The author, avoiding dismemberment in the land of the midnight sun (left). His bandmate in the Twentytwos was not so fortunate.
The author, avoiding dismemberment in the land of the midnight sun (left). His bandmate in the Twentytwos was not so fortunate.
Playing in Norway with Whitticombe Faire, and yes thats a Simmons kit!
Playing in Norway with Whitticombe Faire, and yes thats a Simmons kit!

Bizarre engagements

SEATTLE — A funny thing happened on the way to the merch tent ...

This week I'm going to take you through some of my more bizarre, err, engagements over the years.

My first professional gig of any duration was playing in a cabaret (hotel) band called Whitticombe Faire in Leeds, England. The singer boasted that I was the 37th drummer to grace "his" stage when I won him over at the audition. From then on every other show with them was screwed up in some way or other.

I should have seen the signs when two of the band quit the first night I went to watch them on New Year's Eve in Scotland. My first show would have been miming on guitar, had I not refused to do so the next day.

At any rate things, started to get really hairy in Norway. One show at the Batsfjord Royal Hotel, took place a week after a menage a trois gone awry. The wronged party proceeded to commit a double beheading on the steps of the establishment making national headlines. The atmosphere seemed tense in what looked like a roadside cafe and, sure enough, a never ending brawl took place during our third of four sets that night.

More Scottish mayhem ensued on the Tennent's Highlands and Islands tour with the Hollowmen. We entered the small town of Forres, home of the cult new age community Findhorn. Choque, our guitarist, noticed a rather nice looking Shell gas pump on the way in and disappeared right after soundcheck. The rest of us retired to our guest house, built for a family of midgets in the fifteenth century.

Consequently, Brian, our other guitar player knocked himself out on the ceiling while descending the stairwell. On arriving at the gig he took solace in the arms of a Findhorn runaway, who proceeded to attach colored metal plates to his torso with duct tape. So on we went, with Choque missing and Brian reading from his own hymn sheet.

The set started disastrously, and Brian seemed to be suffering some kind of amnesia, and at the back of the crowd I saw this pristine glass antique Shell…

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Signing to Sire with Seymour Stein.
Signing to Sire with Seymour Stein.
Gathering for a group shot outside the Barn at Bearsville.
Gathering for a group shot outside the Barn at Bearsville.
Roy tunes up before delivering the bassline for "In The Meantime."
Roy tunes up before delivering the bassline for "In The Meantime."

The making of a "one-hit wonder"

Remember our song, "In The Meantime." Well, there’s only one thing worse than being a "one-hit wonder," and that's being a "no-hit wonder."

Over the years people keep coming back to the one thing that has so far defined us as Spacehog; that universal love song to the alien.

"In The Meantime" was the first song I ever heard my singer Royston Langdon sing. It is the song that convinced me I was in the presence of a rock ’n‘ roll superstar. It is the first song we ever recorded, at a jingles studio on West 57th Street in New York City in 1994.

In attendance was a teenaged Sean Lennon whose mom’s house we visited afterwards. We arrived at the Dakota, nervously filing past the spot where our idol was slain. I think I had only been in New York a matter of weeks – and there I was with Yoko's slippers on, playing one of John Lennon’s Rickenbackers.

"In The Meantime" was re-recorded in the Barn at Bearsville Studios near Woodstock, N.Y., the following year, upon us signing to Sire/EEG. The barn had been used by The Band and the Stones to rehearse in the '70s and was now kitted out with recording equipment appropriate for the baby bands of the ’90s alternative boom.

As a rookie rocker I kept all the Polaroids of the amp settings and took endless photos of my own of all the different drums I was using, not realizing how useful they would become in the years that followed.

Once the album was done, "In the Meantime" was voted to be the first single by band, management and label, alike. Setting off on tour supporting Tripping Daisy, the single quickly gathered momentum on rock radio. By the time we got to Seattle, there were more folks in the audience to see us than our hosts (which was a bit awkward).

By the end of 1995 we found ourselves making a video; Jake Scott had been drafted on the strength of his work with REM and Radiohead. He had this idea to recreate a scene from the film "Blow Up" with The Yardbirds.

I recall not being overly impressed with the …

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