|Larger articles get their own pages - smaller ones appear here. Some of these have previously
appeared on the Quotations page.
Turner's coughing and farting habits doesn't blow their cover, then try this snatch of lyric from 1973's
greasily groovy 'Urban Guerilla' single: 'So lets not talk of love and flowers and things that don't
explode/We used up all our magic powers trying to do it in the road.' This well-aimed kiss-off to the
flabby thinking of the post-'Sgt Pepper' Beatles generation got their follow-up to massive hit 'Silver
Machine' banned by the BBC because of sensitivity around the IRAs bombing campaigns. Which
conveniently sums up the constant, tragicomic chaos surrounding Notting Hill's quintessential counter-
culture rock band.
Admittedly, this compilation goes steadily more pear-shaped from the moment in 1975 when future
Motorhead leader Lemmy was fired ostensibly for preferring speed to acid. But the opening seven
tracks demonstrate exactly how The 'Wind (ahem) provided the bridge between Brit psychedelia and
Brit punk. Essentially rough-arsed twelve-bar boogies coated with daft synth effects, cosmic
apocalypse lyrics, and an ever-present penchant for violent revolution, they represent perfectly the
gloriously bikered-up intellectual dumbness that led them to feature sci-fi guru Michael Moorcock and
an enormous-breasted dancing girl called Stacia when they played live. For those who already know
all this, a triple-CD '30 Year Anthology' is also available. For those who don't, grab this little slice of
pharmaceutically inspired cultural history. They were one of Johnny Rotten's favourite bands, you
International Times (IT) May/June 1973 - review of 'Space Ritual' by Chris RowleyThis is the
definitive Hawkwind LP and very definitely their best. Being live it has all the right qualities to bring
back memories of twitching in the front row to the master beat of the crew, orgone powered and all,
as they drive briskly along the space lanes. In fact this album gives ya nearly 88 minutes of hi-
powered, interstellar stuff, and by Klonos' silver whiskers, that should be enough for any young
mortal. With a retail price of only Â£3.10 it appears that they've set it up carefully taking into account
the youthfulness of many of the Hawk people and the limited scope of their budgets.
I can visualise many interesting scenes in homes all over the land as mothers and fathers clutch each
other in fear and anguish while somewhere in the house Junior and Sis are getting off on another 90
minute self drive star trek throughout the lesser Magellanic cloud. '..and here folks we have Doradus
Su, largest known star, burning brighter and hotter than anything else known to man across the starry
firmament like a million, million suns! See just put your hand out that porthole and feel the hard
gamma as it rips through your tissues. With a brilliance a million times greater than that of Sol, it's
colour an indescribable blue white, ultra violet, Doradus Su burns ever more furiously, consuming
during it's incredibly brief and violent stellar life as much material as an entire stellar cluster. Could this
be a super nova in the making'. The album sleeve, like everything else about this package, has all the
extras of a well dressed burger, unfolding side by side into this vast panoramic Barney Bubbles
spectacular that will turn your bedroom into mission control module 21m with just 4 thumbtacks and
some pressure. Then you can roll on the floor in Mandrax lust and groove happily while Brock,
Dikmik, Del, Simon, Nik and the very strange Bob Calvert (Musicnauts it says on the cover) turn the
screw and push your buttons.
The material here is all played with the characteristic fervour of a good live Hawkwind set and it has
items from their past, including 'Lord of Light', 'Down Through the Night' and 'Brainstorm' as
standouts from their last album 'DoReMiFaSoLiDo'. Michael Moorcock that weird offspring of Lord
Arioch of Chaos and Miss Jerimima Cornelius, has penned a couple of heavies for the album: Sonic
Attack', which is exactly that, and 'The Black Corridor', but personally I find 'Orgone Accumulator' as
good as anything else. It's only with Hawkwind that you get the feeling that as the electronics cut in,
the ship is going Free and then while the Inertia Less Free Field is generating the guitar begins to rev
and the power builds, squaring on cubes into the mathematical interstices of infinity and then with a
sudden rush of sax and drums and synthesizer amid the snarl of a thousand, driving propulsor units
you boost out of the System at three and a half times the speed of light and with the temperature
rising. Life on Mars will never be so exciting and space and time are so absolute, so immense, so
uuhh... far out, that one needs something pretty strong to get it off your mind. My only problem with a
double Hawkwind album is that after about 60 minutes or so the Master of the Universe looks like Mr.
