Press Clippings XXIII
'Wind album being sprung from the archives. This one, however, is a little different: a warts n' all recording
taken from the start of the very same tour that the Space Ritual shows would be recorded at. Replete with
cornerstone 'Wind daymares like Born To Go, Seven By Seven and Master Of The Universe, while nothing
could ever surpass the giant leap into the galactic unknown marked by the asteroid-hopping Space Ritual, this
does come crash-landing close.
Of course, older Hawklords amongst us will doubtless recall that this same set originally came out back in
1991. But that collection, with its incomplete track-listing and sparse-to-the-point-of-nothingness sleeve
notes, has thankfully since fallen off the radar. Even wiser old heads may recognise this as a digitally spruced-
up version of the surprisingly ace-sounding bootleg, which is still in existence. The bonus here is that you get
two CDs worth of the stuff; one in mono, one in stereo. You also get two lysergically-enhanced tracks,
Brainstorm and Silver Machine, recorded for a 1972 Johnnie Walker show on Radio 1 which for reasons
known only to the orc-like fiends that ran the Beeb back then was never broadcasted; a wound now able to
heal properly through the marvel of this here time machine.
Recorded for Radio 1 at London's Paris Theatre in September 1972 and broadcast as part of the In Concert
series just a fortnight later, I would even venture as far as to claim ...At The BBC as a genuine slice of rock
history that deserves to be sealed in a time-capsule and launched into space. As original captain and founder
Dave Brock once told me, "The whole idea was to create something you could listen to while going off into
your trip." He added that when recording they used to spike the engineers' tea with acid. Certainly, things
were never quite the same again in the corridors of power over at Radio 1...
Captain Beyond - Robert Calvert, Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters (from Prog, March 2010):
Although often described as "overlooked" or "neglected", Hawkwind's sometime frontman Bob Calvert's first
solo album actually scraped the album charts and was -along with an Afghan coat, a quid deal of red leb and
a Mayflower paperback edition of one of Michael Moorcock's Elric books- an essential possession for the
mid 70s adolescent Brit stoner, filed there alongside Warrior On The Edge Of Time, Fish Rising and
something pre-Virgin by Tangerine Dream. It's a Hawkwind album in all but name, the line-up augmented by
various Pink Fairies, Viv Stanshall, Jim Capaldi, Arthur Brown and (uncredited) Brian Eno. Its' popularity with
the 'heads' can be put down to the Pythonesque sketches that link the songs -surreal skits about Luftwaffe
pilots wearing make-up and dodgy Yank jet salesmen that are even funnier when herbally enhanced- but also
to four absolute killer space metal songs The Aerospaceage Inferno, The Widow Maker, The Right Stuff and
Ejection. It was everything that Hawkwind promised on Silver Machine and Urban Guerilla. :
It's more straight ahead punk rock before there was punk rock metal, alluding to other Calvert songs and
stories, moving "sideways through time", that sort of thing. Calvert, as a boy, wanted to be a fighter pilot but
a perforated eardrum put paid to that dream. With Hawkwind he lived out his fantasies - a few years later he
appeared onstage dressed as some glam-rock combination of Biggles and Lawrence Of Arabia. And in these
songs he seems to be flying with an afterburner.
The concept is about the Lockheed Starfighter, sold to the revitalised West German Luftwaffe in the 50s to
help build the Federal Republic as a bulwark against the commies at the height of the cold war. They crashed
and burned in alarming numbers, earning them the nickname Flying Coffins and The Widowmaker.
Calvert's songs have an almost JG Ballard-like fascination with the crashing aircraft, eliciting an almost sexual
thrill from the disaster. You sense that he didn't so much want to fly a Starfighter as crash it into the ground.
Of all the songs on the album, the greatest is the masterful Ejection, probably the best song ever written about
bailing out of a fighter plane. Legendary rock hack Nick Kent, a longtime champion of Calvert and
Hawkwind, described Ejection as having the best riff since (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and although he was
no stranger to hyperbole, in this case he was bang on.
The remastering on this edition gives the sound a much needed punch. The only disappointment is additional
tracks: a more complete collection might have included The Widow's Song, planned for inclusion with Nico
on vocals, though eventually recorded by Calvert and his girlfriend just before his untimely death. That's a
petty quibble though: a brilliant monument to the great psychedelic warrior poet of the English underground.
Messages - Steve Swindells (from Prog, March 2010):
No, I never made the connection between Hawkwind, Culture Club and the pioneering House club scene of
the early 90s myself, but it exists in the remarkable Steve Swindells. Steve played in Hawkwind / Hawklords
in 1978 and wrote the song Shot Down In The Night; in the 80s he promoted the massively successful â
€“and influential- one-nighter Jungle, one of the first London clubs to play Deep House music; today he is in
DanMingo with former Culture Club drummer Jon Moss. But his musical career was almost strangled
following his debut solo album Messages in 1974.
