Press Clippings II
|All of the following clippings were kindly provided by Wilfried Schuesler, to whom my very, very
grateful thanks! I retyped them from Wilfried's 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 to the ecstatic, and an equally wide range
of writing abilities.
Review of 'Xenon Codex':
"Attention All, this is your Captain speaking. We have detected on our monitors the approach of a
lumbering, wounded mammal, seemingly staggering out of control and heading towards our vicinity.
This creature of dinosaur-like proportions has no apparent sense of direction and looks to be in a
severe fit of pain, with a desire it seems to be put out of its misery for good.
Now, my research back through the annals of my log reveals that the identity of this obscure creature
is known as 'Hawkwind', and as such should be treated with a high amount of caution and suspicion.
Indeed, it has been considered by many space travellers to be virtually extinct, such have its
appearances been so meaningless and irrelevant over recent decades. However, as usual it continues to
raise its ugly pointed head when you least expect it most, and of all the bars, in all the galaxies, in all the
Milky Ways, it has to turn up in mine.
My past experiences tell me that this chameleon like creature adopts new identities with each return,
and my readings indicate that it is currently moving under the guise of 'Xenon Codex'. Xenon being a
non-metallic element belonging to the rare or inactive gases and Codex representing an ancient
manuscript of a book or a collection of prescriptions, especially the French pharmacopoeia. So if you
can make head or tail of that, you're a better man than I, Spock.
Anyway, this Hawkwind creature tends to get rather confused, and tends to get its' time travels rather
mixed-up, with futuristic vision becoming blurred with ancient and archaic chronicles. As such it
should be considered highly dangerous, with Bones diagnosing its coma-inducing qualities and Spock
advising me of its highly illogical presence in this day and age.
Be on your guard, over and out."
Review of Bring Me The Head of Yuri Gagarin:
Claw your way through the all but impenetrable cover artwork and you discover: YET ANOTHER
HAWKWIND ALBUM!!! Then if you can strain your eyes long enough to actually decipher the words
you find that this is classic Hawkwind circa 'Space Ritual', and that yes, damn it all, it practically IS
'Space Ritual' with some bits added here and others taken away there. But hell's teeth, it's got Lemmy
on it and Nik Turner and Dik Mik; we are talking classic Hawkwind line-ups here, guys.
Now to me, Hawkwind was never Hawkwind without loony Bob Calvert and this fortunately does
feature him, but once you actually get to the plastic thingy then that's almost as impenetrable as the
artwork: although it unmistakably IS loony Bob, you have to ask yourself if it was worth all the
bother. I mean, do you really want to listen to Lemmy croaking out 'Silver Machine' (yes, it's here!)
AGAIN? The sound is murky and bootleggy even if this is an official release. All of which doesn't
answer the question of why this album exists at all??
The Space Ritual was one of those glorious and unrepeatable moments in time when the right bunch of
musicians simply collected together with one mind and one purpose and created something truly
startling and magnificent. That creation was captured on vinyl and release on United Artists (now part
of EMI) and had, for far too long, been a deleted record, But my understanding is that EMI have
reissued the thing on their 'Fame' label, if not in the original mind-bogglingly wonderful Barney Bubbles
cover. So, bearing in mind that the original 'Space Ritual' is actually available again, I fail to see the
point of this rather inferior, if quaint, curio except for die-hard collectors.
Review of 'Palace Springs':
Enigmatic to the last, Hawkwind return with a semi-live offering mixing old and new material, all
boasting the traditional spaced-out sound but brought into a new age with the aid of new technology.
Hence the keyboards of Harvey Bainbridge are in plentiful supply, subtly embellishing and refining the
sound. Meanwhile, Dave Brock's user-friendly vocals retain their accessibility, bewitching the listener
into the spell with devastating effect on the haunting hook lines of 'Treadmill' and the infectious 'Void
of Golden Light'. Sadly, side two lapses into the more self-indulgent orbit of Hawkwind and this,
although almost rescued by a reworking of 'Damnation Alley', mars earlier good work. By turns
excellent and infuriating - typically Hawkwind. **Â½
Review of 'Electric Tepee':
Hawkwind will never ever go away it seems. The fact is they have a large and devoted following - in a
sort of pseudo Grateful Dead but on a far smaller scale kind of way, and like their Californian
counterparts, their music is still the perfect soundscape for an outdoor festival. With this album, they
employ the same kind of BBC Radiophonics workshop techniques which they've used since time
began, and to the same degree of effectiveness.
