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Lost & Found: Jon Spencer Demonstrates How (Not) To Play the Theremin

If you’re curious about the strange musical instrument known as the theremin, this video probably won’t be of any help to you. But it’s still entertaining. Jon Spencer of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion fame shows how he “plays” this Russian instrument using his hands, feet, tongue and crotch. Yes, his crotch.

You’ve probably heard a theremin being played properly before. It’s the device that provides the weird, high-pitched sound in the Beach Boys classic ‘Good Vibrations.’ The theremin also played a large role in 1950s sci-fi movies by adding an eerie element to their film scores.

And since Jon Spencer got us talking about our subject today, here’s a music video from the Blues Explosion for their song, ‘Talk About the Blues.’ In it, the band members run around town, caught up in some nefarious caper that costs one of them his life. The remaining members honor his memory by dumping his ashes from a small cup into a body of water.

And did we mention that the people playing the instruments in the video are Winona Ryder, Giovanni Ribisi and John C. Reilly? So there’s that, too.

And to top this post off, we went back even further in time to uncover another JSBE video, for the song ‘Bellbottoms.’ You might notice how orange everything in the set is. Or you might not have noticed. It’s not really that big a deal. But since we brought it up, we’ll explain. The name of the album ‘Bellbottoms’ comes from is ‘Orange.’ Now you know. We hope we didn’t push some small, yet important, piece of information out of your head with that factoid.

Next: Yo La Tengo’s Got an Autumn Sweater for You

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