Baby makes Boss Hog tour a family affair

March 19, 1998|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

Boss Hog has always been something of a family affair. It began in 1989 as a collaboration between Cristina Martinez and her husband, Jon Spencer, and has remained a joint project ever since.

But these days, things are downright domestic for the band. Because for its current tour, Martinez and Spencer will be traveling with their 8-month-old son, Charlie.

"We already did a little weekend outing in Boston and Providence," says Martinez, from the couple's home in Manhattan. "Two days worked out pretty well.

"But it was very exhausting. I mean, it's a lot more work for me in particular, because I'm still breast-feeding, so I have to do a lot of running back and forth. And I have to do it sober." She laughs, then jokingly wails, "My crutch is gone!

"But it's totally worth it," she says. "Because I absolutely love performing and touring, and having Charlie along is pretty fun. Because it's all so new to him. He's 8 months old, so he's very aware and very perceptive. A good time all day long."

Such cozy domesticity might seem a bit out of character, considering that the first time the two played together was in the edgy, in-your-face punk band Pussy Galore. But Boss Hog -- though hardly Top-40 fare -- is musically much more approachable than Pussy Galore or even Spencer's own band, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

"I like things that are accessible," says Martinez. "I've always been more a fan of music where both the lyrics and the music spoke to me. Those are the kind of songs that I like and remember, and that I try to write."

Writing songs for Boss Hog has been a painfully slow process, though. The group isn't a full-time operation -- "We operate with long hiatuses between our activities," says Martinez -- so the fact that it has been three years since the group's last release doesn't necessarily mean Martinez has spent the entire time agonizing over new material.

Still, she says, "It's taking us a lot longer than I expected it to. I had hoped that we would have recorded already and would be working on album artwork at this point."

Part of the problem is parenthood. "I love working on writing songs, but it's hard now," she says. "With Charlie, writing takes a lot longer, because we don't have a full-time nanny, so it's hard for us to rehearse every night and leave him."

Right now, the band has 14 songs that are nearly complete. "I'm pretty happy with most of those, but I think we have a little left to do before we go into the studio and record them properly," says Martinez.

Hence the current tour. "Songs really solidify when you play them out in front of an audience," she says. "You get their feedback, as well as seeing if it works onstage."

Boss Hog

When: Today, 9 p.m.

Where: Fletcher's, 701 S. Bond St.

Tickets: $10

L Call: 410-481-7328 for tickets, 410-558-1889 for information

Pub Date: 3/19/98

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