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Torn Light Records
1855 N Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60647
Open Everyday

Spacemen 3 – Live in Koln

In stock


*Pre-order* LP will ship April, 2024.

Shipping to us from Nagrania Cukiernicze in March. Screen printed LP jackets, riso inserts.

Recorded live 11th January 1988 at The Rose Club in Koln, Germany.

Excerpt from Nov 19, 1988 Melody Marker interview:

The red room is magnificent. Now I begin to wonder if I died on the train this morning. On the walls are exquisitely-framed pictures. One is a Velvet Underground poster. One is a Lichtenstein. And one, plum there, tight by where I am most assuredly going to be sitting don’t-try-to-stop-me, is Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn”. Records sprawl everywhere, including every Stooges/MC5/13th Floor Elevators/Suicide bootleg in existence and several more besides. Two lovely electric guitars pout at me. Ashtrays galore. Bung in a few dozen cats and I’d feel right at home.

Sonic Boom puts on the first Spacemen 3 single and indicates we are in for a long session. He rolls a cigarette while I read an American fanzine which tells me Spacemen 3 are obsessed with pyramids and that Sonic Boom is an ex-heroin addict. I can’t imagine how we’re going to top it. (Later, some days later, I acquire a tee-shirt which instantly becomes my favourite. It’s one of those saying: “For all the f***ed-up children of the world, we give you: Spacemen 3.”)

The entire Spacemen 3 back catalogue is a many-splendoured thing. From “Walkin’ With Jesus” through the ethereal “Transparent Radiation” and the glittering pop rush of “Take Me To The Other Side” to the glistening “Perfect Prescription” album, it displays an admirable single-mindedness.

“Cos it’s very minimal, very simple, very primal – we actually went out of our way to show that four people who couldn’t play instruments could make a sound which could be really uplifting, could turn you on. And that anyone can do that.”

Increasingly, this is the scion of the times. As Spacemen 3, Loop, My Bloody Valentine, and the soon-to-be-revelatory God, teeter on the brink of a perfect noise/repetition/sensuous minimalism breakthrough, setting fire to the heels of such half-hearted gotta-be-home-by-midnight pussycats as The Young Clayfoot Gods and Sonic Middle-Age Youth, this new record, this one called of all things “Revolution”, is as close to an anthem as we can still get, given that everything concrete has been said before. “Rock”, waking from a nightmare-fuelled slumber where pop and blondes and pandas and herons genuinely were saying more, doing more, wriggling and shaking and cutting through could conceivably have been galvanised into – if not action – at least a statement of intent. As black music notches up another three-year cycle of whoredom, it’s best bunch of sprinters exhausted but rich, a new white noise which understands the complex, curiously simple, beauty of colour and shade, lurches coughing into the playroom.

“Revolution” is pure as the driven snow, outspoken but inarticulate, raucous but hazy.

“I’m so sick… of people telling me what I can and can’t do with my life,” mumbles Sonic Boom over a monstrous monotone fireworks display of electric guitars, “…and I’m so tired of people who can’t get off their arses… wait a minute, I smell burning! I see a change coming around the bend. And I suggest to you… that it takes just five seconds of decision to realise that the time is right to start thinking about a little revolution…”

Those are the lyrics. They’re not much without the music, actually. Odd syntax, yes, but with the music it’s raw power, kaleidoscopic angst, one of the sexiest – in a sort of Joan Of Arc fashion – records of the year. Storm the Bastille, mes petit enfants! And all that. It sounds like a record made by young, jaded but seething, people. Somehow it’s not crass. Somehow it’s effect is devastating.

Sonic Boom passes the cigarette and I go all funny. Why are you all ganging up on me? Why? Marilyn looks content. I want to take my shoes off but I’m in someone else’s house. Spacemen 3’s back catalogue sounds great. Spacemen 3’s back catalogue sounds f***ing fantastic. I think we’d better start the interview before Spacemen 3’s back catalogue causes me to, like, let it all hang out, and like, freak out. So come on, take a little trip with me… gosh, I’m frightfully sorry, what I mean is – here we go then. Sonic Boom’s name is Peter Kember. I want to know what sort of revolution he wants (though the romantic gesture of calling for one has its own mountainous validity), and if his background has any relevance to it. Sadly I cannot form sentences anymore, so just concentrate very hard now and see if a probing interview doesn’t appear before your very eyes, which are as lagoons. All three of them.

“I think it’s a classic punk record, yeah. Hopefully people will look at themselves more critically, something the English don’t tend to do very much. The English disease is this high opinion of ourselves. We think we’ve still got the empire out there, that the world owes us a living because we’re an island. When you do go over to Europe it’s such a fantastic place you wish they’d f***ing shunt England along and join it on to it. You can learn a lot more from travelling than you can from school…”

Yes. School. Interesting one this, Pete. A lot of people might be surprised that the voice behind “Revolution” attended Rugby School…

“Many people became ‘the f***ed-up children’ because of school. Everyone, when I was there, turned to alcohol. There’s a massive pressure on them to perform – they realised that in the present situation they’re being groomed to be members of Parliament or diplomats, or whatever. But there’s a mix. I enjoyed my time there. Boarding got me away from my parents at 13, which was great cos I could do more or less what I wanted.

“But I was banned from the school for two years after I left; they thought I’d be a bad influence, living so near to the school and having a record for drugs etc, being a bad boy. So as a result I’ve lost contact with nearly all of them. People do tend to be very isolated at Rugby – a lot think they’re God’s gift to society. There is snobbery, but it’s not rife. There are some very aware people there – some were turning out acid on sugarcubes in the science labs in the Sixties. Each house up there gets a music paper, you know, they all read the music press, not “Tom Brown’s Schooldays”, while they’re warming the loo seat for the fagmaster…”

Do you consider yourself privileged? I mean, this house is making me nervous. (No, it’s making me feel very comfortable.)

“I don’t speak quite as posh as they all did. That didn’t go down too well: I was an oik. But I assume I learned some discipline there – I’ve always been the one to drive this band on really. I assume that’s from the competitive schooling. The band is my design and the rest are totally into it. The new members… they’re Spacemen, y’know? It takes a certain type of person to be a Spaceman. They’re great. This is now the band we always hoped we could be.”

Is there a difference between a Spaceman and a f***ed-up child of the world?


Sonic Boom chews this one over very carefully. It’s one of the best questions I’ll manage all day.

“No. Not really. No. It’s just… all the people who feel alienated in this world.”

Stock Level In stock
SKU 30806865