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|Me To Your Leader, a self-ascribed "return to space" that also includes a new version of their 1977 favourite Spirit Of The Age.
Certainly, it's a far cry from Brock's last attempt to contemporise Hawkwind: KLF alumni Jimmy Cauty's 1999 industrial-strength remix of Silver-Machine, so clearly inferior to the original it was never eventually released. Wisely, these days it's no longer the future that the broken-down old Hawkship sets its controls for, but the past. Sometimes you can't improve on the original.
|These opening segments are from the Q / Mojo "Story Of Prog Rock" special issue of July 2005. The text of the Hawkwind article therein was an edit of Mick Wall's piece The Egos Have Landed, but with a new bit tacked on the end. That's where we pick it up:
Hawkwind entered the 21st century in a more familiar guise: a transformation sparked by the success of their 30th anniversary show at London's Brixton Academy,in October 2000. Joined onstage that night by both Lemmy and Nik Turner, the fact that the show actually marked their 31st anniversary seemed apt, in a stoned Hawkwind sort of way. It had originally been planned for the year before, when EMI went to the trouble of releasing a deluxe 3CD compilation, but, as Nik Turner says:"We couldn't get it together."
That night, Brixton was treated to a mix of Hawkwind, old & and new. Yet it was clear which songs the crowd were waiting for. Since then, Brock has been shrewd enough to see the value in relaunching the '70s-style spaceship. With guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton back in the fold, the group marked their return to more trad-Hawkwind style in October 2002 when they appeared as Motorhead's special guests at London's Wembley Arena. Now Hawkwind 2005 have come full circle, as evinced by their UK shows in May, and their latest album, Take
|From the September 2005 issue of lad's mag "Nuts"|
|“New Hawks Offering Is Great Stuff” (The Sun, September 9th 2005) Hawkwind - Take Me To Your Leader ****
"It must be the most unlikely musical alliance of all time. What is a daytime telly presenter doing with space rock legends Hawkwind? Well, those of you who splash out on their latest album will find yours truly, Matthew Wright of Five’s Wright Stuff, singing!
Before I give you my track-by-track breakdown, let me tell you how it all came about. Hawkwind used to have a singer called Robert Calvert - a
|madcap visionary and poet who died far too young. One of his songs was Spirit Of The Age, a nightmarish vision of humans seeking sexual comfort from clones.
When I finally met Hawkwind leader Dave Brock he asked me if I fancied singing it. Whether Dave’s brain is chemically challenged after years of challenging chemicals I can’t say but my version opens the album. My verdict? Very different from the original but brilliant, obviously!
As for the rest of the album...
Out Here We Are will appeal to anyone from the rave generation, a spacey chill-out number with bone-shaking bass and swooping synths. Greenback Massacre kicks in next, a headbanger of a tune, with bass player Alan Davey sounding even meaner than his predecessor Lemmy.
To Love A Machine - a showcase of Dave Brock's haunting voice, returns to the theme of humans falling in love with machines. A Hawkwind classic in the making. Take Me To Your Leader sees the Hawks experimenting with Drum‘n’Bass. No, really! The band has been playing rave parties for years and that experience shines through.
Digital Nation has drummer Richard Chadwick taking over at the mic and clever Calvert-esque lyrics.
Sunray sees Arthur Brown, the bloke who used to run around with his head ablaze screaming "Fire", leading the Hawks through some hippy-trippy madness. Sighs is an all too-brief slice of synth filler typical of the spacey noodlings Hawkwind serve up live between numbers. Angela Android is another Richard Chadwick number. The stickmeister serves up a mind-warping paranoiac beat for the rest of the band to jam around. Punk siren Lene Lovich delivers high-pitched vocal thrills, too.
A Letter to Robert is by far the strangest tune on the album - featuring Arthur Brown raving like a loon about a conversation he once had with Robert Calvert."
|from the mind-blowing oddity of "Angel Voice" to the truly atmospheric "The Lost Messiah". Fans will be pleased to hear that Dojo have reproduced the contents of the original lyric booklet - saving them, perhaps, the £25 it would cost to acquire the vintage vinyl album
Review of "Out & Intake" (unknown date & publication):
Recorded in early 1987 and originally issued on Flicknife a few months later, this album mixed fresh studio material with live tracks - including two readings by poet Michael Moorcock, taped at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1986. It's not the band at their best, perhaps, but their trademark cosmic insanity is still intact.
Review of Adrian Parr's "Hawkwind: Roadhawks Live 1969-95" (publication & date unknown):
They started out as the poetically named Group X, playing All Saints' Hall in Powys Gardens, Notting Hill in August 1969. 26 years and 90 pages of Adrian Parr's gig listing later, Hawkwind are on the road in the Isle Of Man at the Pentrich Custom Show. The personnel has changed, but the philosophy of the sci-fi rockers remains - as does the loyalty of its fans. Parr's A4 booklet simply provides dates and places -set lists will have to wait for another time- but it's enlivened by reproductions of gig adverts stretching over the entire 'Wind career. Their earliest shows cost 4/- (20p) to attend; in San Francisco 26 years on they were still only charging ten bucks. But the gig I most wish I'd seen was at Chelsea Arts College in March 1970 - "an afternoon of assorted surrealism and music", with Hawkwind supporting the Flies and Friends, and Radha Krishna Temple topping the bill.
