Press Clippings XXII
Hawkwind Struggle On (source unknown, January 1977):
Hawkwind's personnel problems continued last week with the news that Paul Rudolf has quit the band. He
has been replaced by bassist Adrian Shaw. Rudolf's departure brings the number of group members who
have left the band recently to three. First to leave was drummer Andy Powell and Rudolf will now be
forming a new heavy rock band together with Powell and a couple of others. The other member to leave
Hawkwind was Nik Turner, just after Christmas.
But Hawkwind are carrying on and will be playing a special concert at the London Roundhouse on February
27 together with the Flying Aces and Keith Christmas. The group will be previewing their European show
which they will be taking to the Continent immediately afterwards.
Hawkwind, Paris (from the NME, 21/05/77):
Funny how truth (actuality) can be stranger than (science) fiction. Hawkwind, rock music's *only* seriously
plebeian exponents of SF, gave a performance in Paris that left the audience crazy a-go-go and me slack-
Consider le realitÃ©: There we are, eight miles high in an airliner struck by severe turbulence. The young
lady on my left is most unimpressed by our jocularity ("It's OK, we're just doing a dry run for Airport '78")
but we land safely, to be met by a shifty-looking cab driver with a predilection for tinny transistors jacked
way up. Paris in the spring turns out to be dismally grey, the rain sheeting down, the hotel (down the road
apiece from Notre Dame) a dead ringer for the one used by Romy Schneider in Marathon Man - we spend
half an hour looking for huge oriental thugs in the wardrobes.
Tucked away in this unearthly environment is The Bedford Arms, a Watney house (boo) on the corner of
Rues Princesse and Guisarde, which offers biÃ¨re Anglaise (brune et blonde) at 10F a pint (a mere 25 bob).
On the way to the gig, we pass through Espace Pierre Cardin (that's like Camberwell Green being called Mary
Quant), the wide one-way boulevards flanked by dirty, historic buildings, flying anaemic flags. Kung Fu
movies are popular on the outer city limits.
Consider le concert: How can Hawkwind hope to cope with dislocation like that? Easy. The punters at Salle
Pleyel are mainly the sort of scruffy urchins you'd see anywhere, but surprisingly young (lending credence to
the theory that old Hawkwind fans never grow old, they just go deaf or OD). They've come to have a good
time and are not deterred by the fact that the only prelude to the actual concert is Bowie's â€œLow" (both
sides) blaring from the sound system.
By the time the band appear, a few sparklers are being brandished by the elite (i.e. berks). The material is
drawn from their last album ("Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music") and the new one ("Quark Strangeness
and Charm"), set for release later in May. They demonstrate immediately that they've suffered no ill-effects
from the departures of Paul Rudolph, Alan Powell and Nik Turner. The trimmed-down five-piece could
hardly be termed sleek, but it's more than serviceable.
The manic "Reefer Madness" is the opener, setting the drone-like tone for the entire set. I haven't heard such
unvarying, undiluted energy outside the Downliners Sect. Robert Calvert, resembling a sword-wielding
Saracen more than a space warrior, remains the focal point, a powerful and astonishingly coherent vocalist,
considering the all-enveloping wall-of-sound he's fronting. His repertoire of gesticulations and poses are
unashamedly borrowed from old RKO serials. For "Steppenwolf" (which owes more to John Kay than
Herman Hesse) Calvert does his Max Schreck bit, bedecked in black hat and tails. The solitary idiot dancer
dutifully responds to Simon House's hypnotic amplified violin solo. They follow this with the first of several
numbers from "Quark" (when it arrives, it / she / he should be a monster), the relentless "Spirit Of The Age",
a loony time-warp love song: "Your android replica is playing up again" intones Calvert in his finest Ferry.
"it's no joke." Aye, we are clones and we're not alone. Straight into "Damnation Alley" ("Thank you Dr.
Strangelove, for going doo-lalley") like Ballardâ€™s early stuff, but funny.
The high spot is undoubtedly "Uncle Sam's On Mars", thrashing, throbbing, therapeutic. The cumbersome
space man, waddling across stage like a deep-sea diver, is met by Calvert, dramatically unfurling the Stars
and Stripes before ceremoniously emasculating said symbol with his sword. Hope he never meets Lynyrd
Skynyrd out there. ("It's science fiction," says Calvert later. "Not politics.")
Back in the dressing room, the lads are pleased with their rapturous reception. Simon King, mildly upset that
Liverpool were held by Everton that afternoon, enthuses about his freebie Nipponese drum kit (superbly
miked for the show) while Dave Brock, tired but relatively unemotional, settles down to finish Frank Herbertâ
€™s The Heaven Makers. Calvert's gasping for a cup of tea and Simon King chokes on the Vichy water.
He's bemused by the generous spread of health foods laid on for the band: "They must have read the wrong
The lightweight (touring for the use of) light show was a bit sloppy, but the next time they play London,
Atom-Henge will be back on show, new and improved. They're talking in terms of holograms, now.
They may well be the Status Quo of the sci-fi set, but there are still more surprises in Hawkwind's music than
in Haydn's 94th.
Hawkwind: Strangeness and Charm (from the Melody Maker, 30/07/77):
Hawkwind: "Quark, Strangeness and Charm " (Charisma). Yep, you read right. Those aliens of yesteryear
are right back in warp factor three. Quasars ahead of their last significant chartbuster, "Silver Machine", this
is a superbly compact Robert Calvert / Dave Brock number that charges along on an implosive riff.
They have adopted the grand rock'n'roll tradition of conveying curious concerns (relativity, black holes and
the like) through humour. The lyrics are masterful: "Copernicus had those Renaissance ladies / crazy about
his telescope. And Galileo had a name that made his / reputation higher than his hope / Did none of those
astronomers discover / while they were staring out into the dark / that what a lady looks for in her lover / is
Charm, Strangeness and Quark." From the album of the same name.
Hawkwind and Bethnal, Manchester Palace (source unknown, Autumn 1977):
Despite their apparent commitment, Bethnal made little impact. There are no rough edges whatsoever, it's all
clear, clean, calculated brutality... ...Bob Calvert, meanwhile has injected an elegantly provocative cultured
force into Hawkwind; there's been a mature modulation of the basic Hawkwind elements into a fresher, softer
music (humourous, even). The identifiable Hawkwind slang still exists, throbbing insistencies, weird
interjections, disturbingly hypnotic visual effects, pleasingly conditioned robotic lyrical imagery, etc., but no
longer is it all in an immediately depressing and suffocating sound but persuasive, sharper, jumpier.