O'Brien and his massive digits keep turning that knob Up UP and you begin to wish that he had at least
six fingers so that you would at least have a variety of things to say to him.
I note that they've dedicated this album to John the Bog and a better dedication I couldn't think of, long
may his shades glow.
Mick Farren, reviewing the 1976 Cardiff Castle gig in the NME:
Three or four brandies later, Hawkwind take the stage. A soupÃ§on of amphetamine from a passing
hippie enabled your loyal correspondent to remain vertical and pay strict attention This is what you
might call the new model Hawkwind, and one that I've never seen before. Lemmy has of course
gone and been replaced by ex-Pink Fairy PauI Rudolph. Bob Calvert has returned to take up the vocal
chores and play trumpet along with Nik Turner's tenor on what I guess must be their new
There's no doubt the new model is a good deal more sophisticated than any of the previous
combinations. One of the band's major advantages was always its unstoppable rhythm unit. Now
with drummers Simon King and Alan Powell, plus Paul Rudolph on bass, it is, to use a well worked
cliche, shit hot.
The top line is still shaking, however. Keyboard man / violinist Simon House has done a lot to replace
the original Hawkwind clank-honk-tweet with slightly more advanced melody lines, but the content
above the rhythm is still a fairly limited blur. One of the high spots of the set comes when House
takes over the bass, and Rudolph actually plays some guitar. There have been times when I've heard
PauI Rudolph stretch out and demonstrate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is one of the best
guitar players in the Hendrix tradition that we have around today. Unfortunately that's when he
stretches out. He's one of those individuals who, for most of the time, would rather stay in among the
boys than strut his stuff as a guitar king.
Visually Hawkwind are still the mutations you know and love. World War I aviator goggles seem to
be the order of the day. Turner wears them with a Long John Silver tricorn hat and Dave Brock with
the debonair grace of the first man to swim the Atlantic. Bob Calvert, however, must take the prize.
In black leather jodhpurs, riding boots, headscarf and flying helmet, he comes on as a cross between
Biggles and Lawrence of Arabia, with definite S&M undertones.
Roman Kozak's 1978 Billboard review of Hawkwind at the Bottom line, New York City:
"Where have you been for the last three years?" shouted someone from the audience when members
of Hawkwind took their places on stage, March 6
The band has seen some organisational changes with Bob Calvert returning on lead vocals after a
brief solo career, and Paul Rudolph, Alan Powell and Nik Turner departing. Now with a new LP
"Quark Strangeness and Charm" on Sire Records and a U.S. tour, the band is back in action and its'
fans seemed pleased with Hawkwind's new show and sound. Playing mostly new material in its 75
minute show, Hawkwind did about 10 songs. The compositions run together and titles were never
announced so it was difficult to keep count.
Hawkwind, immortalised in Michael Moorcock's novel "Time Of The Hawklords" played a heavily
rhythmic sci-fi rock. Though one of the original English hippie bands, in recent times the band's
vision has turned darker and at this show it did songs about cloning ("Spirit Of The Age"), nuclear
and ecological holocaust ("Damnation Alley") and the energy crisis ("Hassan-i-Sahba").
Limited by the Bottom Line's rather small stage, the five-man band still put on a top stage show, with
singer Calvert making a number of costume changes. Calvert has a strong distinctive voice, well
amplified, so the lyrics were easy to understand.
Hawkwind has been around a long time now, and it is encouraging that they are still out there trying.
After all, Pink Floyd and Genesis were both cult bands for a long time before breaking into the mass
"Blowing On - David Belcher feels the force of Hawkwind" - article from the Arts page of the
Glasgow Herald, October 1993:
Twenty-four years on and Dave Brock still hasn't mastered the business of selling his music.
Whenever you ask him to explain his art, he'll sound stumped and issue a wheezy "search me" kind of
a laugh. It is probably as it should be, creative-wise. In Italics- Don't think; do, man. Music
criticism is the sound of one hand clapping, dig?
