Starfarer's Hawkwind Page
|Press Clippings XV|
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|Another batch from an EBay purchase (cuttings collection) and so I don't always know the names and dates of the publications from which they hail|
|Hawkwind: 'Masters Of Rock' (CD review in Classic Rock, date unknown):
A cursory flick through Hawkwind's back catalogue reveals that there have been over 40 compilation albums tracing the space rockers' course. Is there, in that case, a desperate requirement for another? Probably not, but this one at least captures Dave Brock and co at the peak of their impact in the early 1970s.
The track selections are obvious but necessary: what 'best of' could be without the pulsating atmospherics of 'Master Of The Universe' and 'Silver Machine', or the unfathomable weirdness of 'Sonic Attack'? Interestingly, both Lemmy's pounding 'Lost Johnny' and 'Paradox', from the often overlooked 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill' album are refreshing inclusions.
Hawkwind have the odd useful acid flashback, too, a point rammed home with the addition of the new 'Love In Space', as well as a 2001 live rendition of 'Lighthouse'. Rudimentary then, but Hawkwind's calibre is beyond question. ***
Hawkwind do it the Wright way: Gossip journalist joins space-rockers as guest vocalist (news story, unknown publication, 2004):
Eccentric space-rockers Hawkwind have recorded a new version of the track 'Spirit Of The Age', which first appeared on their 'Quark, Strangeness And Charm' album in 1977. Due in the coming weeks, the 2004 version features guest vocals from Matthew Wright, the one-time editor of The Mirror's gossip column who made national headlines by revealing the name of John Leslie as the mystery celebrity who was alleged to have raped Ulrika Jonsson. Leslie was later acquitted of accusations of indecent assault.
"Matthew interviewed me for his LBC radio show, and said what a big Hawkwind fan he is. So I challenged him to recite the lyrics to 'Spirit Of The Age', and he did so perfectly," explains Hawkwind guitarist Dave Brock.
After inviting Wright to sing along with the band at London's Astoria, it was decided to record a single. A preview of the forthcoming Take Me To Your Leader' album, the track's subject matter of cloning and androids is certainly extremely topical.
"We're making a video based around Dolly The Sheep at a big rock concert, only instead of going to the bar the fans all eat grass instead," Brock guffaws. "We can't pretend to be rock stars at our age, so we've made it fun."
Wright never looked back after a school pal introduced him to the Hawks' 1974 album 'Hall Of The Mountain Grill', and rates singing with Hawkwind as "the most thrilling experience" of his career.
"I've met lots of megastars, like Elizabeth Taylor, but they're not heroes like Dave Brock," says Wright, who even attended the group's legendary five-hour performance at the Stonehenge Free Festival in June 1977. "I was only seventeen at the time, and it was quite, quite amazing. I went there a boy and came back a cosmic man."
RiffsThatChangedTheWorld: 'Motorhead' / Hawkwind (unknown date & publication):
Just about all the stories you've read about the infamous Hyatt House (aka Riot House) hotel in LA are true. John Bonham did once ride a motorcycle down its main staircase, and the last thing we heard Little Richard was still residing at the hotel on Sunset Boulevard. It also happens to be the place where Lemmy Kilmister, then still a member of Hawkwind, wrote the song that would later name his band. In one of those crazy twists of life, Lemmy now lives a mere stone's throw away from the scene of the birth of 'Motorhead'.
"I was on tour with Hawkwind in 1974," he recalls. "We were staying at the Riot House and Roy Wood and Wizzard were also in town. I got this urge to write a song in the middle of the night. I ran downstairs to the Wizzard room, got Roy's Ovation acoustic guitar, then hurried back to mine. I went on to the balcony and howled away for four hours. Cars were stopping and the drivers were listening then driving off, and there I was yelling away at the top of my voice."
The song was first recorded by Hawkwind the following year as the B-side of their single 'Kings Of Speed'. Kilmister was then famously sacked by Hawkwind after a drugs bust at the Canadian/US border during a tour. He'd considered calling his new band Bastard, but eventually named it after the last song he wrote for Hawkwind.
Released as a single in 1977 'Motorhead' was the opening track of the band's eponymously titled debut album. A motorhead is American slang for a speed freak, of course. The song's lyrics begin with the line 'Sky high, six thousand miles away'. Lemmy explains: "The six thousand miles was a reference to Los Angeles, and the rest is self-explanatory. And yes, I am the only person to fit the word 'parallelogram' into a rock'n'roll number! I'm very proud of that."