Applause to Hawkwind for their economic but effective adaptation. Not only has their collective
consciousness recognized fluctuation but the music has absorbed it too. Calvert is not only an authentic
frontman, but also a performer with a lovely, cool, impersonal control. He sings and writes well. His tongue,
though, is always in his cheek, and that helps ease the occasions when the Hawkwind intensity threatens to
overwhelm. Calvert is a surprisingly strong pop persona, and convenient to Hawkwind, but necessary. The
Peter Cook of rock'n'roll.
Musically, Hawkwind are adequate, but that's not a put-down. There is a paced static tension throughout the
show, a sureness within the limitations, no excess (honest). If occasionally, like on a weak instrumental, the
music hints at strangling, there's always the back-drop visuals to mind-fiddle with, or Calvert's studied antics
to smile at. There is no let-up; it is definitely effective.
Bob Calvert, a man with a mission, has lent Hawkwind visible direction; hard, long pop, mechanical realism.
I am frankly shocked, but delighted.
Sonic producer (source unknown, December 1977):
The Sonic Assassins, who feature former Hawkwind members Robert Calvert and Dave Brock, play a special
Christmas concert at Barnstaple Queens hall on December 23. Also appearing will be Nik Turner's Abluhla
and Footsbarn Theatre. The concert will be recorded for an album which will be released by Weird
Records, a new company set up by Calvert and Brock. Brock has also recorded a solo album which will be
released by Weird.
Tickets for the concert are Â£1.20 in advance from Fords Record Shop of Barnstaple or Â£1.50 on the
night. Meanwhile, Hawkwind start recording their new album, tentatively titled 'PXR-5', next month and
release is scheduled for the spring.
Masters of rock theatre show us the way (source unknown, 1978):
If anyone decides to turn George Orwell's 1984 into a rock musical -and anything is possible- the stars of the
show would have to be Hawkwind.
The Hawklords, alias Hawkwind, descended on the De Montfort Hall last night to present their own
remarkable brand of sci-fi rock. And with searchlights sweeping the stage picking out two robot-like
dancers, there was a distinct Orwellian atmosphere about the concert. A semi-change of name is bound to
rekindle interest in a group which has explored some weird frontiers in rock music since it was formed nine
With the gangling Robert Calvert on lead vocals, there was never a dull moment as he skippered his crew on a
doom-laden journey into the future, that inevitably included their monster hit, Silver Machine. Like a good
science fiction movie, the interest never waned, and with dry ice combining with film effects, I became
absorbed in what was fast becoming rock theatre at its best.
The extra-terrestrial keyboard sounds of Steve Swindells, and the thundering guitar of Dave Brock helped the
Hawklords on their way. Then the voice of Calvert, echoing around the hall "welcome to the future - you're
welcome to the future". Come on Hawklords, you have six whole years to make that musical with a
Second Wind? (from The Journal, 06/10/78):
If the Tyneside debut of The Hawklords is a little chaotic next Tuesday, Dave Brock won't be surprised. The
leader of the new band formed out of the ruins of Hawkwind is frank about their problems. Not for him any
showbiz pretence about it being "all right on the night". He told me "We need more time to work out our
stage show. After about two weeks on the road, we should start getting it right."
The Newcastle City Hall gig is the fifth night of a two month UK tour, so fans may have to grin and bear any
unco-ordinated aspects of the show. It has been devised by Barney Bubbles (of Hawkwind LP cover fame)
and the celebrated lights and props expert Liquid Len. "It's rock theatre," said Dave, who was a founder
member of Hawkwind in 1969, and has been a guiding force behind their erratic career.
When I talked to him on Tuesday, he was taking a break from rehearsals at Shepperton Studios - their first
full practice for the tour, which opens tonight. "We're not happy about having to do it all at the last minute,
but we have never had a moment spare since July," said Dave. Haste is also the feature of their new album,
"25 Years On" (Charisma), which was recorded and mixed in two weeks. Dave told me: â€œMusically, it is
one of the best albums I have worked on, but we needed longer to mix it."
The album marks a radical change of direction for Dave and fellow founder Robert Calvert, who are the only
survivors of the previous Hawkwind line-up in the new five-man format. "It was time for a rethink. You can
always coast along making enough money to get by, but that's not our style. We waited politely for people to
leave the band, others were sacked, and we found the replacements we wanted and now everybody is agreed
on what we're doing," said Dave. "I've got no regrets about people like Simon House leaving to join Bowie.
The whole shake-up has been a great challenge, and I've been working with more enthusiasm than I've felt
The stage show, which follows the futuristic theme of the album, features a grey 1984-type factory
atmosphere, with drab overalls in fashion. Then comes the worker's revolution - via PSI power, of course-
and the realisation that they are making wings for fallen angels!
And so the cosmic cowboys ride off into the dawn of another time zone. [Which is a totally crap ending]
Hawklords swoop (from the Melody Maker, 1978):
"Bob and I feel that we've really been working hard recently, and more important, we've enjoyed it. I hadn't
done that for some time, as long as four years. Usually I dislike going out on the road, having done it so
many times before, but now I've found new enthusiasm. We're doing things I've wanted to do for quite a
while and the people in the band have a great deal of energy and drive."
The speaker is guitarist Dave Brock who, like his longtime companion Bob Calvert, seems to have adopted a
totally fresh and lively approach to the latest outfit, The Hawklords. Both musicians led Hawkwind for many
years, but the situation eventually declined and resulted in their gradual demise. Dave and Bob opted to
remain together, and united with the combined talents of bassist Harvey Bainbridge, keyboardist Steve
Swindells and drummer martin Griffin, are venturing towards new horizons.
"By 1976 I'd thought of starting afresh, and after the 'Roadhawks' album, I felt that was the last I'd ever be
associated with, as far as Hawkwind was concerned. But somehow through a load of tapes, the remixing
them... However, I had reached a point at which I found everything boring and frustrating.â€� Yet the band
carried on for a while, intensifying Dave's disillusion. "If you work on a building site, filling in walls all the
time, you persist with it, using less and less craftsmanship; that's exactly what happened with Hawkwind.
