author: ethan butterfield | a&c writer
Banding with Butterfield with the artist of some big ‘90s hits.
Hey everyone! Well, the semester is getting closer and closer to the finish line, with only a few more weeks of classes or lectures to go. It has definitely been an interesting one, especially considering the newest band interview, Spacehog! For those who aren’t sure, Spacehog is a group that originated in New York City and gained huge momentum with the release of their album Resident Alien. Hits of the album included “Never Coming Down (Part II),” “Cruel to be Kind,” “Candyman,” and “In the Meantime.” So, without further ado, here’s Johnny Cragg, drummer and co-founder.
I’m curious, where did the name Spacehog come from?
We procrastinated for a long time over the name; I believe Grass was the original idea, but it was shite. We settled on Spacehog in the end, I think it was a bit less shite, and the connotations grew out of it.
When did the group find out that alternative rock/rock was the style you wanted to perform? How did Spacehog come by its sound?
We neither ‘found out’ nor ‘come by’ our sound, it happened as a result of our collective backgrounds and by osmosis.
Speaking of sound, how does it feel to perform live? Electric? Surreal?
I like playing live. I mean, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have done this, right?
As many others will agree, Resident Alien was an amazing album that had a huge impact on the ‘90s scene. What was the creation process like for that album? Any stories you could possibly share?
Royston moved to New York in 1994, he was twenty years old and had a band in Leeds prior to that. He took a couple of songs he had written in that band (The Zeroes) and wrote a couple more. They became the backbone of what was to become Resident Alien (“Meantime,” “Zeroes,” “Candyman,” “Dictator,” “Cruel To Be Kind”) Antony wrote a couple, and when Richard joined the band, Roy had an emerging idea of what worked best for us compositionally. Because myself and Rich had been in a couple of bands before, we could quickly articulate those songs and make them sound like us.
Now, I’m sure you’ve received this question a million times, but what was it like creating “In The Meantime” off Resident Alien?
Roy wrote the song with a busy and a free signal combined from an English telephone. The tone modulates for the chorus. The drums are a pretty straightforward quasi hip-hop, mid-tempo backbeat, Ant does a very effective Pixies-esque guitar part and Rich adds the Mick Ronson power balladry. Oh yeah, and the bass playing and singing aren’t bad either. We knew we had something pretty special, but you never know how things are going to play out, do you? The whole recording process up at Bearsville with Bryce Goggin was pretty magical for the most part. I’m going to write more about recording “In The Meantime” on my blog (thevillagegreen.silvrback.com).
How has the group handled all the success that has come its way? What was it like when you guys realized Spacehog had become a household name?
I think the prevalent feeling amongst the group is that we fell short of our potential. I’m not sure we got to household name status. But along the way, we had some good days and some bad days. Mostly good memories as far as I’m concerned.
What have been some of your favorite moments throughout your career as a band? Venues you’ve performed at? Bands you’ve performed with?
There’ve been so many! The Chili Peppers tour in ’96 was really mental, and we were at the height of our bad behaviour. It felt good to be accepted (finally) in Britain touring The Chinese Album in ’98. Living in New York City and all that went with it back then. Playing in South America was pretty rad!
Last question. What does the future hold for Spacehog?
Nothing cooking right now, but, you never know!
So there you have it! Hopefully you enjoyed this look into the world of Spacehog!