Land of the Sun (song)

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"Land of the Sun"
Land of The Sun Cover.jpg
Single by Skip Spence
B-side "All My Life (I Love You)"
Released 1999
Format 7" Single
Recorded 1996
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock
Label Sundazed
Songwriter(s) Skip Spence

Land of The Sun is one of the last recordings, if not the last known recording by Alexander "Skip" Spence, a founding member of Moby Grape, whose promising career was largely ended as of the mid-1970s, due to schizophrenia, compounded with drug addiction[1] and alcoholism. Spence died of lung cancer in 1999, at the age of 52, after many years of transient accommodation, third party care and homelessness.

History[edit]

The song, recorded in 1996, was originally released in 1999 by Sundazed Records as a 7-inch vinyl single, along with another rare Spence recording from 1972, "All My Life (I Love You)".[2]

The song is notable as an example of Spence's efforts in the latter part of his life to overcome his severe challenges. The song was commissioned [3] for inclusion in the spinoff soundtrack to the X-Files, Songs in the Key of X, but was not used.[4]

The song is included as a hidden track on More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album, being a tribute album by Beck, Tom Waits, Mudhoney and others to Spence's only solo album, Oar, released in 1969.[5] As described by Raoul Hernandez, "(i)t's Spence himself, who died at the age of 52...who saves the back end of More Oar with the mumbled, spacey, bongo madness of "Land of the Sun." A hidden bonus track deemed unworthy of 1996's X-Files spinoff, Songs in the Key of X, "Land of the Sun" brings More Oar full circle...(to) bookend an obscure chapter of rock & roll history that is finally becoming public record."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ To heroin and, in his later years, to cocaine. As described by Moby Grape bandmate Peter Lewis, "Skippy was just hanging around. He hadn't been all there for years, because he'd been into heroin all that time. In fact he actually ODed once and they had him in the morgue in San Jose with a tag on his toe. All of a sudden he got up and asked for a glass of water. Now he was snortin' big clumps of coke, and nothing would happen to him."Interview with Peter Lewis Archived 2007-09-04 at the Wayback Machine. by Jud Cost, 1995; www.sundazed.com
  2. ^ A song which later appeared on Legendary Grape, a 1989 album by Moby Grape members, recorded without Spence. Spence's bandmates made a point of always including at least one of his songs in Moby Grape records, irrespective of whether Spence was with the band at the time.
  3. ^ John Pareles,Skip Spence, Psychedelic Musician, Dies at 52 Obituary, New York Times, April 18, 1999.
  4. ^ Matthew Greenwald, "Skip Spence Lived a Surrealistic Life" Rolling Stone April 19, 1999.
  5. ^ The 1999 tribute album, intended to assist Spence with medical bills, was completed days before and released shortly after his death. It was played for Spence shortly before he died.
  6. ^ Raoul Hernandez, More Oar reviewed. Austin Chronicle, December 17, 1999.