So, like, wow, we salute ye, oh Hawkwind, ye loose aggregation of Ladbroke Grove
anarcho-squatters who were born to play benefit gigs and free festivals. What the Guinness
Encyclopaedia of Popular Music describes as "chemically blurred science-fiction" rock has endured.
That which was somewhat tatty to begin with shall never wear out, it seems. Ambient,
perambulatory psychedelia is in style at last.
Hawkwind's twenty-second LP It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous, came out on
Castle last week. The sole Scottish date on their wide-ranging European tour is at Glasgow's
Barrowland on November 20. Yet things weren't always so ongoing.
At one point, founding member Brock lost the rights to Hawkwind's very name. There's also been a
10-year royalty battle ("no money yet, but it's close to being resolved"), while a massive 18 album
surfeit of Hawkwind anthologies, collections, compilations, and live in-concert mementoes on a
plethora of labels has tended to obscure the fact that the band are still in action, creating new material.
What about the new LP? Dave umms and arrs, laughs and splutters. "Explaining a record is like
explaining a light show. I dunno. It's got some long tracks, 16 and 17 minutes. There's no need for
40-minute CDs anymore. It's trance-like music...the sort of thing Can, Neu and Kraftwerk started."
"At our shows we get all ages from 12 to 60. It should always be all ages. If you go to reggae
clubs, especially in the Caribbean , you'll get lots of mums and dads. But sometimes music gets tribal
- 'this is only for 15-year olds, not the forties.' That Guinness book's description of us sounds about
Never fashionable, Hawkwind have nevertheless carved a niche for themselves. "We've done things
and then been noticed for them five years later. Our light-show ideas get used by other people. We
get sampled by other bands, big ones - I don't like name dropping, I don't have to."
Ask Dave about the oddest scenes from Hawkwind's long strange trip and he can oblige with a
famous name, however: "The Baader-Mienhof gang. I was once arrested naked in bed early one
morning in a hotel in Paris on suspicion of being a member." Something to do with a dummy gun
used in an on-stage bit of symbolism.
Hawkwind's current stage line up features Brock and two musical associates, Alan Davey and
Richard Chadwick, plus "a couple of dancers, some fire-eaters." Unreconstructed males of a certain
age still yearn for Stacia. "A very nice girl. Large. Statuesque. But we did a single with Samantha
Fox recently, you know."
As for the future, Dave plans a renewed collaboration with science fiction writer Michael Moorcock,
and envisions "an even-more-wonderful stage show for '94; mime, lights, music. We're going to be
auditioning contemporary dancers - applications from Scotland most welcome".
(Thanks to Alan Taylor for finding & retyping this article)
New Musical Express (NME) reviewing Hawkwind's gig at the Royal Festival Hall on
The auditorium itself is so full of herbal fumes you can barely make out the no smoking signs, hee
hee...Anyhow, onto the review:
Hawkwind emerge in party mood. Having waited 25 years to gain acknowledgement as the gnarled
overlords of Brit-psych, there seems to be little point in spoiling things now. The punk- acid blues
begin. Hours pass.
It becomes clear that not only were Hawkwind building sonic temples when Ian Astbury was busying
himself with sandcastles, but that everyone from Mogwai to Jason Pierce (Spiritualized) to The Music
owes these pan-generational wastrels a favour, whether they admit it or not.
"See ya in another 25 years," growls Dave Brock at the close of a murderous final 'Hashish'. The
psych wars will rumble on, but tonight the Hawks won out.
Uncut magazine, November 1999, reviewing the EpochEclipse compilation, by Peter Huxley:
Epoch Eclipse * * * * *
The 30th anniversary compilation as either a double CD or three-CD boxed set. HAWKWIND made a
big bad nasty sound in the early seventies, and despite their reputation as wispy-hippy progressive
dilettantes, managed to record some of the most compelling rock'n'roll of the decade. Fronted
variously by Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Bob Calvert and Lemmy, tracks like "Master of the Universe",
"Brainstorm", and "Brainbox Pollution" were three chord masterpieces unashamedly tackling the
business of "simulating the acid experience".
