Tuesday, April 14, 2009

tion: Part

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for part

My '91 Wire interview with Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember concludes.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Wire: How do you know that "Jesus loves the Spacemen"?
And doesn't that line come from the Jazz Butcher?

Sonic: Almost certainly. I do have spiritual beliefs, but I don't believe in Jesus Christ as a person from Nazareth and...

Wire: You do mention Jesus Christ a lot. Do you like the image...

Sonic: Jesus, never Christ! Jesus is how I term the embodiment of what I believe in as well as the embodiment of my religious beliefs. In the same way, Lord is mentioned in quite a lot of the songs. It's like I use it in the same way the gospel singers would use that [term]. They use it as the embodiment of their religion. But my religion is more about belief in oneself and one's potential and belief in other people and the potential of people. I mean, I believe the kingdom of heaven is within. Different things can access you to that. Some of those are psychoactive drugs.

Wire: What got you interested in psychedelic music?

Sonic: Ummm, psychedelic drugs.

Wire: Just a natural progression?

Sonic: Almost as soon as I started taking drugs, the only
band, the only drug band that I listened to—before taking
drugs, really—was the Velvet Underground. And yeah,
the drugs made me want to listen to the music and the music
made me want to try different drugs. I felt that I wanted to ex-
perience different levels of consciousness anyway, with or with-
out music, but music is a nice jump to recreational drug use.

Wire: Who are some of the English bands
you like best or look to as contemporaries?

Sonic: My Bloody Valentine, and an American band that I think
are probably bigger in the UK, Galaxie 500. I like Dean Wareham's
solo stuff that I've heard, particularly a track he's done called "In-
dian Summer," which is on a record with Chemical Imbalance [fanzine]. That is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard, I think I can safely say. Also Daniel Johnston, another American songwriter—someone I admire as a contemporary. And Happy Mondays. Their first album came out the same time as our second album. In fact, they, or a couple of them, introduced themselves to me after a gig we played in Manchester around that time. They'd obviously recognized the parallel that we were running to them. Although they were using different types of rhythms and sounds, they were basically putting them together in the same minimal way and putting the lyrics on in the same sort of way to have a similar effect. Obviously, different people using different ingredients, but kind of baking the same cake, if you know what
I mean—pretty baked, the whole lot of us! [laughs]

Endnote: Spectrum plays Neumos
on 5/2. Image from Brooklyn Vegan.


Doug Orleans said...

I never would have pegged Sonic Boom as a Happy Mondays fan, but I can sort of see it! Pills, thrills, and bellyaches...

Kathy Fennessy said...

My thoughts exactly. The cynic in me also wonders if those band members approached him after a gig for extra-musical reasons...