June 1988 – Conflict 48

Spacemen 3 – Just Say Gulp

Most of the slop parading around NYC (or at least in W. Village record stores) under the guise of ’60’s-inspured “drug” rock is just too limp & lame to bother with, unless it’s just to point out how fucking stupid revisionists & hippies really are. Rugby, England’s Spacemen 3 make a mockery of such no-dicks, ‘cause they’ve taken the excesses and grundge we associate with history’s finest rock (Roky, Rev/Vega, Stooges, Velvets), and blown them up to something beyond cartoonish or exploitative – Spacemen 3 make the most repetitive, gargantuan, completely paranoid sound in music. There’s tension and violence ready to erupt on these records, a fuzz-drenched drug orgy where the lights go out faster than anything some guy at Members Only could dream up. Screw M.F. – Spacemen 3 are the ultimate party-killers. The same sleeping animal that Pussy Galore or Green River awakened to new levels of primal energy, just gets knocked out cold with Spacemen 3… unlike the best of American punk, this music is distant, cold, and slower than Rusty Staub on a bad day. They’re nowhere as good as they think, but neither is anyone.

I flew to sickening olde England in March to interview Peter Gunn, AKA “Sonic Boom”, guitarist and vocalist for Spacemen 3. The plan was for me to accompany Pete to his parents’ house in Rugby after the interview, so I could observe firsthand how he wasted their money. From then on, I was to travel with the band to Manchester, where I could view for myself just what kind of perverted activity goes on at the average Spacemen 3 gig. Of course (read the conclusion, but don’t skip anything yet), this pathetic junkie couldn’t handle the pressure of my intimidating presence, so he bagged out. Thus, all I have to show for my trip to England, is the following tape recorded transcript of a frank, wide-ranging conversation between myself and Sonic Boom. The interview took place on St. Patrick’s Day, 1988.

Gerard: I’ve barely read anything about Spacemen 3 in the british press these last few years…

Sonic Boom: It comes down to money, basically. We’ve never had the cash to hire a publicist, unlike Loop, who…

Gerard: …wait a minute, I’ve barely turned the microphone on and you’re already dumping on Loop. I was hoping we could save that for the end of the interview.

Sonic Boom: Well what you really need over here to make an impression with the music press is a publicist, which we’ve never had. It’s only been very recently that Sounds have noticed us, NME are starting to pay attention, but yeah, you’re right, there hasn’t been much attention.

Gerard: Is Spacemen 3 the first real band for you guys?

Sonic Boom: Yeah, none of us have ever done anything musical before. When we started over 6 years ago, it was meant to be an outgrowth of the sort of music we were listening to. At the time none of us could really play at all, it was purely just for the love of the music we were into.

Gerard: Hmmm, When do you think you’ll have learned how to play?

Sonic Boom: Oh, we know how to play now. In fact, I’d say we’re the best live band in this country, and we’re far better than any act I’ve seen from the states, including Sonic Youth, Dinosaur or Big Black. Those bands are just the flavor of the month over here, really, just ‘cause they’re American I suppose. The Homestead label and it’s bands seem to have a very good reputation here at the moment, but it’s nothing of substance compared to what we’re doing, it’s all very trendy to be into that stuff at the moment.

Gerard: I’m not too familiar with these bands you keep mentioning. Perhaps you could make me a tape.

Sonic Boom: You know how it is, that lot have been very trendy, but we could bow any of them off the stage.

Gerard: Sure thing. Without having met you or seen Spacemen 3 perform before, I’d guess that you guys are pretty big fans or Hawkwind or Suicide.

Sonic Boom: I’m not a particularly big fan of Hawkwind, but groups like Suicide or the MC5 are like my favorite stuff in the world. I don’t know why, but we get compared to Hawkwind quite a lot. I’m not too happy about it…

Gerard: It’s probably just the physical resemblance people are referring to, I mean, you look just like somebody from Hawkwind.

Sonic Boom: Ahhh, I don’t think we look much like hippies. I mean, I’ve got one Hawkwind record Roadhawks, and it’s terrible, just bad hippie music.

Gerard: Huh, I don’t really know. I’ve never actually heard them before.

Sonic Boom: Yeah, well I don’t think you’d like ‘em too much, they’re just complete shit.

Gerard: So how would you characterize your audience over here?

Sonic Boon: I don’t really know who our audience is. It’s fairly drug-oriented, at least it seems that way from most of the letters I receive. I get a lot weird, psychedelic letters and stuff.

