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Spacemen 3 : History & Discography

Spacemen 3 were an English rock band who formed in 1982 and whose career spanned from the post-punk to acid house eras. This highly influential groups minimal sound, characterised by droning guitars, softly sung/spoken vocals and sparse or monolithic drumming would be adopted by the shoegazing movement that would eventually dominate the underground. Their sound also formed the basis for post-rock. Spacemen 3 consisted of the core of Jason Pierce and Peter Kember (Pierce sometimes credited as J. Spaceman and Kember usually known as Sonic Boom), who formed the group in Rugby, Warwickshire, having met at art college. Other members of what would become a fluid lineup over the years included Pete Bain (Bassman, also of the Darkside), Natty Brooker, Sterling Roswell (Rosco), Will Carruthers and Jon Mattock (also of Slipstream).

From the outset Spacemen 3 had a very defined set of aesthetic principles. They based almost their entire sound on their own concept of minimalism, droning guitars, feedback, as few chords as possible, pounding drums with their motto Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to. Their minimalism bled into their stage show as well. Sitting down to play their guitars and covered in the spinning colours of a cheap psychedelic light show, their stage act was very anti-performance. Another striking aspect of Spacemen 3 was their willingness to share their influences. Song titles, lyrics and interviews were peppered with references to bands and artists they believed shared their minimal is maximal aesthetic. The Velvet Underground , the Rolling Stones , the Stooges, the MC5, early Captain Beefheart, out-there jazz legend Sun Ra, the Silver Apples, garage punk of the 1960s such as the 13th Floor Elevators, Red Krayola, and the Electric Prunes , the Beach Boys, Jan and Deanand o ther surf bands , 1980s rockabilly groups the Cramps, the Gun Club, Tav Falco , blues and gospel acts like Muddy Waters, the Staple Singers and John Lee Hooker ; and the production techniques of Joe Meek , Brian Wilson and Delia Derbyshire were just some of the names mentioned by the band.

After several years of local gigs and club nights, they recorded their first album in 1986 on Glass Records. Sound of Confusion attracted a loyal fanbase; its follow-up, The Perfect Prescription, expanded the groups core of fans and is generally considered their masterpiece.

In 1989 Playing with Fire, which expanded on the psychedelic and drone themes of the earlier albums, was released. Its second single, Revolution, reached #1 on the UK independent chart. But soon after, a combination of personnel changes, drug problems and intra-band tension (especially between Kember and Pierce) began to break the band apart. Recurring, released in 1991, was their last proper album, though its recording reflected the split between Pierce and Kember as each recorded their own side of the album in different studios, with a cover of Mudhoneys When Tomorrow Hits to separate them . It was their most popular release, but by its release Kember and Pierce had already formed new bands, Spectrum and Spiritualized, respectively. The final conflict that contributed to the split was Pierces decision to release a cover of the Troggs Any Way That You Want Me as the first Spiritualized single, which Kember had been wanting to cover for years.

Since the breakup there have been a stream of semi-legitimate albums, early demos and live recordings, many of which have been issued by the Kember-affiliated Space Age Recordings. Highlights include Dreamweapon: An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music, a 45-minute drone piece performed in front of a live audience; Forged Prescriptions, a collection of The Perfect Prescription demos and alternate versions (Kember claims in the liner notes that the alternate versions reproduce the layers of guitars they recorded but later removed because they felt they would never be able to reproduce them live); and the bands singles compilation, which is perhaps the best introduction to the breadth of their work.

Kembers Spectrum has toured under the banner Songs the Spacemen Taught Us, while Pierce routinely includes their songs in his Spiritualized set. In 2004, US journalist Erik Morse published his account of the bands life and work, Dreamweapon: Spacemen 3 and the Birth of Spiritualized.

Members of the band went on to form Spiritualized, the Darkside and Spectrum (AKA Sonic Boom). Spiritualized carry on, to critical acclaim, though they have largely discarded the dark psychedelic edge. Sonic has also been on the road, playing gigs in London and occasional tours in the US as E.A.R. (Experimental Audio Research), which features synthesizers heavily. The Darkside split, while Rosco (AKA Steerling Roswell) went on to form the Sterling Roswell Blues Band and now is currently in the Gimps.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Spacemen 3.

Spacemen 3 : Discography


  • Sound of Confusion (1986)
  • The Perfect Prescription (1987)
  • Performance (1988)
  • Playing with Fire (1989)
  • Recurring (1991)
  • Translucent Flashbacks : The Singles (1995)

Live, demo or unofficial albums


Sound Of Confusion : LP (GLALP 018) / Fire Records LP (REFIRE5) & CD (REFIRECD5) / CD TAANG! (TAANG!93) & 2LP

Walkin' With Jesus (12") : Glass Records (GLAEP105)

The Perfect Prescription : Glass Records LP (gold/silver or bronze/silver sleeves) / Fire Records LP (REFIRE6) & CD (REFIRECD6) / Genius Records LP & CD (GENICD001) / Genius Records (LTD. ED Purple Pyramid Vinyl LP)(GENILP001) / Taang! Records CD (TAANG!94) & 2 LP

Transparent Radiation 12" EP : Glass Records (GLAEP108)

Performance : Glass Records LP (GLALP030) & CD (GLALP030CD) / Genius Records LP & CD (GENICD006) / Fire Records LP (REFIRE11) & CD (REFIRECD11) / Taang! Records LP / CD (TAANG!95) / 2LP

