Backstage with...Boss Hog's Cristina Martinez

Boss Hog, with Cristina Martinez at center.

Boss Hog, with Cristina Martinez at center. Photograph: Danielle St. Laurent

Boss Hog is back for its first local show in eight years. Did you decide to just skip the Bush administration?
I guess I wasn’t having that much fun anymore doing the band. [Husband Jon Spencer and I] also had a small son and it was getting kinda crazy. I hadn’t really thought about doing it again until we were invited to play All Tomorrow’s Parties. I didn’t have enough time to think of a way out of it, so I just thought, Well, that’s that, it shouldn’t be so difficult. Then we figured if we were going to relearn those songs, we might as well play other shows.

At the time, did you feel like you were stopping for good or was it more, That’s it…for now?
I didn’t think about the future at all. Every once in a while I thought it’d be nice to have a band again, and I tried a couple of other things, but nothing has ever been as fun as Boss Hog. It’s nice to have this opportunity now.

You were in Pussy Galore before colaunching Boss Hog in ’89. Sadly, there are still very few women doing the rawk thing.
Recently someone asked me who I like now in rock, and I had to really think about it. Music is just so different now anyway, but real rock is hard to come by these days, and rock women singers are even scarcer. And good ones are almost not there.

What do you think makes a good rock & roll frontperson?
Somebody who’s 100 percent behind what they’re saying. I like to watch people who are invested entirely in what they’re doing. I really resent it when I go see a band and whoever is on the stage isn’t facing me. If you don’t want to perform in front of somebody, don’t go out and book a show for yourself.

Is it challenging to get over the supersexy image you had when Boss Hog started?
Yeah, I’ll never be able to live that down. [Laughs] That’s probably the most worrisome thing for me. Sometimes it does make me a little sad. I’m totally aware of the possibility of people being disappointed in me in any way.

Is that why you picked Dirty Martini as one of your opening acts?
Subconsciously yes, I think I was offering people naked ladies in some respect. [Laughs] I love burlesque—what’s not to love about a naked woman? If I can’t promise that from myself, at least I’ll get the audience someone who’ll offer up something.

Are you guys doing classic material?
Yep, we’re doing the hits! You know how you always dream of going to school without your clothes? Well, my anxiety dream is that I was at a Boss Hog reunion show and I didn’t remember any of the lyrics. But it’s like riding a bicycle: They’re all still there. I didn’t totally damage my brain with all those years of drinking. Good to know!

Boss Hog plays Bowery Ballroom Wed 17.