|Adventures In Space And Time
This comes from Record Collector issue 339, August 2007
Imagine one of those Any Dream Will Do or How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? TV programmes.
Hawkwind's legions of ex-members compete for places in an ultimate band line-up. There's a panel of expert
observers: Matthew Wright, TV and radio presenter and guest vocalist for Hawkwind's recent Spirit Of The
Age single. Novelist Ian Rankin, who never misses an opportunity to work Hawkwind references into his
hard-boiled Rebus novels. Vic Reeves, whose recent autobiography manages to cram in the mentions of his
teenage love for the hoary old space rockers. And Hawklording over the proceedings, the omnipresent Dave
Brock, a founder member and the only remaining original Hawk.
What it would reveal would be the adaptability of what has become something of an institution. Put a
collection of Hawkwind fans in a muddy festival field and see if they could decide on a definitive version of
the band. One would cite the early 70s; Silver Machine and Space Ritual, Nik Turner's honking saxophone
and Lemmy's pile-driving bass. Another might identify them circulating on the fringes of the new wave; Bob
Calvert's sci-fi-flavoured visions coloured with Quark, Strangeness & Charm. Heavy Metal enthusiasts could
claim their RCA albums; Huw Lloyd-Langton's searing lead guitar, Sonic Attack and Angels Of Death.
Contemporary psych followers, brought into the Hawkwind fold by Ozric Tentacles and Gaye Bykers On
Acid, would do well to highlight Brock's continuing partnership with bassist Alan Davey and drummer
Since RC last took a look at Hawkwind, their profile has received quite a fillip. Music journalists rediscovered
them as an influential, if neglected, part of rock history, rather than as the slightly eccentric figures of
amusement they're often portrayed as. Yet, when it comes to considering Hawkwind's rarities and
collectables, the choice is so wide simply because of the continuing lack of availability of their back
catalogue. It seems as though everything Hawkwind-related is a rarity. In the company of long-time
Hawkwind associate and ex-Clearwater Productions legend Douglas Smith, Voiceprint's Rob Ayling and
Dave Brock himself, we assess the shifting fortunes of one of Britain's longest running bands.
Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)
Hawkwind originated out of the 60s Richmond blues scene, formed by an odd mix of the experienced and
the novice. Dave Brock had moved in Yardbird circles before establishing the Famous Cure, a blues band
with psychedelic leanings that had some success in Holland, releasing the single Sweet Mary. Guitarist Mick
Slattery played in folk-rock outfit The Compromise, who'd cut a couple of singles and enjoyed a residency at
the Marquee, while bass player John Harrison had been a member of the Joe Loss Band. But others in the
original Hawkwind crew were inexperienced. Saxophonist Nik Turner (who Brock and Slattery had
encountered in Holland when he was crewing at Tent '67, a self-styled 'psychedelic circus') considered his
ambition to be playing free-form jazz in a rock band. Audio-generator operator DikMik professed no musical
ability at all and drummer Terry Ollis was quickly to become more famous for playing in the nude than for
his dexterity behind the kit.
They came together in the spring of 1969, playing a few low-key rehearsal gigs before persuading
Clearwater Productions, on 19 August, to allow them a slot that evening at Notting Hill's All Saints Hall,
calling themselves Group X. Opening for Skin Alley and High Tide, they attracted favourable commentary
from John Peel who, upon leaving, suggested to Clearwater's Douglas Smith that they might be worth
getting involved with.
Brock had recently performed on a buskers' tour of the UK organised by Don Paul and headlined by Don
Partridge, of Rosie fame, which had resulted in an EMI compilation LP of the tour's performers. Aside from
Brock, it featured, among others, Partridge, Meg Aitken (a 60 year-old soprano who could otherwise be
found soloing in Leicester Square) and Banjo and Spoons (both 67 and discovered in Oxford Street). As for
Brock, the sleeve notes described how he "sings, plays guitar, blows harmonica and should be a pop star".
The Buskers (EMI Columbia SCX 6356) is an interesting curio for serious Hawkwind collectors.
Don Paul made one other lasting contribution to Brock's career. Though Hawkwind were rehearsing and
recording with Clearwater, he organised Brock and Slattery a demo session with EMI. Under the new
identity of Hawkwind Zoo, they recorded Hurry On Sundown, Kiss Of The Velvet Whip and a cover of Pink
Floyd's Cymbaline. These tapes remained buried until the mid-80s when the two Brock compositions were
released by the Flicknife label. The Hawkwind Zoo name, meanwhile, lasted until Douglas Smith received
Peel's sound advice to "drop the Zoo" as it sounded "too Haight-Ashbury". On signing to Liberty (United
Artists) on a singles deal, the now abbreviated Hawkwind re-recorded Hurry On Sundown with Dick Taylor
producing. Its folky tone set it apart from the dense wall of sound that characterised the general style of
Hawkwind's initial work, making it the most commercial choice for a premiere release. It failed to chart, and
is the most elusive of the band's regular singles output. Much easier to locate is the Flicknife Hawkwind Zoo
version, although initial copies of that release came complete with a promotional flyer which is very rare.