Review of Robert Calvert's "Hype" CD reissue on See For Miles (publication & date unknown):
Perhaps the least-known of Robert Calvert's concept albums, "Hype" originally came out in 1982 when the world was looking in a completely different direction. But premature death does strange things to record sales, and I'd imagine Bob's passing in 1988 will mean greater interest in this album second time around.
Though he was ably abetted by the likes of Hawkwind pals Nik Turner, Simon House and Mike Moorcock, and with song titles like "The Luminous Green Glow Of The Dials Of The Dashboard (At Night)", I cannot agree with Alan Clayson's sleeve note testimonial that "Hype is psychedelic as hell." Basically, the music is solidly harnessed to something closely resembling the mainstream, give or take the odd quirk, and the whole show sounds a rather forgettable sortie into "Ziggy Stardust" territory. Remember Bob for "Silver Machine" instead.
Another review of the "Hype" CD reissue (publication & date unknown):
The more I hear this 1982 set, the better it sounds. The CD merely duplicates the recent LP release, but repeated exposure allows you to see through the comparisons with Todd Rundgren, Steve Harley and Roxy Music, and hear the strength of Calvert's soundtrack to his own novel.
Review of David Watson's "Born To Go: Hawkwind In The Seventies" spiral-bound book (date & publication unknown):
This is so DIY that the author hasn't even bothered to give his self-financed book a publisher's imprint. Unlike the VDGG book, this 100-page trawl through the 'Wind's most influential years doesn't try to intermingle the lives of the fan / band, preferring to rely instead on 'the facts', brought to life by a mix of contemporary quotes and a focused critical opinion - set against the changing social and musical background. It's a solid, if unexceptional piece of research, that should find favour with fans.
|Doug Smith, quoted in the mid-90's, on rediscovered live and studio recordings (date & publication not known):
Hawkwind, currently basking in a favourably-received quintet of reissue CD's covering their years with Liberty / EMI, might well be seeing more early work on the shelves before the year's out.
|According to the band's long-serving manager Doug Smith, research for the EMI CD’s has turned up two fascinating shows recorded live in Chicago in 1974, which may well form the basis of an in-concert CD.
"Everyone remembers that tour for Lemmy's inglorious departure," he says. "But it was actually a huge success, not least for Simon House's induction on keyboards. And the set was quite different in places to that played to UK audiences."
Although Smith would not be specific, he also claims that several other studio out-takes have been discovered, and is hopeful that the best of these will appear in the future. "It's now down to Dave Brock to come to London and go through the stuff," he says.
Review of "Welcome To The Future" on Shakedown Records (date & publication unknown):
'Mid-70's hard rock beloved of future Dungeons & Dragons fans'
As the rock world re-embraces nylon flares and concave chests, who's going to quibble with a bit more reissue action? Entirely live, the first CD dates from 1975 and 1976, immediately after the British rockers were forced to leave bassist-vocalist Lemmy in Canada to discuss the contents of his pockets with customs officers. The second dates from 1977, some of it recorded at a highly atmospheric Stonehenge concert. The core Dave Brock - Bob Calvert relationship remains, and if you can get either over or into all the sci-fi freakiness (the former is preferable), here's some of the most edgy and exciting hard rock of the hard rock decade.
Review of 1993 Cleopatra compilation album 'Lord Of Light' (date & publication unknown):
All the joys of the fold-out sleeve of "A Space Ritual" come flooding back with the opening chords of
| "Lord Of Light", title track on this none-too-generous set that documents the band at its peak, during the years 1972-74.
This disc is aimed squarely at fans of that particular era, with single mixes of "Seven By Seven", "Paradox" and "You'd Better Believe It", together with Robert Calvert's "Ejection" / "The Right Stuff" 45 and "Lord Of Light" taped on the Space Ritual tour. Inexplicably, it ends with a new recording by 'Wind sax player Nik Turner, actually an alternate version of 'The Weighing Of The Heart and Negative Confession', which appeared on his "Sphynx" album.
While Pink Floyd took the oft-cited space music into hi-tech territory with "Dark Side", and Gong made intergalactic travel full of laughs and stop-start jazz rhythms, Hawkwind drew on the hard rock riffs of the time, set them alongside eerie VCS3 synths, audio generators and wah-wah sax, and recruited Commander Robert Calvert to talk you through your journey.
