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Amphetamine Reptile Revisited – Boss Hog

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Boss Hog was formed in 1989, when Pussy Galore, led by Spencer, was still active. However, internal fighting within the band eventually destroyed them and thus Boss Hog went from being a side project of sorts to a full-on band, including Spencer, his wife Christina Martinez and members of fellow bands Unsane and Honeymoon Killers.

Although not as extreme as Spencer’s previous project, Boss Hog were still a fairly noisy rock’n’roll band – at least initially. However, their later work demonstrates cleaner sound and better production (and the band even released an EP “Itchy & Scratchyt”, which contained few remixes for a song of the same name done by the likes of Andy Gill (Gang Of Four)).

As a line-up of Spencer, Martinez, Charlie Ondras (Unsane), Jerry Teel and Kurt Wolf (Pussy Galore), they recorded Drinkin’, Lechin’ and Lyin’ for Amphetamine Reptile in 1989.  Martinez appeared nearly naked on the cover of the album, which eventually became a band’s trademark (she also played naked during the band’s first show at CBGB’s).

Drinkin', Lechin' & Lyin' - 1989

All Music Guide pointed out that “Boss Hog’s debut sounds more like the missing link between Pussy Galore and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion than something new.” Further on, they commented that “The songs here certainly rock hard enough (Big Black’s Steve Albini handled the production duties), but aren’t particularly memorable otherwise. At the time of its release, the six-song EP attracted more attention for the cover art, featuring Martinez clad in black boots and gloves — and nothing else — than for the music.”

In the 90s, band line-up was changing frequently – Pete Shore from Unsane joined the band and they a did tour with Laughing Hyenas in the early 90s. After release of Cold Hands album in 1990 Shore and Teel left the band and Jens Jurgensen joined in as a tour bassist for their European tour. They recorded “Action Box” in 1990, which was followed by a departure of Wolf and an addition of Marcelus Hall (Railroad Jerk) to the line-up.

In 1993, they released “Girl +” EP (produced by Martin Bisi), which became the turning point in their career. It led to a deal with David Geffen Company/DGC.  Fake biography created by DGC mentioned that Jourgensen was a former member of Swans, a rumor that was misreported by many as a fact.

Action Box - 1991

Trouser Press commented on “Action Box” & “Girl+” in the following way – “In terms of pure hedonism, it’d be hard to top Action Box (the non-cheesecake cover aside). Over the course of four songs, Martinez casts the sex act as both demolition derby (“Bunny Fly”) and down-at-the-crossroads soul-swap (“Big Fish,” wherein she and Spencer engage in a sexy crawlin’-blues duet). Girl+ spends the bulk of its time in similarly dusky territory, from the muted-trumpet strut of “Ruby” to the ominously whispered terrorfest “Some Sara.” The consolidation of a tenable lineup helps matters dramatically: of particular note is the bracingly erotic bass playing by Jens Jurgensen, also the post-scum scene’s most noted filmmaker.”

Their self-titled 1995 album once again featured Christina Martinez on the cover, but this time as a cartoon. The band toured Europe in support of the album, after which they decided to take a break – the band appeared in “Joe’s Apartment” movie and Jon and Christina had their first child, whom they named Charlie, in the honor of Unsane/Boss Hog guitarist Charlie Ondras, who died from an overdose in 1992.

S/T - 1995

All Music Guide commented on the band’s self-titled album – “Boss Hog shows that somewhere down the line Spencer and Martinez learned the importance of getting a groove on, and though that groove is rough, noisy, and ill-tempered, you can still dance to it.”

Their next release was 2000 “Whiteout” and featured Mark Boyce on keyboards. There were two different album covers, both of which featured Martinez – on one cover she appeared topless and on the other she was seen wearing white underwear. “Whiteout” became another of their successes, but Boss Hog took an extended break again until 2008, when it was confirmed that in December they will play at “All Tomorrow’s Parties” festival.

Fun Facts

  • “J.D. (Jefferson Davis) Hogg (better known as “Boss” Hogg) is a fictional character featured in the American television series, The Dukes of Hazzard. He was the greedy, unethical commissioner of Hazzard County. Boss Hogg always wore an all-white suit with a white cowboy hat and regularly smoked cigars. The role of Boss Hogg was played by Sorrell Booke, who appeared for many years on radio, stage, and film before finding the role that made him a household name.

His namesake is Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.” (Wikipedia)

  • Christina Martinez appeared completely naked on some of their record covers, which generated a considerable amount of controversy.
  • Their name comes from a slang term used by bikers.
  • Jon and Christina met The Jesus & Mary Chain concert in Washington DC in 1985
  • The band played themselves in 1996 movie “Joe’s Apartment”

  • Jon and Christina named their first child Charlie, in order to honor former bandmate Charlie Ondras (who

was also playing in Unsane)

Band Members:

Charlie Ondras (1965-1992) (Unsane)

Cristina Martinez (Gibson Bros, Pussy Galore)

Hollis Queens

Jens Jurgensen

Jerry Teel (Chrome Cranks, Honeymoon Killers)

Jon Spencer (Gibson Bros., Heavy Trash, Honeymoon Killers, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Pussy Galore, Shithaus)

Discography:

Drinking, Lechin & Lyin’ LP (Amphetamine Reptile Europe, 1989)

Cold Hands LP (Amphetamine Reptile Europe, 1990)

Action Box 2×7 (Amphetamine Reptile Europe, 1991)

Girl+ EP 10″/ CD (Amphetamine Reptile, 1993)

Boss Hog LP / CD (Geffen / DGC, 1995)

I Dig You 12″ (Geffen, 1995)

Porn 4 7″ (Split with Cows) (Amphetamine Reptile, 1995)

Winn Coma maxi-single (1996)

Get It While You Wait (1999)

Whiteout (1999)

Itchy + Scratchy (2000)

Compilation Tracks:

Fix Me” on Crunchouse (Glitterhouse, 1989)

Red Bath” on Dope, Guns ‘N’ Fucking In The Streets Vol.4 / Volumes 4-7 (Amphetamine Reptile, 1990)

Gerard” on Ugly American Overkill (Amphetamine Reptile Europe, 1990)

Action Box Commercial 1 + 2” on Dope, Guns & Fucking Up Your Video Deck, Vol. 2 (Amphetamine Reptile + Atavistic, 1992)

Fire Of Love” on Smells Like Smoked Sausages (Sub Pop, 1992)

Some Sara” on 1993 Sampler (Amphetamine Reptile Europe, 1993)

Hustler” on Dope, Guns And Destroying Your Video Deck, Vol. 3 (Amphetamine Reptile + Atavistic, 1993)

White Sand” on Swag (Geffen, 1995)

Sam” on USA Today (New Musical Express, 1995)

Winn Coma” on Buy Product 2: Brief Encounters (DGC, 1995)

Soultrap” on Swag American Style (Geffen, 1996)

What The Fuck” on Lords Of The Boards (Ariola, 1997)

I’m Not Like Everybody Else” on Suburbia Soundtrack (Geffen, 1997)

Whiteout” on A Campingflight To Lowlands Paradise 2000 (PIAS Benelux, 2000)

“Stereolight” on New Voices Vol. 34 (Rolling Stone Germany, 2000)

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