Also, there were a lot of different members involved, and plenty of traumatic internal scenes. In fact it was
rather like the intrigues of the Roman Senate."
Last year he made a decisive move by forming the Sonic Assassins down in Devon, where he lives. People
said he was foolish to leave when he could still make money with the old band. But Dave's Assassins played
a few gigs and actually recorded an album, which hasn't been released as yet. "The Hawklords are the Sonic
Assassins in actual fact, but the band has only been together as a working unit for a few months. Bob and I
started writing in July. He came down to my place, and there we worked out all the numbers. Finally it was
a question of getting musicians so we enlisted the people we'd been working with."
Within a fortnight the new album was completed, having been recorded in one week and mixed in another.
After recording in Devon, they went immediately to London, exhausted by lack of proper sleep over the two
weeks. "The mind wanders and you become inattentive. Yes, it was definitely a rushed job. At the moment
we're simply laying the foundations, and in a year's time things will be a whole lot more together."
Although a theme runs through the record, the total concept evolves on stage. Co-ordinated with projected
film, the dancers and the specially designed sets. "The file opens going down a subway, through to a factory
and the dancers are the factory workers, so everything is related. It's a circle of life theme. Sweeping
factory floors, working monotonously on a machine - things that I've done myself, in the past."
I understand that the concert effects had to be produced at breakneck speed. The film was completed only
three days before the opening show, and consequently there was a minimum of time for full rehearsals.
Two other musicians on the album were Simon House and Simon King, yet neither is participating in the
gigs. "I'm not at all disappointed," comments Dave. "I'm extremely glad. You can only work with some
people for so long, because they like to coast along if there's regular money, without putting themselves out.
I wanted dancers in the band and also mime artists, but they didn't agree because it would have meant less
money. So the fact that those two aren't around doesn't bother me." However, one item that has displeased
Dave and the rest of the group is the album cover. It seems that the first 25,000 copies will have the original
artwork and the title '25 Years' but thereafter it will simply be called 'The Hawklords'.
The next year takes the band on an extensive tour, and recording should be resumed next June. In the
meantime there are a number of things which could be released. The 'PXR5' album, half of which was
recorded in concert, has to be re-mixed, but will probably come out in February '79. Also there is the Sonic
Assassins tape, that Dave is considering putting out, possibly as a collector's item only: it being another live
cut. And of course he has an abundance of old Hawkwind material. Most important to Dave and his fellow
musicians are the exciting possibilities that the future holds. It looks healthy, very healthy indeed for the
Album review (source and publication date unknown):
Hawkwind 'P.X.R.5' (Charisma CDS 4016)***Â½
Between me and you and the Mandrax, I still haven't worked out why they changed their name to The
Hawklords. Oh well. Aside from a copy of the 'Silver Machine' classic, Hawkwind and me didn't meet up
until late in the day, specifically with the 'Quark Strangeness and Charm' album of a couple of years back. It
was an album that made an anachronism of sorts jump boldly into the present and I still play it regularly. As
most, if not all, of the material here dates from the same period, I've had not the least problem responding to
the bulk of its content.
'Death Trap' and 'Jack Of Shadows' are audio cuts from January of '78. The first's just Calvert, Brock and
drummer Simon King, Brock playing all other instruments on a potent chugger which, among other things,
points out -and not for the first time- that sometime labelmates The Stranglers owe not a little to Hawkwind.
You could programme it amongst a bunch of hard-nose 'punk' items and it'd sound quite right there.
'Jack Of Shadows' finds Calvert borrowing another title from SF heavyweight Roger Zelazny (viz. â
€˜Damnation Alley') and coming up with more than a few memorable lines. Full band, singalong chorus, plus
a welcome dash of wit via castanets and 'LaLaLaLa' vocal back-ups. The lengthy 'Uncle Samâ€™s On
Mars' is a live cut from November '78: excellent vocal and terminal spiel from Calvert, snatches of space-
speak tape cut-ups , and a likeable, typically muzzy thrum from the band.
'Infinity' and 'Life Form' are just Dave Brock and Simon King. The first's a synth-laden chant with, for me,
warming affinities with the second album from La Dusseldorf. 'Life Form' is a brief, smile-spreading closer,
Brock's synthesizers featuring what sounds like a demented guest appearance from a Dalek.
The three cuts on the second side feature the late '77 line-up, the two regulars joined by Simon King and
Adrian Shaw (drums, bass respectively) and keyboard player Simon House. 'Robot' and 'High Riseâ€™ are
live recordings (De Montford Hall, Leicester, for those who were there) with the lengthy 'Robotâ€™ (half a
side - why not times, naughty Charisma chaps?) pretty much summing up the live Hawkwind experience:
hypnotic, percussive pulse, wailing guitar and synth, and Calvert's first person lyric revealing familiarity with
Asimov's Three laws of Robotics.
'High Rise' is more condensed, with a mournfully effective choral chant and a strong, concise Brock solo.
The closing title cut's the same personnel, minus Calvert, recorded at Rockfield in January of last year.
Brock takes the writing credit, proves he's no lyrical match for Calvert (rhyming 'race' with â€˜space', stuff
about 'pursuing the dream' etc.) and the treated vocal refrain provokes inevitable connections with Roger
Walters. Hard to dislike, for all that.
I'll come clean (adopts conspiratorial tone), having heard that the reason 'P.X.R.5' had been postponed from
its original release schedule of over a year back because Charisma had rejected it. I wasnâ€™t expecting the
pleasant surprise it turned out to be.
Album review (from Sounds, 22/04/79):
Nik Turner's Sphynx 'Xitintoday' (Charisma CDS 4011)**
Pyramid Power, bah! The idea that these Egyptian constructs are 'generators of living energy' or â€˜homing
beacons for spacecraft' or 'gateways to spiritual dimensions' holds as much credibility as the Bermuda
Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti, the Golem or any of Erich Von Daniken's preposterous
But Nik Turner, flautist / saxophonist / vocalist and one-time Hawklord, takes it all *so* seriously. Wouldnâ
€™t have been so bad if this album had been inspired by the possibility of pyramid power, but Turner treats
legends and rumours is irrefutable facts, even to the extent of believing with all his heart that that the lost
continent of Atlantis once flourished...and 'Xitintoday' becomes the stuff of nonsense.
