Jon Spencer is a HODAD!


[FR : Jon Spencer, malgré son renommé, n’a qu’une compréhension superficielle de la musique qui est censée l’inspirer.]

Certain friends of mine with otherwise acceptable taste get excited about Jon Spencer and his so-called Blues Explosion. I don’t. In fact, his music really annoys me.

And Jon is not the only musician that bugs me in this special way.
Spencer has this problem in relation to blues and roots music.
Henry Rollins has this problem in relation to punk music. He was the death of Black Flag.
Brian Setzer has this problem in relation to rockabilly music.
This defect is particularly galling in the case of the artists discussed here because, nonetheless, each one has attained great popularity, respect and renown playing a style of music that I revere. Their public images imply a mastery of their style and feed a vicious cycle that legitimizes them to consumers, even to the point of their becoming icons. Yet they only have a superficial understanding of their style of music, without comprehending the core, the dirt, the truth behind it. They exploit a style of music without truly “digging” it. For me, their work has a pretentious, annoyingly false aspect. It has proved impossible for them to become as good, or as cool, as those they imitate. They come off as humorless and stiff; they sample, but it’s copy-paste.

A shining counterexample is Lux Interior. He had a perfect grasp of rockabilly music and American culture, right down to its dirty core, and was able to cover, write and play songs in his own style that remain true to the spirit of their roots and ring true.

How can I justify my iconoclasm? A gut feeling, backed up by a lifetime of listening to music. It’s like pies, I can tell if somebody really knows how to make one, or if they are just following Martha Stewart’s recipe.

So what’s the word? [“Thunderbird!“]

“Dilettante” is not bad, but emphasizes a lack of seriousness. This is not precisely the problem. These fellows have made a career out of knowing their style; they simply have not succeeded in penetrating it properly.

“Poseur” is not bad, but emphasizes that the pose is struck to impress others. That is indeed the case with these three, but is not the focus of this diatribe.

“Phony” or “sham” is not bad, but does not specify why their music is not true to its origins.

Ah, I finally found the answer in 60s surfer slang. These guys are hodads: somebody who tries to ape the look but does not really dig, is not really cool, and hangs out with the real surfers anyway.

4 Responses to “Jon Spencer is a HODAD!”

  1. I think “poseur” works appropriately in this scenario; the term “scrotum” is also another possibility.

  2. 2 Ted Whisky

    Totally agree, JV. You gotta read David Lowery’s piece, in his 300 Songs blog, about Rollins. Hilarious, and surprising to none of us who feel Henry’s a… uhhhh…..let’s see….what’s the phrase…..??? …..faggy sham poseur band-wrecking bully — that’s it!

  3. 3 Chris Meade

    i like rollins.

  4. having been born (1960) and raised in hermosa beach, ive got a fair understanding of the term hodad and the concept that hankie rollins is one. straight edge? no smoke, no drink, no drugs, and most suspect no girls?!?! wtf! ya when i read your post, the term hodad and hankie fit together like a glove. wasn’t it oj’s attorny said “if the glove fits you must call bullshit”. i know mrs. ginn called bullshit on hankie. this must be said with an estonian accent. “he was the rudest house guest we ever had” “he couldnt even clean up after himself”. by the time flag broke up even little kids in the neighborhood were laughing at his gay short wearing, lame tattooed, hypocrite ass.
    ron eh! bit of a hodad, as well,(went to mchs with him) just had a shorter shelf life.
    no keith no flag!

    i always felt lux was the real deal as well and thanks for the links to jack black’s news. the trash women are/were wonderful, too bad i couldnt read your article. my grand pa died so those frogs wouldn’t have to wear lederhosen and eat schnitzel.

Leave a Reply to the hermit of hb Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: