Essential Listening: Glam Mavens, Spacehog! Effectively the Last Bastion of Glam Rock on the Planet
Last week I paid tribute to some personal friends of mine who had been making some seriously awesome things happen, 2 musicians: Craig Kotfas and Rody Hillman with full LP album releases, as well as 1 film maker: Bobby Baham who has released a variety of short film projects. This week I will be focusing on a small group of professional recording artists who have put out some tremendously great music, and have remained successful, albeit mostly under the radar, even though they don’t have the full marketing push of a major label anymore (for more info on how I will be posting articles this month, click here). These artists have kept their audience by keeping a strong connection to their fans and by utilizing the broad reaching power of social media to reach a brand new audience. First on the list for this week is 1 of my all time favorite bands (of all time, have I made that clear yet? All time!): Spacehog! A band that rose to popularity 20 years ago with their smash single “In the Meantime,” Spacehog still records new material, tours, and delights their fans by staying hip with modern technology and social media.
Who is Spacehog: Spacehog is a rock band that formed up in 1994, consisting of the original line up of Royston Langdon (bass, vocals), Antony Langdon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Jonny Cragg (drums), and the inimitable Richard Steel (lead guitar). Fun fact, all of the band members are from Leeds, West Yorkshire in the UK, but didn’t form the band until they met up by odd coincidence in New York City, USA. Since their launch, the core band for recording has remained the same, although Antony Langdon has taken on a reduced role (specifically in regards to touring) and they have added multi-instrumentalist Timo Ellis (from the band Netherlands, official site here) to their most recent touring/recordings. Initially, Royston and Antony Langdon wrote the majority of the music, but with their latest release “As It Is On Earth”, Jonny Cragg and Richard Steel have contributed their own composition as well. With their neo-glam vocal stylings, spot on arena rock riffs, and the percussion expertise of Mr. Gragg, these lads from Leeds have been performing their particular brand of awesome for over 20 years now. All told, Spacehog has recorded 4 albums to date: “Resident Alien”, “The Chinese Album”, “The Hogyssey”, and “As It Is On Earth”.
Why You Should Be Listening to Spacehog: First and foremost, because they create and play excellent music. Above and beyond that, Spacehog truly is a unique band with a magically layered sound that is unlike anything else you are likely to hear from any other major recording artist. Almost as if whisked away from the golden era of glam rock, Spacehog is an indication of how amazing glam could have been if it were still a thing today. On the surface, they seem like the rock n’ roll love child of David Bowie and T. Rex, yet they are still very much their very own distinctive breed of glam rock. The lyrics to their songs are ladled with chicanery and clever twists of phrases all sung with a tongue planted firmly in cheek, yet there is also a deeper more emotional side that is instantly recognizable and wholly relatable. It doesn’t hurt that Royston Langdon (who handles the majority of the lead vocals) handles his frontman duties with a prodigious amount of exuberance and panache. Yet another reason to be dialed into the Spacehog scene is that they are a tremendously entertaining live band. Fun, energetic, loose, and ostentatiously like a peacock proud of its feathers, Spacehog simply rocks a live set with style!
Full Disclosure: I took my wife, then girlfriend, to see Spacehog live in 1998 and we danced, sang, and made out with reckless abandon. It was a whimsically fun experience, and since then we haven’t missed a Spacehog show in Houston. Most couples make the googly eyes during a sappy song, we make ours at each and every time Mungo City plays. Seriously, that song is our jam!
What’s Spacehog Been Up To Recently: In 2013, Spacehog released their most recent album, “As It Is On Earth”. This marked their first new studio album in over a decade. After a variety of side projects, and a proper amount of living a private life (marriages, children, etc.), the lads reformed and started recording. The end result is an album that sounds definitively Spacehog, such as with the this amazing track, “Glad To Know”:
Still performing with a variation of their trademark playfulness and glam approach, they have also added the wisdom of life experience and the necessity to slow it down and appreciate a tender moment with harmonized vocals. Essentially, we have an older, wiser Spacehog that is just as vital and creative as ever. They also went on a full tour across the United States with Everclear, Soul Asylum, and Eve 6. Word has it that they are slowly working on a follow up to be announced closer to when the completed project is ready to release. They crowdfunded the release of “As It Is On Earth” through PledgeMusic (you can check out their original fundraising campaign here), and it wouldn’t surprise me if they go that route again for their new album. Regardless, I will be looking forward to whatever they release on day one of whenever they release it.
How You Can Support the Band: Buy their albums! The entire Spacehog catalog is available on CD and digital at various retailers, both brick and mortar and online. You can also listen to their music via Spotify and Apple Music. On top of that, you can head to their official website, spacehog.com, for more information about their music, tour dates, bios, music videos, and more. Royston Langdon works with other artists on behalf of Spotify and submits hand selected playlists on a regular basis, you can check those out here. Antony Langdon has taken to acting, and has appeared in many films over the last few years, check out his IMDB page here for more details. Jonny Cragg maintains a personal blog that he updates occasionally, which you can start reading here. Spacehog is also on the following social media services: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
If you have 2 minutes, check out this video put together by the band in support of Transcendental Meditation. Royston Langdon utilizes the technique regularly, and he is huge signal booster and supporter for the David Lynch Foundation. Take a look at the foundation’s website and if you can dedicate the time or money, get involved and help change people’s lives for the better!
Finally, I leave you with a single that Spacehog recorded especially for Wreck Room Records recently, which is an amazing way to spend 3 minutes and 55 seconds, titled: “Remains” (which is available to purchase via Wreck Room Records bandcamp page here).