Under the Influence: The Telescopes

Melody Maker once surmised that resurgent space rock outfit The Telescopes were "like mad cultural terrorists, they've taken the norm and fed it through a psychedelic blender." Here, frontman Stephen Lawrie explains that many of the those early influences

Feature by Stephen Lawrie | 24 Jul 2009

1. Neil Young. He has a feel for coming up with melodies that sound absolutely definitive, like there could be no other. I grew up hearing his music, so it was totally absorbed. I can hear myself working against this on lots of Telescopes music.

2. Can (with Damo Suzuki). When they hit on a merge there was no stopping them. They would let the tapes roll and splice all the best bits together afterwards with incredible results. Even their more introverted pieces sound propelled by something indescribably magical between them. Very intuitive music.

3. The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. I discovered them after hearing You're Gonna Miss Me by The Spades. I love everything about the group, but most of all I love Roky Erikson's immense creativity. Just listen to the words, the man is a genius, and that voice! I used Roky's lyrics to send early Telescopes sets into a mass of chaos.

4. The Velvet Underground. Hearing Black Angel's Death Song for the first time just made total sense, I was beginning to think I wasn't right in the head, but the Velvets reassured me that it didn't matter. Sister Ray is very dear to me now.

5. Suicide. As teenagers we used to switch off the lights and pound Frankie Teardrop into our skulls. It was a kind of initiation into our little circle of friends. There's a throbbing intensity on this first album that I don't think they ever really hit upon again. Girl is a total classic.


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The Telescopes and St Deluxe play Captain's Rest, Glasgow, on 15 Aug and Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, on 17 Aug.