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The Spacemen
Band history

The core founder of the band in 1963 were Thomas Irschick and Karl-Heinz Herpolsheimer.

Thomas Irschick 1961 in Café Klevin in Wolfsburg

Thomas Irschick had a one-year contract as a lead vocalist with the CASALEON establishment at the HASENHEIDE in the KREUZBERG district of Berlin. During a performance in which Thomas had to replace the guitarist from the touring Swedish band, THE SPOTNIKS, who due to health problems was unable to perform, he met Karl Heinz Herpolsheimer.

Thomas Irschick 1962 als Leadvocalist bei einem Auftritt im Casaleon, Neukölln, Hasenheide

This meeting with “Herpie” Herpolsheimer, who was a talented lead guitarist and who was not tied-up with any band at that stage, was decisive and as the contract Thomas had with the CASALEON came to an end, he could now pursue his dream to start his own band.

After making up a list of possible names for this band, both decided upon the name “THE SPACEMEN”. As to whom of us two came up with that name on which we both agreed I can’t remember, but it might have had something to do with my interest in science fiction.
We found a temporary drummer who had been playing with the band “The Mysteries”, as well as a bass player whom Herpie knew from somewhere. We also replaced him after a while.

THE SPACEMEN played for the first time in May 1962 for three consecutive months at the Prairie Saloon in Yorckstr., Kreuzberg.

The Spacemen replaced the drummer with Klaus Kratzat, who only lasted for two or three month. Then Hannes Knäse (formerly drummer for Edgar and the Breathless) and Charly Schappler (bass player) joined the band. This was the final cast of “The Spacemen” which lasted unchanged until the group disbanded in 1967.

Hannes Knäse (drums)
Thomas Irschick (lead vocals und rhythm guitar)
Karl Heinz Herpolsheimer („Herpie“ Lead Guitar und backing vocals)
Charly Schappler
(Bass und backing vocals)

The music scene in Berlin was very ‘alive’ in those days and getting gigs was pretty easy for the band. The contracts always ran for a minimal period of one month with 2 or 3 performances each week.

The Spacemen always maintained their “amateur” status as all members of the group were engaged in regular day-time jobs or studies at the technical college.

End of 1967 Thomas was hospitalized with severe pneumonia and the band subsequently disbanded.

After he was discharged from hospital Thomas Irschick  joined the band  „The Heartbreakers“ ” and played with that band for a while until their disbandment in 1968 when Thomas emigrated to South Africa.

Subsequently Hannes Knäse had a three-year break and then joined the “Atlantic Band” with whom he played for many years.

Karl-Heinz Herpolsheimer and Charly Schappler joined “The Sound Jets” While Herpie remained with the Sound Jets, Charly left and joined “The Firestone” band.

The Spacemen played among others at:

1963 Evi Bar (Neukölln)
1964 – 1967  Berliner Jugendclub alternately at  Dachluke, Pop Inn und Swing Point

1964, Three month at the  Silver Wings Club  at the Tempelhof airport/ Columbiadamm. This was an entertainment venue for US military personnel. There, Drafi Deutscher, a well-know recording artist and composer, joined the band on a temporary basis.

1964 JVA Düppel (Zehlendorf)

right: Thomas Irschick ist talking with prisoners

The country-wide Beatles Band Competition 1964

In cooperation with the United Artists film company and as a marketing campaign of the first Beatles movie "A hard day´s night", which was shown in Germany on the 24th of July1964, -the "Star Club" (Hamburg) organized a nation-wide band competition in Germany. This was done to find the «deutschen Beatles». Since Juli all over West-Germany and West-Berlin a preliminary selection of the best Band was initiated. The finalists in all German Provinces would then compete for the 1st place at the Star-Club in Hamburg on the 9th Sept 1964 and the winner then be awarded 1000 DM and a yearly contract with The Star-Club. The finalists were "The Rivets (Hamburg) -The Lords (Berlin), The Krauls (Frankfurt), -The Germans (Bremen), -The Minstrels (Stade), -The Tornados (Hamburg) and - The Echoes (Frankfurt)". "The Lords " who scored the first position during the finals in Hamburg were however not taken under contract by The Star Club management, who rather opted for "The Rivets" instead who only had come out 3rd in the preliminaries of this competition.

The Spacemen took part in the pre-selection in Berlin on the 21 of July 1964 at the Töff-Töff venue at the Reinickendorfer Residenzstr 1-2. They secured the 3rd position with the Beatles song "You Can´t Do That" (Beatles LP-A hard day´s night) after The Lords and The Gloomy moon singers".

Autumn 1964: The Spacemen toured West Germany

1965 Dachluke (Kreuzberg, Mehringdamm) with Casey Jones and the   Governors at a concert organized by Nero Brandenburg.

1965 Prairie-Saloon (Kreuzberg, Yorckstr.)

11.7.1965 Lichterfelder Festsäle (Steglitz)

Lichterfelder Festsäle: Great band competition with 50 bands subdivided in three age-groups.

1965 Old Samy-Saloon (Wedding, Triftstr.)

1965 Star (Star Tanz) Club Berlin (Neukölln, Kottbusser Damm)

1965 Various Gigs at Riverboat

brought a ane year contract with the Riverboat-Fehrbelliner Platz
(2-3 Gigs / week) Their stage was on Deck 5.

The equipment

Break at Riverboat


1966 Penny Club Berlin (Neukölln, Kottbusser Damm)



Scanned photo from a newspaper article.
On stage The Spacemen

1966 Neue Welt (Neukölln)
First place at the great Berlin Band competition. Presenter was Kalle Kirch.  

Fan postcard of Kalle Kirch

1966 German-American  Volksfest
1966 Tanzschule Meisel
(Neukölln Jonasstr.)
1966 Top Ten (Rudow)

1966 Neue Welt (Kleiner Saal) – Warming-up band at the “Screaming Lord Sutch” concert where Lord Sutch, during his performance of the song “Great Balls of Fire” lit a bundle of old rags on stage as well as chasing the drummer during his song “Jack the Ripper” around the stage, always just “missing” his drummer with a huge Bowie Knife, plunging it into the speaker boxes of the sound equipment supplied by the organizers.
This was followed by an official charge being laid against Lord Sutch that surely must have depleted the bands income from that concert.

1967 Studio 7 (Charlottenburg, Schloßstraße)

Studio 7

At Studio 7 with Lutz Dreyer  far right

1967 Players Inn (Friedenau, Hauptstr. near the Municipality)

1967 Playmate (Lichterfelde, Osdorfer Str.)

1967 Production of a LP record "Beat a GO-GO“


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