Press Clippings XX
|Thanks to Jez Dacombe for these 1970-74 clippings
Sorry Hawkwind, you're blowing way out of time (from the
Leicester Mercury, 17/07/73):
"Attention, attention," rasped the robotic voice. "This is Intergalactic
Control with a news bulletin. At 2100 hours there will be a time
warp. All beings are ordered to prepare themselves accordingly. No
physical harm will be involved, but there will be distortion of the minds..." That, believe it or not, is how
the disembodied compere at last night's De Montfort Hall concert introduced bill-toppers Hawkwind - the
strange space-rock band who have amassed a considerable cult following with their peculiar brand of
They've unashamedly borrowed their basic style from Pink Floyd, who were the first band to introduce
taped electronic space-hiss underlaid with the stability of rock. In fact, Hawkwind are very much an
anachronism - employing the complete multimedia paraphernalia fashionable in the late sixties.
Throughout their hypnotic performance light shows played on the giant screen which had been erected
behind them, and the operator was particularly successful in synchronizing the timing of his effects with
the heavy percussion on which their sound is based.
Old hat it may have been, but the audience loved every minute of it. For my own part, I found the
concert exceedingly boring, with only the projected stills from Kubrick's epic film 2001 to maintain my
waning interest. As someone whose main intellectual obsessions have been rock and science fiction,
Hawkwind should be right up my street. But they fall down on both counts. As a band, they have
nothing to offer. Their dirgy, monotonous sound has little in the way of creativity or imagination. The
sci-fi imagery of their lyrics is equally garbled and confused - mixing up old and new wave with pointless
spiritual and metaphysical complications. Flash Gordon meets the Velvet Underground. Sorry, but I just
can't take them seriously at all.
Review of the Space Ritual tour (unknown publication, November 1972):
After a tedious interval, the Space Ritual landed, greeted by massive interstellar response. Announcements
from ground control dictated words for a general jam then suddenly we were transfixed somewhere
between here and eternity. Well, not quite.
Musically Hawkwind are repetitious. Riff after riff laid down upon a substantially rhythmic beat. Visually,
Hawkwind become boring. So what's new? As far as sounds and effects go, we've seen it all with the
Floyd. While Hawkwind feature an infinite variety of multi-media devices, nothing stands out as
Review of the Doremi Fasol Latido album (unknown publication, November 1972):
'Ladies and Gentlemen, please fasten your safety-belts, we are about to take off...' Installation 15: Sonic
This is Hawkwind's latest space voyage, a collection of ups and downs in true Hawkwind fashion plus
battle hymns and stellar songs all put together and seasoned with the salt of the Hawklords. Complete
with 'Star-rats' colour poster and their own Space-Ritual booklet. The words outline the 'Doremi Fasol
Latido' saga and the lyrics are given to each and every phase. Certain extracts are guaranteed to screw
your mind if you're feeling a little hazy at the time of reading.
The musical presentation is very similar to that of 'In Search Of Space' the throbs and whirrs and the
inevitable take-off in 'Lord of Light' immediately brings 'Master of the Universe' to mind. But again I'll
give them their dues, such a definite style is difficult to vary and anyway, if they changed their ways they
would no longer be Hawkwind. Maybe when everyone is aware of the H'Wind 'space trip' that will be the
time to change both the name AND the music. Until then I hope they can stay as they are.
Hawkwind lose gear in theft; may split (unknown publication, 4 May 1972):
Hawkwind face the prospect of having to disband, following the theft last weekend of their transit van
containing all their equipment. A Â£500 reward has been offered for the return of the gear, which is
valued at Â£10,000. The group will still be appearing at the Bickershaw festival tomorrow (Friday) when
they will use the event's own system. But they have had to cancel a tour of Northern Ireland and several
projected concert dates in this country. Said a spokesman: "If the equipment cannot be recovered quickly,
the lads will have no option but to break up."
