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Boss Hog | White Out | interview | Jon Spencer | Cristina Martinez | rock | Lollipop

Boss Hog

White Out (In the Red)
An Interview with Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez
by Jon Sarre

Never underestimate the power of the othersmallworldyness. Case in point, cool rock chick Viva Las Vegas blows into town after a lengthy EuroVaca (via New York, where das Blues Explosion's Russell Simins' apartment reportedly turned into a whirlin' boozy funhouse, complete with, natch, real vomit, same goes for a couplea cabs and the Holiday Bar, where they sometimes give ya as many free drinks as ya can handle, providin' yer not too discriminatin'). Thing is, she's stuck for a feature story on somekinda hip pop culture (couture?) combo for the skin mag she writes for. Her promised Mike D excluso had fallen thru, cuz the knuckle draggin' New York Knickerbockers hadta play some stupid basketball game and the erstwhile Beastie somehow felt his attendance was mandatory (hell, somebody's gotta high-five wee Spike Lee when Ewing makes a free-throw, right?). So, anyway, the scene at my house is onea frenzied desperation with lotsa Parisian-bought footwear strewn about and Miss Viva frantically lookin' thru the pap's for "somekinda fuckin' story."

PayDirt (pork?) was finally hit in the form of Boss Hog. Nah, not the Sorrell Booth TV character (cuz he's dead), but, rather, the infamous Jon Spencer/Cristina Martinez vehicle, which just so happened to be rollin' thru these parts. A quick call to their management company supposedly rendered an interview deal signed, sealed and delivered and yers truly was drafted to "sit in" as rock'n'roll consultant, cuz someone needed to dot the clefs'n' work the brawny loonytunes side o' the story as Viv's angle usually pertains to sexual footgear and "what color panties are you wearing and how long have you been wearing them?"

Day of show hit and we dutifully showed 'round four at the venue for load-in and (the way these things usually work), nobody's fuckin' there 'cept Spencer, who walked by, too cool for pre-school (probably cuz he's lookin' to place his and Cristina's lil' spawn, Charlie, in one come fall-time). No help from the "event" staff (also par for the course), so, we, lil' agitated, returned, empty-handed, to mi casa. Here's where the othersmallworldyness kicks in. We get a phone call from a former Geffen A&R rep (she signed Boss Hog, in fact, which may explain the her "ex" status) turned yoga-instructor, who we ran into a couple nites before at this toney restaurant. She's all apologetic on the band's behalf, cuz, y'know, management in NYC sorta forgot to tell 'em about this scheduled chat session, but, as it turns out, Boss Hog is barbequin' at her house. She graciously invites us rockscum to her lil' backyard soiree so we can shoot the breeze with Cristina'n'Jon o'er hot charcoal!

Interview saved, we grabbed a bottle and hopped into the car, stoppin' only for beer (and a couple pesky red lites). Upon our arrival, we immediately spied Cristina, clad in clingy black, runnin' her hand all over... uh, turned out she was only marinatin' some pork loin. We go out back and there's Spencer, chasin' their rugrat 'round the yard, admonishin' the lad not to fill up on tortilla chips (jeez, rockstars!). Drummer Hollis Queens is spearin' shrimp or tossin' salad or somethin' (so domestic, these Boss Hoggers). Me and Viva joined bassist Jens Jergensen, keyboard plinker Mark Boyce, In the Red CEO Larry Hardy (he put out the new Boss Hog disc, White Out), the Countdowns' Brian Waters and tech dude Rob or Sean or, sorry, I forget yer name, at the patio table. Viva cracked open the CrownRoyal and the rest of us cracked beers and... uh... this is really weird!