Gerard: What, they think you’re a headphone band or something?

Sonic Boom: Maybe. Our audience isn’t really big enough yet for me to have any idea. We get lots of old geezers and stuff and the gigs. Lots of people at the shows just lay down on the floor and space out.

Gerard: Throwing Frisbees? Waving banners?

Sonic Boom: No, not yet.

Gerard: Do you get stopped in the street often by adoring fans?

Sonic Boom: No, never. But then again, I never go out.

Gerard: Oh yes, you live in beautiful Rugby. So what’s in Rugby that keeps you living there?

Sonic Boom: It’s in the country, it’s very quiet. We could only have happened come out of a place like Rugby. They hate us there, basically. We have no following whatsoever in Rugby.

Gerard: Is there anywhere to play in Rugby?

Sonic Boom: Yeah, there’s a few places. We’ve played in Rugby about a dozen times at a variety of different shitholes. There’s always plenty of hostility towards us, so it’s a good atmosphere to play in. If I could live anywhere I wanted, I’d live in Amsterdam, although I can’t afford it at the moment. Actually, I can’t afford to live anywhere right now.

Gerard: But everyone I know who lives in Amsterdam has no job whatsoever.

Sonic Boom: Yeah, well squatting is much more established in Holland. If you squat in an abandoned building there, it’s much more apt to have hot water and electricity. The unemployment benefits there are like 80 or 90 dollars a week, which is 3 or 4 times the rate in England.

Gerard: So how do you support your lavish lifestyle?

Sonic Boom: I have a regular job, I’m the only member of the band who really works…

Gerard: …you mean everyone else just sponges off you?

Sonic Boom: No, Bassman sells dope. We’re totally broke, but we can survive somehow in this country. If you’re on the dole you can manage alright if you’re creative about it.

Gerard: Yeah, I keep meeting people who have houses and cars but no job.

Sonic Boom: What, in this country?

Gerard: Yes, but they’re all criminals, like your bass player.

Sonic Boom: I don’t know how to explain that.

Gerard: Ever been any spontaneous outbreaks of crowd violence at your shows? Any festival-seating riots that we should know about?

Sonic Boom: No, nothing ever happens at our gigs. Our audience don’t dance. That just sort of stand there or sit down.

Gerard: Is this before or after your bass player has peddled drugs to them?

Sonic Boom: Now that’s not very polite. You’re still coming to Manchester? You’ll see what it’s like. I don’t want to give it away. Let’s just say it gets very relaxed.

Gerard: I don’t know. Maybe I’ll stay here instead.

Sonic Boom: Once when we were in Switzerland, people decided to slam dance. We stopped playing for a minutes while we waited for them to stop. We refused to continue if the crows didn’t stop moving. We wanted everyone to remain stationary.

Gerard: But none of your songs are fast enough to slam to.

Sonic Boom: Well, you’ll find out tonight, won’t you! It changes every night for us, that’s now it should be for every band. Sometimes we can get really fast, it depends. It really kills me to see Suicide come over here for the first time in years , and then get slagged off in the press for not playing “Cherie” just like it was on their first album. Who wants to go to a gig to hear things just like the fucking records?

Gerard: Probably the people who’ve never seen the group before. They’re looking for the band to recreate something that they’ve only read about.

Sonic Boom: I could see Suicide recording a new record right now and it’d be as great as anything they’d ever done. I consider them geniuses. I rate everything they’ve ever done. Martin Rev’s solo records are the most amazing things, I like almost all of his solo records.

Gerard: Yeah, well it’s Alan’s that are terrible. At least the last 2.

Sonic Boom: Definitely. Do they play in New York often?

Gerard: No, just a few times the last 2 or 3 years, everytime they really need money I suppose.

Sonic Boom: They get incredible money over here I’ll tell you. 2 or 3 thousand pounds a show.

Gerard: So what’s the average payday like for Spacemen 3?

Sonic Boom: Usually about 150 quid. The most we’ve ever made is 250 quid, although the least we’ll ever play for now is 100, otherwise it’s just not worth it, we’d lose money otherwise. I mean, 35 quid each to ride all the way up to Manchester is sort of ridiculous.

Gerard: You must not do a decent enough job of intimidating promoters.

Sonic Boon: Ahh, it’s not that bad. We’re treated better around Europe. I mean, we used to play for absolutely nothing, so I feel like we’re doing better. I’m sure it’s better in the states.

