WILL CARRUTHERS - PLAYING THE BASS WITH THREE LEFT HANDS (2016)
ABOUT THE BOOK
I can confirm that should you ever find yourself on stage playing the bass guitar with tree left hands, it is usually he one in the middle that is the real one. The other two are probably phantoms.
Playing the Bass with Three Left Hands tells the story of one of the most influential, revered and ultimately demented British bands of the 1980s, Spacemen 3. In classic rock n roll style they split up on the brink of their major breakthrough.
As the decade turned sour and acid house hit the news, Rugby's finest imploded spectacularly, with Jason Pierce (aka Jason Spaceman) and Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom) going their separate ways. Here, Will Carruthers tells the whole sorry story and the segue into Spirtualized in one of the funniest and most memorable memoirs committed to the page.
GOOD TO KNOW
* Will Carruthers played in 33 bands, of which Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, The Brian Jonestown Massacre are most wellknown, and has a big fanbase in Engeland, USA, Iceland, Germany ao
* Great website now online
* Rights sold in a pre-empt to Faber Social (Lee Brackstone)
* Published in september in England, to great critical acclaim
* An extract from the memoir was published by The Guardian on september 26th
* Full manuscript available
UK (Faber Social)
USA (Faber Social)
‘I’ve known Will for a number of years…I know the places, people, personalities, music and history very well…and all of this information leads me to believe that this book is one hell of a yarn. In person, Will is a great story teller, and a natural narrator. His perspective is important; it’s sure to piss off a few, but they should be thankful I’m not writing this book…And it’s like my grandma says, ‘It’s better to be pissed off than to be pissed on’ Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre)
‘A ruinously frank and funny account of the emergence of both Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized from the sonically celestial squalor of nearby Rugby that features a number of close friends amongst its stagger-on cameos’ Alan Moore, By the Book, The New York Times
‘In these front line despatches from the arse end of Satori, Will Carruthers nails perfectly the glorious shimmer and swoon rising out of the unspeakable lifestyles of alternative Rugby, and demonstrates how something bordering on the sacred can emerge from the hilariously, painfully profane. Written with a naked honesty, Playing the Bass with Three Left Hands expertly captures the sticky textures of a place, a time and a sound that will never be repeated. It is a chronicle of hepatitis and heroism that no one interested in the music of transitioning centuries can afford to miss. Buy this immediately’ Alan Moore, author of Watchmen & Jeruzalem
‘Will Carruthers' Playing The Bass With three Left Hands is at the least the funniest rock memoir since Andrew Matheson's Sick on You [...] Carruthers is a wonderfully droll narrator and the book is effectively a series of well-wrought comic set pieces’ Uncut 9/10
'You don't have to have been a Spacemen 3 fan to enjoy their former bassist Will Carruthers' autobiography, although I was. Will describes a lost world of the 80s and early 90s, where artists and non-conformists could exist in the cracks of society, making music and art, and scraping by. His description of the crusty band Webcore's home studio in a ruined Cornwall cottage sounds as far distant now as Boswell's accounts of eighteenth-century Highland homesteads. As well as a being a fine comic writer, Carruthers is a social historian, documenting a strange chapter of the British counter-culture, where poverty and impossible freedoms lived alongside each other, now lost for ever as the individual is locked down, the welfare state is destroyed, and the very idea of any form of culture as an end in itself is commodified. Carruthers survived to tell the tale' Stewart Lee
'Spacemen 3 four-string maestro's frank, ever-hilarious confessions. That Carruthers has emerged alive, with self-appreciation, warmth and humour intact, is little short of miraculous' Mojo 4****
'Like hearing of 1980s psychedelia from a mate who was there but found his way home in one piece' Metro, DBC Pierre
'Carruthers is a wry, funny, self-deprecating writer, who brings what could be a run-of-the-mill band biography to throbbing life [...] Carruthers is a hilarious tour guide through the drudge and politics of being in a band, narcotic peaks and valleys, and the beautiful musical legacy left by the groups' Shindig! 4****
'A compulsively readable book [...] It offers a rare and very funny view from the outer edges of life as a musician, where debt and insecurity appear even more perilous than the drugs' Rough Trade Magazine
'Playing the Bass with Three Left Hands tells the story of the Spacemen Three implosion and subsequent birth of Spiritualized hilariously. The book is filled with sage advice, and Carruthers' smart, acerbic description of the whole affair marks it as the most well written, funniest and most fascinating rock biography for a while' Loud and Quiet
‘Playing the Bass with Three Left Hands tells the story of the Spacemen Three implosion and subsequent birth of Spiritualized hilariously. The book is filled with sage advice, and Carruthers’ smart, acerbic description of the whole affair marks it as the most well written, funniest and most fascinating rock biography for a while’ Loud and Quiet
‘A compulsively readable book [...] It offers a rare and very funny view from the outer edges of life as a musician, where debt and insecurity appear even more perilous than the drugs’ Emma Waren, Rough Trade Magazine
aBOUT THE AUTHOR
Will Carruthers has had a chequered career. Frequently veering from the sublime to the ridiculous and rarely lacking a sense of humour about the whole thing, he has travelled the world performing his “peculiar balancing act between artistic endeavour and hard labour”, often with no safety net.
In his early years, he was the bassist for Spacemen 3, Spiritualized and Spectrum, three bands who were among the most influential rock outfits of the late 80's and early 90's. If in doubt, look them up and you will find that these pioneers of drone rock influenced everyone from Nirvana to Daft Punk and My bloody valentine, and their recordings and uncompromising attitudes continue to be a cherished source of inspiration for many of the “new wave of psychedelia” bands that are flourishing today.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Carruthers moved from the success of these bands into a series of back breaking and soul destroying jobs, which he has documented in his most recent book, a collection of short stories called “A Book of Jobs”. Carruthers made the first one hundred copies by hand at his kitchen table, binding fourteen of his own original linoleum prints into the books. “It was a lot of work,” he said.
Having more recently played with the notorious Brian Jonestown Massacre and with Icelandic band Dead Skeletons, Carruthers finally started to go deaf and has subsequently decided to give loud music a break for a while, although he does perform occasional solo concerts and readings for largely confused audiences. He published a book of poetry called “A Spoon for the Air” and has had work featured in the books “One another” by Alisa Resnik, which won the European publishers prize for photography, (which saw his poetry translated into three languages) and in “La part des ombres” by Swiss author Chiara Mechtry-Gonet. He has had a few short stories and essays printed in a couple of magazines. He lives in Berlin, but would really like to live by the sea, grow peculiar vegetables and keep chickens … and maybe a goat.
Will has self-published two books, which were hand made and of which all copies have been sold privately through his Facebook page (330 in total). He is planning on making another edition of Book of Jobs (at a lot of requests) soon and will be editing two new books of poetry and linocuts in 2016, both concerning heartbreak, sex, loss and love.
He currently resides in seclusion in Croatia, writing his most ambitious work so far: a book of stories concerning his history in the music industry. The book will be about the music, the bands and unlikely scenarios involving people who dislike others but are forced into close quarters.
A Spoon for the Air (2013), self published handmade edition of 130 – sold out
A Book of Jobs (2015): self published handmade hardback edition of 100 – sold out hand printed softback edition of 100 – sold out
Michaël Roumen and Lebowski Publishers have teamed up, in order to sell the translation rights of Will's memoir.
T: + 31 6 42136212
Oscar van Gelderen
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