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,
SPOTNIKS, who due to health problems was unable to perform, he met Karl
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.,
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.
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.
Hannes Knäse had a three-year break and then joined the “Atlantic Band”
with whom he played for many years.
and Charly Schappler joined “The Sound Jets” While Herpie
remained with the Sound Jets, Charly left and joined “The Firestone”
Spacemen played among others at:
1963 Evi Bar (Neukölln) 1964 – 1967 Berliner
Jugendclub alternately at Dachluke, Pop Inn und
1964, Three monthat 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
1965 Dachluke (Kreuzberg, Mehringdamm) with Casey Jones and the
Governors at a concert organized by Nero Brandenburg.
brought a ane year contract
with the Riverboat-Fehrbelliner Platz
(2-3 Gigs / week) Their stage was on Deck 5.
Break at Riverboat
1966 Penny Club Berlin (Neukölln, Kottbusser Damm)
Scanned photo from a newspaper article.
On stage The Spacemen
1966 Neue Welt (Neukölln) Firstplace 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,
At Studio 7 with Lutz Dreyer far right
1967 Players Inn (Friedenau, Hauptstr.
near the Municipality)