Gerard: Not always, it depends on who you are.

Sonic Boom: Well, what would, say a band like Dinosaur make?

Gerard: I don’t know, they probably do alright these days, but it wasn’t that long ago that they were getting $50-$100 a show.

(Mr. Boom makes a series of off-color remarks about Dinosaur and why they don’t deserve to make a penny for reasons he cannot elaborate on)

Gerard: So are Spacemen 3 a really heavy drug band or what? You seem pretty unhealthy. In fact, you look like a total raving drug addict. I’m surprised they let you into this place.

Sonic Boom: Oh, we do our best I suppose. I manage the best I can on my meagre wage, so it’s not easy to get high as often as I’d like.

Gerard: You don’t feel any responsibility to the younger generation?

Sonic Boom: Y’see, I don’t believe that it’s degenerate to take drugs. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all.

Gerard: Well, you’re aware of what it leads to?

Sonic Boom: Where it leads to? You mean heroin?

Gerard: No, not heroin specifically, just drugs in general.

Sonic Boom: Ahhh, where does it lead to?

Gerard: Look, I’m asking you! You should know the answer to this question! You’re mr. Drughead, I expect you to know this stuff. Obviously it only leads to playing in a rock band for 100 quid a night in front of 20 people!

Sonic Boom: (obviously hurt) We usually play in front of more than 20 people.

Gerard: OK, I’m sorry. Tell me about drugs.

Sonic Boom: Ahhh, I find drugs to be very inspiring. All of our songs are about drugs our about experiences while on drugs. Seriously, without drugs I don’t think I would be here today.

Gerard: Oh come on, I would’ve still come down here with you.

Sonic Boom: (visibly annoyed) No, that’s not what I mean! Without drugs, I think I would’ve committed suicide! At one point, without drugs I had nothing left to live for. I can’t imagine going thru a single day without getting high. All of us in the band smoke every day. The bass player sells dope. I don’t ever drink but the rest of the group do. I’m very into hypnotic drugs, not just acid. Opiums are very nice, and there’s lots of magic mushrooms out where we live. “Sound Of Confusion” was written about taking speed. I’ve stayed away from it for 2 or 3 years now, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped anythign else. I’ve probably tried every drug that’s ever been available in this country at one time or another. I’ve got a very good friend who’s a professional chemist, so I’ve access to virtually any prescription drug I want, which is very nice. It’s for relaxation and recreation, really. I can’t see how you could possibly be against it.

Gerard: I think you are going to burn in hell.

Sonic Boom: I’m sure it isn’t the same in America. We have lots of street drugs over here that aren’t very safe, and you also run the risk of getting beaten or robbed buying from the wrong person. So it’s good to have friends like mine.

Gerard: And I thought you guys were unorganised. Has bazooka made it over here yet?

Sonic Boom: No, what’s that?

Gerard: It’s a new form of rock cocaine that’s mixed with bazooka joe bubble gum. Each vial comes with a bazooka joe comic strip wrapped inside. If you trade in 1000 strips you get a free gold chain. It’s only 2 or 3 dollars a dose, it’s very popular with young schoolchildren.

Sonic Boom: I’ve never seen crack in this country. MDMA I’ve seen a few times. I guess someone brought it over from the states. Dope is readily available all over Europe. Although I’ve heard that lots of Americans refer to smack as dope, but I’m just talking about hash.

Gerard: Are you familiar with the straight-edge movement?

Sonic Boom: No.

Gerard: Well, straight-edge is like a total anti-drug thing, whereas bent-edge is the other way around, like grab ‘em whenever they’re around.

Sonic Boom: Why are you telling me this.

Gerard: I thought you might want to write a song about it.

Sonic Boom: Ahhh, our songs aren’t only about taking drugs, they’re really about our lives and what’s in them. Certainly, some of the songs are about the consequences of taking drugs, I do realize that there are consequences.

Gerard: Has anyone in Spacemen 3 ever been arrested or imprisoned for drug possession?

Sonic Boom: Yes, every member of the band in fact. I’m not sure how we’ll ever get work permits for America. We’ve all got class A and class B convictions on our record… (slapping a drooling sheepdog that won’t leave the table), fuck off, go away.

Gerard: You’re not an animal lover I take it.