Hawkwind cited the Velvets' "Sister Ray" and Michael Moorcock as influences, and this boxed set
finally achieves what a hundred previous compilations have failed to do. It samples every era of the
band from 1970's "Hurry on Sundown" to the astonishing 1999 KLF remix of "Silver Machine" which,
one hopes, will finally re-establish the credentials of the only truly space rock band.
Dave Brock on Glastonbury, in the Daily Mirror, Saturday June 28th 2003:
Hawkwind's Dave Brock, 61, played with his band at the first-ever Glastonbury. He says:
"That first Glastonbury was very small. There were only a few hundred people, most of whom
seemed to be dancing about half-dressed or in the nude. You have to remember that the Sixties had
only just been and gone, so flower power was still in the air and it was a pretty innocent occasion,
very different to the monster that Glastonbury has become today. It was all very basic. The toilet
facilities were almost nonexistent - there were two trees with little bits of wood attached between
them which you had to try to balance on.
We played Glastonbury again in 1981, when they had the first Pyramid Stage. At the time, Michael
(Eavis) was having problems with the police becasue there was a midnight curfew. When it got to
12.15am -we were running late- he came on stage with a police superintendent and said 'I'm very
sorry but we're going to have to end the show.' Everyone just went bananas and started smashing up
the stage. If I remember correctly, the Pyramid Stage got burnt down.
We played Glastonbury again in 1989 and 1990, and we'd like to go back again some time, but I think
we disgraced ourselves the last time we were there by playing a free festival in the traveller's field.
Personally, I prefer Glastonbury the way it was when it started, but for all its size, it's a real tribute to
Michael that it has become such a success."
The New Zealand Herald's review of Epoch-Eclipse: Ultimate Best Of, by Graham Reid,
This is a single-disc compilation culled from the 30th anniversary box set of material by these
remarkably durable space-rockers who formed back in 1969 and have been through countless line-up
changes since. The sole constant has been Dave Brock.
Their most famous hit, Silver Machine (1972) these days sounds little more than boogie rock on acid
and with lots of whooshy noises (which is exactly what it was, come to think of it) although it
tellingly gets a remix at the end by KLF's Jimmy Cauty which brings them into the contemporary
world of trip-hop and dance.
Hawkwind's longevity can be attributed to their out-of-this-cosmos quotient, free-jazz improvisation
(they made it up as they went along) and simple riffing which nailed down their most fanciful of
musical flights. Oh, and that whooshy noise stuff which lifts the top off well-prepared heads.
Of course, they occasionally fall into that old Spinal Tap trap of taking themselves too seriously
(Michael Moorcock's lyrics on Sonic Attack sound kinda silly) but when they rock out (Psychedelic
Warlords, Lemmy's song Motorhead, Night of the Hawks) they are an awesome beast.
They play Auckland this weekend, so here's your primer if their career these past three decades has
somehow passed you by.
The New Zealand Herald gig listings, 29/01/2000
"Legendary space-rockers Hawkwind play the Powerstation on Saturday February 5. Expect a Sonic
Attack from these Psychedelic Warlords which is full of Quark, Strangeness and Charm - and other
such references to song titles from their thirtysomething-year career, from a time when LSD wasn't a
drug but "a sacrament," according to saxophonist and singer Nik Turner"
They were also referred to as "ye olde English cosmic rockers, Hawkwind"...
|All of the following clippings were kindly provided by Wilfried Schuesler, to whom my very, very
grateful thanks! I retyped the f***ing things, though, from digital photographs - consequently, in most
cases I don't know the name or date of the publication in which they originally appeared... These
clippings represent a range of opinions about Hawkwind, from the snide (Hawkwind are still going
strong but where are these critics now?!) to the ecstatic, and an equally wide range of writing abilities.
