On August 19, 1988, Peter Kember, Jason Pierce, Will Carruthers, and Steve Evans, set up in the foyer of Watermans Arts Centre, a multipurpose venue on the banks of the Thames in West London. As unsuspecting film goers waited to enter the theatre for Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, Spacemen 3 began to play 40-minutes of hypnotic drones and repetitive beats.
Even by Spacemen 3 standards, the performance was odd. Billed as “an evening of contemporary sitar music” it contained no sitar. The liner notes to Dreamweapon, the 1990 album that the recording appeared on, cites a fifth member, Pat Fish, aka the Jazz Butcher, with ‘joint rolling’ credits. Think of Spike Jonze's video for Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" but substitute the Torrance Community Dance Group with pastey white indie rockers from Rugby on a stoned jam.
In a memoir about his recollection of the recording, an extract of which was printed in The Guardian, Carruthers explains, “We had drones, but we had no sitars. We sat … but we did not sitar.”
Now, excellent San Francisco label, Superior Viaduct is set to reissue Dreamweapon as a double vinyl LP. Taking cues from US avant-garde and minimalist composer La Monte Young's concept of "dream music," the record includes studio sessions and rehearsal tapes from 1987 that would lead up to the recording of the band’s classic Playing With Fire album.
'Dreamweapon' is available Feb 23 on Superior Viaduct.