to join them and the Blues Explosion was born.
Where Spencer was bent on the destruction of Rock with Pussy Galore, he intended the Blues Explosion as a temple to revere the genre, albeit in its most debased, twisted and honest form. For the next couple of decades, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has operated under its own unique rules of order (the trio left Caroline Records after the label contractually reneged on gifting the band with a Jerry Lee Lewis box set and stayed with Matador Records after receiving a requested Stax collection), recording with legends like R.L. Burnside and Rufus Thomas, as well as contemporary icons like Money Mark and Beck.
The Blues Explosion’s numerous releases have been among the most scorchingly inventive and influential releases of the modern Rock age. Next year will be The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s 25th anniversary. And its recently released new studio album, Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015, may well be the proof that the threesome is just getting warmed up.