Sonic Boom: No, not that thing, he’s filthy. (at this point, a deformed troll ambles over to our table and begins an intense discussion with the sheepdog, thus drowning out Sonic Boom’s detailed description of a “class A” conviction and a “class B” conviction).

Deformed Troll: That’s a good laddie, c’mon along with Terry and we’ll be warm together. Eh! You’re not a laddie! You’re a girl! Good girl! C’mon along with Terry and we’ll be warm…

Gerard: Look, could you and your dog go somewhere else? We’re doing an interview for American television.

Deformed Troll: Aye, puppy, give me a kiss. (the troll begins to French kiss the sheepdog underneath the table, and the interview could resume).

Gerard: Has anyone in Spacemen 3 ever had their blood changed like Keith Richards?

Sonic Boom: No, but I sort of had my mind changed in a way. I was in a mental institution for a few years because of my drug usage.

Gerard: Did you ever have electro-shock therapy?

Sonic Boom: No, they don’t do that sort of thing over here for opium addiction. I was mostly treated for my addiction and subsequent withdrawal, the treatment was mostly medical.

Gerard: At what point were any of your favourite drugs still legal in the UK?

Sonic Boom: I don’t know exactly. LSD and hash haven’t been legal since ’62 or ’63 I think. We have magic mushrooms that grow wild, and most of them are as potent as LSD, and there’s nothing illegal about it.

Gerard: Would you describe yourself as drug-dependent?

Sonic Boom: No, I don’t think I am. I can want to do drugs every day without ever needing to.

Gerard: Can Spacemen 3 perform live with the aid of drugs?

Sonic Boom: Yeah, we can. We never have, but I’m sure we could if we tried. There’s never been a Spacemen 3 gig without dope or pills. I think there’s been 2 days in the last 6 years, at most, that I haven’t been stoned. At our shows, we’re always well prepared, we make sure that we’ve got bits of this and that in plentiful supply, you’ll find out.

Gerard: I’m sure the US immigration authorities will be fascinated. Has any member of Spacemen 3 ever fallen off the stage due to excessive drug use?

Sonic Boom: No, not a chance. Y’see, we sit down on chairs when we play, we don’t move a fucking muscle man, there’s no way we’d ever fall over. When we played at this place with John Cooper Clarke, he fell off the stage flat on his face. He goes out with Nico now and they share each other’s bad habits if you know what I mean. He’s as fucked up as her these days.

Gerard: I guess the tape has gone far enough now that I can ask you about Loop. What’s their deal?

Sonic Boom: Have you been ‘round to Glass Records yet?

Gerard: Yes, just yesterday.

Sonic Boom: Did you meet Josh? (hippy-child artwork guy who works part time)

Gerard: Oh no, you mean he’s in Loop?

Sonic Boom: Josh is Loop! Josh used to come ‘round to our gigs early on, and we had started to form his own band, he kept filling me in stage by stage on how it was going, like he needed to report back to me. When I finally got around to seeing Loop, I couldn’t tell whether I should be insulted or flattered, quite frankly. I still don’t know. It just amazes me that someone could have so little imagination or originality. I mean, they used to sit down onstage, totally patterning their live show after ours. I mean, they’ve lifted too much from Spacemen 3 for me to ever really take them seriously. They’ve done interviews where they’ve said “nobody in rock takes more drugs than we do”, which is such total bullshit. There are people they could never afford to keep up with, and I don’t even mean us. I gave Josh his first hit of LSD a year ago last summer. And now he claims he’s done more drugs than anyone, it’s such a lie. A classic Josh statement is something like “the kids wanna rock”, or “the kids just want some badass music”, stuff like that. Josh is just a total pussycat, he couldn’t say boo to a goose. Spacemen 3 have never said anything in an interview, done anything with our appearance, that wasn’t totally true to ourselves and our music. There’s just too much fabrication with Loop, too much stolen from other people. Someone once said that Loop couldn’t wait for Spacemen 3 to record their second album, so they did it themselves. Jesus & Mary Chain are another band who early on were heavily influenced by what we were doing, but no one ever noticed it.

Gerard: Have you heard Pussy Galore yet?

Sonic Boom: No, but some of the reviews sounded interesting.

Gerard: You guys would do OK in NY. You might get killed elsewhere ‘tho.

Sonic Boom: Yeah, I really want to go back to the states.

Gerard: Go back?

