Spiritualized leader revitalized

How do you know you might be in serious trouble, healthwise?

Jason Pierce can offer a few tips: Like losing 100 pounds in the space of a few weeks, for one. Or having a priest stop by your hospital bed to administer last rites, at the same time your family is being slotted in for grief-counseling sessions.

Not to mention, of course, having doctors officially declare you flatline-dead on the operating table. Twice.

All of which the 42-year-old Spiritualized frontman — who is back on his feet and appearing  with Spiritualized at the Treasure Island Music Festival today — experienced in the last few harrowing years.

The space-rocker’s latest ethereal outing “Songs In A & E” isn’t referencing keys. Accident & Emergency is the London hospital unit where he wound up one night in 2005, initially suffering from a shortness of breath.

He’d already ignored several grim symptoms, he admits.

“I came back from Barcelona — I was playing records in a club over there — and I remember thinking ‘Security is going to pull me over here because I’m not looking too good.’ I was like the walking dead — I looked pretty shocking. And I guess some time around then I thought … something’s not right.”

The diagnosis was double pneumonia. Pierce was transferred to intensive care. And even then, as he faded in and out of consciousness, he heard music in the blipping, beeping machines that kept him alive.

“And it took a long time to get over, because I’d lost a lot of weight,” he recalls. “So I went down, hit the edge, and then came back, and it took maybe a year in all to get to where I felt like I was back, like I was OK again.”

Ironically, the tracks the composer had been working on, pre-illness — such as “Soul on Fire” and “Death Take Your Fiddle” — all dealt with mortality.

But he simply couldn’t finish them at first. He could barely write at all.

His salvation came from an unusual source — film director Harmony Korine, who assigned him the soundtrack for his new drama “Mister Lonely.”

Pierce got to work. “It was a no-loss situation,” he says. “Because even if it wasn’t working for Harmony, there were still these amazing pieces of music coming out of me, and I was producing a lot of ’em.” A half-dozen of them appear on “A & E” as “Harmony, 1-6.”

IF YOU GO


Treasure Island Music Festival

Featuring: Spiritualized, Tegan & Sara, Vampire Weekend, The Kills, The Raconteurs

Where: Treasure Island; shuttle from AT&T Park parking lot provided

When: Spiritualized at 4:30 p.m. today

Tickets: $65

Contact: www.treasureislandfestival.comartsentertainmentOther ArtsSpiritualizedTreasure Island Music Festival

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Outdoor dining, as seen here at Mama’s on Washington Square in North Beach in September, is expected to resume in San Franisco this week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to reopen outdoor dining, personal services

San Francisco will allow outdoor dining and other limited business activity to… Continue reading

Patients line up in their cars to receive a shot at The City’s first mass COVID-19 vaccination site at City College of San Francisco on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Legislation would require SF to create a public COVID-19 vaccine plan — fast

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health would have to come up with… Continue reading

Ian Jameson (center) organized a group of tenant rights activists and assembled at the El Monte City Hall to demand that the City Council there pass an eviction moratorium barring all evictions during the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
California would extend eviction protections to June 30 under proposal

Legislation released Monday would also subsidize rent for low-income tenants

A statue of Florence Nightingale outside the Laguna Honda Hospital is one of only two statues of women in The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
S.F. still falling short of goal to represent women in public art

City has few streets or public facilities not named after men

Comedian and actor Bob Odenkirk is among the dozens of performers in Festpocalypse, streaming this weekend to benefit SF Sketchfest. (Courtesy photo)
Bob Odenkirk joins star-studded Festpocalypse gang

Virtual comedy benefit replaces SF Sketchfest this year

Most Read