War of the winds! - Hawkwind to take battle with festival "impostors" to court (2002 news story, unknown publication):
Space rockers Hawkwind are the latest act to become involved in legal wrangles over the use of their name. Dave Brock and company were dismayed to learn that ex-saxophonist Nik Turner was booked to play this year's Guildford Festival, and that he intended to use the name Hawkwind. When the 'real' Hawkwind voiced their objections, Turner agreed to bill his band as X-Hawkwind, though this has not placated them.
"It looks as though we'll have to sue them," vocalist/guitarist Brock told us. "The organisers are blaming us for not playing, but we never signed a contract or even agreed to do it. They jumped the gun by advertising us, so instead they got what amounts to a Hawkwind tribute band. It's cheating the fans and causing us a lot of problems."
Besides working towards a new studio album, Hawkwind are also appearing at Jeff Wayne's musical version of HG Wells's War Of The Worlds in Manchester's Heaton Park on August 31 (details: www.waroftheworlds.info). The band have also organised a special event called the Hawkwind Summer Fest And Convention, to take place in Exeter from July 19 to 21 (details: www.hawkwind.com)
'Welcome To The Future' (Shakedown Records) *** (CD review, Classic Rock, 2003):
Over two CDs this worthy box set captures Hawkwind at various concerts in the mid 70s. In 1975 they joined the bill of the Watchfield Festival, and on the aptly muddy recording Dave Brock sounds as if he's singing in an echo chamber at one end of a field as the band conjure up a portal to the sonic netherworld at the other. But by its very nature the band's brand of cosmic rock is enhanced and not diminished by such a swampy 'festival' mix.
The recording of Bristol date of the 1976 Atomhenge tour is clearer, with plenty of live atmosphere and full-on performances of 'Chronoglide Skyway' and 'Steppenwolf'. The band really raised their game at Stonehenge in 1977 - the five tracks from there (including 'High Rise', 'Uncle Sam's On Mars' and 'Robot') have real spirit. Two studio recordings from 1977 ('Who's Gonna Win The War' and 'Nuclear Toy') reflect the atomic paranoia that would characterise the following decade.
The third disc is a DVD featuring an interview with Brock. Affable and candid, he remembers his early days as a busker, and recounts Hawkwind's career with disarming and surprisingly enthralling honesty.
Robert Calvert: Blueprints From The Cellar / At The Queen Elizabeth Hall (CD review, unknown date & publication):
Forever associated with Hawkwind thanks to his highly creative but transitory membership of the space rockers during the 70s, Robert Calvert maintained a healthy solo career following his departure from that band, until his untimely death in 1988.
|Equal parts poet, singer and lovable eccentric, Calvert's appeal was always in the wry lyrical observations with which his songs were peppered, and although this release just cobbles together a number of recordings originally issued in small|
|quantities on mail order, his undeniable passion frequently overtakes the unconvincing sound quality.
'Blueprints...' consists of demos that would eventually surface on the albums 'Test-Tube Conceived' and 'Freq'. And although recorded using a fluttering keyboard as backing, the likes of 'Hidden Persuasion' and the peculiar 'Ned Ludd' have the unmistakable whiff of trippy Hawkwind about them.
The second CD in the set, recorded in 1986, captures Calvert prowling the stage and delivering his witty monologues that intersperse such essential songs as 'All The Machines Are Quiet' and 'Telekinesis'. Although his studio albums grant a more accessible route into his work, this release provides a forceful reminder of just how much Calvert's flair is missed. ***
Space Is Deep & So Is Shit: Hawkwind, Brixton Academy, London 21st October 2000 (gig review, unknown date & publication):
Set Length: Three hours, 30 minutes
Set List: 'Assassins'/'Assault & Battery'/'Golden Void'/'Utopia'/'Free Fall'/'Wage War'/'Shot Down In The Night'/'Rocky Paths'/'Moonglum'/'Warrior's Poem'/'Angels Of Death'/ 'Landed'/'Spirit Of The Age'/'PSI Power'/'Motorway City'/'Hurry On Sundown'/'Only Dreaming'/ 'Lighthouse'/'Right To Decide'/ 'Sputnik Stan'/'Earth Calling'/'You Shouldn't Do That'/'Psychedelic Warlords'/'Space Is Deep'/'Forge Of Vulcan'/ 'Brainstorm'/'Sonic Attack'/'Masters Of the Universe'
Encores: 'Born To Go'/'Orgone Accumlator'/'Silver Machine'
30 years is a hell of along time for a band to have kept afloat in anyone's book. 30 years - that's more years than this reviewer's spent on the planet. So why then, should it be down to me to review an all-nighter by a band that are twice my age, a band that were dropping acid while I was sucking on a Farley's Rusk? The answer is quite simple - without Hawkwind, half of my record collection wouldn't exist. The Academy is packed from the onset with a mix of more mature punters and younger, curious people like myself. And after support band The Fighting Cocks (darn good!), it was time for the 'Wind to do their stuff.
