Song of the Day: Spaceman 3 “Big City (Everybody I Know Can Be Found Here)”
“Big City” is a whole lot of fun: a rolling, hypnotic, synth and drum machine-driven number from a group that largely specialized in psychedelic guitar freak-outs. I’ve been a big fan of this song since I first heard it years ago on the tape deck of my friends’ ’92 Honda Civic as we used to cruise around pre-gentrification Southeast Portland, Oregon. In a lot of ways, this song is the perfect soundtrack for an afternoon drive – the sunny psych washes blending perfectly with the repeating, gently shifting synth pattern.
One of the few notable bands to ever herald from the town of Rugby, England, Spaceman 3 were the quintessential drug bands’ ‘drug band’ – a group that featured pharmacological packaging on most of their recorded output and regularly endorsed the use of mind altering chemicals. This is a group that famously released a record called, Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To and which was predominantly known for both its brand of chemically-induced modern psych rock and the fractious relationship between its two leads, Sonic Boom (aka Peter Kember) and J. Spaceman (aka Jason Pierce).
The group managed to stay together for nearly a decade (between 1982 and 1991) before tensions finally boiled over. Their last record, Recurring (on which “Big City”can be found), was basically two solo records, with each group member responsible for one side of the eventual LP. It was not a surprise that the group split up shortly afterwards. Sonic went off in a slightly different musical direction to form the trance group Spectrum, while Pierce would add mountains of layered strings to the musical ideas that he first staked out in Spaceman 3 in his new band, Spiritualized.