Back in Orbit

The AUTONO's Chuck Snow launches the Lazy Spacemen -- and gives the music business another go.

When the AUTONO broke up in 1997, Snow briefly considered giving in to more popular tastes. "I had a couple offers to join some cover bands, and I seriously considered them for a little while," he says. "But I decided after rehearsing with a band one night that I'd rather play my own music in obscurity the rest of my life than do that." The Lazy Spacemen are proudly filling their niche as an obscure pleasure in town. "A lot of people like to listen to vinyl, but it's not the most popular format anymore. That's sort of how we see ourselves down here."

Musically speaking, one of Snow's out-of-favor addictions is the Replacements, a group he cites as a major inspiration for the band in terms of music and attitude. "What I try to take from them is spontaneity and a "fuck it all" attitude, which is what they had. Around here, the bands are predictable and sanitary; I like the visceral output and interaction."

Snow's output over the years in Colorado Springs and his lengthy run in the music community there has earned him the status of music veteran today. When someone needs a tidbit or quote about the history of rock and roll in Colorado Springs, they call him. He's added to that reputation through his role as a partner in Big Ball Records, a Springs-based label he's run for a number of years with partner Mark Junglen. The label has released all three AUTONO recordings, as well as platters from two former Junglen projects, A Tribe and Former Fetus. The label also released Dark Horse Dreams, a compilation of Colorado Springs bands.

Ground control to Major Snow: The Lazy Spacemen are led by former AUTONO frontman Chuck Snow (far left).
Tamera Goldsmith
Ground control to Major Snow: The Lazy Spacemen are led by former AUTONO frontman Chuck Snow (far left).

The Lazy Spacemen are looking to add another disc to the Big Ball catalogue when they release an EP of new material this fall. They are also planning some "strike" tours to Chicago and a few other markets, hoping to push the band's reach a bit further. Snow, however, is not looking to land some major-label deal with his band of seasoned, realistic-minded peers. In his estimation, record companies perform one major service: "They fuck with who you are. That's what record companies do."

Such comments may make Snow seem a bit frosty about the realities of playing music. But he makes it clear he's not shedding any tears about his current station in the musical world. "I've had a career of sorts over time, and I've always looked at it from an artist's point of view. I'm growing, I'm moving forward. There are so many horror stories about the music business. It's so much easier to make money yourself these days without being signed. Maybe our next record will sell 20,000 copies, and we'll get to keep all the money."

In the meantime, Snow and his mates will continue to write and perform the music they want to play, the music they believe in. And if a large audience isn't out there thirsting for their brand of straightahead rock, so be it.

"It's a corporate culture today -- a culture devoid of any ambition or passion. People are homogenized, and it's hard to stir people out of their shells. They're jaded, and some people are alive and some are walking dead. And some people aren't passionate about their lives in general, either. So you can't expect them to be passionate about music."

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