Bickershaw Festival review (Sounds, 13/05/72):
Hawkwind came on to tumultuous applause, but they didn't really get off, and the applause at the end of
their set was far less enthusiastic. Their mixture of intoned vocals -"This is your Captain speaking, your
Captain is dead"- very basic music and synthesiser effects seemed to add up to little more than rather
Jonathan Kelly did connect, though, as he combined strong songs with strong performance to project
across the muddy wastes. One man and a guitar managed to come across with much more character and
strength than all the rather desperate thrashing of Hawkwind, and his applause was well deserved.
Hawkwind are back in action (unknown publication, 20/05/72):
A revised schedule has been set for Hawkwind, now that they are back in action again following the theft
of all their equipment. Two manufacturers who heard of the group's plight, AKG and Vox, provided all
the gear that was necessary. Hawkwind commence a ten day European tour tomorrow (Friday) and their
subsequent home dates are listed in this week's Nationwide Gig Guide. A new single titled "Silver
Machine" is released on June 9.
Hawkwind stay together (from Melody Maker, 13/05/72):
Hawkwind will not split after all. The group, who were threatened with extinction following the theft of
their equipment last week, have been completely re-equipped free of charge by AKG and Vox.
All existing gigs will be honoured, and an additional two appearances have been fixed for the group
supporting the Doors in their two concerts at Birmingham Town Hall on Friday.
Their equipment and a van, worth Â£10,000 was stolen from Russell Road in Palmer's Green, London. A
Â£500 reward is offered for information leading to the recovery of the gear. It will be impossible to
dispose of in its present form because it is elaborately painted and stencilled with the group's name.
Hawkwind's singer Bob Calvert was released from hospital this week and he will be rejoining the band on
all future gigs.
Hawkwind giant tour set (from Sounds, 21/10/72):
Hawkwind's Space Ritual takes the road on November 8 when they
open their extensive tour at the Corn Exchange, King's Lynn. Three
light shows will be accompanying the band along with a specially
converted cinema screen, and the entourage will also include four
dancers, three designers and disc jockey Andy Dunkley. The five
man sound crew will be under supervision of tour manager John
Burroughs and in the meantime special equipment is being
constructed for the tour by the band's designer Barney Bubbles, who
devised the 'In Search Of Space' album sleeve.
The concept of the tour is based around the "astronomical concept of
the nine planet system", said a spokesman, "and the dancers will be
choreographed to imply the movements of planets around the sun";
the group's equipment will be housed in six-sided cabinets built into
six-pointed star formations. It is hoped that the Space Ritual will be
recorded live sometime during the tour and be released on an album
next year while the band's third album "Doremi Fasol Latido" is
issued by United Artists on November 10.
Negotiations are taking place for Hawkwind to appear at the
Sundown Edmonton on December 29 or 30 - right at the end of their
tour, but confirmed dates are as follows: Corn Exchange, King's
Lynn, November 8; Civic Hall, Dunstable, 9; Guild Hall, Portsmouth,
11; University, York, 16; University, Lancaster, 17; University,
Leeds, 18; Locarno, Bristol, 19; St.Andrew's Hall, Norwich, 21:
Music Hall, Aberdeen, 24; Empire, Edinburgh, 25; Hard Rock,
Manchester, 26; New Theatre, Oxford 30; University, Exeter, December l; Chelsea Bowl, Bournemouth,
3; City Hall, Sheffield, 5; King's Hall, Derby, 7; Dreamland Cinema, Margate, 8; Sports Centre, Bracknell,
9; St.George's Hall, Bradford, 13; Town Hall. Middlesbrough 14; City Hall, Newcastle, 15; Civic Hall,
Wolverhampton, 18; Victoria Hall, Hanley, 22; and Stadium, Liverpool, 23.
Sound Of The Future (unknown publication, March 1972):
Hawkwind, the rock band that will play at Aldermaston for CND's Easter demonstrators, is a band of the
future - one with a more than casual relationship to science fiction.
In fact it is producing a rock opera with a science fiction approach to the threat of environmental
pollution. Hawkwind will use the electronic sound equipment in which it specialises, combined with
unusual lighting effects. The opera will last about two hours, more or less, depending on how it develops
in each performance.