Other Liberty/UA-era singles are more common. Their breakthrough single Silver Machine, which reached
No 3 in August 1972, was captured live at the Greasy Trucker's Party at the Roundhouse on 13 February
that year, organised by Douglas Smith and future Stiff Records co-founder Dave Robinson. On that night,
the vocals were provided by Hawkwind's South African poet-in-residence and sometime songwriter Robert
Calvert, but his singing was judged to be thin and foppish, leading it to be re-recorded by the band's recently
acquired bass-player, Lemmy. Released in a picture sleeve, Silver Machine is very common. The original 7"
pressing can be identified by the etching A1/B1 on the run-out grooves, while A1/B2 and A2/B2 signify later
Silver Machine also stacked up a significant number of foreign releases, of which the most sought after is an
Israeli pressing. Also of interest amid the French, Italian, Yugoslavian, Spanish and Dutch versions (in the
Netherlands it came with a choice of four different picture sleeves) is a German double gatefold single
release which also contained the traditional B-side Seven By Seven, along with Lord Of Light and Born To
Go. The first batch of this version featured the spelling "Lord Of Lihgt", creating its own little collectable,
where the later correct spelling is harder to find. Silver Machine's 10th anniversary was marked by the
release of a new version by the then-current line-up. It featured Brock on vocals and a picture sleeve
designed by a competition winner in Brian Tawn's Hawkfan fanzine. This was a 45rpm A-side and a 33rpm
B-side affair that was also issued in picture disc. At the same time, and ironically scoring better in the charts,
the original version was reissued, also with a picture disc, of which a significant number were sent out with
The Beatles' Ask Me Why mispressed onto the B-side. Some 34 years since its debut, Silver Machine makes
only sporadic appearances live. However, it was utilised as the soundtrack for a TV advertisement for Mazda
Cars, leading to a CD hand-out for people who test drove a Mazda, and enjoyed a 21st Century makeover for
Hawkwind's recent CD/DVD release Take Me To Your Future.
Other singles for UA included the subversive Urban Guerrilla, which looked strong on its first week of
release but which declined rapidly after coinciding with the start of the IRA's mainland bombing campaign
and was withdrawn. Kings Of Speed, which featured Lemmy's final Hawkwind songwriting contribution,
Motorhead, on its flip, came in two different picture sleeves. The more common is a black-and-white
cartoon psychedelic cover -'Far Out' notes a Kilroy-style face- but there is also a 'Running Man' sleeve that is
much tougher to find.
The most collectable release from the band's time on United Artists, and rarest Hawkwind release of all, is
the legendary one-sided Sonic Attack promo, released in May 1973, which came in a cloth bag with the title
and band name stencilled onto the cover. This abbreviated version of the Michael Moorcock 'Public
Information Film' nuclear warning pastiche was issued to DJs and radio stations to promote Hawkwind's
Space Ritual album. A recent offering of this disc on eBay failed to meet its opening bid of Â£500, but
curiously claimed to be a coloured vinyl edition held by the auctioneer since the 70s â€” despite Hawkwind
collectors believing it to have only been officially pressed in black. Bootleg copies are known to circulate and
can catch out the unwary, though the authenticity of the abovementioned auction cannot be verified. It's
thought that no more than 100 copies of the original promo disc were pressed.
Despite signing to Liberty on a singles contract, however, Hawkwind's legacy is really most apparent in their
albums. Their eponymous first LP, a unique slab of impenetrable sonic distortion recorded 'as live', appeared
in 1970, and set the style for added-value packaging that set up a mythological backdrop for the band.
'Hawkwind' came with a gatefold sleeve and is identifiable in its first issue by its blue Liberty label, far rarer
than the second pressing with a standard black one. Later versions came in a single sleeve and it was also
reissued in the 80s as part of the Rock Files series.
Follow-up albums on United Artists had a wealth of add-on material for collectors to lookout for. By the time
of their second album, In Search Of Space, Hawkwind had not only acquired Calvert's services (his written
works provided the sci-fi backdrop for which the band became noted) but also the artistic genius of Barney
Bubbles. His paintings graced the covers of the band's LPs, their promotional material and band members'
instruments and amplifier cases. In turn, Bubbles was seen by regular Hawkwind photographer Phil Franks
as being his 'creative director' with the two working in close co-operation on Hawkwind's visual identity.
With additional input from lighting engineer John Smeeton (aka Liquid Len) and noted sci-fi writer/editor
Moorcock, Hawkwind's space rock imagery was developing in a co-ordinated manner.
In Search Of Space featured a fold-out sleeve and an intricate booklet known as the Hawkwind Log, a
compendium of astral designs, photography and Calvert's sci-fi-influenced writings, in which can be found
the lyrical seeds of several future Hawkwind recordings. Again, future releases would be in single sleeves,
but the original pressing, complete with Log (which is prone to yellowing due to the paper quality) can still
be bought for a reasonable price. Their third album, Doremi Fasol Latido, utilised Silver Machine for a
Japanese release, though the single version of it never appeared on any non-compilation UK LP, while the UK
release originally came with a full-colour inner sleeve and a now hard-to-find Star Rats poster.
The double-LP Space Ritual came with fold-out cover and psychedelic inners which aren't particularly
difficult to come by, but do tend to show their age with wear. Also of note from this period are Hall Of The
Mountain Grill, which features a photographic inner sleeve, and the compilation Roadhawks. But
Hawkwind's most impressively packaged UA-era album is their final studio LP for the label, Warrior On The
Edge Of Time, a concept work based on Moorcock's Eternal Champion series. Not a Barney Bubbles design,
in this instance it arrived with a foldout shield cover and decorated inners. Although it has received low-
profile reissues both here and in the US on CD, it stands apart from the rest of the UA catalogue and is
collectable on both vinyl and CD.
With the exception of Warrior..., through its differing contractual arrangement, EMI as owner of the UA
catalogue have served the early Hawkwind albums well. No-frills reissues, under the Rock Files or Fame
brands, kept the albums alive during the 80s, while a well packaged CD reissue programme in the 90s saw
them remastered with B-sides appended to the relevant albums. The discovery of recordings from
Hawkwind's American tours of 1974 resulted in a "new" UA-era live double-CD, The 1999 Party: Live At
The Chicago Auditorium, recently repackaged as a single disc.