Sonic Boom: Yeah, I came over for a visit a few years ago. I went to New York, LA and San Francisco. San Francisco was quite nice, I got to see the Jimi Hendrix church, that was a good laugh.

Gerard: What else did you do?

Sonic Boom: Ahhh, all sorts of stupid stuff… you’ve got very good grass in America, the best in the world.

Gerard: Thanks. Do you have any religious cults in England these days?

Sonic Boom: There’s Psychic TV…

Gerard: Fuck you, I’m talking about a real religious cult!

Sonic Boom: They are a real religious cult, they’ve even got churches! I’m not kidding! They’ve got one in Hackney and they just opened one in Lemington.

Gerard: I ask you a serious question and you start joking…

Sonic Boom: Fucking hell, Psychic TV are a real religious sex cult! People are really into it, you should see the number of people that turn up at their gigs…

Gerard: But they sound like Earth Wind & Fire now, I mean, who cares about Psychic TV?

Sonic Boom: Well, Genesis has just taken too much acid.

Gerard: That’s a shitty excuse. Last time I saw them it was like Kool & The Gang mixed with PiL after everyone had quit the band.

Sonic Boom: Well, they just have a massive repertoire, about 40 different sets they can possibly do. I don’t own one record by Psychic TV, but they’re really nice people, they’ve got a great attitude. If you want to do drugs, go ahead. If you want to put rings in your dick, go ahead. They’ve got this room in the Temple which is dedicated to human torture, all these racks and bondage equipment. Genesis sleeps with his wife and his boyfriend at the same time, it’s really wild. They can be pretty strange in their interests, but they’re really great people.

Gerard: Maybe so, but their music sucks these days.

Sonic Boom: Yes, but that has nothing to do with why I like them. They’re just good friends.

Gerard: OK, but I don’t judge bands that way, usually. Some of my best friends are crummy musicians and some of my favourite musicians are people you’d never want to spend 5 minutes with ‘cause they’re such assholes.

Sonic Boom: You mean someone like Steve Albini?

Gerard: No, ‘cause he’s an OK guy. Because of his sense of humor and how outspoken he is, people usually lose sight of the fact that he’s a nice guy, really honest, really trustworthy…

Sonic Boom: So he’s just trying to shock people then?

Gerard: I don’t see what shock has to do with anything.

Sonic Boom: Well, he’s just a pussycat then, right? He just wants to create a niche for himself.

Gerard: I think the rest of the world sort of did that for him. When it comes to the whole rockstar thing, I don’t think he’s nearly that ambitious.

Sonic Boom: Oh, I know he’s not ambitious. I can tell that from listening to his records. We’ve got a record coming out in America soon, I know Steve Albini won’t like the cover, maybe he can redo some of the colors for us. I hear he’s a Loop fan too, so he probably won’t like us.

Gerard: For godssake, who cares? Why can’t you keep a drummer, are you tough to work with?

Sonic Boom: Me and Bassman [he must have said ‘Jason’ and been misheard] are the 2 that’ve been in the band for the last 6 years, and when it comes to drummers, we don’t take any shit from anyone. If a drummer decides he doesn’t want to play a certain song, or if he tries to speed something up when I already told him I wanted it a certain way, he’s fucking out the door. This guy from the Weather Prophets who is playing with us tomorrow night and we’ve never even practiced with him. We won’t tolerate unreliable drummers who just wanna go on the road with us so they can bask in the whole rock and roll thing. Sure, we like to take drugs, but I think we’re very responsible, professional people when it comes to playing out. Most rock bands completely abuse the privilege of playing a club, they treat the audience like shit. Most bands in this country have this attitude that once they show up it’s OK to treat everyone like crap, that everyone at the club just exists to serve them. Anyone can walk into our dressing room and talk to us, I’ll tell you. We have no desire to set ourselves up as special.

Gerard: Why is it that amongst the UK’s ‘underground’, yourselves excepted, there’s all these Velvet Underground-inspired bands who pick up solely on the softer stuff?

Sonic Boom: You mean like “Candy Says” instead of “Sister Ray”?

Gerard: Yeah, or say, a band like the Marychain, who’s recently material only uses fuzz to mask how weak and harmless the songs really are.

Sonic Boom: I don’t agree with that, I quite like Jesus & Mary Chain these days. When I first heard them I was sure they had ripped us off ’cause we had been going for 4 years before them, but I actually heard Psychocandy for the first time six months ago, but now it’s one of my favourite all-time albums.

