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Rock Stars Next Door

Baby Makes Three: Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez with their son in Stuyvesant Park.  

Jon Spencer, Cristina Martinez
They Are Family
From sleaze to parenthood—and sometimes back.

The sexy, dark-haired power couple formerly of influential eighties artcore band Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer, who heads the reunited and now-touring Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Cristina Martinez, who fronts their band Boss Hog, now have had a son, Charlie, 6, and have moved to Gramercy Park. But they still love New York’s underbelly.
No sleep till Chinatown
C.M.: “Our very first experience when we were looking for an apartment in 1985 was, we were driving down Bleecker Street looking for Mott. We pulled over to ask somebody, and it was Mike D and Adam Horovitz. We said, ‘Hey, do you know where Mott Street is?’ and they said, ‘Yeah, can we get in? We’ll show you where it is.’ So they got in our car and we drove them to Chung King.”
Dreams of sleaze
J.S.: “I grew up in New Hampshire, in the country, and the image of the city was of a dirty, dangerous place. When I was in college, I’d come to New York and wander around the East Village aimlessly. The things you could find!”
C.M.: “We spent many summer nights hanging out on the sidewalk in front of CBGB’s and sneaking in through the back door.”
Six and the city
C.M.: “Unfortunately, Charlie hates New York. It’s embarrassing. We’ll be on vacation, driving through, like, Maryland, where Jon’s brother lives, and he’ll be sitting in the car going, ‘This is really great! You have such beautiful trees!’ But the other day, he said, ‘It’s not so bad, I guess.’ So I think he’s coming around.”

Gray Matters: Wyclef Jean in the soon-to-be-opened Haitian club P.M.  

Wyclef Jean
Old friends, bikes, and a lot of rocks.

Some 30 people—designers, window washers, event planners—are frantically readying the unfinished Haitian-themed meatpacking-district lounge P.M. for a private party (it has yet to open), but hip-hop’s reigning goodwill ambassador, Wyclef Jean (whose new album, The Preacher’s Son, comes out on J Records on October 28), is just watching, his arms spread over the leather booth like he owns the place. Well, technically, his childhood friend Unique owns the place, but they’re so tight, Clef explains, “if he’s opening a place, it’s my place. It’s like, if I pull up in a Ferrari, he’s like, ‘Yo, where’s the keys?’ If he crash the car, it don’t matter. We can buy another car.”
AIR APPARENT: “I’m coming from Haiti. I’m on American Airlines. We’re about to go to JFK, and the pilot turns off all the lights. To a 9-year-old kid, New York looked like the land of diamonds.”
FREE RIDE: “In Coney Island, the best thing to do to escape the misery was going to the amusement park. You have the roller coaster that’s probably still broken. You’ve got this one ride, Hellhole, you go in it and you stand. Whenever I had a chance, I would go. You free your mind, you know what I’m saying?”
FIRED UP: “When I was 15, I worked in RCA’s mailroom for a year. Just out of curiosity, I read somebody’s mail. It looked like a pink slip, and I was praying the person got fired because they were such an asshole. So I accidentally—well, not accidentally, I opened it, definitely—and I got fired.”
WHEELS OF FORTUNE: “My motorcycle crew’s the Refugee Riders. We go all over—135 miles an hour on the West Side Highway at 2 a.m. We got jackets. And I got a crew that I ride with in Jersey called Cowboys. I got a Spiderman motorcycle.”
LAND OF DIAMONDS: Who made the giant diamond ring on Jean’s right pinkie? “That’s my man, Jacob the Jeweler. He brings the imagination to the jewelry. Just the energy of what he comes with.”

Brand New
A Band Hits the Big Time, via the L.I.E.
How much Mcdonald’s does a million dollars buy?

The swag in their dank Roseland dressing room may consist of a pack of gum and a bag of chips—both half-eaten when they got there—but even as the opening band for Dashboard Confessional, Levittown natives Brand New look the part of emo’s next hope. Their second album, Deja Entendu, has sold 95,000 copies since June, and though they take the stage at 7:30, the packed and crowd-surfing house is singing the band’s heartbroken prose poems so loud that singer Jesse Lacey just stops.
GUIDING LIGHT Lacey: “Playing New York is one way you can really gauge how you’re growing. We played Brownie’s and there were like ten people, and the next time it was half-full and the next time it was sold out. Now you get up onstage at Roseland and you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s not very roomy.’ ”
LEAN DAYS Guitarist Vin Accardi: “When we were making our first record, I was leaving high school, working at a restaurant until midnight, driving straight to the city to record tracks, and driving straight from the city to school in the morning.” Lacey: “Touring, we used to have three cars. We finally got our own van, but it didn’t have fenders. The radiator was totally exposed.”
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY Their recent deal with DreamWorks is estimated at more than $1 million. Lacey: “You get paid in lump sums, and you’re just going to go on tour again and, like, eat McDonald’s and live on a bus. You don’t spend at all.”

Straight Into Brooklyn
Andre 3000 plots a move.

In the greenroom for a taping of BET’s video countdown show 106 and Park, Dre, one half of OutKast, drops a bomb: He’s moving to Brooklyn. This would be stunning news on any other day. To start with, Big Boi and Dre (an artist who’s currently known as Andre 3000) are both proud Atlantans who virtually invented the “Dirty South” hip-hop movement. Today, however, the announcement is even more surprising: A few days before, Dre told the New York Times he’d set up shop in Los Angeles. “L.A. is like a big-ass vacation,” he says, shaking his head. “New York City’s just the opposite. It won’t let you sit on your ass. I spent three days in New York after the Video Music Awards and I just fell in love with it. I walked around downtown and just took in all the people. It’s like a big-ass melting pot.”

He’s looking at brownstones in Brooklyn and searching for the right music class. “I tried to play a little sax on the album, and it was like”he makes a bleating, discordant noise. “I don’t want a tutor. I’ve got to be in a class, with people who are all struggling with the same thing.”

Then he does a little hip-swaying dance to Chingy’s “Right Thurr,” which is playing on TV. He looks at me and nods his head encouragingly. Suddenly, I’m dancing with Dre.

A moment later, a pair of BET production assistants burst in. It’s showtime. “Y’all know OutKast?” the show’s host barks to huge cheers. But first I’ve got to know: Where in Brooklyn is Dre going to put down roots? “Clinton Hill,” he says as he’s hustled out the door. Clinton Hill will never be the same.