They are, if you can rid yourself of cool for 78 minutes, fun, and therein lies their appeal. The best
tracks on this ambitious, but relaxed effort include the soothing 'Space Dust', the slightly more metallic
'Mask Of The Morning' and the evocative 'Going To Hawaii'. But the entire thing is guaranteed to
bring out the hippy in you. ***
Review of the Jettisoundz 'Stonehenge' compilation video:
...Roy Harper's laidback drawl hasn't stood the test of time too well but it's a relaxing interlude before
the never-aging Hawkwind blast it out. They transcend categories, of course...
Review of 'Live Chronicles':
For nearly twenty years, the living British legend Hawkwind, based around Dave Brock, have been
releasing album after album with painful regularity, They tour twice a year the length and breadth of
Britain and earn just enough money to score the next joint. Outside of England, Hawkwind are pretty
unknown, even after all that time. It's still going to remain that way.
Actually, it's a shame because this live double album, 'Live Chronicles' recorded in the '85 British tour,
is a positive surprise. To the critics who cried that this old hippy band was long dead, this album
proves them wrong.
All the old Hawkwind ingredients are there, the keyboards that give the floating effect of airiness...but
'Live Chronicles' also boasts some driving guitars and drums. Who knows, maybe with this album
Hawkwind will become more than just an institution.
Review of 'This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic':
I have to be honest with you. I used to rate the unholy trinity of Hawkwind, the Pink Fairies and
Motorhead so highly that I still find it unbelievable that they could ever do anything wrong.
There's always exceptions to the rule of course -unless you're Motorhead- and Hawkwind have
certainly released some dodgy goods recently, like the numbing 'Zones' LP. But this live LP (recorded
at Stonehenge, man!) goes a long way to making up some of the lost ground.
One problem is that if Hawkwind release a live LP, especially if it's a double set like this one, it'll be
compared to their finest moment, the 'Space Ritual' set. And it certainly doesn't bear comparison with
that masterpiece at all.
It creaks off to a bit of a feeble start with 'Psy Power' from the days of Quark Strangeness and
Charm, which works well enough as a pop song on a studio LP but sounds *decrepit* on stage. By
the time that you're into the second side, though, the Hawklords have well and truly shifted their
space-ship into gear. All the latter-day successes are here: 'Death Trap', 'Angels of Death', 'Shot Down
In The Night' and a side each devoted to 'Stonehenge Decoded' and Nik Turner's Inner City Unit's
eccentric paean, 'Watching The Grass Grow'.
I couldn't in all honesty recommend it to someone who was interested in listening to Hawkwind for the
first time, but for those sonic warlords (etc.), this LP will make you all say "OM" and freak out.
Review of 'Hawkwind Live 70/73':
Another mystery to add to the Hawkwind catalogue. The album sleeve gives little away except to list
the dates of the tracks (1970-73) and the personnel of a band who changed their line-up more times
than some people change their undies.
The origins of the live cuts aren't mentioned. 'Wage War', 'Urban Guerilla' and 'Only Dreaming' sound
very fuzzy, recorded through a cotton wool music eliminator. Further digging reveals that 'Orgone
Accumulator' and 'Seven By Seven' were culled from the 'Space Ritual' session recorded at Brixton in
1972, and 'Sonic Attack' at Wembley in the same year. An early version of 'Master of the Universe' is
the most interesting inclusion, dating back to 1970 and Ladbroke Grove days when the band were an
unsigned outfit called Group X. The naive energy hints at things to come.
Featuring Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Lemmy and Robert Calvert (all on the LP), Hawkwind were the
masters of sci-fi rock. This is a time machine album of non-essential out-takes for Hawkophiles to dip
into, desperate to once again sample that flange of sound full of swirling noises and monologue vocals.
The band are about to start work on a new project with Michael Moorcock. I'll wait for that.
Review of 'Space Bandits':
The most surprising thing about 'Space Bandits' is that it's really quite good.
After a string of disappointing albums the Hawkbores have finally produced an album worth the
ridiculously long wait. Also, to make a change, it isn't full of material that has already been played to
death at gigs.
In case you were wondering, in this, their 21st year, Hawkwind consist of Bridget Wishart, Harvey
Bainbridge, Simon House, Alan Davey, Richard Chadwick and the inevitable Dave Brock. It's quite a
different line-up to the last one committed to vinyl, and judging by this album, an improvement.
It's not a radically different sound from the other Hawkwind LPs, but a lot tighter. It still rambles
around, but this time they've brought a map along, so it actually gets somewhere rather than just
disappearing into the mists of time.
