Sunday, May 03, 2009

Get Spiritualized: an Introduction to Jason Pierce
Interview by Rex Ritter, story by Kathleen C. Fennessy

As a follow-up to my 1991 interview with Sonic Boom, here's a newly revised version of a piece about Pierce, Sonic's ex-partner in crime.

Originally subtitled "An Interview with," I've changed it to "An
Introduction to," since there isn't a whole lot of interview here.

It worked like this: I came up with a list of questions, Ritter put them to
Pierce, and I penned the resulting article, which appeared in Hype in '92.

A founding member of Jessamine and Fontanelle, singer/songwriter/
guitarist Ritter would go on to collaborate with Sonic's Spectrum.

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"Live they kinda use volume as a drug."
-- Pierce on My Bloody Valentine

Chances are, if you were a Spacemen 3 fan, you already
know about Spiritualized. If not: Jason "Spaceman" Pier-
ce formed the latter while the former was in the midst

of its death throes, owing to major personality clash-
es between Pierce and Dave "Sonic Boom" Kember.

Chances are also good that if you liked the mothership outfit, you'll feel the same way about Pierce's more streamlined, but not radi-
cally different "melody thing" (as opposed to the 3's drone thing).

If you weren't hip to the group
and their four full-length releas-
es of prime psychedelic ooze, please allow me to introduce you to Mr. Pierce. If you dig his stuff, you just might dig it, too, ya dig?

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Lazer Guided Melodies is the title of Spiritualized's de-
but, available on Dedicated Records in the United Kingdom and
RCA in the United States. It's already met with a flurry of posi-
tive critical acclaim and high indie chart numbers in Britain.

In America, it's been doing quite well on the college charts, but
somehow I doubt it's gonna rocket into the commercial strato-
sphere of our fine land, seeing as how they eschew paisley out-
fits, puddin'-bowl haircuts, shuffling dance beats, heavy-duty
wah-wah guitar leads, or any of the other gimmicks neo-psych-
edelic acts have employed to attract attention in recent years.

Spiritualized - "Anyway That You Want Me"

Nope! Spiritualized offer up some pretty un-trendy
sounds, much as the 'men did in their heyday. Although
you could compare them to other UK shoegaze acts like
the Jesus & Mary Chain, MBV, and Slowdive, they really
do have their own thing going on, despite the fact that they
also fail to shout and leap about on stage. Their music isn't
as heavily Sonic Youth-influenced as the aforemention-
ed trio; they simply aren't as atonal or experimental.

The quartet's first sonic blast was the "Anyway That You
Want Me" single, released while the Spacemen were still a happening concern. As with the Fluid's "Our Love Will Still
Be There," it's another excellent example of a fine Troggs' tune made transcendentally better. (See also: Alex Chilton's "With a Girl Like You." Damn! Reg and the boys wrote some stunners.)

For some reason, this amaz-
ing track doesn't appear on
the new album. However, the
powers that be at RCA say
that it'll make an appearance
later this year as a B-side.

Another notable cover which fails to materialize on the
long-player is their take on the early and obscure Lou Reed composition "Why Don't You Smile Now," which wasn't record-
ed, at the time, by the Rock 'n' Roll Animal himself (you can find the rather goofy, highly-dated original version on the pre-Peel Slowly and See VU box set—and good luck finding that!).

Pierce's sweet and fuzzy interpretation of J.J. Cale's "They Call Me the Breeze," re-titled "Run," represents one non-original that does appear on Lazer (Cale gets a co-writing credit). In a different time and place, the rollicking drum-driven ditty would've become a hit.

Click here for part two

Endnote: I'm saddened that my glow-in-the-dark "Lazer" t-
shirt went missing somewhere over the years, although I've still
got the subway-sized poster tucked away in the recesses of my
closet. Images from NRK Lydverket, Spacelab, and

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