Jon Spencer: "I’ve still got the virus!"

Jon Spencer with his Silvertone 1476 (Image credit: In the Red Records)

"You think it’s easy being in a band?” Jon Spencer asks aloud with an overload of attitude on Beetle Boots, a gleefully raucous meta-commentary that, interestingly enough, sits in the middle of the rawk lifer’s first-ever solo album, 2018’s Spencer Sings the Hits. He’s racked up more than enough experience to weigh in on the question, having worked with Eighties noise rock pioneers Pussy Galore, rockabilly renegades Heavy Trash and the equally conventions-twisting Boss Hog and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. But by 2017, the latter three projects had all slowed down significantly, and the guitarist-vocalist found himself without anyone to jam with for the first time in decades. Eventually, he decided he had to forge forward on his own.

“The idea wasn’t to make a solo record; the idea was just to make a record. I was kind of in limbo, didn’t have a band anymore; the Blues Explosion had stopped and Heavy Trash had stopped,” he says over the line from his New York City apartment, explaining that even though Boss Hog released their Brood X in 2017, that band’s part-time status left him without a steady creative outlet.

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.