All in all, a fairly satisfactory slice of cosmic boogie; it might not be great Hawkwind but at least it's
above average - and not a bad way of celebrating 21 years of Hawkwind.
Review of 'The Official Picture Log Book': (in Kerrang - rated KKKK)
The fifth Hawkwind-orientated release in little over a month and that's going some, even by their
standards. But, where 'The Official Picture Log Book' scores over its fellow releases is the quality of
the product and the fact that it, presumably, carries the full authority of the band (at least fan club
organiser Brian Tawn is involved, contributing some welcomely informative sleeve notes). The set
consists of three reissued albums - picture disc versions of 'The Chronicle of the Black Sword', 'Out
and Intake' and 'Stonehenge: This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic', although without the latter's free
12-inch - plus a recently recorded interview album with mainman Dave Brock.
'Chronicle...' and 'Stonehenge...' represent the better side of the band; essential vinyl for Hawkwind
junkies and very pleasant listening for non-devotees. The former is Hawkwind's condensed version of
Michael Moorcock's Elric, and 'Levitation' aside, represents the band's most accomplished studio
endeavours to date. The latter meanwhile is an excellent live recording of Hawkwind at their wide-eyed
best, confounding the critics with an accomplished display of precise and accurate renditions of some
of their most memorable material and not, for once, dredging up the likes of 'Brainstorm' or 'Silver
Sadly, 'Out and Intake' and the interview disc are for diehard Hawkwind fans only. 'Out...' is exactly
what the title infers; a collection of live and studio oddities that really shouldn't have been let off the
leash. Apart from the familiar 'Assassins of Allah' (which I'm sure was called something else on an
earlier release) it is pure indulgent aimless meandering pap that I wouldn't even wish on next door's dog.
And similarly the interview holds very little interest outside of the Hawkwind clique, although I did
finally find out why the band came on so bloody late at this year's Torpedo Town Festival at Bramdene
Common (Brock: "Y'see, we had all these hash cakes...").
But overall, this one would make an ideal Christmas present for any Hawkwind fan.
Review of 'Mighty Hawkwind Classics 1980-1985':
Another year, another Hawkwind compilation. Somehow, the world just wouldn't be the same if these
LPs didn't keep popping up all over the place, adding to the never-ending catalogue.
This release seems a little more unusual than most, though, in that the dates above aren't actually the
dates when the songs were written or anything - they jut relate to the period when the material was
released on EPs by Flicknife Records. Does that make sense? Probably not, but then not everything
does in the world of Hawkwind, so we'll just carry on regardless in much the same way they have.
Basically, what you get for your dosh is a load of old favourites like 'Hurry On Sundown' (this version
is apparently the band's first demo) and 'Motorhead', as penned by Uncle Lemmy, mixed in with few
tracks that only the most avid fans will have heard. 'Green Finned Demon', 'Dream Dancers' and
'Dragons and Fables', for instance, were all B-sides on the 'Earth Ritual Preview' EP, and I'd personally
never heard of them. I'm not entirely sure I'm any better off the experience either, but there hasn't been
any dope about for ages, so maybe that's the problem...
Like so many of these compilations, this is mostly stuff you'll have already if you're into the band, and
on the whole I wouldn't really recommend it unless you're a collector.
You'd be better off sticking a few coins in the Stonehenge Benefit pot in the hope that once again
Hawkwind can do what they do best in a field instead of at Hammersmith Odeon. At least that's my
theory, and you can call me a daft old git who's living in the past if it isn't true.
Hawkwind's Rocking Ritual - review of Space Ritual in Disc magazine, 1973:
Hawkwind are the direct descendant of what used to be called the 'beat group' - your neighbouring
youth club three-piece grinding out old Shads toons of a Saturday night; the difference here being that
the homely thrashing and flailing is repackaged in a pretty coloured box.
Actually, it's always been fashionable for Her Majesty's Rock Press to throw mud at bands like
Hawkwind and Sabbath, despite their both being incredibly popular.
At least Hawkwind have a good visual thing going for them, and their music does have a certain
hysteria, a certain drive, or if you prefer it, persistence.
This album is well-recorded, quite exciting in parts (there are some fairly spacey guitar solos), and
fashionably repetitious; the most irritating feature is the unchanging Dave Clark-style drumming. **
Review of the Space Ritual tour:
Finding myself at the end of the opening night proper of Hawkwind's Space Ritual surrounded by
twenty Hell's Angels and their juvenile Mommas - all of whom were dancing joyfully - and a white
magician suffering from withdrawal symptoms - I realised that here was a band which had created a
unique situation. No cries of "Rock'n'Roll", no billiard cues flailing, just good feelings and peace signs.