"We've gained a bit of a reputation for 'space music' and we think we're producing the kind of music that
most people don't know about yet," two members, Nik Turner (electric saxophone) and Bob Calvert, the
vocalist and poet of the group, told Sanity. Other members are: Dave Brock (guitar), Lemmy (bass
guitar), DikMik (audio generators), Del Dettmar (synthesizer) and Simon King (drums).
Hawkwind have been touring Britain and Europe for two years with a complicated array of electronic
equipment. Audiences are growing, they report, and the responses are enthusiastic: "It's great when you
have a good audience - you get a feedback, find yourself playing harder and better. You get involved with
the audience: you're all one thing together."
Said Bob Calvert: "It's a sort of ritual really. And it's a good thing not only from the musical point of
view. It has a therapeutic effect. It releases all kinds of tensions and aggression built up by the
frustrations of life today.
"Most of us have suppressed aggressions and most of us get tensions built into us when we are very
young. Young people today can let their tensions and aggressions go in rock sessions. That's a good
thing, isn't it? It's one of the reasons why the latest generation is less aggressive and less destructive than
Nik and Bob say rock bands are peace-making bands. They are also war-making bands, but only in the
sense that they release and get rid of aggressions. Why were they giving a voluntary performance for
CND? "Well, we believe in CND and we go along with the peace movement, and most of our audiences
do." Their audiences, in fact, salute them with peace signs. Nik and Bob have no doubt that this is a
wide and growing feeling.
Without being up-stage, they take rock very seriously. They are sure that its roots go a very long way
back in history to all kinds of folk and religious rituals, which, even In those days, served to relieve
tensions and fears. Apart from this, of course, they make good music as their growing popularity
indicates. This summer they will go on another tour of Europe - France, Italy, Germany, Holland. But
before that they'll be at Aldermaston; and their presence there will be highly appropriate. For they stand
for enthusiastic life in face of the black threat of death in the nuclear weapons research station just across
the road from the field where they will perform.
Hawkwind truck off (from Sounds, 10/06/72):
Hawkwind have been trucking around Europe giving everybody a solid helping of that good space-rock
and apparently outplaying Atomic Rooster. Del reckons that German audiences, particularly those in
Berlin, are far more politically conscious than in England and tend to express approval or disapproval by
whistling, which must be a little confusing.
The Berlin Branch of the Hare Krishna Temple died the death by whistling, but Hawkwind of course,
went down big, and the promoter has invited them back to top the bill. Hawkwind also played in Rome at
a paying (300 lire) "free" festival. Which sounds like it could be the same one at which Hookfoot, playing
before 60,000 people, got three encores and twenty minute's ovation. A last word on Hawk: they did not
crash their van, as reported by ourselves last week. They in fact ran out of road and glanced off the
crash-barrier. Nik was at the wheel: "He shouldn't have bent the motor," was Del's comment.
Reaching Out for Higher Flings (from Disc, January 1974):
Hawkwind's Stacia acts it out. Disc's Caroline Boucher writes it down.
That Hawkwind ever get themselves to a gig is a constant source of amazement to them. They are still
marvelling that they got to America and toured it, and did quite well. The fact that only one of them
remembered to turn up to the party thrown in their honour in New York was merely typical.
"We function," says Stacia, "out of vaguely organised chaos."
Stacia is a whole heap of woman who got up onstage with no clothes on to dance with Hawkwind three
years ago, and has never really got down or put her clothes back on since. Today she is wearing a black
leotard, very short coat, and two pairs of black tights to cover the bruises incurred when she fell over in
the Earls Court Road the day before. Black, says Stacia, is her favourite colour.
Hawkwind are currently touring the country with a stage act that contains 50 per cent of new material
which will be recorded live for one side of their next album. The things they've written for it, says Nik
Turner, are still spacey but the band are wary of getting very trapped by the space image they've been
In true disorganised fashion, Hawkwind never got their big top tent together (they wanted to tour in much
the same fashion Ronnie Lane is), but don't seem to worry unduly about it. Stacia, however, is trying to
organise herself sufficiently to go to dance school for a time. "I need to make my body a bit more
supple. I'm very clumsy, as anybody who has seen me will tell you; I'm always falling over."