Admittedly, the night fluctuated in quality (Sure it wasn't a bad Rusk you'd taken? -Reviews Ed). Alan Davey and Dave Brock started things off with the band's latest line-up and though hindered by a muddy sound the crowd were happy to lap it up. The main problem, which had nothing to do with the show, was the anticipation of Lemmy Kilminster's arrival. The whispers of 'When's he coming on stage?' were abundant and things really only took off at 1.15am when the man himself strolled on stage.
Accompanied by Nick Turner dressed in spiky rubber attire, Davey, Brock, Simon House on violin, and Del Dettmar, Hawkwind rocked out in their spectacularly singular way, psychedelic, stylish and able to trace an arc from the ridiculous to the sublime. Talking of ridiculous, former Page Three stunner (cough) Sam Fox even turned up to harangue 'Silver Machine' and 'Masters Of The Universe' into absurdity. Sam aside, it was the closing hours of the show that really stood out. Who says I'm too young to enjoy nostalgia?
Turner Portraits (2002 news story, Record Collector):
In the wake of our Hawkwind cover feature (RC 273), the multiple activities of 'Wind saxophonist Nik Turner have been causing interest among fans. He's currently playing in his regular band, Nik Turner's Fantastic All-Stars, which has released Kubano Kickasso on the Nikt label, available via www.nikturner.com.
The band will play the Ystradyfera Festival near Swansea on 13th July and the Big Green Gathering in Somerset on 25th-28th July.
Turner also plays in Xhawkwind.com, which comprises ex-members including Thomas Crimble (bass), Terry Ollis (drums) and Mick Slattery (guitar). They recently performed at the Glastonbury Festival and are scheduled to play the Guildford Festival of 19th-22nd July. Their in-concert CD, Space Rock Odyssey, is available from PO Box 116, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 5UG.
Nik has also been busking in Cardiff (a film of which is in the offing) and on Welsh TV in a role in the film Cross Currents. Future projects include an album featuring Steve Took's Horns and one on Celtic mythology. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details and bookings.
See this month's Letters [below] for Nik's response to RC's Hawkwind feature
Turner Reprise (letter by Nik Turner published in Record Collector, 2002):
I am writing in response to the Hawkwind feature in RC 273. Regarding Lemmy leaving the band: yes, I did sack him, and I would do it again if I had to. But it was the band's decision (probably the only democratic decision we ever made), and not just my own. However, I was the only one with the balls to tell Lem, and so I have been cast as the bad guy.
I'm sorry to find that Lemmy, and others who seem to be similarly misinformed, have believed all this time that I had anything against him. Lemmy, will you please accept my apologies? Nothing personal, Lem.
I feel that Hawkwind had a spirit which was far greater than the sum of the band's parts, and which was consolidated by the members' general belief that the band was everybody's - collectively. In reality, it seems, Dave Brock thought that it was his own band, while claiming that the music business was ripping us off.
I'd be quite happy to work with Dave again. I actually invited him, as well as all current and ex-members of Hawkwind, to get involved in the Hawkestra's 1st Birthday Party at the Astoria in London in 2001. But neither Dave nor Ali Davey acknowledged the invitation or replied to phone messages. Maybe they were away. (The only communication that I received was a letter from Dave's solicitor, forbidding me to use the name of Hawkwind in any context or perform any of Dave's songs.)
Regarding Urban Guerilla, it was withdrawn by the record company because it wasn't selling, not because they were afraid of getting blown up.
Finally, a small point: 'Silver Machine' actually only got to No. 2 - Alice Cooper kept us off the No. 1 spot with 'School's Out'.