Gerard: If you predated the Mary Chain by such a wide margin, why did it take you so damn long to get on vinyl?

Sonic Boom: ‘Cause we’re from London [he must have said ‘Rugby’ or ‘not from London’ and been misheard]. We don’t come from London, or Glasgow or Liverpool. It’s the same things as not being from Athens, New York or Los Angeles, isn’t it?

Gerard: Not really. In the US, if you can’t get a record deal, you do it yourself.

Sonic Boom: Well, you come from a much more affluent society.

Gerard: No, not really. Most bands in the US have to hold down jobs, it’s not like everyone lives at home.

Sonic Boom: Well I live at home, I live with my mom. When our first album came out, I was still spending every penny on heroin, so there was no way I could plan on saving up for an LP.

Gerard: I guess it’s just a question of priorities.

Sonic Boom: Yeah, well the other thing you’ve got to remember is that for years, absolutely no one liked us. Most of the material on Sound Of Confusion was like 3 or 4 years old by the time it came out. For years nobody really gave a fuck about us, it’s only recently that we’ve gotten any attention at all. Before, say, the Jesus & Mary Chain, nobody really cared for our kind of music.

(Kylie Minogue’s “I Should Be So Lucky” video comes on the bar TV, attracting the attention of the entire room).

Gerard: I’ve never heard this.

Sonic Boom: I think she’s some Australian soap opera star. She’s got big tits, most people wouldn’t mind dragging her under the sheets, that’s why she’s got a fucking record out.

Gerard: That’s not very fair. Maybe someone likes her music.

Sonic Boom: I doubt that.

Gerard: OK, let’s wind this up. What would you say is the biggest problem facing young people today?

Sonic Boom: Our records fit in well with a certain generation of drug-takers in this country. Young people who all got into drugs at about the same period in time. At the same time, there has been a large heroin epidemic in this country, one of the largest in the world. I’ve had friends fucking die from it, I’ve seen all kinds of shit happen due to heroin abuse, but I really believe that heroin should become available legally on prescription, but an easily available prescription that you can get from your local chemist. I really think that they’ve got to get heroin off the street. Problems with overdosing and hygiene, that’s where people are dying. This could be stopped if people could just get a daily dose from their chemist. If they already knew the strength of the heroin they were taking, they wouldn’t overdose. If clean needles were easily available, you’d reduce the risk of aids and hepatitis. You’d reduce the use for glass, brickdust, powders, rat poison and so on for cutting heroin. I’ve never had any problem finding it, you just have to know where to look. It costs between 8 and 10 pounds per gram of varying quality, and that’s half the problem. Not speaking for myself, but most people here are smoking heroin now instead of shooting, due to the shortage of needles, aids panic, that kind of thing. Around 4 years ago in the tabloid press, they really went to town on the whole heroin scare thing, just the way they did with cannabis, like anyone’s ever been hurt by cannabis. It’s just a pathetic scare tactic, they don’t want anyone to know the truth about heroin.

Gerard: So you think heroin use is perfectly safe, something you can do recreationally for years and years?

Sonic Boom: Sure, don’t you?

Gerard: I’m guessing not. Can you name anyone who’s done it for years and years without becoming addicted or totally fucked?

Sonic Boom: Well, what about me?

Gerard: You’re still pretty young.

Sonic Boom: Fuck, what about William Burroughs? He’s pretty old.

Gerard: I’ve never heard anyone say that.

Sonic Boom: It comes down to the individual. There are lots of people who could easily fuck themselves up on heroin, but that’s not everyone. More to the point, even if those who were addicted were able to buy their smack quickly, cheaply and legally, they wouldn’t have to wander around all day trying to score. They wouldn’t have to be robbing people to get their fix. There’d be less of a chance of them winding up dead. Heroin is far less dangerous than alcohol as far as I’m concerned. I know it’s a controversial subject and I know my opinions on the subject aren’t gonna be popular, but that’s not the point. We’ll continue to discuss heroin in our music and our interviews ‘cause it’s an important part of our world. Most people who write songs about drugs are only willing to use veiled references, no one else is willing to acknowledge their own drug use as openly and proudly as us.

Gerard: Hmmm, have you heard GG Allin?

Sonic Boom: No, I’ve heard a lot about him, but I’ve never heard the records. Does he do drugs?

Gerard: Very often. He’s someone you could call a drug advocate.