Dave Brock (Vocals): "I had one of the Sonic Attack promos many years ago. I think somebody stole it,
unfortunately. I would say that if EMI went through their two-inch masters, which are no doubt stashed
away in their vaults, there'd be bits and pieces that they didn't know they'd got, a few golden pieces hanging
"I thought the 1974 show that got released meandered somewhat; I mixed it with Paul Cobbold and did find
that it wandered around. But that's past eras and I always think it better to go on to the next thing. I very
rarely ever listen to our old records but Richard [Chadwick] is always going through our old stuff, which is
why we're doing things like Orgone Accumulator again."
Douglas Smith (Clearwater): "Out of the blue, this bunch of musicians turned up one night and said, ''Ere,
can we play?' Everything was set up and there really wasn't enough time for them to play a whole set. 'We'll
play for 20 minutes,' they said, and so we agreed and asked them what we introduced them as. 'Oh, just call
us Group X.' They used High Tide's gear, and I think they broke one of the feet of the bass drum. John Peel
said to me, 'Yeah, I think they could be worth working with. They sound like they're going to be good.'
"I persuaded Andrew Lauder, of Liberty, to take a shot with Hawkwind on a singles deal. Singles deals were
incredibly common; The Rolling Stones were signed on one, as The Beatles were, in fact. Nobody [in the
business] was really interested in Hawkwind, even though they were starting to draw people, because they
were leftfield in what they were doing, tripping on stage and sometimes being completely over the top.
Liberty went with Hurry On Sundown. It wasn't typical Hawkwind, but could be much easier to get airplay
for. Radio was limited, just the BBC, Luxembourg and the Forces Network, so it was hard to get coverage.
It got a reasonable reaction so Liberty agreed to record and release the first album.
"A lot of albums were very 'concept marketed' at that particular time â€” if you go back and look at them,
they were incredibly well packaged. Having great packaging gave the album a better chance of being noticed.
In-store promotions and displays were very important. Sonic Attack was a typical Andrew Lauder publicity
stunt. He wanted to put it in a cloth bag, in a glass case 'In case of Sonic Attack, smash glass.'
"We remixed Silver Machine from the tapes United Artists recorded at the Roundhouse. I suggested to
Andrew that we try redoing the vocals with another band member, and when the band went into Morgan
Studios during a time when Calvert was in hospital, one of his 28-day sections, we tried everybody in the
band but it just didn't sound right. Then, Lemmy did it â€” and it sounded fantastic. I had to take the flack
when Robert came out of hospital. He was very upset that we'd taken his voice off it.
"The urban myth is that Urban Guerrilla was withdrawn because of the first IRA bomb in London, at Baker
Street. The BBC didn't want to play it after that happened, rumours were going around the BBC that the
lyrics weren't PC to play. Sales did drop off dramatically in the second week of release, so the best thing to
say seemed to be that, with decency to what had happened, we were withdrawing the single. It could have
really taken off for them at that particular point.
"Sales were dropping at the end of the UA-era, late '75, and I'd put that down to a lack of development on
the stage show. Floyd always did bigger and better, but with Hawkwind it was always, 'We're just a gigging
"The original UA contract was coming to an end and I was negotiating a renewal, under which Warrior...
would be the first release. The deal allowed them to have a year off to build up the demand, fully paid, and
develop a new show. But they didn't want to do that. I felt without developing a new show we couldn't take
it back to where it had been. There were problems with UA, which could have been solved. UA wanted to
try and bring the sales back up to those of '74, but the band had the opening to leave and did. Tony Howard
and Jeff Dexter became their new managers."
Spirit Of the Age
With Lemmy ejected from the band following a suspected drugs bust on the Canadian border (which was
dropped without charge), their UA relationship at a close and Doug Smith having departed, Hawkwind
pitched up on Tony Stratton-Smith's Charisma label. Aside from then-mainstays Brock, Turner, drummer
Simon King and violinist Simon House, they had installed Calvert as permanent frontman, along with second
drummer Alan Powell and Pink Fairies/Eno collaborator Paul Rudolph on bass. Even by Hawkwind's
revolving-door standards, it was a period of flux and change. The initial Charisma line-up recorded the album
Astounding Sounds Amazing Music, a divisive blend of whimsical psychedelia and jazz-tinged instrumentals
that impressed music journalists and alienated fans in equal measure, before dispensing with the services of
founder-member Turner prior to recording the single Back On The Streets.
Powell and Rudolph were ejected during sessions for Quark, Strangeness & Charm. This album saw a return
to sci-fi themes, coupled with a sound that brought them close to the new wave wing of punk. Despite
enduring negativity from the music press, their influence on punk was noted by the movement's leading
lights. Johnny Rotten was a self-confessed fan. Penetration's Pauline Murray referenced them in an interview
for Jon Savage's England's Dreaming and Joe Strummer, challenged by Mick Jones to include a cover of
Police & Thieves on the first Clash album, considered doing it "like Hawkwind". In America, Jello Biafra
cited Calvert's solo work Captain Lockheed & The Starfighters as a seminal influence on his own anti-
corporate thinking and noted that The Dead Kennedy's Holiday In Cambodia was driven by sounds he heard
on Space Ritual. Hawkwind's own affinity to the more commercial end of the new wave spectrum continued
through the remainder of their time on Charisma as both Hawkwind [PXR5) and as the re-imagined
Hawklords (25 Years On, later reissued simply as Hawklords). Unlike their association with United Artists,
however, the band's Charisma contract yielded little success in the singles chart, despite promoting the 7"
version of Quark, Strangeness & Charm on Marc Bolan's ITV show, Marc, sans Brock. As a result, the
Charisma singles are often harder to locate than most of Hawkwind's previous releases.