Look Nik, it's all very well to sit atop the Great Pyramid of Giza on a Christmas day and I'm sure it is very
spooky playing a flute in the sarcophagus of the king's chamber of that very same edifice...but to portray
your feelings on vinyl, tarting them up with mind-boggling quotations from the 'Egyptian Book Of The Dead'
and to go on and on about Ra, Thoth, Osiris, Horus, Set et al is another (unworkable) matter.
Nik Turner used to be great when rapping about subjects of a less concrete, more cosmic nature, as in the
time of the 'Space Ritual' - indeed the free booklet that comes with 'Xitintoday' is similar in many ways to the
'Hawkwind Log' that was given away with the 'In Search Of Space' LP. Notice, for example, the 'as above,
so below' phrase - which is a definite hark back to days of yore.
In musical terms, for the most part it's a case of Turner puffing away at the flute and seemingly improvising
as he goes along, oftimes there's no true direction, no real shape or form to his playing. â€˜Stiv' Hillage plays
'gliss' guitar on a number of occasions, but you'd be excused if you didnâ€™t really notice. It takes until the
second track, second side ('Isis and Nepthys') for any true change to occur: here, more of a 'band' feel is in
the evidence and a 'soft rock' sound emanates from the speakers.
To Turner's credit, he does sometimes manage to evoke -especially on 'The Awakening (Life On Venus)'- a
suitably mystical atmosphere...but as a whole, as a 'concept', 'Xitintoday' is pretty much a non-event.
Change of image, but rock formula stays the same (source unknown, 03/12/79):
With 16 changes in the line-up and the odd change of name, Hawkwind have remained remarkably consistent
over the last 10 years.
Hawkwind may have worked through more than 30 musicians this decade but their space age rock formula
has change very little. Last night at a full De Montfort hall they blended new material with old with such
continuity it was harder to believe the band has a higher turnover than a Kamikaze squadron. The revamped
Hawkwind have dropped last year's Hawklords name and image, and have brought back original member
Huw Lloyd-Langton on guitar.
An exciting addition to the ranks was ex-Gong synthesizer and keyboards man Tim Blake. Blake provided
one of the highlights of last night's show with a synthesizer solo, which with the help of an unbelievable green
laser-like light show, mesmerized the audience. It took a loose version of urban Guerilla to get everyone
warmed up and of course their golden oldie Space Machine [sic] provided the climax of the act.
The Book Of The Hype (source and publication date unknown):
'Abner Kaufman loosened his knitted silk tie and undid the collar button of his shirt. 'What next?' he said,
crushing a hardly smoked Marlboro into the ashtray. 'It's a new track by Tom Mahler,' his secretary
announced to the room in general, 'or will be in a moment.' She was having trouble getting the leader of the
tape to bind correctly on the take-up spool of the Revox. Her nails were too long...'
The opening paragraph of ex-Hawkwind vocalist Bob Calvert's first novel, 'Hype', a fictional look inside the
music industry, centred around a rock star called Tom Mahler. The book is a superb example of pop
literature; a fast, highly accessible read which is literally unputdownable. Where it jumps ahead of the
growing family of rock business exposes, however, is in the simultaneous release of an album, 'Hype',
performed by Calvert and featuring the musical talents of Bethnal, with the songs of the book's hero.
A day after the 'Hype' press launch at the morgue of Charing Cross Hospital I met Bob Calvert over a coffee,
between phone calls and despite a King Charles spaniel called Charlie. "The way the record came about," he
explained, "was because when I was writing the book I had to keep inventing songs to make it credible.
Every time I thought of a song title seemed necessary to quote a line from it, and suddenly it took shape as a
song. This bloke Tom Mahler actually did become quite real to me at one point. I didn't actually plan to do
an album of the book until I was about a quarter of the way into it...it came to me that Iâ€™d have to record
his songs. One excuse for doing it...I'm not comparing the literary worth to Boris Pasternak...but Pasternak,
in Doctor Zhivago, quotes a collection of Zhivago's poems, and I'd often felt that it was an interesting idea to
invent somebody who does something, and then do it - it gives it another dimension of fictional reality."
Why call the hero Tom Mahler?
"At the time I started writing the book, which was actually over a year ago, there was this current vogue for
names that related to famous people or composers of the past, like Pete Shelley and Tom Verlaine, and I just
thought that Tom Mahler sounded right somehow. "
The book blurb describes you as having been there and made it back again. Do you feel that you've returned
to sanity? "In a way I do feel as though having absolutely stopped any sort of work with Hawkwind at all is a
kind of coming back to sanity and reality. I just couldn't go on performing Silver Machine over and over
again or 'Master Of The Universe' and all that stuff for the rest of my life. But there are still people going
around doing that for me. I don't know who's actually singing 'Silver Machine' now, but whoever it is, and
Nik Turner ought to get a Queen's award for industry for creating jobs. You know, there probably will be a
vacancy soon for someone else to go and sing 'Master Of The Universe' with Dave Brock and be in full-time
Do you see that as insanity?
"well, it's not insanity, it can lead to insanity, in my case it has done, actually, on one or two occasions I have
got very ill over it. Being in a band like Hawkwind and doing nothing but recording and travelling around
playing and reproducing stuff over and over again means that you're not meeting any members of the public
except for fanatical fans and music business types. And the book is not about the band situation as much as
the actual types who work in the business itself, who for the most part are horrifying examples of humanity.
To be fair there are in fact a few what I would call gentlemen but most of them are sharks. The music
business is a world of its own, divorced from everyday reality entirely, and yet it has quite a big influence on
it, this is the alarming thing."
Did you have a lot of demons to exorcise?
"Yeah, I quickly formed the attitude that you are going to be mistreated if you're an artist and youâ€™re in the
music business. You learn that to a certain extent you're going to be fleeced but I feel that Iâ€™ve got to a
point now that I probably have dealt with them, and this work was one way of finally dealing the death blow."
Why is there no lyric sheet? The words are an important part of the record.
"I suppose they are, but I don't really like lyric sheets. To me a lyric written down without the music is daft,
'cause it's not a poem and it reads really banal. I did think about doing a lyric sheet but I decided at the last
minute not to do it because a lot of the lyrics on the 'Songs of Tom Mahler' are not really supposed to be
representative of my own song writing attitudes - they are meant to be Tom Mahler songs."
How did the collaboration with Bethnal come about?