Signed to RCA, Swindells was a budding singer-songwriter not a million miles away from Elton John, though
with a distinctive style of his own. Unfortunately, questionable management decisions such as his manager
producing the album then attacking the label MD in a drunken fit, ensured that his second album Swindellsâ
€™ Swallow was never released - until now. Neither, it's fair to say, is actually a lost classic, though the
expansive Messages From Heaven is an interesting long form song that dips a toe in the space rock waters.
Swindells is a rarity in that he survived and it could be said that his best musical years are still ahead of him.
What's In A Name? (from Prog, Feb 2011) :
Hawkwind: the group's penchant for spitting, farting and behaving like animals inspired their moniker,
explains Dave Brock.
While many believe that the space rock pioneers must have taken their name from something intrinsically
psychedelic, the reality behind Hawkwind's moniker is a little more down to earth.
"I was in a band called Famous Cure at the end of the 60s," says Hawkwind mainman Dave Brock. "But then
I met a few other guys like Nik Turner, Terry Ollis and DikMik, and we started up this new project."
So swiftly did the band come together that they gatecrashed a gig at All Saints Hall in Notting Hill Gate,
London, with no name and no songs.
"We called ourselves Group X on the spot, just as a one-off, and then jammed on The Byrds' Eight Miles High
for what seemed like ages and ages."
Despite this inauspicious beginning, the band got a deal with Liberty Records, and now had to take
themselves more seriously. So they became Hawkwind Zoo.
"Actually, that's a name with three definite parts - none of them particularly edifying," laughs Brock. "Nik
Turner had a habit of spilling snot out of his mouth, and that was commonly known as hawking at the time.
He also farted a lot - so you put Hawk and Wind together, and you get Hawkwind. We added in the Zoo bit,
because all of us acted like animals, and that was the perfect description of our behaviour. So anyone who
thinks Hawkwind is some deep and meaningful space-rock term, forget it!"
The fledgling band released one single under this name. It featured Hurry On Sundown on the A-side, and
Sweet Mistress Of Pain and Kings Of Speed on the B-side. However, they quickly dropped the 'Zoo' part
from their name, to become the more streamlined 'Hawkwind'.
"We stopped acting like maniacs, so having any allusions to a Zoo would have been inaccurate."
Of course, there are two more possible origins of the name, neither of which Brock denies. Firstly, there's a
science fiction story titled Hawkwind Zoo by future Hawkwind collaborator Michael Moorcock, and secondly
there's a wise and ancient Japanese proverb.
"By the latter I assume you mean: I'd rather be a hawk flying over the forest than an eagle flying over the
mountains?" says Brock. "Yes, both might have influenced our decision to go with the name 'Hawkwind', but
it really is down to Nik Turner's habits in the end. In a way, I wish it wasn't, because it would be nice if it
were more spiritual. But that's the truth."
Space Oddities : Hawkwind: At The BBC 1972
(from Prog, March 2010):
Overlords of improvisation, gatekeepers of sonic
spontaneity, Hawkwind have always been best
appreciated in the live environment - a mode first
perfected back in the mists of space-time when the
original 'captains' of the Hawkship proved
unequivocally that musicianly ineptitude combined with
super-strength psychedelics could, under the right
laboratory conditions, produce music unlike anything
you had flapped your invisible wings to before.
That said, the last time I counted there were at least 23
live Hawkwind albums in existence here on planet
Earth, and that wasn't counting their best-known
album of all, the classic live double Space Ritual from
1973 - the one featuring the classic 'Wind line-up of
Dave Brock (vocals/guitar), Lemmy (vocals/bass), Nik
Turner (vocals/sax/flute), Dik Mik Davies (sonic
generator), Simon King (drums), Del Dettmar (synths)
and, of course, the wondrous Stacia (sonic, er,
Forgive an old time warrior then if his neon lights fail
to instantly ooze gold at the prospect of yet another live
Review of "Onward", Prog, May 2012:
Hawkwind still lurk on the fringes of a rock'n'roll world
that has never truly understood or embraced them at
any point in the 42 years they've been releasing albums.
They really have no business sounding as vibrant and
enthused as they do on Onward. While many other
bands of this vintage plunder the nostalgia cupboard
looking for past glories to revisit and re-heat, the space
rock legends continue to motor mischievously forward,
sounding as endearingly out-of-time and subtly
demented as ever; the giddy head rush of their
trademark sound a perpetual good time train ride that
never seems to run out of steam.
Opening with Seasons, a marauding wibble'n'chug
rocker that could have slotted neatly onto any of the
band's previous 24 studio albums, this is manifestly the
strongest Hawkwind album for many years. The
current line-up's intuitive grasp of what made records
like In Search of Space and Doremi Fasol Latido so
great in the first place collides here with a newfound
sense of wonder at the possibilities of recorded sound.