Aside from the original release of Kerb Crawler/ Honky Dorky from Astounding Sounds, which had Dave
Gilmour's name on the production credits (the disappearance of this from future pressings is as mysterious
as Gilmour's actual involvement), the most sought-after singles from this period are generally European
editions. Despite copies of Hassan-i-Sahba reportedly being freely thrown-out into the audience at gigs in
France, the French and Italian versions of this 1977 release (still Charisma pressings) are particularly rare.
Both appeared with picture sleeves, the French with Fable Of A Failed Race on the B-side, and the Italian
coupled with Damnation Alley Part 2. The UK edition was backed with The Iron Dream.
Following an unhappy tour of the USA in the spring of 1978, the band split, occasioning Hawkwind's
regeneration into the Hawklords for a concept album. This temporary new identity also produced some
highly collectable singles across Europe. A Spanish release of Psi Power, with picture sleeve, eludes even
some of the most dedicated aficionados. In the UK, a planned 1,000-print run on grey vinyl for the 12"
release of 25 Years was botched at the pressing plant, with around one or two hundred manufactured in
black vinyl and the remainder properly made in grey. Though the exact mix of grey and black that found
their way to the shops isn't known, the black edition is certainly the more difficult to find. There is also a
misprint on the UK release of Psi Power/Deathtrap, where the B-side label has been left blank.
Hawkwind's Charisma-era LPs are generally easy to locate, though the final album issued under this contract,
PXR5, can be found in multiple versions due to the sleeve design, with its picture of an incorrectly wired
plug that could "seriously damage your health." Early copies have this picture in all its dubious glory, while
later editions have a sticker over the offending part of the sleeve. Still later copies have this particular part of
the artwork removed altogether. Also of note is the inner for Astounding Sounds Amazing Music, with its
Marvel/DC comic book advertisement styling â€” none of the famous Sea Monkeys or Charles Atlas adverts,
though; the pictures here offer Dr Brock's Atomic Piles Cream, for example.
Virgin, the acquirer of the Charisma catalogue, released all four albums as 'compact price' CDs in 1989.
These were no-frills releases, with no extra material and basic packaging. Because these CDs haven't been
reissued since in the UK, they are all very collectable and can easily fetch between Â£50-Â£100 on eBay.
Collectors and enthusiasts should beware of recent European releases with unrelated bonus material: these
are counterfeit and low-grade in sound quality, earning nothing for the band.
Dave Brock: "I've still got a few wonderful recordings [from the Charisma era]. Some, of course, are rather
wishy-washy, but there are some really interesting rough mixes, especially from Rockfield during the
Quark... era. Stuff the fans would love to hear. There's some really big jams that go on for ages and can be
fantastically funny, with me and Calvert making noises and the band mucking around and going into avant-
garde rock music. Then there are some recordings from late '76, with Paul Rudolph playing on them, when
the band was lurching into funk - rehearsal tapes with the two drummers [King and Powell] going off into
great jams. What would be great would be the bona fide album recording on one disc of a double CD, with
this other stuff from the same time on the other, which the fans would find really interesting.
"Charisma recorded us live at a gig in Uxbridge and they made a video of us doing Psi Power and 25 Years.
But there's other film around as well, like we did the Acid Daze festival in 1987, which was a wonderful
show that had a three-camera shoot, but what I was given was a rough copy which was very dark, and the
tapes just went missing."
Douglas Smith: "By PXR5 there wasn't anybody in control. Without a doubt Jeff [Dexter] and Tony
[Howard] didn't know how to control them. They treated them like another band, and Hawkwind wasn't just
another band - it had a whole thing going for it. With the departure of Nik, Blackie [Rudolph] and Alan
Powell, it finally fell to pieces. Eventually, I got a call from Dave to go down to the country and get involved
again. PXR5 was there to be released but there wasn't a band. Dave and Calvert were speaking so I said,
'Let's do something else, hold PXR5, record a new album, put together a tour and call the whole thing the
Hawklords, taking it to another level.'"
Living On A Knife-Edge
Though both the UA and Charisma deals had ended unhappily, to varying degrees, the contracts had offered
a degree of stability through the 70s. Though going forward (the band would, for a while, enjoy autonomy
with their own label), they first had to endure a long spell of unsettled record deals. This took them from the
up-and-coming Bronze Records, through a three-album contract aligned to RCA and then onto an
arrangement with the independent label Flicknife.
A second phase of the Hawklords project resulted in some interesting, though not particularly commercial,
material which has since dribbled out on various compilation albums. Subsequently, Brock, returning
drummer Simon King and Hawklords bassist Harvey Bainbridge set out on the re-establishment of the
Hawkwind name. Recalling original 'studio' guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton and bringing in former Gong
keyboardist Tim Blake, they achieved a significant feat in largely selling out a UK tour in late 1979 without
record company support. A powerful recording of the band at St Albans, playing in their new near-heavy
metal/grunge style enabled Doug Smith to secure a deal with Bronze Records. This resulted in the release of
an LP of edited highlights from this show. Live '79, and a single, Shot Down In The Night. Live '79 was a
commercial success, throwing off some of the perception that Hawkwind had become too divorced from
their roots, while out-performing all of their Charisma output in the UK album charts.
principal contributors being Brock and Bainbridge though it does also contain some full-band tracks.