Mr. Larry Hardy's a charmin' motherfucker and he knows me, well, my name, anyhow, somehow he thinks my jumbled run-on sentences help sell his records (hah! I know I, for one, never bought anything on my recommendation). We talked a while 'bout acquaintances cum rock(demi)stars like the Country Teasers, the Workdogs, Andre Williams'n' the Cheater Slicks. Boyce got up and started flippin' pork chunks. Spencer'n'Hollis kept tabs on Charlie Spencetinez (Martiencer?) (who's jumpin' 'round in these scaled-down Jon tightpants, pegged even. Turns out, accordin' to Cristina, they buy the kid his clothes in Paris'n'Japan, cuz they don't do the baggypants Tommy Hellfinger shit o'er there), cuz the toddler's runnin' rampant with a stick, threatenin' to smack anyone and everyone in his path (kid's got ambition!). Spencer hisself's kinda standoffish, usin' the 21st century Mike Brady routine to avoid conversation.

For example:
Me: Hey Jon, y'ever gonna re-release [the cassette-only version -- lonnngggg outta print -- of Pussy Galore's] Exile on Main Street?
Jon: No.
Me: How come?
Jon: Cuz we did it and that's it.
Me: Hey Jon, ya really ever eat "raw macaroni" [like he says on Boss Hog's "I Dig You" -- this was a side question to a Cristina reference to the same song]?
Jon: Narrrrarggghhhhh!
Me: Uh... okay.

Cristina, on the other hand, is real nice, 'cept she kept stickin' her hands in... the marinatin' pork, in fact, she stayed in the kitchen for most of the evening. Every once in a while she'd come over and let Viva know that she hadn't forgotten about the interview, it was just that the cookin' thing was takin' longer than she had expected (cuz good food takes time, unless you get really high quality microwavable cuisine, but I'm sure we can all agree that fresh grub is the way to go and that's obviously the way everyone in Boss Hog feels... no budget gourmet fare for this band, no sir!). The food was top-notch, too, pork'n'shrimp'n'rice pilaf'n'salad, much better than the time we had candy and hard-boiled eggs with Zen Guerrilla (but that was Easter Sunday and we had mimosas, too). During dinner, Cristina sidled up with us and had a smoke and asked me my name ( as "Hello my name is" badges had not been provided).

Me: Jon.
Cristina: Oh, Jon.
Me: Yeah, same spelling [I motion towards that other Jon,
y'know, Spencer]
Cristina: What's yer last name?
Me: [hopin' she hadn't seen tear sheets of their last record] Sarre.
Cristina: S-A-A-R?
Viva: No, S-A-R-R-E. Same thing, but the French spelling.
Cristina: You look French, whatever that's supposed to mean.

Soon after, the BBQ broke up cuz it was showtime, so Cristina assigned rides to the place. Jens and Mark Boyce rode with us and all the way there Viva pumped 'em for Marce Hall (Railroad Jerk/White Hassle/Dylan impersonator/all-time Viva Las Vegas crush target who she's never met, but I've met 'em and he called me a "moron") info. Thankfully, everyone arrived safely. The show was fuckin' great, y'see. Still think White Out, the record, is kinda lackin', but livewise, Boss Hog smokes. They're kinda like a Vegas revue (but they don't re-do "Nothing to Lose," the set opener at the very end as a "reprise," that'd make it certifiably Vegas) crossed with a punk rock approximation of a gospel tent-revival. Hardy thought their matchin' red shirts'n'ties made 'em look like Portuguese fascists, to which Boyce (privately) gave a stiff arm salute. After like an hour plus 'n' two encores, them shirts were sweated thru and everyone retired to the dressin' room where the long put-off interview took place.

Miss Las Vegas ran the show with her repertoire of "What's the sexiest..." questions, but Cristina answered 'em all, even the non-sequitur ones Viva threw in. Jon and Larry regaled a member of the opening band, the Need, with some Danzig stories (she publishes a fanzine called, unsurprisingly, "The Day I Met Glen Danzig" and Jon related this second-hand yarn where the ex-Misfit was spotted bustin' little boys t-shirts with his muskles at a K-Mart in NewfuckingJersey). I think I got off about two-point-two-five minutes of Q&A, but, by then the story was already writ (and you just read it, chumpski), but just for the record, Jon'n'Cristina's little un likes Spencer's sis's band better than either the Blues Explosion or Boss Hog and the answer to the "what color panties are you wearing" question was "Hmmm, oops, I forgot to put any on tonite."


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