Sonic Boom: Just understand that I’m not kidding around about legalizing heroin. It’s the only real solution. Methadone is a fucking joke, sure you can prescribe it to an addict, but nobody wants that shit. They’re just gonna end up selling it to buy more smack. Methadone is more addictive than heroin anyway. I’m not the only person who agrees with this theory, there are actual doctors in England who will prescribe injectable heroin to addicts because they believe it makes more sense. I realize the potential is there to have irresponsible arseholes sell it to ten year old kids, but you have the same potential with any drug.

Gerard: If you can’t answer the next question, don’t worry, ‘cause hardly anyone can. Name 5 British bands other than Spacemen 3 who aren’t completely awful.

Sonic Boom: I was told you might ask me that one. I can think of 3 straight away. Birdhouse are one. I don’t like their hardcore stuff, but I really like “Rev It Up” and “Bad Love”, their more Stooges, Detroit kinda songs. There’s a band called The Perfect Disaster who are really great. They’ve never really made their one great record yet, but I think their next one might do it. There’s this band called the Hypnotics who are like a cross between the Stooges and the MC5, but heavier than both probably… OK that’s 3… shit, this is hard. There’s the Blue Aeroplanes, who I don’t personally like, but they’re pretty interesting, they try lots of different styles. OK, I can’t think of anyone else. Most of my favourite bands are still Americans like the Stooges, Suicide, the Cramps, the Velvets, the MC5, I’m just really into basic rock ‘n’ roll, the classics if you wanna call it that. Panther Burns are one of my favourites, I don’t think they’ve ever made a bad record. I don’t know, the Stooges sound more contemporary to me than most of the shit people tell me I should listen to. I’m not impressed by Sonic Youth at all. I don’t think it’s that interesting to jam screwdrivers into your guitar. I’ve never actually seen them but I’ve heard their records and I’ve seen them on video, Dinosaur too. I mean, Dinosaur are like a bad version of Black Sabbath, like progressive rock or something. We’re the opposite of that, we’re not progressive, we’re regressive, more like Panther Burns than fucking heavy metal. I’ve got to admit that Sonic Youth were better on video than Dinosaur. Dinosaur just made me sick. A band like Sonic Youth are probably just too avant garde. Maybe I’m being unfair, the only thing I’ve ever heard by them was the one with Lynda Lunch, the one with the pink cover.

Gerard: Well, you’ll survive without hearing Sonic Youth’s other records and everything, but if you did check ‘em out, you might notice that what you’re doing isn’t really that far off from them.

Sonic Boom: I doubt it. But I’ll admit that I’m no record collector.

He’s no ace mechanic, either. Mr. Boom was supposed to meet me outside the Camden Town Falcon at 11:00 pm after the Primevals set for the long ride back to Rugby. After 2 hours waiting in the rain, I said fuck it and went back to the hole I was staying in. Phone rang at 2:00 AM; Sonic claims the car fell apart and wouldn’t come back together, so he’s staying in London for the evening. He’ll pick me up at Finchely Station at 10pm the next morning… morning arrives and there’s 4 fucking tube stations with “Finchely” in their name (eg. “Finchely Central”, “Finchely Park”, etc…)… I must’ve picked the wrong one, ‘cause Sonic and the Weather Prophets fag were nowhere to be found when I got off the train. Ah, forget it, I hate ‘60’s rock anyway.

Discography:

The Sound Of Confusion (Glass UK LP, 1986)

“Walking With Jesus” (Glass 12” EP, 1986)

“Transparent Radiation” (Glass 12” EP, 1987)

The Perfect Prescription (Glass UK LP, 1987)

“Take Me To The Other Side” (Glass UK 12”, 1988)

(the cassette of The Perfect Prescription includes versions of “O.D. Catastrophe”, the 13th Floor Elevators’ “Rollercoaster”, “Feel So Good”, and the Sun Ra/MC5 medley of Starship” – all four tracks cannot be found on the vinyl version of the LP, however, they can be found on the previous 12”’s and LP).

Upcoming releases: The Perfect Prescription will soon be released in the USA by a subsidiary of Glass Records (no name yet, but it won’t be called Glass US, as previously planned). Forced Exposure will soon release a live bootleg type item, which Sonic Boom seemed to think should be kept a secret (I think he’s wrong). As for new studio crap, Spacemen 3 have now signed with Creation Records, who will release their records in Europe, while the US pressings will come out via Creation/Relativity.

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