Sonic Attack was issued with a simple plain white inner, in contrast to the more elaborate packaging
expectations that the band normally lived up to, though it contained a printed lyric sheet with message from
Brock. Completists seeking this release should ensure its inclusion. A mispressing meant that some copies got
onto the market with the first side pressed on both sides. Church Of Hawkwind is a more difficult RCA
release to locate, and came with an A4 booklet with lyrics and photographs. It is by far the best-packaged
RCA album. A final studio LP, Choose Your Masques, was a plainer artefact with no inserts included. Also
released on RCA was a compilation album, Angels Of Death, which is also now quite rare.
Not specifically from this era, but containing a photograph of the RCA-era band, is a curious release of
unknown origin. It's a 7" 45rpm picture disc, on the front of which is the band photo and on the reverse of
which is printed an excerpt from an interview from around the release of Sonic Attack. Actually on the disc,
however, is an interview with Tracey Chapman and Sting, recorded for an Amnesty International tour. The
identity of the issuing company is unknown, and an owner of one of these discs notes that the reaction he
got from Brock upon showing him the record was a look as if to say, 'What's he coming up with?'
Church Of Hawkwind was eventually released on CD in the UK by Dojo under a Hawkdiscs imprint (which
was also used for Warrior On The Edge Of Time and a live Hawklords CD). These releases themselves are
now long deleted and can fetch a premium; all three albums are still owned by Kingsley Ward, who
eventually licensed Hawkwind's own EBS label to release Sonic Attack and Choose Your Masques on CD.
Douglas Smith: "At the time of Live 79 they had no money, so I recorded that for them and we licensed it to
Bronze. At this point, Bronze was on the verge of major success with Motorhead and was an incredibly well
organised, well-oiled company. But after a while it just went the wrong way between Bronze and Hawkwind.
By then the contracted parties were Dave, Simon King and Harvey Bainbridge. Simon had a row with them in
my office and they recruited Ginger Baker which eventually became a bit of a nightmare. We parted
company again, and they carried on with Ginger's manager."
Dave Brock: "We had a three-year deal with Bronze and both of their albums sold really well, but towards the
end they had financial problems and so we then signed a deal with RCA. Kingsley Ward really came to the
rescue with Active. We had a meeting with him at Rockfield and then with RCA at their Tottenham Court
Road offices, where Shaun Greenfield signed us up. We'd virtually lived at Rockfield Studios. The place is
one of the great loves of our lives. It's like, Kingsley and Charles and their wives... we saw their kids grow
up, and I'm really glad to hear they're doing so well down there again."
Over the next few years the amount of material that was becoming available outside of the main label
contract reached epic proportions until it became a major thorn in Hawkwind's side. Licensed releases of
historic gigs were becoming sub-licensed to the nth degree. Particularly notorious LPs, such as the Bring Me
The Head Of Yuri Gagarin bootleg (a substandard recording of the band at the Empire Pool, Wembley from
1973), Space Ritual Vol2 and The Text Of Festivals are the root of many, differently titled, records.
On leaving RCA, Hawkwind were essentially on hiatus. Though they had regained the services of Nik Turner
in 1982, they lost drummer Martin Griffin and made only sporadic live appearances the following year. Plans
for a full-scale reunion album and tour, based around a juxtaposition of their Space Ritual concept, The Earth
Ritual, devolved into a four-track EP, The Earth Ritual Preview, featuring Lemmy on bass and co-vocals for
its main song, Night Of The Hawks. Long-time bassist Bainbridge was noticeably marginalised, though he
was firmly back in place for the supporting tour, while Turner, who had made no studio contributions, was
centre-stage in over-the-top front-man persona at live shows. Though this tour did see some old members
turning up (Lemmy and Moorcock appeared at Hammersmith; In Search Of Space bassist Dave Anderson at
three others), plans to include Robert Calvert fell foul of his mental illness problems. Though he'd done some
work at Brock's farm in the initial planning stages, and joined the band for a show at Ramsgate in 1984, he
wasn't to work with them again and died in 1988 from a heart attack.
Hawkwind's most significant Flicknife release was their interpretation of Moorcock's Elric stories, The
Chronicle Of The Black Sword, by which time Brock had undertaken a Prime Ministerial reshuffle. Brock
recruited a young Hawkwind enthusiast, Alan Davey, as the band's bass player (a highly popular move since
Davey played in the heavy, driving, style of Lemmy and was enthusiastic about resurrecting neglected
Hawkwind classics) and reassigned Bainbridge to keyboards. Turner, however, was again to be dismissed.
The Chronicle... was a strong return to form; a well-presented and visually impressive package including a
full-colour inner on the initial run. Other Flicknife releases were variable in quality, however. This Is
Hawkwind, Do Not Panic was a gatefold double-album that featured live tracks from 1980 and 1984 spread
over a full LP and a 12" single, and came in either red or gold lettering. There was also a red-lettered, single-
sleeve version that contained a Pete Frame 'Family Tree' poster, which is now difficult to come across.
Zones, a compilation of previously unreleased live and studio tracks, was interesting for its inclusion of Keith
Hale's Dangerous Visions and Moorcock's Running Through The Back Brain, and the commencing volume in
the label's soon to be interminable Friends & Relations sequence promised much. Unfortunately that series,
which featured Hawkwind out-takes alongside members' solo work, fizzled out into insipid and often low-
grade odds-and-ends. Zones is collectable in its picture disc edition but the Friends & Relations albums are
not highly regarded and, ...Black Sword aside, most of the Flicknife material has now been regurgitated ad
Live Chronicles, the Chronicle... tour album with additional Moorcock-inspired songs, appeared on Doug
Smith's GWR label as a double-LP in a single sleeve. The next studio album, Xenon Codex (also on GWR),
came as a fold-out sleeve which, though it tended to be somewhat fragile in construction, was at least a nod
in the direction of Hawkwind's traditional added-value designs. Musically it was a transitional work, recorded
by the Black Sword line-up and containing interesting ideas, but produced rather flatly by Motorhead
producer Guy Bidmead. Live, the band were swinging away from the metal tones of the 80s and moving
back to a more space-rock, psychedelic and improvised sound that was in keeping with their legacy, yet
increasingly contemporary. Langton had now gone, though Bainbridge stayed around for the final GWR
albums, Space Bandits and Palace Springs. Brock continued his new practice of surrounding himself with
younger musicians by recruiting drummer Richard Chadwick and Hawkwind's first female vocalist, Bridget
Wishart. Though Wishart's spell with the band was fairly short (1989-91), Chadwick has stayed with the
band to date and holds the distinction of being the only member to have played every Hawkwind show since
his arrival in Autumn 1988.
