It surprised me what a careful man Sonic of Spacemen 3 was. Why should it surprise me? The music of Spacemen 3 reflects this carefulness, there’s nothing random in the pulsing soundscapes they build and build some more. Infinitely concerned that my crappy tape recorder wasn’t going to pick up the interview during the Iced Bears soundcheck, we ended up sitting outside in the van in clouds of smoke, and Sonic speaks…
*On Rugby (the town!): “It’s quite a boring little town, and that’s important to us in that we came out of it. The boringness of the place inspired us to start out. It was such a sterile environment, there certainly weren’t any good bands around. There are some better ones now… practically all our friends are forming bands ‘cause they thought ‘if those cunts can do it anyone can’! What we do is a very minimal, simplistic type of music, the idea is to show that any four people can really make mentally enlightening sounds quite easily without being able to play a note.”
*LOOP: “I don’t like it because they never credited us for it. There are other bands who’ve been influenced by us, there are other bands who do covers of our songs, but they do credit us for it. Loop try to rip it up wholesale, so many ways, not only their record sleeves and what they perceive as being their image… it’s not only ripped off from us; the J&MC, the Butthole Surfers have been ripped off equally. Everyone said we sounded like Loop, y’know, which is quite a joke now, but at one time people said we sounded a lot like the J&MC which is funny because we formed, like, 2 or 3 years before them, and gigging seriously before they even thought of forming.”
*Influences: “Perfect Disaster are good, loved their last single, great album as well. There aren’t a lot of good English bands around at the moment. Suicide are one of my biggest influences. I think we’re influenced by a lot of different things, y’know? You can Wagner in our music as much as you can hear Rock’n’Roll. Mainly our music is a progression – it’s the 80s equivalent of 70s punk, 60s garage music, 50s rockabilly/punk. I think our music is the logical progression forward for a lot of those musical styles, that’s what we’re trying to do.
*Other influences: (a long pause) “Well, I see you’ve got drugs down there on your list.” (heh heh heh) “A lot of our music is trying to transform the feelings that can be had from taking drugs and the effects of drugs on your life, a synthesis of those feelings into music. We hopefully can give you, through sound, the feelings of various drugs. So if you are on drugs we can greatly enhance your enjoyment of the drug, but if you’re straight we can give you a lot of those feelings that drugs can give you without you needing to take a single drug. The main point of our music is to document our lives… and a particular part of our lives. I mean drugs have formed in my life a particularly important part, and have done for 7 or 8 years, so therefore a lot of songs are going to reflect that… ‘Walking with Jesus’ was written about heroin – it’s a particular feeling of elation – walking with Jesus – being immortal or invulnerable, just that feeling. But ‘Walking with Jesus’ is also about the questions that go though your mind when you take drugs – ‘I walk with Jesus and he would say, listen you poor child you ain’t coming to me no way. You’ve found heaven on earth, you’re gonna burn for your sin, but I think I’ll be in good company down there with all my friends.’ Sort of saying, in a catholic sense being into drugs in that way, you’d go to hell for that, you’re almost a Satanist just for thinking like that y’know? The definition of a Satanist is basically anyone who’s into sex, drugs and rock’n’roll really and that’s what we’re all about! Not that I’d say we’re Satanists but I’m sure there are some freaky American types who would.”
*The Moral Majority and record censorship: “I think it’s dreadful that they can impose themselves on people’s choice. They must feel a great sense of insecurity on their side that makes them want to do that – if they don’t want to they don’t have to listen to it as far as I’m concerned. Same with drugs, people don’t want to take them that’s fine they don’t have to take them. But I think it’s a little unfair to say ‘Well yes, but I don’t want anyone else to take them as well’! Especially something like cannabis.”
*Revolution: “Let’s make the world into a place where we want to live, ‘casue I don’t think there are many people at the moment who are very content with how the world treats them, but having said that a lot of them don’t want to get off their arses to do anything about it, and they have got to do that. That’s where the revolution is needed, in people’s thinking.”
*Live performance: “I’d say we were quite different live to in the studio, and I would approach both differently. I think live is very important – it would be very very easy never to do another live gig, just to do studio stuff, but I really enjoy going to see a good live band myself, and I really enjoy turning other people on with our music, which I hope we do.”
‘So tell me people, what do you see?
Tell me people what do you think of me?
Now that you know just how I feel,
You let me know if your life gets too real…
We’ll put some love deep in our veins
Somewhere in our hearts, things won’t be the same…’
from ‘The Perfect Prescription’