So now I’m pissed that I gave Jim DeRogatis some online love after he was so unceremoniously ripped apart for a recent diss of Panda Bear’s performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival.
It’s now moved on to some vicious attacks against Jon Spencer, first with barbed tweets and now with another jab of “blackface parody” complete with a full-on repost of a Penthouse article DeRo did on Spencer back in 1997 where he started the whole blackface reference.
In other words, he hasn’t updated his attack thesaurus in over a decade.
To bring up the article-even if it adequately addressed DeRo’s real issues with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion-and to use it as ammunition for his performance during a time that seems like a lifetime away from the band’s heyday is just lazy.
I never viewed the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion as a blues band and I never thought of a guy like Jon Spencer and my tour guide to anything blues related.
Unlike DeRo, who apparently loved Pussy Galore-Spencer’s first foray into music notoriety-a band that I actually had issues with. So I think it’s weird that he can find so much to appreciate with them and so much to attack the Blues Explosion.
I remember Pussy Galore sounding like a pretentious group of spoiled brats who happened to fall on enough good fortunes with their limited musicianship, a stereotype that was reinforced when it was discovered that Spencer didn’t actually come from the dirty mean streets, but the clean confines of suburbia.
That and his almost ridiculously simple attempts to rile and shock his underground comrades seemed so disingenuous that I completely ignored much of their output.
What’s weird is that I loved his next project, Boss Hogg. It retained the same limited musicianship, but it sounded like the real deal. Gone were the jokey PMRC baiting tactics and they were replaced by a sense of just finding a groove and rocking the bajeezus out of it.
It didn’t hurt that it featured a naked picture of his old lady on the cover.
JSBX appeared to be an offshoot of that direction, only with more testosterone. Like I said, not one did I take Spencer’s word that the band was part of the blues or a beacon to lead me to that holy genre.
It was raw. Basic. A common element during the grunge era, for sure, but it sure seems like there isn’t much music that resembles that raw nerve in this age of white world music, Brian Wilson worship, and new wave revival. Spencer sounds out of place in today’s environment, and he sounds like a welcomed bit of nostalgia because of that.
Meanwhile, DeRogatis sounds like a tired relic, a man too exhausted from Pitchfork’s heat to muster the energy to compose any new prose to attack Spencer so he dips into the hard drive to pull up a polarizing article from a soft-porn mag that was long on words, but short on content.
How did Spencer respond? With quick retorts of “fucking asshole” and calling him a “square,” this seemed to please DeRo who immediately linked it on his blog and, once again, reminded us on his Facebook page that ties the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion to some kind of unfounded racial explotation.
According to those in attendance-the real test of worthiness-JSBX was one of the memorable performers of the Pitchfork festival. And while I may have agreed with DeRo on his assessment of Panda Bear’s set and defended his right to dislike it, if watching the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion only prompted him to dig up an old article, then it speaks less of what he thought about the performance and more about some other issues that DeRogatis still has against Jon Spencer personally.
Maybe it’s because he can’t rock a pair of rubber pants like Spencer can.