Playing the Bass with Three Left Hands

Will Carruthers


A memoir of life in Spacemen 3, the most mythologised and revered psychedelic band of the 1980s.

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I can confirm that should you ever find yourself on stage playing the bass guitar with three left hands, it is usually the 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 revered British bands of the 1980s: Spacemen 3. As the decade turned and acid house hit the mainstream, the band imploded spectacularly, going their separate ways just as they were on the cusp of breakthrough success. Here, Will Carruthers tells the story of his time in a wholly dysfunctional yet hugely influential band, in one of the funniest and most memorable music memoirs.

Critic Reviews

Frank [and] ever-hilarious . . . Carruthers’ anecdotal extravagance borders on the Ustinovian . . . That Carruthers has emerged alive, with self-deprecation, warmth and humour intact, is little short of miraculous.

Andrew Perry, Mojo
Critic Reviews

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.

Stewart Lee
Critic Reviews

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 Warren, Rough Trade magazine
Critic Reviews

A ruinously frank and funny account of the emergence of both Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized from the sonically celestial squalor of Rugby.

Alan Moore
Critic Reviews

Dear prospective space travellers and dwellers in the margins, should you flame out possessing only a fraction of Mr Carruthers’ melancholic wit and good grace then everything will have been worth it.

Andrew Weatherall

Will Carruthers has played bass in three great, pioneering psychedelic bands, Spacemen 3, Spiritualised, and Brian Jones Town Massacre.

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