Slimmed down to the 'Dave Brock Trio', Brock, Davey and Chadwick then enjoyed a period of stability,
again enlisting Douglas Smith, who licensed their next two albums to Castle. Electric Teepee was a tight-as-
hell electronic rock album recorded, as future albums were to be, at Brock's home studio. Issued by Castle
on CD and vinyl, the latter featured a numbered 5,000 original print run. Their follow-up, It Is The Business
Of The Future To Be Dangerous was, however, as divisive in its own way among Hawkwind fans as
Astounding Sounds... was in its day. A much looser, and mainly instrumental, affair, it married spacey jams
with eastern influences.
Douglas Smith: "RCA wouldn't renew their deal as sales weren't at the anticipated level, so they sold a load of
stuff to Frenchy [Flicknife owner]. It was a mish-mash of stuff if you actually sit down and listen to it.
There was no quality control, and at that time stuff got licensed to Dave Anderson's Demi-Monde label and
to Pete Chalcroft, who had a label called American Phonographic, and that's around about when the glut
The Business Trip
To gain more control of their releases, Hawkwind again linked up with Douglas Smith and his partner, Eve
Carr, establishing The Emergency Broadcast System label to serve as an outlet for Hawkwind records. Smith
and Carr were directors, while Brock, Davey and Chadwick were shareholders.
EBS tested the water with a CD EP of the band's reworking of Quark, Strangeness & Charm, also including
electronic trance instrumental Black Sun and a cover by Astralasia of Uncle Sam's On Mars. Their premiere
full-length offering, The Business Trip, was a live album recorded at Hastings in 1993. It appeared in both
limited-edition foldout digipak CD form, and on vinyl (in this case as a double-LP in a single foldout sleeve).
The first pressing was in clear vinyl with subsequent copies being black, although at the packaging stage this
became somewhat muddled, with some copies going out with one clear and one black disc, while some of
the clear run were accidentally streaked with black. As an extra incentive to promote the vinyl edition, an
additional studio track, Terra Mystica, was included on that format only. The release revealed Hawkwind's
latest twist to be a highly modern reworking of the band that eschewed the rather bucolic tones of their
recent studio album in favour of a modern, drum'n'bass influenced, rock sound. The more experimental
electronica side of the band was still in evidence, though, on what was effectively the Trio's third studio
album, released by EBS under the pseudonym Psychedelic Warriors, White Zone. This was at the time seen
as an attempt to break out from the expectations of an "official" Hawkwind release and reach into the
contemporary dance/rave scene, but it achieved only limited success because of its lack of advertising and
White Zone was a CD-only release, but by the time that the next Hawkwind studio recording was released,
EBS was again issuing in dual format with Alien 4 appearing as both a gatefold CD release and a double-LP
set, with the vinyl having the obligatory extra track. Both editions of this UFO-conspiracy concept album are
increasingly hard to find, even though stocks of the CD version were still dribbling onto the marketplace in
recent years. EBS released a single from this album, a radio edit of Brock's Alien, I Am, which also included
a re-recording of Deathtrap. This is not hard to find, though the vinyl 12" is scarcer.
The Alien 4 tour, a heavily choreographed mix of music, dance, costumes, mime and performance art,
yielded another live set, Love In Space. This recording was actually a much stronger presentation of the
material than the studio album, and is the superior rendition of this phase of Hawkwind. Both the double-vinyl
edition and the double-CD (with gatefold sleeve) are extremely scarce, and either can fetch a high price when
offered. Aficionados who simply want to hear the band at one of its peaks, and catch the stage presence of
highly acceptable Calvert substitute Ron Tree, do well to seek out a DVD with the same soundtrack, also
called Love In Space. This remains in print over the years and is currently available through Cherry Red.
Though there were plans to reissue some back catalogue material through EBS, Sonic Attack and Choose
Your Masques both eventually appeared, and PXR5 was advertised as forthcoming, but subsequently
abandoned. The label stopped releasing Hawkwind products around the same time as the band's fortunes
took a slip. Long-time bass player Alan Davey left in late 1996 and, though the band regrouped with Ron
Tree on bass, and had already added additional guitarist Jerry Richards, it started to flounder. Hawkwind's
tour, in support of their final EBS studio recording, Distant Horizons, was generally considered not one of
their greatest success stories, suffered low sales and was the only major EBS release confined to CD. Again,
scarcity has added value to this release, while equally as sparse were live appearances, with only one, Brock-
less, gig in 1998 and just a handful of shows in 1999. Those concerts did have the added bonus of guest
appearances by Turner, House and Bainbridge, however; the latter two of whom then played with the band
on its first tour down under the following year. A well-documented internecine reunion gig at the end of 2000
was recorded for both soundtrack and DVD release. Struck by the 'Curse Of Hawkwind' â€” better known
as a singular failure for members to agree contracts â€” there has been no sign of what could have been a
Dave Brock: "White Zone was really an offshoot, doing a sort of dance music and playing with loops and
things. We've always tried to experiment and learn the latest technology, and it's good to try lots of things.