Review of 'Live 79' and 'Live Chronicles'
Hawkwind always conjure up an image of festival hell. You'd be frozen, rain-sodden and starving, and
just when you thought things couldn't get worse, they'd put Hawkwind on stage: a thrashing rhythm
section, rambling widdly-wop guitar solos, irrelevant electronic interjections, suitably cosmic sci-fi lyrics
(anyone who rhymes 'human race' with 'outer space' is, let's face it, in need of professional help):
Hawkwind's audience lap it up, but then one suspects that their audience are in need of serious
medication. For the rest of us, it's head-scratching time. The '79 set of greatest hits is bad enough, but
the 1985 'Chronicles of the Black Sword' tour album is beyond belief: a concept show based on songs
about dragons, wizards and the like, with a great deal of narration necessary to explain the plot. It's 78
minutes long, and it feels like days; stick these guys in a dungeon and send in the dragon
Review of the Reading 86 album:
Hawkwind are a PHENOMENON! They had rotties on ropes tripping out of their blunt and toothsome
skulls when Clint, Wayne, Adam, Stig, Smelly, Shy Ted, Smeggy and Ugly Ned were still being
bottle-fed meths and left in Stourbridge parks by desparate parents who hoped that the council would
find them and take them away and wash them. [This sentence refers to fans of the early 80's New Wave
Of British Heavy Metal!] It is no coincidence that they are currently undergoing a revival with younger
crusties: they are, after all, The Ned's Atomic Rusty Nuts what can play their own instruments.
Shit, do I really have to *listen* to this? The Hawks always wanted to be the soundtrack to a scary
science fiction movie where space dolphins fought mind-power wars with satanic Cosmo-bikers from
the planet StRaNgE. Most of the time they sounded like the BBC Radiophonics Workshop weekend rock
band on bad mushrooms. And, to be fair, sometimes they bleeding well RAWKED!!!!!!
Despite everything, some of this stuff -like Master of the Universe- verges on the epic. Both of these
CD's [the other one being a Diamond Head album also being reviewed] have fantastic Heavy Metal chicks
covered in some bugger else's blood and wielding chainsaws, samurai swords and massive machine guns
which are really beyond evil and cool.
Review of the Anti-Heroin Campaign gig, Crystal Palace Bowl, 1985:
...The build-up to Hawkwind's appearance was really quite emotional. Late afternoon with a chill in the
summer air, 10,000 or so multi-occupational music devotees, from mohicaned punks to bedraggled
hippies moved to the edge of the Palace's pool - quite an extraordinary sight by anyone's standards. No
hypocrisy, no belligerence, just a casual well-meaning tension which reached saturation point as
Hawkwind lumbered into the throbbing pulse of 'Coded Languages' and 'Angels of Death'. Both songs
provided mainman Dave Brock with ample room in which to flap his crushed velvet lapels and thrash out
forceful, if fairly basic, riffs and endless fuzzed single-note solos.
Bolstering Dave Brock's mental leadership stage right was Huw Lloyd Langton who employed some lean
and convincing heavy duty axemanship, neatly providing a counterbalance to the wild antics of bassman
Alan Davey who really is the perfect replacement for Lemmy. Ah Lemmy! For the encore of
'Brainstorm' the man-in-black dutifully provided extra Metallic weight with his customary and thoroughly
unique bass technique. Between sun and steel the power-gliding space ritual gently ebbed away to a final
cosmic bleep emanating from an abandoned oscillator. Like, it was really far out, y'know...
1992 Hammersmith Odeon Review:
...So what if Hawkwind's mission-out-of-control centre stage set had all the plausibility of a Blake's 7
deep space pile-up, just check out those lights -watch out, laser attack!- and those spooky back-project
pics. Hawkwind have stuck to their attack phasers over the years. Despite these 'futuristic'
fascinations, though, the Hawks' 70's-period sci-fi angle combines with the band members' "seasoned"
appearances to produce a nostalgic set-piece with all the appeal of a Dinky model of Captain Scarlet's
Paradoxically then, their set draws lightly on their vault of golden oldies. Certainly the majority of the
songs don't come from the Hawkwind period I know (pre- '25 Years On...') But, despite this positively
cavalierly modernity, the Hawks themselves swing us back into Antiques Roadhawkshow territory. It'd
take a better man than me to differentiate today's HawkmanfÃ¼hrer Brock from the 1970s version. The
ever-present wash of synth texturing completes the feel of comforting familiarity.
As another funnel of laser casts over the Odeon, Hawkwind are as time-warped as a Roger Dean sleeve.
But there's still a whiff of crusty outlaw romance about their fantasy world, and the way the media
largely ignores them. They call it Hawkwind and it'll put a smile on your face.
