R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Mark Lanegan and Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, Robyn Hitchcock and Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whig have signed on for a tribute to estranged musician Skip Spence, the original drummer for Jefferson Airplane and guitarist for Moby Grape.Organized by the same group that compiled the 1990 tribute to the ersatz Roky Erickson, "Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye," the new "More Oar" album is a planned track-by-track reworking of Spence's sole solo album, 1969's "Oar." Other artists that have agreed to contribute material include Son Volt's Jay Farrar with the Bottle Rockets, Alejandro Escovedo, Diesel Park West, Engine 54 and Flying Saucer Attack. "More Oar" will feature all 17 songs included on the 1993 reissue of "Oar," which supplemented the record's original 12 songs with five bonus tracks cut during the same sessions. Spence was one of the music scene's high profile acid casualties during the Summer of Love, and eventually checked himself into
New York City's Bellevue hospital in 1968. After six months of confinement, Spence emerged from Bellevue and headed to Nashville, Tennessee, where he recorded "Oar" -- which is widely regarded as the first true solo album, as Spence wrote all the songs, played all the instruments and sang all the parts -- in a mere two days.According the executive producer for the Spence tribute, more artists are lining up new versions of songs for "More Oar", which is slated for release in February 1999, marking the 30th anniversary of the release of the original "Oar" album.