It's like painting: you might do loads and throw them away, but at least you're doing something. We did have
some bits and pieces for a second Psychedelic Warriors album, but they've never seen the light of day, and
technology has moved on."
Douglas Smith: "The problem with EBS was that it was just current members of the band that owned the
company. So the deal was that they supplied the material and we supplied the work, and whatever we made
out of it would be split five ways. There wasn't any increased value to us: it was equal to us getting a
commission. We ran the label, and it was quite successful for a while. But the reality was that the highest
sales were on the first one, The Business Trip. "We released vinyl because vinyl was still wanted; we could
guarantee at least 2,000 copies of each album. But again it whittled down until, with Love In Space, we
probably only sold about 1,000 copies. There is still a modest demand for Hawkwind on vinyl, but it would
have to be with very special packaging. We released digipak editions to compensate for the packaging that
you got with vinyl but didn't get with jewel-cased CDs.
"We found, when we tried to release some of the back catalogue, the past members did not seem to be too
happy about the current Hawkwind releasing them on their own label and making the profit while the others
were just to continue with royalties. At this point, it seemed to me that the only way to get the back catalogue
out again on the market was to find a financially solid reissue label that would take on the whole catalogue.
This includes the Charisma, Bronze, GWR, Legacy, Castle, EBS and a couple of Flicknife releases, plus one
UA album, along with a few others. This we thought would satisfy all the past and current members, though
we were continually bedevilled by the enormous amount of cheap unofficial releases, pirate copies of back
catalogue albums (from France and Germany) and a plethora of bootlegs on the market, which tends to
devalue the official catalogue."
Take Me To Your Future
Although EMI have kept Hawkwind's contractual albums available (with the exception of Warrior On The
Edge Of Time), post-EBS, much of Hawkwind's catalogue has drifted out of print. To an extent, this
neglecting of the band's history has been filled in other ways, with a whole new range of archive material
now on sale, principally through Rob Ayling's Voiceprint label, and complimented by direct-from-the-band
releases to be promoted through Hawkwind's 'passport holders' programme. Fans can access this material
and apply for tickets to private Hawkwind parties and their successful 'Hawkfests', the next scheduled for
summer 2007 via their official website.
Voiceprint's contribution to maintaining the band's presence in music shops has been significant. Aside from
their releasing Take Me To Your Leader, the band's first studio album proper since Distant Horizons, there
has been a concerted effort to represent most eras with a mixture of studio outtakes and live recordings.
Though some have come under scrutiny for the listening quality of the source material, eclectic and quite
fascinating selections of releases have made it onto CD.
In particular, Ayling has overseen the reissuing of The Weird Tapes, a highly regarded series of archive
compilations that first saw the light of day in the early 80s as cassette only mail-order releases. The original
tapes are, by their nature, now very difficult to come by in anything like playable condition. As such, the new
editions were very welcome, featuring improved artwork and packaging. More controversial were
Glastonbury 1990 and The Complete Live '79'. the first being a raw capture in the festival's Traveller's Field,
complete with obligatory barking dogs, and the latter not actually being a comprehensive remaster of the
original Bronze album, but a lower grade recording of an entirely different show.
That said, Voiceprint have added greatly to the selection of live material that is officially available of the band,
beating the bootleggers who've traded successfully on Hawkwind's reputation as principally a live act.
Atomhenge '76 (previously Thrilling Hawkwind Adventures from Griffin Records) was a fine addition to the
Calvert-era catalogue, seeing the 'lost' classic Time For Sale finally commercially available; Yule Ritual
documented a more low-key, though musically superior, version of the 'reunion' show played at London's
Astoria venue. Live In Nottingham 1990 doubled the soundtrack of Hawkwind's appearance for Central TV's
late night Bedrock series with a Space Bandits show, while Live At Canterbury Festival 2001 had on display
returning members House and Lloyd-Langton at what has come to be considered as one of Hawkwind's
Rob Ayling (MD, Voiceprint); "Voiceprint had always been about space rock or progressive â€”things like
Gong and Daevid Allenâ€” and Hawkwind fitted in with what we were doing. We did the first ever release of
the Daevid Allen Trio from 1963, which was, to all intents and purposes, terrible quality... but it's the earliest
known recording of Robert Wyatt, of Daevid Allen, Hugh Hopper. To all intents and purposes it's Soft
Machine four years before they were known as that. If it's of historical interest it needs to be out there,
under the correct terms and officially sanctioned. It's like people complaining that the moon landing is in
black and white, not Dolby 5.1. If it's a unique event it needs to be out there. If Dave Brock is clearing his
attic and out drops a reel of 8mm film, him busking under the Westway 1969 â€” could we deny Hawkwind
fans that? We've released Robert Calvert & The Starfighters [Calvert's post-Hawkwind band] live at the
Town & Country Club, straight off the mixer desk. The band has cleaned it up and are following through
what they think Robert's wishes would have been.
"Take Me To Your Future [a new CD/DVD dualdisc] is a nudge in the right direction, what's in the pipeline
in terms of passport holders' DVDs and things, which is a good way of accessing the fan base. But
everything we've done with Hawkwind has been done with care and sincerity â€” we've never bashed them
out at mid-price or compiled them as The Best Of Hawkwind Volume 900 or whatever. Someone asked me
why we hadn't done Weird 8 [the final Weird tape], but when I'd been a fan sending off to a PO Box in
Devon for these little cassettes I hadn't got Weird 8, didn't know it existed. But the collectors wanted a Weird
8 with our generic artwork and Dave said, 'Why not?', so we did it for the fans."