Stacia conies from Exeter, and first met Nik Turner at the Isle of Wight festival, dancing about out of
their brains. She met them again at their Exeter gig, where she got up and danced, and joined up with
them in preference to her old job of dishing up meals at the University. "I've never had any formal dance
training, or taken much interest in proper mime. To begin with, I just used to fling my arms and legs
about. Now I've got more into theatrics - I'm pretty dramatic anyway, 24 hours a day. But now I'm
trying to put a bit more meaning into my dancing."
True Stacia fans will hopefully go along with this sentiment towards higher art forms, and not just stroll
along to watch her strip.
Edmonton Sundown gig review (New Musical Express, December
Hawkwind's Space Ritual album resembles an unhappy cross-
pollination of Graham Bond's Magickal gymnastics and the pre-
Kubrick excesses of Flaming Youth (remember Ark Two?).
Edmonton Sundown was choked with similar anachronisms -
"Gorrenny acid man" crooned an erstwhile head. A goodly proportion
of the bombed freaks must have been pushing 15 at the most; proof
positive that the subculture is alive and well in Edmonton. The Love
Generation were out in force. By way of demonstration, as soon as
the MC called for everyone to be seated, the vertical few at the front
of the auditorium were pelted with coke cans, plastic cups, cigarette
butts. Someone handed out joss sticks from the stage. The pelting
Then a desperate plea across the P.A. A guitarist was missing;
"Where's Lemmy?" With astutely timed precision, the band appeared,
when nobody was expecting them. Don't go backstage, someone
said, 'cos the Hell's Angels have turned nasty...
In the face of such adversity, it must be said that Hawkwind put on a
terrific show. The music was so tight it made the Space Ritual
meanderings sound imbecilic. Then again, if audience involvement is
what a Hawkwind concert is all about, the sounds are inevitably
secondary to the visual presentation ("The aisle was full of
noises...") The lights were stunning, the obligatory smokescreen for
once wasn't a colossal yawn, and the climactic orgy of polythene
phalli and confetti was easily as impressive as the theatrics offered in
The amazing Stacia has a formidable stage presence. To my surprise she never battled for honours with
the band. One reservation, however; where do Hawkwind go from here? When a colleague asked "Was it
your first time too?", I got a nagging suspicion that the band is stuck in a metaphysical rut that it won't be
easy to pull out of. Second, third viewings might not be half as satisfying.
Review of the "Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)" single (from Sounds, 03/08/74):
A chappie whose opinion I respect (sometimes) tells me that Dave Brock, who writes these things for
Hawkwind, is quite the cleverest person he knows. Certainly he's consistent enough - and so are
Hawkwind. For, after a Tangerine Dream-like drone in, we're straightaway into the famous "Hawkwind
This rhythm, as we know, tends to bulldoze its' way over all the lyrics and indeed, over any refinements
of musicianship the Hawkwinds may care to display. Thus the lyrics remain obscure - but perhaps it is as
well, for I did catch "politicians" and "concrete jungles" in the first verse. An orchestra saws away
several miles hence -at least, it sounds like an orchestra- but the overall effect is still pretty unmoving. If
you're into quasi-political, cosmic doom rock then this is your river of blood. Otherwise, skip it.
Review of the "Ejection" single by Captain Lockheed & The Starfighters (unknown publication,
This comes from Robert Calvert's solo LP. This was an LP I did not really expect to enjoy so I was
agreeably surprised when, in common with the legendary curate's egg, it was excellent in parts. Well
perhaps excellent is overstepping the mark slightly, but none of it was actively unpleasant.
As a bonus the LP features Vivian Stanshall and Arthur Brown, heroes both and both, in their own ways,
rock casualties, and although their roles are relatively minor it's nice to know that they are still functioning
somewhere. Neither is featured on this single -at leastm, if they are, they are well hidden- is mainly pretty
standard Hawkwind, although from the grey swirling thump thump lighter shades and forms sometimes
Robert's voice and some rather nice growling guitar are buried well down in the mix, a mix which gives
undue prominence to the rhythm - as I have hinted above. The side begins with vaguely aeronautical
atmospherics and ends with an explosion. It's the sort of record I'll be asked to play at my awful gigs and
I really won't mind playing it either.
