I have a passion sweet Lord... and it just won't go away

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WILL CARRUTHERS - The Urbane Spaceman. By Steve Nicholls

 

IN the 14 years since Will left Spiritualized (Mk I) he has roadied for Rod Stewart, worked in a slaughterhouse, been a painter and decorator, become a Poll Tax fugitive, taken up jam-making and finally recorded enough material for his debut album.

But whereas other ex-Spiritualized flight crew have spoken out of harsh treatment at the hands of Jason Pierce, before forming their own bands, Will just got out of the whole rancid music business and laid low.

"It sounds petty to say the reason I left was because of money, but that was one of the big reasons.

"I could go into it but I dunno if it's a good thing to do. I don't want to come across as a bitter old fucker out of this band.

"I mean look at Lupine Howl and how it went bad for them. They almost come across like a grudge with a band attached."

Nevertheless, Will had been stung by the industry.

"For the first few years I just had to get away from it. So I thought, 'I'm not going to any gigs, no parties, not going anywhere near London, and move out of Rugby.'

"I tried to give it all up. I'd had enough after two bad experiences in two years. I totally stopped playing."

Will first got involved with Pierce during the Spacemen 3 days. He played on arguably the Spacemen's best album 'Playing With Fire' and found himself playing for both Pierce and Sonic Boom during the acrimoniously-recorded 'Recurring'. Those days do not hold fond memories for him.

"It was all just falling apart when 'Recurring' was being made. It was all arguments and recriminations.

"Actually, it was starting to fall apart before I joined. The first time I walked into the Fire Records office, those two were swinging punches at each other.

"I left the Spacemen halfway through 'Recurring'. Did my bits and left. My heart wasn't in that album - it was too much of a fractured thing to even work in.

"It was like 'You go here, I'll go there' just so they wouldn't meet up.

"So I fucked off before it came out."

After forming Spiritualized with Pierce and recording their first - and many say still the best - album 'Lazer Guide Melodies', Will again found himself not having any fun.

"I decided to leave Spiritualized on New Year's Day 1992. I was having to work at a slaughterhouse, carrying bricks, just to make enough money to pay my rent. I thought 'Something's wrong here. I ain't having this, I'd rather get out now and cut my losses.'"

But now heUs ready for a third dip into the murky waters of the business with his debut album 'Written In Sand' under the guise of Freelovebabies. And this time he's doing it all himself. All the instruments, the artwork, packaging, sales and even distribution (the album is only available from willcarruthers.com).

"I had a little four-track, an acoustic guitar and just started pissing about with Kevin Cowan [ex-Spacemen and Spiritualized). I made a few demos while I was living in a caravan in a friend's garden (he was skint and couldn't get dole because he owed too much Poll Tax).

"Then I was in a car crash and ended up with some glass in my hand. I got awarded 2,500 in compensation and I thought 'What am I gonna do with all this? I know, I'll get a studio.'"

"So I got a digital eight-track and shortly after that I got a decent royalty cheque from the Spacemen reissues, so I banged that into a computer.

"I want to see if I can do it all myself this time, staying outside the music industry."

'Written In Sand' is a lush collection of tunes that will have fans of the early daydreaming Spiritualized reaching for the rolling machine. It's the sound of someone happily idling away the hours, carefully crafting a work of great personal significance, but prepared for public consumption.

Not that the beatific mist shrouding the album has clouded Will's expecatations.

"I don't expect to make a living out of this," he admits. "I make my money decorating these days.

"I must have decorated half of Rugby. I was even gonna do the CD sleeve in magnolia and woodchip."

 

[Previously unpublished. With thanks to Steve Nicholls.]