Review of Barrowlands, Glasgow gig on 5/7/91:
Verdict: Still crazy after all these years.
Nobody can really quantify what it is about Hawkwind that allows them such endurance, and here they
are celebrating 21 years together. Under vocalist / guitarist Dave Brock they've weathered and probably
fathered the Punk and Grebo fads, as well as taking in a few lessons in raw dynamics. The melee of
light and sound still weighs heavily in the Hawkwind plan, with bassist Alan Davey filling ex-member
Lemmy's shoes easily as the band open with 'Needle Gun'.
Nostalgia features heavily as 'Time We Left' and 'Master of the Universe' are stripped of all their
acid-crazed glory while images are tattooed across ever-shifting back-screens providing stunning
visuals. Renditions of comparatively recent classics such as 'Levitation' and 'Night of the Hawks' make
up for the fact that many poor souls at the back of the hall couldn't understand a word being said - then,
doffing a respectful cap to the late Hawkwind stalwart Bob Calvert with his 'Ejection', they were gone.
25 years would've made a more sensible landmark to celebrate, but don't bet against them managing it
eventually. Hawkwind still live up to all expectations.
Review of 1988 gig at the Bournemouth Academy:
It was 1969 when a bunch of guys from Ladbroke Grove formed a band they called Hawkwind. Within
a couple of years they'd discovered the voltage controlled oscillator and the rest is history.
My first Hawkwind gig was 16 years ago when they were supported by an unknown band just
recording their first album - Roxy Music. Over the years Hawkwind have had a pretty impressive
line-up of support bands, including Rush, and tonight the honours fell to local Bournemouth band The
...There was just time for a drink at the bar before the lights dimmed and a back stage projection of
Stonehenge left no-one in any doubt as to who was about to come on stage. Hawkwind are not the sort
of band prone to outrageous displays on stage, and for most of the time they hardly acknowledged the
audience's existence. Alan Davey on bass and vocals, together with relative newcomer Richard "Little
Big Man" Chadwick on drums laid down the driving rhythm behind the guitar and keyboards of Huw
Lloyd Langton and Harvey Bainbridge to create Hawkwind's unmistakable sound. Dave Brock, the only
original member of the band, occasionally appeared from behind his bank of oscillating synths to don a
guitar and add a few lines of vocal before scurrying away again. The set was a mix of more recent
material, including 'Heads' and 'Lost Chronicles', plus a healthy sprinkling of hardy perennials such as
'Levitation', 'Dreaming' and 'Assault and Battery'. I can't really say the audience were whipped into a
state of uncontrolled hysteria. Some danced, most didn't, content to listen and watch the swirling
cosmic images of the lightshow.
Hawkwind may be a rock dinosaur and just going through the motions on stage, but any band that can
play for nearly two hours and still leave 'em stamping for more is far from extinct. In fact Alan Davey
assured me that they are already confidently planning next year's 20th anniversary tour. So if you miss
them this time, there's always next year, or the year after, or...
Review of 'Utopia 1984' (wot?!) on Mausoleum Records:
Being far from an initiate within this Church of Hawkwind, I can only guess at the place that this release
will occupy within the lore of the Hawk.
From the opening track, the hauntingly oriental 'Levitation' onwards, this born-again Hawkwind stand
revealed, surprisingly, as one of our most socially acceptable heavy rock bands. Despite some rather
hackneyed swirling sound effects and regrettable lapses into instrumental self-indulgence, they
nonetheless manage to fit plenty of driving, bouncy rock onto each side.
There are, thankfully, no ballads, no club-footed token blues pieces, and no drum solos. There *are*
touches of social and political comment, Lemmy (on the splendid 'Night of the Hawk') and, to close, a
couple of dips into Nik Turner's nasal post-punkery. An unexpected gem.
Mid-80's review of gig at St. Albans City Hall:
Hawkwind are one of those bands who despite (or perhaps because of) a distinct lack of media attention,
just keep right on going. Always good, tonight, as Mr.Wilding might say, they were 'happening bad'.
