British neo-glam rockers Spacehog, best known for their 1995 hit “In The Meantime,” are launching on Long Island their first North American tour in more than a decade to support their new, down-to-earth album.
The quartet’s fourth release, As It is On Earth, picks up where the band left off with a more mature sound reflecting the real-world strife the members have experienced since they last hit the road in 2001, opening for Oasis and the Black Crowes.
“I think our experience in life has softened the edges of that particularly glittery thing that we had when we were 21 year olds running around the East Village freebasing our own underpants,” lead singer/bassist Royston “Ray Sprinkles” Langdon told the Press. “Today, it’s less import that I look glittery.”
Langdon formed the band in New York City with his guitarist brother, Anthony, drummer Johnny “Corky” Cragg and guitarist Rich Steel, all of whom are from England. Timo Ellis, a multi-instrumentalist also in The Netherlands, replaced Anthony—who’s pursuing a cinematic career—for the reunion.
Fueled by combined influences of David Bowie, Queen and T. Rex, they quickly reached ‘90s stardom as a reaction to the popularity of grunge. But, it’s a long way back to the top of the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks list.
“To get this record was a hell of a lot of work logistically, in terms of making it happen,” Royston said. “It’s been a struggle to do that, just to get off the ground again.”
Their debut album, Resident Alien, proved their most commercially successful. The Chinese Album, their artsy sophomore effort recorded as a soundtrack to a movie that was never made, was their last on Elektra Records. They released 2001’s The Hogyssey on independent Artemis Records before the band mates went their separate ways.
“It was a very fast rapid thing for us,” Royston said, recalling how the band inked their first deal on a napkin before rocketing to the airwaves a year later. “I didn’t have a lot of tools for living generally…especially in the bustling cut-throat world of Manhattan. I literally was an alien.”
It was another world when Spacehog last toured in ’01: Apple had just released the first iPod; My Chemical Romance formed; Joey Ramone was the first of The Ramones to die.
Royston later married Liv Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, moved to Woodstock and had a son. Although the couple separated five years ago, they performed a duet, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” during a recent benefit for the David Lynch Foundation First Responders Initiative.
“There’s a heck of a lot of suicide among first responders,” Royston said, counting them among his friends. “We expect so much of these people… I think it’s really important for our community to support our firefighters, policemen and in a sense bolster our communities.”
After their hiatus, Spacehog got back together for a gig on Corky’s birthday around the time Royston was auditioning to replace Scott Wieland as singer of Velvet Revolver. Spacehog played a few reunion shows in the run up to their latest albums released in April. Now back form their European tour, they’re co-headlining dates across the Northeast and Canada with another ‘90s favorite, Sponge.
Despite the long road back, Royston jokes that it only adds up to tea time. “We never really stopped…we kind of just had a big holiday,” he said.
Spacehog is joined by Sponge and supported by Lionize, and Trapper Schoepp and The Shades and The Red Paintings at The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com $17-$20. 6:30 p.m., Weds., Dec. 5.