I don't know if the Hawkwind mystique is still strong enough to bung this into the charts - time alone
will, don'cha know, tell.
Review of Bob Calvert's Captain Lockheed And
The Starfighters (unknown publication, May
When I first heard the plot of this album I didn't
expect anything as good as this. It seemed so
pedestrian and about as worthwhile as the
punishment my old gym master used to give out,
which was writing a two page essay on the bicycle
spoke! A brief synopsis of the story: it's set in the
early sixties about a guy called Herr Franz Joseph
Strauss, the German defence minister at the time.
He sponsored an American designed Lockheed
Starfighter which was originally intended to be a fair
weather fighter. But ol' Strauss had the plane
modified into a heavy duty atom bomber. This was
the plane's downfall and resulted in many deaths, it
became known as the "Widow Maker".
The story is followed via music and narrative. It
features a host of musicians including the Hawkwind
mob, Arthur Brown and The Ladbroke Grove
Hermaphroditic Voice Ensemble. The parts of the
characters are played by Viv Stanshall, Jim Capaldi,
Tom Mittledorf, Richard Ealing and Captain Calvert.
It's funny and extremely morbid at times. Humour is
obviously provided by Stanshall and each character
and event is treated with biting sarcasm. Strauss is a
very gullible and a military type fellow who
eventually realises his mistake in purchasing the
plane. There's a lot of things that happen on this
album: a scene between an officer and a recruit who
wears mascara, and the patter between the American
salesman and Strauss. A warning of the plane's downfall is on side one in the form of "The Gremlin", a
track written by Arthur Brown and Adrian Wagner. "I am the Gremlin", screams a voice in
synchronization with a moog. "I was there, making mischief in the air." Eventually the planes start
crashing and the German officials. "Do you want to buy a Starfighter?", asks a German youth, "well buy
an acre of land." The album closes with a track called "Catch A Falling Starfighter"...can't wait to see the
Review of Robert Calvert's "Captain Lockheed And The
Starfighters" (unknown publication, May 1974):
There are a tot of misconceptions about heavy metal music. Robert
Calvert has achieved the impressive feat of making the first heavy
metal concept album. The (true) story tells how the Lockheed
Starfighter was acquired for the German Air Force and so adapted
that it was rendered unstable. The result was 162 crashes with
almost as many pilots killed. The tragic bungling (essential tests were
omitted before the plane was put into operation: the ejector seats in
the first model didn't work at low altitudes) is explained in word and
song by Calvert assisted by members of Hawkwind, Pink Fairies and
As usual with this kind of project, the spoken parts tend to fragment
the music, after a few plays they become too familiar and the listener
is constantly urging the speakers on so he can get to the music. It's
almost impossible to overcome this, but Calvert's tried his best by
using caricatured conversations rather than an inevitably dull
narrator. There are no such built-in faults with the music, however;
it's very Hawkwind-ish with a touch or Black Sabbath thrown in for
good measure - heavy riffs and echoed vocals, in other words. Of the
individual pieces, "Ejection," issued as a single last year, perhaps has the edge on the others for its ruthless
driving force. As a whole, "Captsin Lockheed" is an impressive project, and coming as it does at a time
when most musicians are endlessly seeking the lowest common denominator, a heartening one for the
whole of rock. All it needs is your support: get to it! -- M.O.
