Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - History


Originally from Hanover, New Hampshire, Jon Spencer attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island where he was part of the noise rock band Shithaus before moving to Washington, D.C. where he fronted band Pussy Galore who would quickly relocate to New York. Spencer played and recorded with Gibson Bros., Boss Hog and The Honeymoon Killers prior to the formation of the Blues Explosion.

Judah Bauer from Appleton, Wisconsin had been in an early line-up of The Spitters, and with Russell Simins, from Queens, New York, recorded as part of Crowbar Massage.

It was with Jerry Teel’s Honeymoon Killers that Bauer, Simins and Spencer would all perform and record and from which they would go on to form the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

"Russell and I would rehearse with Honeymoon Killers and the rehearsal would be over and Russell and I would keep playing, eventually inviting Simins' friend Bauer to join in."

The sound of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion was informed by previous bands with influence taken from working with the Gibson Bros. which was already evident in the last Pussy Galore album. "That final Pussy Galore album exuded a very Gibson Brothers-bent version of what was to come with Spencer’s next, more successful venture the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion."

"...after five years of Pussy Galore I was able to connect to rock ’n’ roll in some way that I wasn’t able to before," he remembers those formative days. "I was pissed off about a lot of much shitty rock ’n’ roll that angered me, and Pussy Galore was kicking against that. With the Blues Explosion, there was some of that, but now I was into celebrating it." - Jon Spencer

They were signed to the large independent label Matador Records between 1993 and 2002 in the US, Crypt Records between 1992 and 1994 in Germany and Mute Records between 1996 and 2005 in the UK although they have released material on a number of different labels including the 2010 reissues on Shout Factory in the US and Shove Records in the UK.

They are one of the select notable groups to cultivate a punk blues sound in the 1990s. Their sound became key in the emergence of later blues and punk inspired rock bands such as the Oblivians and, later in the decade, bands like The White Stripes, Soledad Brothers and The Immortal Lee County Killers.

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