Dave Brock; "When we went to Voiceprint we had fans wanting things like the whole Live '79 with Tim
Blake, a sort of collector's catalogue like you got with Blue Note Jazz, where they'd have offshoots and
variations of live stuff. Fantastic recordings that made you think, 'Why didn't the major labels put out this live
material, because it's much more exciting than some of the studio stuff?' Or I'd get stuff from the States on
American Music, which were transcriptions with three or four different takes, the finished version and
alternative takes which I always found really interesting. Similar things happened to us, so we thought, 'Why
not put it out?' because the fans love that. As long as you've got stuff that shows the band in a good light and
that's exciting to listen to. But you've got to bring that quality control to it.
"We've got a few things planned for the future. There's a DVD of our appearance at the Roadburn Festival
on an eight-camera shoot and there's another Dutch gig that we recently recorded that could be released.
Then there's a DVD shoot in Rotherham, at the Magna, which will have a very industrial feel to it, about an
android factory with metallic songs like Robot. Then there will be another Hawkfest in 2007. We're planning
an auction that fans can put up collector's items and bid online, but the final live auction will actually be at
Hawkfest. What we'd like to do is to use some of the proceeds to build a schoolhouse in Africa, because you
can do these things for very little money. I'm going to put my Warrior On The Edge Of Time guitar for
auction and some of the rare records and posters I've got."
Douglas Smith: "How would I like to see the catalogue come together in the future? I've no love for
corporations but when you're in one place with a major that knows how to work and develop a big catalogue
and with whom you've negotiated a good deal, it makes it transparent for everyone concerned. Well
organised, with royalties that you can audit. I'd love the catalogue to be settled in one place and the crap from
the pirates and bootleggers removed from the market. You only have look at the way that EMI continue to
successfully work their Hawkwind albums. But in the end, it is all down to the past and present members to
come to agreement."
Thanks to Filip Vanhuyse, Keith Kniveton, Jill Strobridge, Mike Holmes, Bernhard Pospiech.
The following summer, the Live '79 line-up
reassembled at Bronze Studios in Camden to record
their only studio LP for Bronze: Levitation. They got
as far as the first mix before internal difficulties saw
the departure of Simon King and the recruitment of
drumming legend Ginger Baker. King's rhythms were
overdubbed for the final release by Baker, who
remained with Hawkwind for a part of an ensuing
promotional tour that was dogged by internal rifts,
with first Tim Blake and then Baker himself (along
with Blake replacement Keith Hale) departing.
Levitation was originally released in blue vinyl. Harder
to come by is the next pressing in black, with a
slightly different sleeve colouring.
Following the latest upheavals, the band recalled
Hawklords drummer Martin Griffin and settled into a
consistent line-up that played 1981's Stonehenge and
Glastonbury festivals, the latter giving a significant
boost to the band's standing. This show, omitting the
song Brainstorm, was released on cassette by CND as
a mail order-only item, available only to that year's
ticket holders, making it particularly rare. Though the
full release of this show has been mooted several
times, it hasn't so far come to fruition, although the
middle instrumental section of Shot Down In The
Night did appear, as Psychedelia Lives on Friends &
Relations Volume 3 (a Flicknife compilation). But
Hawkwind's association with Bronze came to a quick
end, with the label in financial difficulties.
Into the breach stepped Rockfield Studios co-owner
Kingsley Ward, who signed them to his Active label.
Active was distributed by RCA under the name RCA
Active. In fact, RCA were to put up the money for the
contract and, to all intents and purposes, Hawkwind
became an RCA act, the last major label they would
join. If the digitally recorded Levitation was sharp and
modern-sounding, Hawkwind's first RCA album,
Sonic Attack, was its concrete-grey and
industrial-sounding counterpart. It spawned a modest
selling single, Angels Of Death, and was interesting
for its additional lyrical and "punk-operatic" vocal
contributions from novelist Michael Moorcock.
Concurrently, a more experimental electronic album,
Church Of Hawkwind, was recorded, with its
Recorded on Ronnie Lane's Mobile over two
nights of Hawkwind's legendary Autumn/Winter
tour of 1972 (Liverpool, 22 December and
Brixton 30 December), Space Ritual was a hybrid
of what were deemed, after rough mixing, to be
the best takes of each song, omitting the
encores. A minimal amount of overdubbing was
added in the studio afterwards and the tracks
remixed and cross-faded to give the album its
uniquely continuous sound.
Some tracks were truncated to cope with the
limitations of vinyl. Onto the cutting room floor
went, for example, a bridge-section between
Brainstorm and Seven By Seven, and an
electronic sequence that followed Born To Go. Of
course, the unused 'alternative' versions went
the same way.
Space Ritual Volume II, released by
Demi-Monde in the mid-80s, was the
rough-mixes from Brixton; no Liverpool cuts
appear. It does include the full-length version of
Brainstorm (the original album's abbreviated cut
also uses Brixton for this particular number) and
is fascinating to listen to as other songs, notably
Orgone Accumulator with Turner's sax
noticeably more prominent in the mix, have a
different feel to their EMI version counterparts.
The 'alternative' Space Ritual is another of
those albums that have appeared under different
identities over the years. Ridicule, Disc Three of
the Welcome To The Future box set, Year 2000:
Codename Hawkwind Disc One and a host of
others with titles playing on Space Ritual and
Live all derive from this set.
EMI's latest version of the 'official' album,
released June 2007, is the first to take
advantage of the opportunities offered by DVD
to present this space-opera in its intended way,
as one full-length, joined-up piece of dramatic,