Fri, Jul 16, 2004 - Page 17 News List

Russel Simmins of JSBX speaks out

By Adam Ulfers  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

As a testament to the high profile bands that will be at the Ho-Hai-Yan festival, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion will be included in the lineup. A renowned post-modern blues trio out of New York, the band is touring Asia to promote their new album Damage. Jon was unfortunately unavailable for comment, but drummer Russell Simins, shown at right in the photo above, was generous enough to sacrifice 10 minutes to offer a few enlightening insights into the band.

Taipei Times: Is this your first tour of Asia?

Russel Simmons: No. We've been to Japan before. We always have a good time there. We're going to promote our new album Damage. This is the first trip to Taiwan.

TT: Do you speak any Chinese and can you use chopsticks?

RS: Um ... Chinese? Do you speak Chinese? Who speaks Chinese anyway?

TT: The band is on tour for the new album Damage. When will it be released and what can we expect when it does?

RS: It comes out at the beginning of September. It's a pretty good album. It takes our music to a new level. It covers a lot of ground that blues has to cover -- I'd say from our roots to where we are now, and some. We've mixed in a lot of other artists like DJ Shadow, David Holmes and Dan the Automator.

TT: Some say that your band's creative peak was in the 1994 and 1996 albums Orange and Now I Got Worry. Would you agree?

RS: Damage has a lot incorporated in Orange and Now I Got Worry going on. I think we are in a good spot right now. Our stuff is reaching new levels.

TT: Do you have a favorite album?

RS: Damage. Its contemporary. It represents where we are right now.

TT: Jon was a Calvin Klein model was he not? Why not you?

RS: Um, can you hold on a second? Yeah he was in a few things. I don't know, I'm not the modeling type. I'm too tall. What kind of interview is this? Don't you have any more important questions?

TT: You say that your sound is progressing. Where has it been and where is it going?

RS: Um. It is what it is. We spent the last two years in my own studio in the city among other places, now we will be touring for the next year for the album.

TT: What is the most memorable venue you've played?

RS: We always love going to Japan. But Brixton academy in London was a landmark show. We sold the place out!

TT: The band has been together for 11 years. Are you sick of each other?

RS: No way. We love each other man. We are like brothers. I see our relationships the same as I do life. You roll the rock up the hill to have it roll back down -- you've just got to get it back to the top. Some might say it is an exercise in futility, I see it as the cycle of life.

TT: In a Taipei Times tradition, we'd like to put you to a 60-second interview. Just say the first thing that comes to mind when I say a word.

Thunder -- Johnny

Lesbian -- Cock

Noodles -- Cock

Chopsticks -- Fork

Kerry/Edwards -- One hot chick

Taiwan Strait -- Things are getting static now, I can't really hear you

Iraqi sovereignty -- Complicated

Grass -- Cheech and Chong

Whiskey -- Tom Waits

Plastic Fang -- Damage

Giambi -- Trade 'im

Knicks -- 31 years of agony

Fans -- Love 'em

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