Why I Love Spiritualized

spz shoes

This goes back a long way. Pre Spiritualized in fact. My employees kept me on my toes at my record shop. A few of them kept asking for Spacemen 3 records which were not easy to find in the late 80’s in the US. At least not on a regular basis. I would pick up what I could find on buying/trading trips to London. The main shop I traded with in London, Vinyl Experience, was part of The Chain With No Name so we got plenty of bronze embossed Recurring LPs among other things.

Then came the split. Many would argue the split already happened on Recurring. One side Jason. One side Sonic. Not sure what to make of this then we were told of the first offshoot Spiritualized.

When Anyway That You Want Me came in I immediately played it and thought to myself yeah…I like this. The next single was Feel So Sad. I remember this like yesterday. We opened the box of imports and immediately put this on. It was warm here that day and not a cloud in the sky so this was in the summer. As soon as the record ended I declared Feel So Sad my single of the year. The year was only half over. We took our year end lists seriously in my shop so this was a bold statement.

Next up Lazer Guided Melodies. This was a lot to absorb. Much like other records that have remained close to my heart over the years this took a bit of getting used to outside of Shine A Light which floored me the first time I heard it and continues to this day. Then track by track I realized just how special this record was. I still feel 100% this way 23 years later.

002I walked into Dedicated’s offices in Notting Hill Gate and asked if they had any promo posters I could have for my shop. They were amazing and amazed that someone from a US record shop was in the lobby asking for these. While I was in reception I noticed the two ceramic figures used for the LGM cover. The angel and the devil. They were at least 12 inches tall. Maybe taller. Each one on a 5 inch by 5 inch black base. No one I know has ever seen or heard of these. I wonder where they wound up? I was happily given five of the huge red 5 ft by 3 ft fly posters and a roll of the smaller blue posters by the Dedicated staff. I still have one of each.

Pure Phase continued this as well. Another amazing album and the first glimpse of some amazing packaging with the luminous CD case. What was also nice for a record shop owner(not so much for fans as it became expensive) were the singles on various formats that were released.

let itThe hilarity of my being in London when the Let It Flow triple pack CD was released I will never forget. I went everywhere like a frickin’ obsessed madman. Virgin, HMV, Our Price, Sister Ray, Selectadisc, Vinyl Experience, Rough Trade and every other shop I could find. I put together 33 sets. I came back and only sold them as sets and while a few people complained I had to explain to them if you knew how hard these were to get you would gladly pay the asking price which was $35. Each extra $10 would end up paying for my flight. Otherwise we would only have ever gotten like 5 of them thus never making it out on the floor in the shop.

fuckedI vivdly recall when Fucked Up Inside was released as a mail order only CD in the UK. I freaked out I must have annoyed the hell out of the Dedicated UK offices making sure we got these. They are so lucky this was pretty much pre email. Ultimately a US distributor Dutch East got them and we wound up selling nearly 200 copies of this.

I then saw my first Spiritualized gig on the Rollercoaster tour with the Jesus & Mary Chain and Curve at the State Theater in Detroit.  Whoa! An intensity I had never seen before and I was hooked. The second time I saw them they opened for Siouxsie & The Banshees at the same venue. They were meant to stop by my shop before the show and sign records until we got a call from their manager informing me this was not going to happen. I was really pissed off. Then we asked if they would come by after the show and they agreed. This was by far the best night ever in my shop. The band stayed from 9:00 pm until 1:00 am signing everything and just having a great time. Over 250 fans came thru after some impromtu flyering at the show and some well placed phone calls.


spz pia

Thus began my relationship with Jason Pierce that continues to this day. After the Acoustic Mainlines show in Toronto I was taken upstairs to see Jason and he smiled. He asked “How long have we been friends?” I was pretty stunned. Jason and I email back and forth occasionally but the fact he considers me a friend meant a lot.

Jason has always been willing to go the extra mile for fans. Especially here in Detroit where he has become close with some notable local bands the Detroit Cobras and the Dirtbombs. He does have a big fan base here which helps. Not only because of the support of the local shops but his willingness to meet, greet, sign or just talk to his fans. 30 or so gigs later there is no better night out than a Spiritualized gig. Especially in Detroit as it becomes a reunion with my former employees and customers.

I realize Ladies & Gentlemen is the record most namecheck as their favorite. It is by far Spiritualized’s most popular. It means so many things to so many people. I will just leave it at that. Ditto for the rest of the catalog. I am not going to go into each album and you may scratch your head wondering why I stopped after Pure Phase. The reason is I love the noisy era Spiritualized. This is how I became a fan. Those early shows? They came out and blew your head right off. Two shows in one night at The Shelter underneath St Andrews Hall in Detroit remain two of the most amazing shows I have ever seen. By anyone. By any band. This was between Pure Phase and Ladies & Gentlemen. The first show was blistering. The second show even more so. They played two fewer songs at the second show yet it was 20 minutes longer. Really giving the songs space to breathe live.

At one point in 1993-ish one of my employees noticed a classsified ad in the back of Record Collector magazine advertising loads of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized rarities. I called and spoke to Pete who referred me to Mark. Turns out Pete was the dub and reggae expert half of Runcible Records. Mark was the Spacemen 3, Spiritualized and Sonic Boom expert. We started trading records. After a few trips we became friends. After a few more we became really good friends. Now we have been thru births, deaths and everything in between. I have watched his kids grow up. I was at his wedding. We celebrated my “big” birthday together at a party he hosted in 2009. He has become a very important part of my life. Common thread? Spacemen 3/Spiritualized/Sonic Boom.