"Hawkwind did a tour with them and I was totally impressed with the way that they performed and the music
and everything about them. I think they're the best young band that I've ever seen. And I got the feeling at
the time that they weren't getting a good deal and weren't being treated very well, so it seemed appropriate
from that point of view as well to work with them on the album. We're going to get together and do some
gigs soon, but it possibly won't be this year, it may be the beginning of next year because they're having a lot
of problems with equipment that they don't own and their own album, a magnificent album, actually, which is
being held up in a legal argument."
Can Bob Calvert save himself and Bethnal from the buck-hungry aphids? Will Tony Cahn learn how to pop
Sammy Quentin's cork? Will Hugh Wingfield shave his moustache? And who killed Tom Mahler? Bobâ€¦.
BOOOOOOOOOOOOB [I think that's meant to be a long drawn-out 'Bob', not 'boobâ€™]
Hawkwind, Hammersmith Odeon gig review (source unknown,):
So, Hawkwind played the Odeon again. I walked in and found myself staring at a violent montage of 100
watt bulbs and brain-washing strobes, feeling like an extra from Close Encounters only with the added
disadvantage of not knowing what was going on at all.
The fact that Hawkwind have been around for so long and can still manage to pull in a good crowd at the
Odeon leads me to believe that they have a reason to carry on: that much I can understand. But for a band
who are ostensibly Sci-fi / drug orientated, they're unfailingly unimaginative and repetitive.
There was tonight, I felt, a certain lack of insight, images as black as doom itself were conjured up via the
barbed guitars and manic saxophone; the synth farted annoyingly from stage right, adding precious little to the
general atmosphere of hopelessness.
Three rows in front of me I saw a young fellow smoking and extraordinarily long cigarette, He was swaying
around, cluelessly out of time with the oncoming rush of Hawkwind's jumbled rhythms, and seemed to be
enjoying himself enormously. I pinched myself and turned once again to the stage.
"We are the angels of death" went the chant. I'll wager this one's a real crowd-pleaser, thought I and that
was pretty much the case as the merry punters joined in with the joyous, infectious chorus of â€œWe are the
angels of death, yeah". Not one to be done out of a good time, I dutifully sang along.
Suddenly two cat-like ladies dropped onto the stage and proceeded to bop around (whether it was in time to
the music or not, I'm unsure) from side to side, to the obvious delight of the subdued congregation. Dancing
to Hawkwind: that strikes me as an amazing concept, man. I must admit, I tried it for a few seconds when I
was quite sure nobody was watching, but it just didn't work at all.
The small video screens in the background served only to enhance the image of technology at its most dull,
and the streams of eye-splitting light that shone from behind the band -presumably to give a Chariot of The
Gods effect- did little to project a feeling of interstellar invincibility.
Hawkwind continue to please some people, of that I'm sure. The 'ageing hippy' syndrome might be applicable
but what is more fascinating / worrying is that a lot of young people are into Hawkwind and although I'm not
saying it's wrong for them to be -it's a personal thang, folks- I fail completely to see the excitement in the
band's music. If it's not excitement that you go for in some shape or form, then what? None of the guitar or
synthesizer riffs made my stomach skip or my throat click, my spine remained untingled all evening. It
unnerves me to be in a position where I have to ask myself 'Should I be taking this seriously?'
So, Hawkwind played the Odeon again. The crowd loved it, but I went home puzzled and slightly
Journey in space falls flat (from the Lancashire Evening Post, 1982):
Paying customers at Preston Guild hall were launched on a journey into space last night...courtesy of rock
band Hawkwind. Sadly, they came down to earth with a bump. Hawkwind proved conclusively that all the
special effects in the world cannot paper over the musical cracks.
The band's lift-off was impressive. A three-dimensional backdrop depicted the interior of a vast space
vehicle, complete with flickering monitors, flashing lights and Dalek-like voices. Add oceans of echo,
synthesizers producing the obligatory sounds of space -bleeps, drones, screeches, whines- and the stage was
set for what might have been a memorable show.
It didn't happen. Hawkwind's music got lost in space. Like all heavy bands, they attained an ear-shattering
volume, but the end product was untidy - overechoed and distorted, with the vocals fighting in vain through a
mesh of straining electronics. Worst of all, it was endless. The final chords of every number trailed off
into more drones, bleeps and Dr. Who voices until new lighting and sound permutations heralded the next
offering, indistinguishable from the last.
The band's members, barely visible amid the laser-like beams, scarcely spoke a word. And two female
dancers gyrated, robot-like, through it all. Ultimately, it became immensely boring. I began to think I might
be alone in this opinion until, during the particularly explosive Sonic Attack, I spied the guy next to me. He
was fast asleep!
As theatre, Hawkwind's show earned top marks for effort. As a musical performance, even by heavy rock's
lenient standards, it was totally arid.
Hawkwind / Baron Rojo, Birmingham Odeon (source and publication date unknown):
In the near-immortal words of Greg lake, "welcome back my friends to the show that never ends." 15 years
on, and Hawkwind are still capable of surprising and staggering on stage. But, before I turn to the headliners,
just a few words of praise for Baron Rojo. The Spanish quartet successfully negotiated this gig WITHOUT
receiving the traditional abuse Hawkwind fans usually hurl unfairly at support bands. And their accomplished
brand of thudding, alcoholic riffing thoroughly deserved this 'accolade'. Indeed, in more appropriate
company, the rockin' Europeans might well have taken the place by storm. Be warned theyâ€™re going to be
Hawkwind were, well...Hawkwind. Compelling both visually and aurally, they put on an overwhelming
show. The fact is that talented Dave Brock and his merry maniacs learnt long ago they don't necessarily have
to give the fans what they want - HW audiences will always want and accept whatever the band chooses to
give 'em. This means they've considerable room for live adventures. And, sure enough, the capacity crowd
lapped up the use of two exotic dancers with gold-painted faces and a succession of costumes, with a stage
set rather akin to a psychedelic McDonalds and a battery of back-drop TV screens displaying amalgams of
disturbing / relaxing animated sequences.
As for the music, the band played sufficient new material to successfully promote 'Choose Your Masquesâ
€™, yet also enough older stuff to satiate the fans' 'greatest hits' desire. 'Brainstorm', â€˜Damnation Alley'
and 'Choose your Masques' were especially impressive.
