|BFBS Interview, 1981
This interview features Dave Brock appearing as a guest on a Heavy Metal show on BFBS Radio back
in 1981. BFBS stands for British Forces Broadcasting Service, so in other words Hawkwind were
entertaining the Army! Imagine all those squaddies into NWOBHM getting off on Hawkwind... Thanks
to Manfred Scholido for unearthing this piece.
BFBS: Do you find it impossible in your mind to think back to those first days in
1969 with all the flower power?
DB: Well I find it vague. Really hard. I mean people come up to me and say 'do
you remember so-and-so', and I sort of vaguely remember things, but as you
get older, your memory goes. You know how it is.
BFBS: I don't know. You speak for yourself. But I remember being in Bob Calvert's
flat. He was in a band then: somewhere in Notting Hill, if I remember
rightly, and those were the days when you were very much outside of the
normal, conventional music scene.
DB: Well we still are, actually. We don't get very much press. We're the
naughty boys, you see. They don't like us, you know.
BFBS: We're going to play in a minute your classic from 1972, which got re-
released, but Vardis came out with a version. I think Vardis toured with
DB: That's right. Last year.
BFBS: I mean, did you give them any help? I wasn't very impressed by their version
of 'Silver Machine'.
DB: I didn't hear it until nearly two or three months after the tour anyway. I
got one copy: they gave me a signed copy, you know, which I kept.
BFBS: And did you play it?
DB: Yeah, of course I did.
BFBS: 'Sonic Attack'. Tell me about that.
DB: What do you want to know?
BFBS: Well, how did you put it together?
DB: It was put through great difficulty actually. There was only three of us left
in the band, as it happens, when we first started doing it and we had to get
a drummer and a keyboard player and we tried quite a few people out and it
didn't work, so Harvey and me ended up doing the synthesizers and we got
Martin, who used to play with Hawklords, in on drums. Then he got German
Measles. We were stuck in the studio. In fact we done two albums: we
started half of another one, which is the 'Church of Hawkwind', which is an
electronic album, which we did on the side whilst waiting for Martin to get
better. So we had quite a struggle trying to get it all done.
BFBS: How do you think it corresponds along with the album that comes before which
I really love which was 'Motorway City' and 'Levitation', 'Levitation' being
the title? How do you think it compares with that?
DB: Well it's a lot different from that, actually. It's more in keeping with the
early Hawkwind, this album is. It's a lot more psychedelically influenced.
BFBS: Did you have a choice upon which track should be taken off as a single?
DB: No, that's what they liked, actually. They wanted to do 'Angels of Death'
and, I mean, who am I to argue?
BFBS: One of the things we don't usually do on the programme is repeats. I played
the track in fact when it came out as a single, and it's now probably going
to go into the charts. We'll hear it again, anyway, just for you. This is
Hawkwind and 'Angels of Death' ...
BFBS: If you're lucky, this programme is coming live, ladies and gentlemen, round
the world today on the HM show on BFBS. We're going to play in a moment
'Disintegration'. Any story behind that?
DB: 'Disintegration?' Apart from the obvious?
BFBS: You mean that there was disintegration in the studio?
DB: Well, no, not really. It's just a sort of lead-in to, what's it go into? It
goes into some other track. 'Streets of Fear'. That's right. It's just a
lead-in. I did it at home, actually.
BFBS: I see. On one of those ten-track machines?
DB: Yeah. No, an eight-track machine. I've got an eight-track machine at home.
BFBS: One thing about that track, I mean, and all your better tracks to me, is that
you do, and maybe this is why you're popular as heavy metal people, is you've
got these drums, and it's good to beadbang to, all the time.
DB: Well we always have had it, you see.
BFBS: Well you've played around a bit on a few tracks on this album and other
albums and the Hawklords period. I went a bit off that actually.
DB: Well, we had veered away from lots of different styles. Basically we have
our own style. In 1976/77 we sort of went off at tangents. We didn't go off
in any particular direction. It was our wishy-wishy period.
BFBS: Also you moved to Charisma records at that period, I think.
DB: Yeah, a wishy-washy period that was.
BFBS: Well you've been around the record company scene. I mean is there any
particular reason for that? Is it because no one would let you do what you
wanted to do?
DB: Well, half and half. I mean, UA: all the time we were with United Artists,
it was okay. We went with Charisma for a while, and a lot of the stuff that
we actually did with Charisma, and then it was released, which we are getting
released on Flicknife now - an independent label - and they started releasing
lots of stuff.
BFBS: This is where the recent Motorhead single came from?
DB: That's right, yeah.
BFBS: That had Lemmy.
DB: No, that's me doing the vocals.
BFBS: Was it? Lemmy was on iL, wasn't he?
DB: Yeah, he was playing the bass. That was when he lost his voice, actually.
He lost his voice on a couple of tracks, and what happened, I did the vocals
really rough; really quick, you know. And we came back the next day, and
then we did the vocals for another couple of tracks, you see, and then they
were released, and they decided to put them out. You know what these
companies are like.
BFBS: Yes. And now, of course, you've gone to RCA. One thing you do, is you keep
releasing records regularly: albums follow after each other in rapid
DB: Yeah, we are quite prolific recorders, you know.
BFBS: Okay, this is Hawkwind and...
BFBS: Well, that isn't what we said it was going to be. It should have been
'Disintegration', but that in fact was 'Coded Languages'. There's a story
behind the track, actually, because you've got Mike Moorcock on lead vocals.
DB: Yeah, Mike Moorcock He came down to the studios where we were recording and
did the vocals for that track, sort of straight off. He wrote the words to
it as well. He's a really great character actually. The next tour that
we're going to do will be the big science fiction tour. We've got a really
wonderful light show at the moment. It's sort of really spacey. It took a
lot of getting together. The next tour will be the one. Yeah, the backing
tracks: half of them were done when Martin wasn't there and he had to come
and put the drums on some of them, which was very difficult. But he did it.
BFBS: Two final questions: one of them is a poppy-type question. I mean, you and
me: oldies but goodies, I like to think. What makes you keep on the road?
DB: Erm, don't know. Because I like doing it. I want to be doing it. I mean,
you either want to do it, or not be doing it, if you see what I mean.
BFBS: I do. And the final question, for everyone around the world who'll be
listening and who'll want to know when Hawkwind will be getting across the
Atlantic, or somewhere or Germany.
DB: Well, I dunno, really. I mean we'd like to go. We've got a wonderful light
show, which must be seen, and we're quite together at the moment, so we'd
like to go anywhere. It's just a matter of... we seem to have a lot of
trouble taking our tours on the road for some reason. Don't ask me why.
Hawkwind 1981 - Squaddie's Heroes