What really impresses me are the fans of the band. I am a moderator on the Spiritualized message board. What I have witnessed over the years is incredible. It has become such a diverse place to post or read on everything from current events to blow by blow reviews of shows to a continous thread on the Premier League. The unbelievable wealth of musical knowledge from those who post there is astonishing. In fact I need not look any further than the band recommendations from the message board to expand my musical horizons.

Every once in awhile you realize just how important this message board is in the daily life of the fans who read and post. A few years ago the message board went down for a few weeks. We couldn’t understand why. Eventually it came back and I know a lot us realized just how important it is in our lives. We even helped a forum member’s family sell off his record collection thru the message board after the forum member passed away suddenly thus making sure the records were going to good homes and at the same time helping defray the funeral costs.

While I have met several forum members face to face I feel like I know a lot of people from the years we have been posting. I love the photos of get togethers pre or post show around the world. I know how close other forum members have become as well.

I have put up forum members here, I have happily shown forum members around Detroit and I have been a guest at other forum members homes. This past May three of us got together near Leeds for a few days of catching up and general mayhem meeting up with another forum member while running riot in Leeds on a Sunday. Just look at this photo. Sheer joy!


Credit to Judi for the photo above perfectly capturing a fantastic moment in time. Not sure how this became the Facebook cover for this blog link but it has an incredible spirit. Fitting I think.

It really is amazing that whom I consider a few of my closest friends I have met thru Spiritualized. While I love the music I also love how much more Spiritualized have given me and truly enriched my life way beyond the music. Never underestimate the power of music.

This gets me back to the title of this blog.

This is why I love Spiritualized.

Please feel free to comment at the bottom. I would love to hear stories from anyone taking the time to read this.

None of the instores would have happened without the help of our local BMG office who also worked Dedicated Records. Laura & Mike.

Spiritualized message board address:












3 responses

  1. I grew up in Windsor, which is on the Canadian side of the Detroit River. Through high school and into University there I was playing music with various friends until I met a group that ‘clicked’ – mostly due to all our common musical interests and other interests during that time. The band we formed, Bloemfontein, was all instrumental, long songs, ebbing and flowing, always with a positive melody. Definitely a Spaceman-influenced group…

    One of the members, Eric, had an older brother who used to go record shopping in Detroit, and would bring stuff back to Windsor and share with friends – he started Loaf Records – and family (Eric), and through that channel I became aware of Spiritualized.

    One of the first ‘big’ shows Bloemfontein did in Windsor was at a bar called Milk – a small bar, but it was packed, and everyone was crammed up front and we played a great show. Eric was wearing a Spiritualized shirt.

    After the show, we got talking to a guy from Detroit who noticed Eric’s shirt and was randomly there that night visiting friends in Windsor. Through conversation we found out that this was the owner of the store that Eric’s brother used to go to, and the person whose influence on music literally crossed international borders…

    I’ve now known Alan for over a decade. He released the most important album Bloemfontein ever made (The Longer Now 2xCD). He let me use his address in Ferndale to ship albums to so I could save on shipping and duty. He’s taken me on epic tours of Detroit. He introduced me to good beer and gave me the tour of Michigan Microbreweries before they were ‘cool’. I’ve visited with him in Phoenix, LA, Chicago, and we still keep love of Spiritualized at the core. In fact at the Chicago stop on the ‘Sweet Heart Sweet Light’ tour, I got the chance to visit Spaceman backstage with Alan and witness the friendship mentioned above…

    Most importantly, Alan introduced me to so much good music beyond Spiritualized… The Band, The Stones (finally), Simple Minds, the list goes on and on… but most importantly, the Lomax re-issues on Mississippi Records, and… Link Wray… after hearing ‘Wray’s Three Track Shack’, I tossed everything aside I know about playing music. I built an acoustic slide guitar so I could learn all the songs on the 3-track shack, and I play a Link Wray song every day when I get home from work. I even made a Beans and Fatback shirt!!!

    Alan is who makes me glad to be from Windsor…

  2. What a band….saw them multiple times in the mid to late 90s/early 2000s. The very first time (Double Door, Chicago) they “blew my head off” as well, like no other group before or since. Two friends I was with that night, and I, started our own “blow your head off” band here in Indiana. Bumped into Jason Pierce at the Chicago Music Exchange one of the times I saw them. He bought an old black Fender Thinline and played it at the show. I haven’t listened to them or kept up in ages, but I’ve just seen “Fucked Up Inside” was re-released. Must acquire it….Long live the record store days!

  3. “Feel So Sad” (the Rhapsodies version, although I also dig the John Peel session version) is my favorite song of all time, alongside “Already There” (from Verve’s Storm in Heaven.)

    Lazer Guided Melodies, next to Storm in Heaven, is my favorite album of the ’90s and my favorite Spiritualized album. It is an audiophile’s dream and perhaps the best produced album of all time.

    I saw Spiritualized play an intimate, as well as mindblowing show, at the Cocoanut Grove Ballroom in Santa Cruz (April 2013) and it was one of the greatest concerts of my life (I was especially stunned when they played “Shine A Light”, “Let It Flow”, “Medication”, and, for the closer, an intense version of “Take Your Time”).

    It was surreal afterwards when I was the only person around to meet the band. I had a photograph with Jason which turned out blurry. He said “Blurry is better,” a perfect way to describe the band’s sound on LGM and Pure Phase.

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