Although it’s been about four years since Acme, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has not spent that time lounging around. Russell Simins, drummer for the seminal indie trio, made sure to point out that they spent the time touring, writing and recording their latest CD, Plastic Fang.
“The thing is that Acme came out and we toured for a year-and-a-half, then we took a year off,” he said. “Then we spent the next six months to a year making the next record. It isn’t as if the record came out and we didn’t do anything for four years.”
Blues Explosion, who started its North American tour yesterday at the Trocadero, has obviously devoted a lot of time to their latest release. While it may have taken what seems to be a bit of time to record, Plastic Fang delivers the gut-rock we’ve all come to know and love. Their signature sound is delegated well throughout the entire album, which according to Simins may have something to do with the fact that they used only one producer.
“I think it sounds like … I mean I think it’s a Blues Explosion album and it’s related to all the others. It’s the first time we used one producer Steve Jordan and that was definitely special and different,” he said.
Prior to Acme, their previous record, the members of Blues Explosion left producing pretty much up to themselves: “On Acme we worked with a number of producers and we kind of got our feet wet as far as working with producers.”
Simins was able to get his feet wet on his own in 2001, touring in support of his solo-effort Public Places. While Blues Explosion is a collaborative effort, and all members write the songs, Places gave Simins the opportunity to work on material that was his creation.
“My other stuff, I work with other people working on ideas I’ve come up with. My stuff we can just start with a program drum loop or live drum loop, add guitar. You know, when I work on my stuff there’s more variation as far as the way stuff is recorded … the way a song is created.”
If you’ve only ever experienced Blues Explosion through their recorded music, then you’re missing out.
“The live performance is very important to us. I guess it’s more spontaneous. It means a lot to us to put on a good show, and I think we put on one of the best shows. An album is like you refine the product a show, anything can happen. You have an audience rapport,” Simins said.
If you didn’t manage to catch them yesterday, make sure to catch them the next time they’re in town. And make sure to pick up a copy of Plastic Fang, for as Simins put it, “It’s the newest one. It’s probably the freshest sounding one. [Plastic Fang is] probably the best sounding one.”
Jeremy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org