All About Tim Blake

22/06/03: a few days ago I heard Tim Blake had been
hospitalised following a serious car accident.  I
understand that he's recuperating at home and fingers
crossed is going to be OK.  While trying to find out
more information I started to amass some detail about
Tim, so here it is: a Tim Blake biography...
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Left: Tim on stage during Hawkwind's Winter 2002
tour
Born in Hammersmith, London on the 2nd of February
1952, Tim was by the age of 17 already involved with
rock music and the Ladbroke Grove scene of the late
60's, performing soundman duties for Clearwater
Productions.  This was of course the management
company jointly run by Doug Smith and Wayne
Bardell, well known to Hawkwind fans for providing
the band's first break, after an impromptu 10-minute
jam at All Saints Hall on Friday 26th August 1969.  
Hawkwind weren't supposed to be there, and in fact
Tim was on the door that night and by letting them in,
can be said to be responsible for everything that
followed!
There was no "day job" at this time, since Tim was attending drama school.  It was here that he had first met
some of the musicians in the Clearwater stable, and he played a bit of guitar with Grove bands Trees and Skin
Alley.  However his involvement with the general goings-on in the Grove didn't last, with Tim heading for
France in 1970 / 71.  He secured a position as sound engineer with Gong, the French analogues of
Hawkwind, but this too was a fleeting involvement since his interest had progressed beyond mixing desks to
synthesizers (and Gong's then drummer was not keen on synthesizers!).  Tim had bought himself an early
EMS Synthi, and went on to spend 1971-72 in Paris demonstrating these exciting new instruments, and
recording the first "Crystal Machine" tapes in his spare time.  They impressed Daevid Allen enough to bring
Tim back into Gong, this time as a musician, in December 1972.  Under the nom de guerre of â
€œMoonweed", Tim toured extensively with Gong and played on their classic albums "Flying Teapotâ€�,  
"Angel's Egg" and "You".  Tim also played a prominent part in Steve Hillage's first solo album, "Fish Rising".

During this period Tim also moved into production, doing the honours on Cyrille Verdeaux's Clearlight
Symphony album, released by Virgin Records in 1974.  With the disintegration of Gong in 1975, and Virginâ
€™s refusal to release any of Tim's solo material, he returned to France and went on to league himself with
laser light expert Patrice Warrener, and Bernard Szajner, under the banner of Crystal Machine.  Although
rarely if ever credited, Crystal Machine almost certainly influenced Jean Michel Jarre, who later took the
synths-plus-lasers-plus-silver-lamé template to cities around the world, making a ton of money in the
process.  Not that Crystal Machine were low profile, playing week-long engagements at the Paris Théâtre
Le Palace in 1976 and 1977.  Signed to Egg records, Tim released the albums "Crystal Machine" (much of it
compiled from the band's live UK appearances) and "Blake's New Jersualem" - his first “proper" studio
album, recorded in 1978.  Extensive tours followed in 1978 and 79, with Crystal Machine visiting Holland,
Spain and Japan as well as playing in France and the UK.  On the proceeds of this, Tim bought an old
windmill in Southern Brittany, and might have retired there were it not for a phone call from an old friend
from the Ladbroke Grove days...

So it was that Tim joined Hawkwind for the Winter Tour of 1979, staying with them for about a year.  He
appears on the Live 79 album and also took part in the 'Levitation' recording - but left precipitately halfway
through the supporting Autumn 1980 tour, or rather, Hawkwind left him, driving off to their next gig when
Tim wouldn't terminate a phone call back to his girlfriend in Brittany!  This was the signal for Tim to take a
backseat from the music business for a few years, becoming involved instead in teaching and development of
musical / computer technology.  (Not a new activity for Tim: during the mid-70's he had influenced the
development of Moog synthesizers, working with Robert Moog, their founder.)  Tim did continue to record at
home, releasing his third solo album "Magick" in 1991.  He was unhappy with the recording quality available at
the time and invested in a new digital home studio, subsequently used for a variety of projects such as
collaborations with local Breton musicians.

The 90's also saw increasing participation in various Gong reunions, which came to an abrupt end in rows
about non-payment of royalties, and so Tim's career slept on through the decade.  However a new solo album
"Tide Of The Century" was released in 2000, with Tim playing the album live at the Alpha Centauri festival in
Holland, and in France.  Tim has commented that this album is the real successor to “Blake's New
Jersusalem", generally agreed to have been his best solo album.

Tim also began appearing with Hawkwind frequently from October 2001 onwards, guesting at the 2002
Hawkfest, at Wembley in October of that year, and on the Winter 2002 tour.  He appeared on Hawkwindâ
€™s 'Yule Ritual' and 'Spaced Out In London' live CD's.  In 2003 his version of "Spirit Of The Age" appeared
on the Hawkwind tribute CD 'Daze Of The Underground', being one of the highlights of that album.  Tim's
most recent release has been 'Caldea Music', a 2002 solo album, commissioned by the Caldea Centre in the
Pyrenees, a kind of space age / New Age spa, though he has continued to write at his home in Brittany.  
Although he has enjoyed his recent collaborations with Hawkwind, Tim seems to work best as a solo artist (if
not a particularly prolific one) and is always happy to play live.

It's hard to know where Tim's going to go next, but with luck we'll see him continuing to create new music
and doing some more collaborations with Hawkwind both live and on studio recordings.  Here’s hoping he
makes a full and speedy recovery... Meanwhile check out his website at
http://moonweed.free.fr/