Playing With Fire : Fire Records LP(1st issue in embossed sleeve, reisues in plain glossy sleeve)(FIRELP16) & CD (FIRECD16) / VOGUE (VOGUE506203) / Hitchhyke (LIFT022) / BOMP! (Black . yellow / red / blue / clear marble vinyls)(BLP4032) & CD (BOMPCD4032) / Taang! CD (TAANG!97) / Taang! Records (2x10"LPs)(TAANG!97) / Space Age Recordings CD (ORBIT011CD)

Revolution : Fire Records 12" (BLAZE29T) / CD (BLAZE29CD) / 7" (BLAZE29S)

Take Me To The Other Side : Glass Records 12" (GLAEP12054)

Hypnotized / Just To See You Smile (Honey Pt. 2) : Fire Records 12" (BLAZE36T) / 7" (BLAZE36S) / 3" CD (BLAZE36CD)(reissued as 5” CD)

Threebie 3 : Fire Records 12" LTD LP (Mail order with first 2000 copies of Playing With Fire, numbered)(THREEBIE3) / CD / Space Age Recordings LP & CD (ORBIT020CD)

Transparent Radiation (demo) / Honey (demo) 7" : Forced Exposure (FE017)

Big City : Fire Records : 12" (BLAZE41T), 7" (BLAZE41), CD (BLAZE41CD)

Big City (Remixes) : Fire Records Big City 12" (REMIX) / Drive (REMIX)(BLAZE41TR) : Big City (REMIX) / I Love You (REMIX) 12" White Label Promo (ONLY 50 pressed)(BLAZE41TR)

Dreamweapon : Fierce Recordings 12" (FRIGHT42) / CD (FRIGHT040) / Sympathy For The Record Industry CD / Space Age Recordings 2LP (ORBIT001) / CD (ORBIT001CD)

Recurring : Fire Records LP (FIRELP23) / CD (FIRECD23) / LTD LP with gold sleeve from Chain With No Name shops (FIRELP23S) / Dedicated LP(ZL74917) / CD (ZD74917) / CD (3047-2-R) / BMG CD (BVCP131) / Space Age Recordings LP / CD

Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To : Father Yod LP (FYP-L25) / BOMP! CD (BCD4047) / Space Age Recordings CD

I Love You/Sometimes 2xFlexi 7" : Fire Records

Walkin' With Jesus / Transparent Radiation EPs : Oblivious Participant CD

When Tomorrow Hits (Spacemen 3) / Sandkings / Chapterhouse : 7" free with Sniffin' Rock magazine (Sniffin’ Rock SR008)

For All The Fucked-Up Children Of This World We Give You Spacemen 3 (Album) : Quiver At Dawn Entertainment CD LTD Ed of 500 (ODT21) / Sympathy For The Record Industry LP (LTD Ed of 1500 copies) / CD (SFTRI368)

Live In Europe 1989 : Space Age Recordings 2LP / CD (ORBIT002CD)

Revolution Or Heroin : Fierce Recordings CD (FRIGHT063)

Spacemen Are Go! (Live In Europe 1989) : Space Age Recordings LP (ORBIT002) / CD (BCD4044)

The Singles : Taang! Records CD (TAANG!96)

Translucent Flashbacks (The Glass Singles) : Fire Records 2x12" (FLIPDLP003) / CD (FLIPCD003)

Forged Prescriptions : Space Age Recordings 2CD

Walking With Jesus : Earworm 7"

DJ Tones EP : Space Age Recordings CD / 12"

Big City (Demo) / I Believe It : The Great Pop Supplement LTD 7"

Losing Touch With Your Mind : Munster Records LTD numbered black vinyl LP (1st 2000 numbered with gatefold insert and printed inner sleeve)(MR011) / CD (1st 2000 numbered with insert)(MRCD011) / reissue on coloured splatter vinyls

When Tomorrow Hits (Spacemen 3) / Revolution (Mudhoney) : 7" LTD Ed of 500 copies

Take me to the otherside / Set Me Free (Spectrum) / I Love You (REMIX) : Moroccan Mayhem LTD White Label 7" LTd Ed. of 500 copies on orange vinyl)

Come down easy (DEMO) / Transparent Radiation (DEMO) : 7" LTD Ed. of 500 copies on clear vinyl

For All The Fucked-up Children Of This World We Give You Spacemen 3 : Quiver At Dawn Entertainment CD

TAKE 5 : Shelter compilation LP inc. Rollercoaster (SHELTER4)

50,000 Glass Fans Can't Be Wrong : A Glass Records Selection (compilation) : LP (black & clear vinyls)(GLALP019)

The Munster Dance Hall Favorites! Vol.1 7" : Teenager From Outer Space Records (inc. TAKE ME TO THE OTHER SIDE (DEMO), free with the Spanish La Herencia de los Munster fanzine , 1st issue in pink/green sleeve, 2nd issue pink/silver sleeve) (TFOSR7001)

Munster Dance Hall Favourites Vol. 3 : Munster Records compilationLP (inc. BIG CITY (HYPNOBEAT MIX) (MR003)



THE CATALOGUE NO.89 : magazine contains 2 7" flexis of I LOVE YOU and SOMETIMES

Spacemen 3 - Big City REMIX / I Love You RARE W/L Spacemen 3 - Fucked up Children SFTRI TEST PRESSING LP Spacemen 3 - Perfect Prescription US PURPLE VINYL LP Spacemen 3 - Walkin with Jesus 12" GLASS Spacemen 3 - Munster Dance Hall Favourites 1 Spacemen 3- Playing with Fire BOMP LP signed SONIC BOOM Spacemen 3 - Transparent radiation 7" FORCED EXPOSURE Spacemen 3 - Split 7" Cheree Flexi / Bark Psychosis + 1 Spacemen 3 - Playing with Fire FRENCH LP rare VOGUE

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