The Space Ritual had taken off on half-power the night before in Kings Lynn. Somebody in the Space
crew had failed to realise that if all the Hawklords played through their custom-built 2,500 watt peak
stacks, the PA would be unable to cope. Result - a chaotic first half-hour in Norfolk, and only half a
stage set in Dunstable.
The capacity crowd didn't seem to be too badly affected, though. Between 1,500 and 2,000 freaks
were wedged in Dunstable Civic Hall, surging like the sea around the towering scaffold bearing
Hawkwind's mighty lightshow. And from the first twitterings and rumblings of the set, every person
there was totally involved in the Ritual.
An indeterminate half-hour of sound finally proved to be Nik Turner's 'Brainstorm' from the new
'Doremi Fasol Latido' which merged through poet Bob Calvert's 'Space Is Infinite' into 'Seven By
Seven', the flip of 'Silver Machine'. By this time 2,000 people were up on their feet, arms over heads,
clapping and throwing the inevitable peace signs towards the stage.
Hawkwind Fly materialised on the back projection, changing into the Silver Surfer as 'Master of the
Universe' thundered earthwards. Now, after 1Â½ hours, the Sonic Assassins had gone into orbit, Bob
Calvert welcomed us to the future and with a thunder of retros, Hawkwind left the stage.
Five solid foot-stamping minutes later they reappeared, slammed into an incredible version of 'Silver
Machine', changed it into 'You Shouldn't Do That' and finally, after two hours and ten minutes, were
gone. To say that the audience left satisfied would be this year's understatement.
Ecstasy was on 2,000 faces - all had ventured to the outer realms with the Hawklords and had been
returned safely. Clutching free badges and fold-out programmes, they oozed into the night - happy after
having witnessed the outstanding Hawkwind experience in the two years I've followed them.
Review of Hawkwind at the Lyceum, 13/7/80:
What a stench. Your nostrils were tickled by several thousand hairy Hawkwind fans rubbing armpits
with each other, producing an odour like migrating buffalos.
Forget about Two Tone. Forget about Gary Numan or bleak industrial post modernisms, this year's
really big thing is going to be the great psychedelia revival - let them Loon pants roll...
The audience wasn't made up of old hippies and bikers. No. It was made up of young hippies and
bikers who missed out on the cosmic vibes the first time around. The concert sold out within hours and
there's another one on the way. I'm laying bets that Hawkwind can perform equal miracles at any venue
around the country. The great unpublicised hairy mass strikes yet again and like the great heavy metal
monster it's beginning to rear its ugly head vengefully.
Reshuffling the pack once again, Hawkwind look surprisingly healthy these days. Gone are the glazed
eyeballs and the lads are even capable of facial expression. The music is still that lovable doleful dirge,
though. Squeaky bits from synth or whatever and drums that sounded like a pile of bricks being
dumped out of a lorry, while the guitar streaked its wicked way under your fingernails. Music like this is
delightful combination of Concorde taking off and a Motorhead bash.
Heads down no-nonsense boogie and looking around at the mass of flying hair it was like the wind
tossing a sea of corn. Absolutely no quarter was given from the opening strains of 'Shot Down In The
Night', setting the mighty scene for a blazing whirlwind of lights and action that continued for what
seemed like half a decade. They wound 'em up and shot 'em down with 'Motorway City' and 'Spirit of
the Age' - but the real cosmic crunch and peace sign flashing a go go came with 'Urban Guerilla'.
Let your kneecaps tremble, children, on these timeless good vibes.
Review of Hawkwind at Glastonbury, 1980:
Anyone seeking the spirit of Hawkwind in the most appropriate setting should pick a venue like Worthy
Farm. The entrance was a creditable imitation of World War I trenches, no less....
...The stars came out in the sky, but Hawkwind, of course, don't twinkle, Hawkwind *fly*, using
themes that have stayed constant in over 11 years and through 25 personnel changes (is there an old
boys club and pension plan?) and must be classed as infinitive space rock.
It's hard to tell how much influence Ginger Baker has had - certainly a great deal amongst hardcore fans
who take it as proof of what they always knew, that Hawkwind are the best band in the world.
Musically, Baker must be the best backbone a band could wish for. Hawkwind can and do produce
some sharp and compulsive foot-tapping sounds which would be more obvious if they weren't covered
in space-shit. The problem is that's their image and they're stuck with it.