And with the thoroughly mediocre Ozric Tentacles out of the way it was time to find out if new
drummer Mick Kirton had made any difference to the Hawk sound. And fear not, cos the only changes
have been for the better. Hawkwind have never been a Speed band (thank God), but the arrival of Kirton
seems to have slowed them down a smidgeon, and to good effect. You're no longer left with that
sneaking suspicion that they're over-keen to get to the next track.
One of the things I like about Hawkwind is that even if there's no new album to promote, they're still
prepared to tour. And those kinds of gigs always provide the chance for a band to play what they like,
rather than have to purely sell vinyl. So tonight they were plenty of old and not so old favourites, but
anyone expecting a vast tribute to Bob Calvert would have been disappointed.
Anyway, there were loads good songs including 'Master of the Universe', 'Levitation' and 'Motorway
City' as well as 'Moonglum', a song which never made it onto 'Chronicles of the Black Sword' although
the live reaction proves it should have every time. They finished off with Harvey reading 'Government
Spies' from the Furry Freak Brothers, 'Assault and Battery' and 'The Golden Void'. The crowd would
probably have let them play all night, but even the best of parties has to end eventually.
Review of 'This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic':
Hawkwind were the first rock band I ever interviewed. Yeah, back in the nappy-soiling days of '79
when I was still naive enough to believe in the power of rock'n'roll as a force of some influence on the
dimensions of reality, I encountered Messrs Dave Brock and Harvey Bainbridge at their publicist's sty in
dimmest Westbourne Grove.
Four hours of electric interchange and brainwave deciphering led me to the puzzling conclusion that I
didn't really understand exactly what made these very strange gnomes click their heels to the starving
beat of universal alienation. I liked the music, all right. But in those days I wasn't phased, dazed or
crazed enough to appreciate that HW dealt in random scraps of musical hallucinogens and had no desire
to be seen as anything other than defining anew the borders of acceptable artistic consciousness - I was
looking for a significant message in a non-existent bottle. I now know rather better.
Hawkwind no longer remain an enigma because somewhere in my swinging mind machine I've come to
terms with their approach and its endemic anathema to documentary realism.
'This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic'. I mean, what a title! Visions of ants crawling over sugar lump
mountains trying to escape the fluctuating fluxes of paranormal rhythms abound as the spirit of
spontaneous combustion runs amok amidst the stony hearts of Salisbury Plain. This is live, speeding to
the surface all those bad dreams which would bring down the slumberland democracy... "It's all right
Mama, I'm only freaking".
Honestly, this is arguably the best 'Wind product to emerge from its liquid sac since...well, since Mick
Wall grew his extra limb and began dancing on rave graves. What you get is four sides of pure
flowerpot poetry in noise a la the manner of true psychedelic pandemonium. 'Psy Power' lifts off into
the realms of stardust sanctity, before the likes of 'Levitation' and 'Shot Down In The Night' rally the
forces of darkness. 'Stonehenge Decoded' reaches for levels of free form jazz/rock strata few bands
would ever contemplate, let along execute, whilst Nik Turner's 'Watching The Grass Grow' is bedlam
pulling on a well-stocked reefer. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Madness still has a tone all its own and when
Hawkwind come visiting like this you'd better make sure that the gingerbread man caged in your soul
gets parole for the day.
News item, 1993:
Considered by many to be the finest space rock band in the country, if not the world, Hawkwind have
been creating psychedelic sounds for the last 24 years. Through the success of songs like the anthemic
rock classic Silver Machine in the early Seventies to their highly popular albums Sonic Attack and
Chronicle Of The Black Sword, the Windies have retained their integrity.
Refusing to cash in on early fortunes, they gained slow-earned respect within the music community, and
the right mentality to fight for control over their musical output safe from the clutches of commercially
concerned record companies.
Now the sci-fi-to-music supremos are beginning a new venture. Gimme Shelter with none other than
Page Three model-turned-Euro-pop goddess Samantha Fox. And it's all for charity, folks!
Frontman Dave Brock, the band's only remaining original member, speaks of his dislike for the structure
of today's society and of possible remedies for Britain's desperate homeless situation. From the tranquil
surroundings of Primrose Hill in north west London, the ex-squatter points across the street where
several empty houses, potential homes for the homeless, are rotting away from neglect.