Perhaps one could complain (and many did) about the over-loud and murky sound and the uneven, epileptic
light show. But to me, these simply added to the surreal carnival atmosphere. And ultimately, this latest HW
extravaganza so assaults the senses that any minor niggles present soon pale into insignificance. Rather like a
Spielberg movie, Hawkwind provide escapist entertainment, first class. Can I pay a higher compliment than
Vintage band lights the way (Lancashire Evening Post, date unknown):
Hawkwind, Preston Guild Hall.
"we are the survivors, the eternal survivors..." So began a song by Hawkwind last night. But where will it all
end? After 15 years of searching for space and generally being masters of the universe, the Road Hawks
show no sign of letting up. And this most unique British band's style of music is still packing them in. Fans
young and old filled up three quarters of the Guild Hall last night and lapped up every time warp available.
Hawkwind are an oddity, a band who perhaps pioneered the rock light show as we know it today, introduced
poetry into live shows - and thrashed out three chords in four-four time when the Sex Pistols were still at
school. Today the band's fans are as loyal as ever. And Hawkwind's show last night did not let them down.
Currently a six-piece, they launched into one space ritual after another - often taking a back seat to the
amazing lights and backdrops. But the songs were never overlong, the effects never overdone, and
Hawkwind do not pace their set in the conventional way but settle for hypnotic peaks during every number.
The band's critics disregard them as ageing hippies with no modern-day function. Their cause is perhaps
helped by, among other things, backdrop stills of moon walks and (yawn) Stonehenge.
Hawkwind remain incredibly loyal to both their fans, their image and their own kind of unpretentious music.
And these musicians revel in improvisation - a rare enough oddity in itself in live shows today. Survivors
Blasting off with Hawkwind (source and publication date unknown):
'Henge-heads Hawkwind's long and fruitful alliance with sci-fantasy author Michael Moorcock has never been
stronger as the acid-rockers ended their Chaos Tour on a high at 1.30am today with an excellent
Bournemouth gig. With lasers and 'pocket starship' in the form of high-tech mobile lighting, the Academy
was the ideal venue for this unique five-piece's space age sonic effects and psychedelic cosmic projections.
Fire-eaters and dancers Screechrock completed the dazzling visual experience conjured by five projectors and
a host of technical wizardry.
Featured in Moorcock's 1976 Time Of The Hawklords, Hawkwind had best summed up their impressive
performance with their LP title of the same year - Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music. Material spanned
over a decade with most culled from two 'Eternal Champion' concept LPs, Warrior On The Edge Of Time
and Chronicle of The Black Sword, both of which revolve around Moorcock's epic sword and sorcery Elric
Great guitar work from sole original member to have survived the line-up changes, Dave Brock, and Huw
Lloyd-Langton, who played uncredited on Moorcock's rock rarity Deep Fix LP. Strong vocals from the two
plus bassist Alan Davey led the band's accomplished acid jams around repeating riffs and chants, shot
through with keyboardsman Harvey Bainbridge's sophisticated m.i.d.i. effects on their new hook up. And
Danny Thompson's synth-drum solo was succinctly summed up by one crewman behind me as "oh wow...
Stonehenge set the scene with a giant projection and fiercely uncommercial and idealistic, the group dedicated
Warrior classic Assault and Battery to fans planning this year's Convoy sortie. This theme was reflected in
lyrics and dedications throughout: "In the sacred circle where the wizard sages sat - let us try to remember
the times where they were at" and in Utopia "where free festivals are really free...Utopia is what you make it!"
said Brock, now living in a secret location on the West Dorset border.
The climatic Brainstorm was exactly that, a driving warp factor eight blitz on the senses with hyperintensive
effects. And humour was a t max too with hilarious pitched spray-string battles that included an ongoing duel
between the projectionist and eventual loser, "deaf sound engineer" D.I.L. (dubious interstellar lifeform) who
finished up a shambling mound of pink and green.
The band appeared for the first time around here for five years after a snow-out nixed their Poole Arts Centre
Sonic Attack data in 1981. "That was very depressing - I hate having to call off a gig, but there was no way
we could have done it," said Huw Lloyd-Langton backstage, minutes after the show.
Album review (source and publication date unknown):
Various Artists - 'Hawkwind, Friends and Relations' (Flicknife Records, SHARP 101)
Hawkwind have been lurking on the darker side of Rock'n'Roll for over a decade, turning out the occasional
masterwork and giving birth to various spin-offs and alternate incarnations. This album culls the best of
these onto one side of live material and one of studio. The most (in)famous branch of the giant Hawkwind
family tree, the horrendous Motorhead, have fortunately been omitted due to 'legal problemsâ€™. Small
The Hawklords, Sonic Assassins and Hawkwind themselves appear on the live side with the previously
unreleased 'Robot' from the latter, recorded in Liverpool 1977, winning hands down largely due to the
malevolent vocal presence of Robert Calvert. The band were always at their best live and the mania shines
Side two contains a couple of tracks each from Nik Turner's Inner City Unit and Michael Moorcock's Deep
Fix, and one from Hawkwind. ICU are an indescribable collection that have to be seen to be believed.
Imagine punks on acid - that's about as close as you get! Michael Moorcock, author of the brilliantly
anarchic Jerry Cornelius quartet (Deep Fix is Jerry's band, by the way), having kept a relatively low profile
since the 'New World Fair' album bombed in 1975, has now re-emerged alongside Pete Pavli with whom he
was supposed to be composing 'The Entropy Tango' (whatever happened to that?)
An interesting development, while Hawkwind's track 'Valium Ten' begins with the disconcerting â€œNow, I
don't want you to panic, just lean back and relax..." Cue sound of dentist's drill, gurling scream and finally
the Hawkwind blitz.
Thoroughly recommended, to anyone who can stand the pain.
Young Lions roar back (source and publication date unknown):
Hawkwind, Colston Hall, Bristol. Hawkwind in the 1980s are a darned sight more palatable than Hawkwind
of ten years ago, judging by last night's smart performance. Then, they were the hippies' touchstone and sci-
fi rock music's young lions. Now, mercifully, they're a bit more fun. Nik Turner, his hair slicked into a
unicorn and himself clad in a muddy-coloured body-stocking, sang, danced and played his sax with venom.