Review of the 'Kerb Crawler' single, 1975
I had to kill the bass and then turn the treble up far beyond the threshold of pain to decipher the lyrics.
Needn't have bothered, for no matter how hard they try they ain't got another 'Silver Machine'.
Nevertheless, it'll appeal to all those sonic surfers who drag their knuckles along the ground when they
Review of the 'Motorhead' single on Flicknife
Tenacious. Keep trying and that second hit will eventually come.
Max Bell, reviewing an early reissue of Silver Machine
Live from the largest public toilet in the Western hemisphere came Britain's answer to Marcel Proust.
They sold a million in '72 with this so it beats me who's going to buy it twice. The hand out says
something about 'public demand', a very nebulous concept. Still you can bang your head against the
floor as brain tumour war lords grunge into the nether regions of Ladbroke Grove. Yaaaagh!
New-Look Hawks on 40-Date Tour - News article from the NME, 9/9/78
Hawkwind re-emerge next month with the new name The Hawklords on a 40-date major British tour to
promote a new album and stage show. But on the day the tour was announced, one of the four
remaining longstanding members publicly disassociated himself from the group.
Simon House, who joined the band four years ago on violin and keyboards and who is now working with
Bowie, was expected to play 'selected concerts' with The 'Lords. Their publicist also claimed, "It is
understood that after Bowie's present tour ends, House will rejoin The 'Lords line-up."
House denied this. He said he does not intend playing with them, and instead will concentrate on his own
career. "The band I left at the beginning of the year is completely different from the band now," he
explained. "I don't feel a part of it any more."
But planned concerts in Newcastle and Manchester are almost sold out, and the tour will go ahead. Old
Hawkwind members Robert Calvert, Dave Brock, and Simon King are joined by newcomers Harvey
Bainbridge (bass), Martin Griffin (drums) and Steve Swindells (keyboards).
Described by their manager Doug Smith as a "heavy street-punk show", they will use stage sets designed
by Barney Bubbles with working models by Jonathon Smeeton, and feature six dancers.
The new album "Hawklords" is released on October 6, and this means the final Hawkwind set "PXR5"
has been shelved until next year.
No Wind Of Change - article from the Edinburgh Evening News 14/11/2001
Space-Age Rockers Continue Travels
You could tell strange forces were at work last night, when - upon arriving at Victoria Street - you find
the road itself has been barricaded to all traffic. What can it be? Are the mighty Hawkwind travelling in
from some far-off galaxy in their personal Michael Moorcock-inspired mothership? No, it's just the men
from the council putting the Christmans lights up in the street. Oh well...
Not that the 'Wind are afraid to play up to their image as sci-fi rockers that time forgot, giving original
Masters Of The Cosmos like George Clinton and Sun Ra a damn good run for their money. As if to
unashamedly prove this point the band shambled onstage for the opening Lighthouse against a projected
solar system backdrop, as the metronomic synth and guitar grind soundtrack tales of interstellar
lighthouses. So far, so far-out. Back down to Earth with a bump for the second song, though. Well,
not quite down to Earth, because it's Levitation, a clatteringly bluesy acid-rock expedition that more
up-to-date psychedelic pioneers like the Verve or Spiritualized would rightly be proud of.
There was a time, of course, when Hawkwind were at the forefront of sonic experimentation. Formed
at the tail-end of the Sixties, they became one of the leading lights of the progressive rock movement.
And - although reports of their coolness have been greatly exaggerated - they've weathered the long trek
into the new millennium with more credibility than fellow luminaries Pink Floyd or Genesis.
One look at their discography tells its own story. Thirty-odd albums, not to mention the almost
ludicrous band-member rotation system ... in fact, well into double figures have graced a stage as a
member of Hawkwind at one time or another. And why is this? Well, not counting the sci-fi fanatics,
it's because the rock (and particularly metal) fraternity have embraced them as their own. What do you
expect, after all, from a band that once used to count such rock wildmen as Ginger Baker and Lemmy
among their number.
Meanwhile - in true prog style - Levitation 's still playing. It proved early on that Hawkwind can throw a
mean riff with the best of them, but then vanished down the blind alley of guitar noodling and spacey
effects that this music is famed for. Here it is again, though, kicking back into life and reminding us that
Hawkwind aren't here to watch us stand about.
The rest of the act follows a similar code, with one head-bobbing riff neatly fitting in where the last left
off. Original and ever-present member Dave Brock does the whole mad professor bit in the corner,
playing with a bank of synths and a guitar, while the others compete for longest haircut. So they may be
about as space-age as Doctor Who, but at least Hawkwind still know how to rock!