"There are always people who want to get it together and do a place up but unfortunately you come up
against this hierarchy of paper work and all the shit that goes with it", he explains. "What we need is a
strong opposition party that can actually make an impact when the Government messes up. I always
consider governments to be like mafia-style organisations. We don't really have any say. If you fight
against them you find yourself in all kinds of shit."
Hawkwind's message is one of peace of freedom. Let's hope Gimme Shelter injects some new urgency
into those redundant flower power terms.
From a review of 'Traveller's Aid Trust':
...Hawkwind get prominent billing because they are the only name group [on this album]. Deceptive.
They also slide things into life with 'Brainstorm 88' and it's a shortened version, no two day stints here.
As tight as Hawkwind can ever get, we're offered a decidedly tougher, heavier rendition, more guitar
less synth, and it's not half bad. Unfortunately 'Blue Dreamer' is the Hawkwind I could never get to
grips with, all spaced out warbles and inebriated attempts to pick up various long wave police
From Metal Hammer, May 1988:
If Hawkwind were to guest in a TV show, it would have to be Doctor Who. The ingredients of science
fiction, fantasy, oddball British eccentricity and more than a few line-up changes over a lengthy history
could apply as easily to the Hawklords. For years now, Hawkwind have been about as unfashionable as
it's possible to get, yet their profoundly uncommercial brand of space rock commands a cult following
that fills concert halls up and down the country. With all eyes on Iron Maiden's 'Seventh Son' concept
album, it's easy to forget that the Hawks are past masters at the 'concept' game. A few years ago they
based their 'Chronicle of the Black Sword' album and tour on Michael Moorcock's 'Elric' fantasy novels,
and, with yet another UK tour underway, there's another concept in the pipeline. Drummer Danny
Thompson, a relative newcomer to the Hawkwind camp, filled me in on a few of the details.
"The new album 'Xenon Codex' is a preview of the next concept show and album, 'Ledge of Darkness',
which is based on the 'Hawklord' novels that Mike Butterworth wrote years ago. It's about 'death
generators' in the middle of the Earth that're sending out rays that are causing pollution, and society's
crumbling and the Hawk Lords have to rescue the Earth. Xenon Codex is the planet where the alien
creatures come from." Wow! Who could fail to admire the integrity and sheer determination of this
mob? They've had more ups and downs than I've had hangovers, and that's far too many. If there is a
light at the end of the tunnel for the Hawks it could be in the shape of a long awaited American tour.
"The plan is to go to Europe at the end of this tour for three weeks, then to America as an 'Acid Daze'
package with Doctor and the Medics and the Pink Fairies. We've been trying to get over there for the
past two years but it's been down to the record company not getting it together. We keep in touch with
people over there and we know there's a demand for us."
Despite the fact that their pockets are anything but well-lined, they make the most of what they've got,
as befits a band with an almost legendary reputation for highly visual stage shows.
"I saw an Iron Maiden concert, and they've got a lot more money than us to do a better show",
according to Danny, "and they had a set with the lights and Eddie, but there wasn't something to look at
all the time, whereas our stuff keeps changing, so that the audience's eyes are glued to the stage. We do
a really good show on a small budget."
Unfortunately for the Hawks, reviled by the press, they've built a reputation which travels before them,
so that if you've heard about Hawkwind, you're unlikely to want to find out for yourself what they're
about. Dan is all too aware of the Hawkwind 'image'; "A lot of people don't come and see us because
of preconceptions. They probably still expect us to sound like 'Silver Machine', when we don't even
play that track live at every gig. However, when we do play the old material, we don't play it note for
note, we change it around so it doesn't sound so old."
Hawkwind have existed, out of the limelight, for twenty years or so now. I can't really summon up the
enthusiasm to insist that you check them out urgently, but they're there if you want them. Like Doctor
Who (remember him?), they've got a following as diverse, committed and fanatical as followings get,
and they're a bit of a British institution. It might even be true that they travel between gigs by Tardis.
Stranger things happen.
Time Out magazine's review of EpochEclipse, August
1999, by Gary Mulholland
Drug freak nutters Hawkwind have been cruelly mis-
represented for years as hippy-drippy prog-rock bollocks. If
the fact that they were actually named after saxophonist Nik