-Nik Turner, via email
Studio report - Hawkwind (news story in Classic Rock May 2003):
Hawkwind have almost completed a new album at the home studio of their guitarist Dave Brock. Though currently self-recorded it's highly possible that the band may bring in outside ears to oversee their first record for new label SPV Records. The as yet untitled album is loosely based on a thesis written by Richard Morley, who has also contributed some lyrics.
"It's to do with computer technology sucking our souls, and mobile phones giving us brain damage," Brock explains. "Once upon a time, just one in 30 people had a build-up of cancer within their body, now it's one in seven. Even the amount of lead on the road from the exhaust of cars is causing damage - it gets trodden into houses and impregnates the body.
"It's a whole cycle of destruction, involving population overload and the importing of potentially contaminated vegetables from the Third World."
Guests on the record include 70s new waver Lene Lovich, who plays an android, and Arthur Brown, who narrates a section about late Hawkwind poet Bob Calvert.
"That was Arthur's suggestion," Brock says. "But we've also got Tim Blake on there, possibly a few others. Musically there's an awful lot going on. Besides all the heavy rock and spacey stuff there's a full-on dance track and lots of electronic parts. The biggest problem is making sure they flow into one another. We've recorded 15 tracks but there's some weeding out to do."
Among the tracks up for inclusion are "The Reality Of Poverty", "Population Overload", "Techno Land", "The Molecular Family", "Asylum Island" and "One World Future". The album isn't likely to be released until late September.
In the meantime, Hawkwind have lined up the following shows: Cambridge Junction May 18, London Astoria 25, Bristol Academy 26, Birmingham Academy 27. They are also finalizing arrangements for the second annual Hawkfest, to take place between August 8-10. For details go to www.hawkwind.com
Review of Live Seventy Nine; Levitation; The Xenon Codex; Space Bandits; Palace Springs; It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous (Rock Sound magazine, 1999):
There seems to be a flurry of Hawkwind activity at the moment - probably something to do with the solar eclipse. So hot on the heels of a KLF reworking of the classic 'Silver Machine', comes this batch of reissues, from the 80s and 90s. Hawkwind were the originators of LSD-fuelled space rock. Imagine Pink Floyd crossed with Motorhead (Lemmy actually played bass with Hawkwind for a few years). Their continued success in the live arena hasdn't been matched by record sales but their enduring career is one to be applauded, as they've stayed true to themselves, in the face of ridicule and major label interference.
These six albums are going to be essential to any confirmed Hawkwind fan, coming as they do in lovely hardback book covers with extensive liner notes and re-mastered sound. They may also prove an intriguing entry into Hawkwind's world for non-initiates. Live Seventy Nine chronicles the 'Wind's make-or-break '79 tour, which saw them travelling from the brink of disaster to renewed commercial success. Classic Hawkwind, it's stuffed full of faves like 'Spirit Of The Age', 'Brainstorm', 'Master Of The universe' and the aforementioned 'Silver Machine', all expanded and re-created in typical live fashion.
But it's the studio albums that are of the most, and varied, interest. Levitation is particularly worth a visit. Released in 1980 it has guitar solos that a number of grunge bands would have died for (not to mention U2's The Edge), enough keyboard effects to shame the Floyd, and oddly a strange prescience concerning goth - there's hints of Siouxsie and large dollops of The Mission placed within these sonic mountains. The further albums are all solid and enjoyable examples of Hawkwind's unique style. The Xenon Codex finds the band in fine fettle, Space Bandits has the epic 'Images' and the Native American Indian inspired 'Black Elk Speaks', and the live Palace Springs includes the beautiful 'Void Of Golden Light'. '93's It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous sees Hawkwind veering into ambient territory which upset their fans but caused a critical re-evaluation as their influence on such dance bods as The Orb became apparent. Everyone should own at least one Hawkwind album at some point in their life, and any of these would be suitable. Just remember, drugs really screw you up.
|Profile from the "Reading Rock 77" official festival programme:
Hawkwind were one of the innovators of the London "underground" scene of the late sixties: but unlike many of their contemporaries, they did not just "die out", but managed to continue growing in that direction, and have now matured into a flexible Rock Theatre Group, taking in influences as diverse as science fiction, modern politically aware poetry and fringe theatre.