The formula had become contrived by 1974's "Paradox", with Simon House's mellotron adding an unwelcome touch of Moody Bluesisms to the proceedings, but for a while, Hawkwind were undoubtedly tops in the space race.
|1998 Review of "Sonic Boom Killers: The Best of the Singles A's and B's, 1970-80" (date & publication unknown):
Yeah, another bloody Hawkwind collection. But fortunately this one has been compiled with due respect to the masters of the universe. The title says it all, with the usual suspects such as "Silver Machine" joined by rare B-sides like "Forge Of Vulcan" and the colossal if little-known "It's So Easy". The Calvert-led Charisma years of the late 70's are under-represented, but the original version of "Motorhead", plus "Kings Of Speed" and "You'd Better Believe It" more than compensate. The booklet has many rare pics and the almost obligatory Chris Welch notes. If you're after a trip into space, look no further.
Review of the "Early Daze (Best Of)" (Record Collector magazine, date unknown):
This LP was previously released as "Bring Me The Head Of Yuri Gagarin" on Demi Monde in 1985; and our advice to prospective buyers hasn't changed since RC 69: steer clear. These live recordings from circa 1972 are on par with a poor quality bootleg, spoiling what sound like decent performances. For vintage live Hawkwind, stick to "Space Ritual". If you want a mid price selection that can lay a reasonable
|Right: from last month's Mojo (Nov 05 issue)|
|Review of "Church Of Hawkwind" (unknown date & publication):
Originally issued through RCA Active in 1982, this 15-track affair brings together some of the mighty 'Wind's most esoteric slabs of space-rock, ranging
|Finally, a review of Take Me To Your Leader in the mainstream rock press - the Nov 2005 issue of Classic Rock. And given the title of the magazine, this kind of verdict was to be expected. (Not that I totally disagree with them...)|
|claim to being the "Best Of" Hawkwind (the laughable subtitle of this reissue), try "Roadhawks" on the Fame label.
Review of "Hawkwind: Mangled Mind? Special" (date & publication unknown):
"Hawkwind 25 Years: The A to Z of Hawkwind Individuals" is what we're promised here, and what we get - an alphabetical listing of the entire, extended Hawkwind family, together with a discography of each member's work, in and out of the band. Home-produced in fanzine style, the book concentrates mostly on the facts, making it a very useful guide for the Hawkfreak. But there's also room for the occasional witty
|comment in the mould that 'Mangled Mind?' readers will have come to expect.
Hello Goodbye (from Mojo Dec. 2005):
Nik Turner narrates the story of his arrival in and departure from Hawkwind: START - Rather free, and quite cool. END - A magic sword that stole your lifeforce
HELLO: 1st September 1969. As I had a van, I was sort of road managing for Hawkwind before they had a name. I'd met Dave Brock when I was working in a circus in Holland in 1967, others I knew from Margate.
So I went down to a nice little studio at the Royal College Of Art in Kensington — they were into arty music there. The band was jamming some blues based thing, and I idly mentioned that I had my saxophone in the van. When I started playing, it was, "Oh great, why don't you join?!" It was all rather free and quite cool. We had like minds and alternative attitudes — the reverberations of the whole hippy thing were still quite strong! We all had different musical backgrounds: I'd been brought up on swing, Dave had had a blues band, Terry Ollis was a really primitive, self-taught drummer. Because I'd been in Berlin hanging out with free jazz musicians, my idea was to play free jazz in a rock band.
After the first rehearsal, I went back to Mick Slattery's flat in Tavistock Square. I think we ate some brown rice, and got stoned on Lebanese hash rolled up on an Edgar Broughton LP. I went to sleep feeling
I'd taken a step in the right direction. It was still a flower power thing then, but a short time after I got rid of my army overcoat and got a leather jacket — the only people wearing them were diehard bikers or old rockers. I met Malcolm McLaren soon after, I think he was quite inspired by Hawkwind. I know John Lydon was.
GOODBYE: December 1984. It was actually the second time I left the band. The first time was in 1976. I was invited to rejoin in 1982 after I broke up Inner City Unit, which was going through a very bad patch, with a lot of heroin involved. We were in a house near Rockfield Studios, rehearsing for the Black Sword, a new album based on Michael Moorcock's Eiric novels — he was an albino sorceror with a sword that stole people's life-force.
One weekend I missed a meeting I didn't think I needed to attend. I got a phone call from the manager telling me I wasn't wanted any more. I called Dave, who said he wasn't behind it. I met the band, who all gave really spurious reasons. The bass player said his friends didn't think I "represented what Hawkwind were about", Huw (Lloyd-Langton, guitarist), who was religious, said he thought I was trying to turn Hawkwind into a punk group because I was doing stupid things like playing on roller skates and wearing suits I'd slashed so the audience could rip them off, leaving me in just my boots. I think Dave was putting words in their mouths; he didn't have the courage to say, "It's my band, fuck off." My feeling was, I don't want to be involved with such a load of wankers.
About six months later I went on-stage, uninvited, with Hawkwind at a free festival and announced that we'd buried the hatchet. A few seconds later I heard Dave behind me saying, "In your fucking head, you c*nt." In 2000 we did the Hawkestra. I'd play with Dave again, I'd do anything for money. But I'd also do anything for no money.