The show needed such a performance. The lights were startlingly good with veils of, I presume, laser beams
flooding the hall. So Turner's mad figure was appropriate, sometimes casting a shadow in the centre of the
light show, other times adding an accent on the side. The music was oddball, a strange mixture of heavy
rock with bits of, I thought, punk and it worked very well.
Hawk Up... (source and publication date unknown):
Hawkwind: Night Of The Hawks (Jettisoundz, 55 mins)
Yes, Hawkwind have made a video. Asked to come up with a sentence of comparable revelatory power to â
€˜Hitler was not a Jew', I think I'd do pretty nicely thank you with the above. There's a strange and terrible
atavistic ring to it, as though one were merely reiterating something prophesied tens of millions of years ago
by Altered States-style ancient-weirdo-voodoo-chanting priestly types. I firmly believe that, from The Dawn
Of Time, it has been known that Hawkwind will, one day, make a video. Well, here it is.
No, go on, you listen to it first. No? Oh.
Well, I think you know what we're dealing with here: grown men in badly-painted body stockings, a varied
selection of extreme examples of the tonsor's art, and a noise that sounds as though someone has, at long
last, taken a chainsaw to The Clash. What you can't know yet is the way they capture that particular sui
generis quality of 'Hawkwindity' on screen, how no expense is spent in transferring their very essence into
another medium. A live gig, shot by a camera crew presumably of those monkeys that otherwise sit around
writing War and Peace, this visual treat involves an unusual mud-coloured murk with, here and there, the
occasional flicker of real colour. Quite impressive, especially when counterpointed with the laser FX that
occur 'twixt trax...of which there are a great many. Hawkwind being Hawkwind, you get 55 long, diabolic
water-torture minutes of this stygian gloom and cheap and Channel-Four-test-card-style tricks. To them, this
is generosity. To anybody else, it's purgatory.
One of the more basic axioms of rock music is that no one who was not born in a pod can stand more than
ten minutes of Hawkwind. When we're talkin' TV, you can cut that down to five.
Stonehenge: victory of sorts (source unknown, June 1985):
The Stonehenge festival finally took place last Friday - 20 miles away from the ancient stone monument.
While Her majesty's Finest mounted their own Â£1 million festival around the stones, involving trenches,
razor wire, and Ministry Of Defence police, the majority of the, er, "hippies" -estimated at between 1,500 and
3,000 people- camped on the top of White Horse Hill, near Westbury in Wiltshire.
Hawkwind and Roy Harper arrived to play on Thursday, Solstice Eve, but were beaten by the torrential rain.
Friday morning saw the exit of Roy Harper with a combination of stomach trouble and cold feet, and the
rumour that Jimmy Page would appear proved to be, not surprisingly, just that.
On Friday night, 'Henge stalwarts Hawkwind played for close on two hours under a huge tarpaulin, Nik
Turner arriving sometime during the fourth number (all previous difference obviously forgotten). Meanwhile,
the police helicopter that had been circling all day provided a rather fetching light show by sweeping the camp
with a searchlight. There was no PA, it was *still* raining, and everybody loved it.
By Saturday, a state of siege seemed to have developed. All the public phones in Westbury and nearby
Trowbridge seemed to be mysteriously out of order - a British Telecomms van was parked in Westbury
village square, where 16 police Transits had rumbled through the day before. Campers wandering down to
the village were warned that they might not be let back in, even if their homes were there. For the battered
convoy, and the mud-splattered few thousand, the gig was a significant victory. What happens now is
anyone's guess. See you next year?
Hawkwind: The Chronicle of the Black Sword *** (Flicknife SHARP 023) (from Kerrang!, 1985):
The Chronicle of the Black Sword (something like Hawkwind's 20th LP) is a concept loosely based on a
series of paperbacks written by Michael Moorcock detailing the frustrated adventures of Elric and his
attempts to salvage the world, his world. It's a terrifically complicated conception made even more arduous
by the fact that if you've never read any of Moorcock's publications then the chain of events as they occur on
the record appear to have little sequential conformity. However, Dave Dickson, the Kerrang! Kaos King, has
thankfully reasoned the concept elsewhere in this issue, so I'll just stick to the music...
Hawkwind's carefully cultivated enigma works by the creation of illusion through the sharp contrast of the
traditional (spiraling oscillators, cranked up Hammond) with the future present ('modern' production
techniques, 'fashionable' ethics). They set this to complicated and constantly altering backdrops, use
instrumental passages between and during songs and lead their audience into thinking that itâ€™s all jolly
appealing. And on this occasion it is.
'Song Of The Swords' is on a par with anything on the 'Levitation' LP. A little dose of majesty par
excellence, making their much-maligned 'Zones' material (their last 'new' LP) seem positively desperate in
comparison. Snapping all restrictions with an up-pointed index finger, they crash into 'The Demise', the prize-
winning sound of urban spiritualism in operation, a truly atmospheric wall of sound with intriguing and
imaginative lyrics, while 'Elric', the most monstrously technical song in pure structure alone, is an intensely
pleasurable barrage - sonic ally animated by oscillators rummaging wildly around the edges of Harvey
Bainbridge's nimble fingers.
Those are some of the better songs but the best cut is the simplest of all, namely 'Needle Gun', a direct attack
on Heroin (ab)use loaded with savage guitar licks (the dueling dudes are Dave Brock and Huw Lloyd
Langton), cathode ray synthesizers and potential lyrical confusion, which leads us onto a platform for some
intensely serious discussion.
There is something very special about this record and Dave Brock must take a bow for reaching out to deliver
it. Like I said, they know their market well and they probably have little desire to go any further, but it's
difficult to believe that in giving a new lease of life to yesterday's clichÃ©s they no longer have the potential.
A final word of warning. Don't worry if the album doesn't hit you first time around: keep on playing it and
you'll soon get the idea. Like the very Lemming I resemble, it took me 15 spins to get this. By the time you
read this who knows where I'll be or indeed what I shall put one in mind of.
Hawkwind go down a storm (from the Lancashire Evening Post, 1985):
Ageing rockers Hawkwind drifted into town on the third leg of their latest nationwide tour - this time to
promote the new Chronicle Of The Black Sword platter. The latest album dominated a thoroughly tight and
professional show for a two-thirds full Guild Hall.