Warm 'wind - a review of Hall Of The Mountain Grill (from Melody Maker, 14/04/74):
The kings of the two-chord samba return with an invitation to c'mon and do the idiot dance. It's their best
album to date (which ain't saying much) on which Simon House, their ex-High Tide keyboardsman, who
recently succeeded Del Dettmar, introduces a wider spectrum of sound and some semblance of melodic
interpretation of the group's songs (Dave Brock and Nik Turner especially). If you've seen the band on
their few British dates this year, you'll be familiar with much of the material - "Psychedelic Warlords
(Disappear In Smoke)", their prospective hit single, Turner's "D-Rider", plus three of Brock's - "Web
Weaver", "Paradox" and "You'd Better Believe It" are all stage tried and tested, the last two were live
recordings in fact. In their own way 'Wind are a tremendously charismatic bunch of itinerants and were,
arguably, one of the biggest draws among British bands. The greatcoats would gather in force at the drop
of a tab. Despite the obvious influence of House in widening Hawkwind's musical palette it's still Brock's
simplistic, chunky chording on guitar and his equally "lumpy" writing style which if not impressive
certainly sets the group's noisome persona. An ever-present edgy scraping rumble beneath the sweeping
Mellotron. Hawkwind, with complete innocence, have always seemed stuck in a time-warp hippie image,
passÃ© optics and recording techniques. Yet because they're the only band still playing in this style
they've got the market all to themselves. Hawkwind certainly aren't the visionaries their sci-fi image
suggests - Brock is a rocker throughout. The incoming House and the departing Dettmar both wrote a
short piece for the album. Both create moods, appear 'esoteric' and to these ears, directionless. With
Brock there's never any doubt. He's heading straight for the brick wall and he's gonna crash right through
it. The title of "Hall Of The Mountain Grill" was inspired by a Hawkwind nosherie - a more suitable
source couldn't have been found for their music is pure egg, sausage 'n' beans. - G.B.
Review of Robert Calvert's "Captain Lockheed And The Starfighters" (Music Scene, May 1974):
Was a time when Germany's Starfighter jets dropped from the skies with alarming regularity and it took
'Der Spiegel' to bring it all into the open . In a lighter vein, but with an underlying strata of seriousness,
former Hawkwind member Robert Calvert has written a musical play entitled "Captain Lockheed and the
The album is now on release and the stage production takes to the road in mid-May. South African-born
Calvert took time out from preparations to tell his Uncle Beast what it's all about.
"When I was working with Hawkwind I was more interested in working with a band that wouldn't just
stand there for two hours playing a set of songs related to one another. I wanted to do a show as a
He had dabbled with some street theatres and in particular one in Camden Town called "Street Dada
Nihilismus" which often shocked people by throwing paint at them. He was also interested in sound
"Hawkwind seemed to be doing almost the same thing in terms of electronic sound that I was attempting
to do with poetry and it seemed topical to put the two things together," he explained. "Space Ritual didn't
turn out to be the work I tried to achieve. The sounds of Hawkwind very often remind me of the
aero-space age and it inspired me to think of jet planes rather than space travel. The Starfighters in
Germany seemed to be an ideal subject for an electronic rock drama using satire telling a complete story in
a logical way that you can follow. There is nothing Dadaistic or esoteric about it, some of it is Monty
Pythonesque, some of it is Navy Lark. The music is based on the Germanic hypnotic riffs that Hawkwind
use, the musical varionics. The whole thing derives from the Velvet Underground primitive rhythms, but
also using the technology of music."
Those involved in the album include Hawkwind, Arthur Brown, Jim Capaldi, Viv Stanshall and the
ubiquitous Eno. Adrian Wagner, a keyboard-playing descendant of classical composer Richard Wagner is
on the album and in the touring cast. Costumes have been designed by Wendy Dagsworthy who created
outfits for Roxy Music, and Stanshall plays, among other things, Franz Josef Strauss, the former West
German Defence Minister.
The drama is in short scenes and the songs are a commentary on those scenes and an extension of them
and take you onto the next scene. Calvert points out "Rather like what Bertolt Brecht called 'epic theatre'
in the thirties, I have tried to present the situation in terms that are my interpretation of the events using
my humour. The whole thing was laughed at by everyone in Germany, except the relatives of the pilots
that were killed. The plane wasn't developed to perform all the functions, including assault and battery,
the Germans wanted it to do: the instruction manual was always changing, the pilots were constantly
flying in a new experimental plane and the ground staff were only conscripts who couldn't care less about