Jon Spencer Blues Explosion “Plastic Fang” 2002. Matador Records. Limited edition double LP (with four bonus tracks). Halloween music, JSBX style: funky, raucous, weird punk blues: “She Said” (villagers with pitchforks, silver bullets and werewolves), “Killer Wolf” (monsters feeling no pain, teenage heads with rotten brains), “Midnight Creep” (an ass-shaker with one of my favorite JSBX lines “Right now, go ahead baby, I gonna stick my head in gravy”), “Down in the Beast,” and “Like a Bat.” Also plenty of get-down blues funk with “Money Rock’N’Roll,” “Hold On” (with signature “That’s right ladies and gentlemen, that’s Blues Explosion all the way from New York City!”) and “Shakin’ Rock’n’Roll Tonight.”
We saw Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the Modjeska Theater in Milwaukee when they toured for Plastic Fang in May 2002. Fortunately I was writing for the Shepherd Express at that time – and reviewed the show – because I would not have remembered the details some 15 years later. The clip is pictured below but I will highlight a few of the more memorable moments here: Spencer played the theremin with his tongue (ooof! this has me recalling the classic line from the song “Can’t Stop” on Now I Got Worry “Throw their hands in the air and kiss my ass ‘cause your girlfriend still loves me”) and drummer Russell Simins getting pelted by ice, storming off stage for a few minutes but fortunately returning. Dub Narcotic Sound System was supposed to open for JSBX (they were late because of the clichéd band van breakdown). The band joined JSBX on stage and toward the end of the show, their singer Calvin Johnson pulled a throng of audience members onto the stage. The scene devolved into anarchy, culminating in Modjeska’s security pulling the plug on the concert.
We have Plastic Fang on both vinyl and CD. The vinyl has four bonus tracks: “Like a Bat,” “Tore Up & Broke,” “Then Again I Will” and “Do Ya Wanna Get It?” and both copies have some pretty amazing, vibrantly colored artwork pictured in a multi-page booklet. (I thought for some reason that when we first got this back in 2002 that it also came with some actual plastic fangs, but I might be confusing that with Vault-boy’s obsession with collecting vampire teeth a few years ago.)