The Black Sword concept, based around science fantasy supremo Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone
creation lasted virtually two hours. The gig was an aural and visual assault on the senses. But, however well
choreographed the package, the music was still based along the well-trodden cosmic path used by the
Hawklord. Many of the denim-clad devotees may have been surprised that the band's old material took a
back seat. After so many years on the road and so many panning from the critics it is pleasing to see the
original time-warp warriors back in fine form.
Hawkwind, Reading Festival, Sunday (source unknown, August 1986):
"They're a funny lot this year..." remarks the security guy at the motley collection ranged in front of the
stage. I have to agree: they are an odd mixture, Mohicans and denim, black leather and black overcoats -
with the usual smattering of the truly weird: psychedelic creatures from the Mindwarp camp... ...Backstage,
the mixture is more readily apparent, with the unusual line-ups rubbing shoulders with one another.
Hawkwind's guest list must have looked like a phone book, Lemmy looms large in the arena, while the
residual groups watch their watches, like convicts timing their escape... Ah, the little pleasures of being at
Reading - like drinking warm beer, getting insulted by Lemmy in the toilets and waking up to Dumpy's Rusty
Meanwhile, in the yawning compound, aka the backstage, Hawkwind have assembled minus their dancers
who haven't received their passes from the band, which is a surprise really, since almost everyone there
had... The ligging starts to stop at about 8.30 as the assorted Lloyd Langtons, Bainbridges, Brocks,
Thompsons etc depart for the inner enclave. Lemmy slips off too - not unnoticed by the hawk eyed (sorry)
fans present. So what about Hawkwind then? Premier space rockers, the sonic assassins? The last time I
laid eyes on them was at the Hammersmith Odeon with the '...Black Sword' show. This time, they brought
out a more general set, which later helps convince the unconverted. Dave Brock still hasn't got a hairbrush,
but who cares. Danny Thompson, the band's new(ish) drummer, makes up for their lack of sartorial
elegance. Not that you'd notice since, from the moment the band emerged onto the stage, the lightshow
busted a gut, as did the PA system which just added to the general Hawkwind confusion.
'Angels of Life' and 'Shot Down In The Night' are spectaculars, and Huw Lloyd Langton plays some of the
only true ROCK guitar of the day (barring Dumpy of course). Then the treat. Lemmy arrives for a
triumphant 'Silver Machine', and Dumpy arrives just for good measure. It's a different version, slower and
with a spot of trouble from The Lem over the lyrics, saved by 50,000 who know the words backwards
Looking beside me in the dark, I spot the same security geezer. He's staring at the stage with a confused
expression. "They're a funny lot this year..." he repeats. True. Hawkwind have saved the day â€“ this is
Reading ROCK, after all, isn't it?
Music Of The Spheres (source unknown, November 1986):
Hawkwind, high priests of science fantasy, blew into the De Montfort Hall last night and unleashed their own
timewarp. The band, heralded by shrieks of adulation from the half-full house, dragged us back 15 years to
the heyday of acid rock and psychedelia.
Competent but lacking the charisma of Lemmy or the inspiration of Michael Moorcock, Hawkwind rattled off
a succession of old standards. Fans -ranging from Hell's Angels and grey-bearded old hippies to young
punks- reveled in the heavy electric music, verging at times on white noise, but I found it grew monotonous.
For me, Hawkwind failed to take off. But the fans who went looking for escapist fantasy did seem to hear
the music of the spheres.
Hawkwind: Live Chronicles (source and publication date unknown):
The first domestic Hawkwind release in eons is a fittingly dinosaurish double live set taken from a 1985 tour.
Hawkwind's history is a dizzying spiral of guises, influences and personnel, while their music is the
culmination of that history. Initially a band of anarcho-hippies, they've been sci-fi avatars, psychedelic
warlords, pop stars, arty fantasists, proto-heavy metal gods, progressive rock buffoons and more.
Hawkwind's current sound reflects that entire mÃ©lange - if Spinal Tap wasn't a joke, Hawkwind might be
their closest approximation. What you'll find in this set is bombastic 70s arena-rock, made surprisingly
tolerable by decent guitar playing, intelligently space synth work and goofy, quaintly serious lyrics and
narration in a Lord of The Rings vein - all swords, lords angels, dragons, wizards etc.. The surprising
rawness of the music, its psychedelic expansiveness, and the fact that leader Dave Brock has been pursuing
his muse for nearly two decades might excuse any apparent clichÃ©s. The recording, unfortunately, has the
impersonal murkiness of an arena concert, which this no doubt was.
Pretty average Hawkwind (source and publication date unknown):
Hawkwind, Odeon, New Street. A Hawkwind concert is not so much a rock show, more like one long
experiment in visual effects and musical electronics. Combined, the two have a mesmeric effect which goes
a long way in disguising the fact that Hawkwind are nothing more than a pretty average rock band with more
than a few tricks up their collective sleeve.
Yet even if Hawkwind's actual music does not bear close examination, it must be said that last night's
audience appeared to enjoy every minute. The visual surprises, for instance, were as important as the songs â
€“ and were obviously expected by their fans. Much of the music was repetitive, even tedious if you closed
your eyes to the light show. And while Hawkwind have long been great exponents of synthesized music, the
impression last night was that for much of their show they could have pushed the appropriate buttons, and let
the electronic gadgetry do the rest.
Review of Nik Turner's "Space Ritual 1994 Live" *** (Cleopatra CLEO95062) from Kerrang!, 1994):
Doubtless this will cause endless arguments between Hawkies as to who has the best claim on Hawkwind
material: but the fact that this two-hour double CD hasn't been put out as Nik Turner's Hawkwind Experience
or whatever they were called for the live US shows indicates a compromise. Whatever, this certainly
contains a great deal of classic Hawkwind lunacy, featuring as it does 'Master of the Universeâ€™, 'Orgone
Accumulator' and even 'Silver Machine'. And on a purely personal level, I'd rather hear those songs
performed by a madman who looks like a walking acid trip than a cynical old git who drags the band's name
around like a weight. Given that Turner has been known to dress up as a frog, you can work it out for
There is no great difference in delivery when it comes to home listening, though. Like most Hawk stuff, this
is great in places and then has a tendency to make one too many bubbly noises and seem dull without the aid
of chemical assistance. If nothing else, these live shows were way more subversive than anything Dave
Brock has done in years - and that is the essence of it all. Discuss...if you've nothing better to do
|Many thanks to Jez Dacombe for all the clippings on this page. Some almost deserve a page of