This is not to say that since the formation of Hawkwind they have not undergone personnel changes and had their problems. Over the last 18 months, which Bob Calvert has described as being the worst period of their life, Hawkwind have been revamped completely, gone are Nik Turner, Paul Rudolph and Alan Powell. Hawkwind is now: Bob Calvert, vocals; Dave Brock, guitar, synthesizer, vocals; Simon King, drums; Simon House, keyboards, violin; Adrian Shaw, bass, vocals.
The result of the change is Quark, Strangeness and Charm, their new album, and one of their most highly rated. It is not that their musical direction has vastly changed, but it is a step forward from anything that Hawkwind have done before. Nowadays, with harmony within the group, more thought goes into their work and Hawkwind are back on course.
In spite of their origins, Hawkwind have managed to maintain a level of popularity, through concert appearances, free festivals and on record.
Apart from his work with Hawkwind, Bob Calvert is a poet in his own right. A selection of his poetry is to be published in August [under the title Centrigrade 232] and he has just completed writing two plays. His first play was staged by a fringe theatre group in Hampstead last year.
Review of “The Saga Of Hawkwind” by Carol Clerk (from Classic Rock magazine, March 2006):
This should be the exemplar for all rock books; so many are insubstantial cut-and-paste hack jobs taking advantage of the rabid loyalty of fans that this vast painstaking volume, rich in exclusive insight, unraveled myths, charismatic central characters that you simply couldn’t make up, divided loyalties, shattered egos, broken friendships, sex, drugs and space rock, leaves the competition standing.
A great story, well told, The Saga Of Hawkwind (even in paperback the approximate size and weight of a house brick) should not be limited to ageing heads, reliving lost trips, anyone with even a passing interest in the human condition will be gripped from flyleaf to index. Now expanded with extra chapters, this ultimate Hawkwind Log just got even better. (9/10)
|No. 83 - Hawkwind / In Search Of Space (from "The 100 Greatest British Rock Albums", Classic Rock, April 2006):
Highest UK chart position: 18
The sound of space rock came swishing into the UK chart for the first time with this release. With their debut, self-titled LP, Hawkwind had revealed a wide array of influences which hung together loosely and spontaneously in the best freewheeling spirit of 60's psychedelia.
In Search Of Space was a more co-ordinated project, and one which pioneered and defined the concept of space rock. The individual elements of the Hawkwind sound were still apparent. Dave Brock's bluesy busking roots were evident in the acoustic guitars, delicately strummed by turn in We Took The Wrong Steps Years Ago, while Nik Turner's affinity for free-form sax and flute improvisations found endless opportunity across the tracks.
Meanwhile the electronic element of the band was growing stronger, with del Dettmar (synths) joining DikMik, Hawkwind's audio generator wizard, to forge a quite other-wordly partnership.
Despite the band's continuing insistence on long jams -You Shouldn't Do That runs to nearly 16 minutes- everything worked together in a way that, before, it often hadn't. Drummer Terry Ollis and bassist Dave Anderson could hit an awesome groove, allowing the rest of the band to cut loose on their acid-fuelled sonic adventures without fear of losing themselves or their listeners.
Crucially, Hawkwind had by now developed a musical and visual identity that ran through everything - the (minimal) lyrics, designer Barney Bubbles' fold-out sleeve and artwork and the accompanying booklet, a spaceship captain's log compiled by Bubbles and poet Robert Calvert.
In Search Of Space remains engrossing, from the acoustic riffing in Children Of The Sun to the monster guitar hook of Master Of The Universe, from the long strange trip that is You Know You're Only Dreaming to the random freak-outs of Adjust Me.
Snap off the mobile, light a big one, and as they said in the old days, feed your head.
|Review of "Live 74", from Classic Rock , June 2006:
What, no Silver Machine?!
It's back to the future with Hawkwind at the Chicago auditorium where they are captured 'live' in 1974. Brainbox Pollution is one of nine brainstorming numbers including Master Of The Universe and Welcome To The Future that would freak out Vince and Howard of Mighty Boosh fame if they chanced upon these psychedelic warlords of sonic madness.
Despite the freak-out elements, Hawkwind's music was always drenched in classic rock. Dave Brock sings and plays freaky guitar, backed by Lemmy on bass and Simon King giving his bass drum a right kicking. Amid the madness of a successful US tour they missed recording Silver Machine. 6/10
Review of 'Silver Machine' reissue, from Sounds 21/10/78:
This is a re-release which gains nothing other than a flashy silver cover and a few more inches of diameter in the process. I never liked it, but a lot of other people did, so who knows, it might make it second time around.