Spencer P. Jones & his white Strat


The coolest guitar-slinger in Australia.

Spencer P. Jones  is a legend. Trust me, he is.  If you’ve never heard of him, could you please come around to my office so I can slap you up the back of the head… hard.

If you have heard of him, you know what I’m talking about. I know people in France who LITERALLY worship the ground he walks on. One French musician, upon seeing Spencer in the crowd at his gig, started crying onstage. No shit. Another received Spencer’s white cowboy hat as a gift and treasures this object like it’s the Shroud Of Turin. Those French have good goddamn taste.

The thing I remember most about the first time I saw Spencer play was how cool his beaten up white Strat looked. The back of the thing looked like it was made of sandstone that the ocean had eroded away. He told me this was from the huge cowboy belt buckles he used to wear in The Johnnys. Fender should hire Spencer to relic their guitars…


The headstock was so tinted with cigarette smoke from a bazillion gigs, the lacquer had turned from light yellow to dark, blood red. It looked like he’d gutted a pig on it. It matches Brian Hooper’s Jazz Bass headstock. Pig gutting must be a popular Beasts Of Bourbon pastime…


The colour isn’t actually white. Well it might’ve been once, but I think being subjected to 567,977 of Spencer’s cigarettes has turned it a kind of grey/brown/khaki… it’s beautiful. The knobs look like a hobo’s teeth… yellow and worn down.


What impressed me most was Spencer’s utter disregard for the guitar’s well being onstage. After another chaotic, awesome solo show at Ric’s Bar in Brisbane, he threw the guitar down onto the stage and walked to the bar. This thing bounced twice before Andy Kamikzee (SPJ’s former drummer) caught it on the third bounce and gently put it back in it’s guitar case. (…which incidentally was a cheap $60 gig bag.)

photo by blackshadow photography

This guitar is actually the inspiration behind guitarnerd , as I felt that it needed to be documented. It’s been through The Johnnys, The Beasts Of Bourbon, The Sacred Cowboys, Ian Rilen’s Hell To Pay and his many fantastic solo albums. The stories this guitar could tell… well it could probably get a lot of people arrested.

The night I took these photos it was just Spencer and his white Strat, plugged directly into the inhouse P.A at the Greyhound Hotel in St. Kilda…. and it sounded fricken’ awesome. Spence was in fine form, despensing nuggets of wisdom in between his songs and he literally sold the shirt off his back for $10.

One of my dreams finally came true this year. I was playing guitar in my band ‘The Horrortones’ at my friend Brett’s 50th birthday. Spencer was also playing this night. I was getting ready backstage and asked Dan from Sixfthick if I could use his guitar as backup in case I broke a string. Spencer interrupted with “Fuck it. Use mine.” and handed me his Strat. I was too shocked to talk. In the 6 or so years I’d known Spencer I’d been too scared to even TOUCH his guitar, so I quietly grabbed it before he changed his mind. The first thing I noticed was how light it was. It was literally the lightest Fender I’d ever felt, even lighter than my old Thinline Telecaster. And the neck was one of the rare necks which had the really narrow nut width which I loved. I remember Spencer said to me that the guitar had been put together from 2 different Strats and I could see they’d picked the best bits off both. The pickups were flush to the body, which I think Spencer did to help him strum and so he didn’t bump into them.

I grabbed it and went onstage. Half way through the set I hadn’t broken a string yet and I was thinking ‘Fuck… I REALLY want to play that guitar.” The next song in our set was a Spencer tune (which in turn was a Blacktop tune) so I thought ‘fuck it’ and swapped. First thing I noticed was that the frets were flat as a tack, but my god it sounded and played unbelievable.

Halfway through the tune I looked down and Spencer was patting my foot with his hand, a big grin on his face. Then he jumped on stage and sung the rest of the song with our singer (plus the Corbetts from Sixfthick). It was pretty much one of the best musical experiences I’ve ever had.