And as much as cynics might suggest that there is a
formula being endlessly repeated here, Onward exhibits
plenty of diversity too: from the Floyd-ish downstream
drift of Mind Cut and the tooth-rattling astral punk rock
of Death Trap, to the rambling, sun-kissed instrumental whimsy of Southern Cross. With its disarming
hooks and anthemic thrust, The Prophecy sounds not unlike The Psychedelic Furs after a heavy bong
session. Thus this is a wide-ranging affair glued together by the glimmering sonic space dust and pie-eyed
sense of wonderment that has always been a Hawkwind hallmark.
The lyrics are a blast too, the band's enduring lust for a more enlightened view of the world emerging as a
slightly befuddled but thoroughly likeable sci-fi poetry. Notions of a 'green finned demon' who 'Draws the
moon towards him with a wand of whale's bone' and visions of 'A flight of steel eagles tearing by/The ripped
silk scream of a rendered sky' mesh perfectly with the scorching riffs, bubbling electronics and shimmering
synths that swirl tirelessly around in the sonic foreground. Meanwhile, on the menacing pulse of Computer
Cowards and the macabre swooshes and nebulous squall of Howling Moon, dark clouds cast a shadow over
Hawkwind's otherwise unerring benevolence, reasserting the fact that there is no shortage of righteous rage
and disquiet simmering at the heart of the band's supposedly hippie-centric ideals.
Onward won't change the world, of course, but its vitality and vivacity prove that there is still immense value
in going into orbit with amps cranked to maximum.
Reaching out for higher flings (from Disc, February
That Hawkwind ever get themselves to a gig is a
constant source of amazement to them. They are still
marveling that they got out 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
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 tights to cover the bruises incurred when she fall over in the Earls Court
Road the day before. Black, says Stacia, is her favourite colour.
Hawkwind are currently touring this 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 Nick
Turner, are still very spacey but the band is wary of getting 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 mich
the same fashion as Ronnie Lane is) but don't seem to worry unduly about it.
Stacia, however, is trying to organise herself sufficiently to go to a dance school for a time. "I need to
make my body a bit more supple. I'm very clumsy as anyone who has seen me will tell you. I'm always
Stacia comes from Exeter and first met Nick 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 intro 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.
Hawkwind: Live At Stonehenge Festival (from Record Collector, August 2012) :
This white label Yugoslavian LP recorded at Stonehenge in 1983 doesn't make the official Hawkwind
discography, but it's noted here as a rare example of a free festival appearance making it to vinyl. Though
the group has played numerous sites, and have been widely audience-recorded when doing so, very few
have surfaced in this form. Their improvised performance at Watchfield (1975) made it out on Brockâ€™s
Weird Tapes cassettes, while their appearances at Treworgey (1989) saw light of day on VHS and,
complete with barking dogs in the background, a 1990 gig in the Glastonbury Traveller's Field came out as
a Voiceprint CD. Their live LP and 12" This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic (Flicknife), packaged as
Stonehenge, however, was largely culled from a show at the Lyceum with only a couple of tracks captured
at the Stones.
The Free Festival Scene's Document - Traveller's Aid Trust (from Record Collector, August 2011) :
The 80's festival scene is preserved in plastic on this double LP that was compiled by Hawkwind's Dave
Brock and Flicknife boss Frenchy Gloder. It captures bands who made only occasional vinyl appearances -
Hippy Slags, Tubilah Dog, Rhythm-ites; some who have maintained their legend without becoming
mainstream - Culture Shock; and includes Ozric Tentacles, who made one of their first vinyl appearances
here. Aside from presenting those bands to a wider audience, this was a release in support of the then
recently formed charity the Traveller's Aid Trust which had dual aims of relieving hardship among travellers
and in advancing education amongst the children of travellers.
Frenchy Gloder says "Dave Brock and I, through the Stonehenge Free Festival, knoew a few of the
travellers, particularly the ones who went on to form the Traveller's Aid Trust. The travellers needed some
money to set up a bus as a school for their children, so Dave said 'Why don't we do an album with the
bands that used to play Stonehenge, whoever wants to participate, and give all the royalties to the
Traveller's Aid Trust?' We had loads of tracks submitted to us and we chose the ones that we felt fitted the
mood of the album best."
"The album is mainly remembered now because of the first release of Ozric Tentacles on vinyl. The
feedback I still get on TAT is mainly about that track, Even the Air is Dreaming. Not so long after we
released TAT, they had a Top 10 album and for a time became massive. But then there was Agents of
Chaos, which was Dave's other band, and Tubilah Dog, Jerry Richards' band long before he joined
Hawkwind. Culture Shock, who had quite a big following, and people who really made the scene at the
time, like Screech Rock, and Nik Turner who did a funny version of Washing (Silver) Machine. Some of
the tracks were live -the Hawkwind track was recorded at Stonehenge- but then the Ozric track was
recorded in the studio and the Agents of Chaos track [Damage of Life] was cut at Dave's place."
"We did a first pressing of about 5,000 and then we realised that one of the tracks wasn't what was listed
on the album but was actually a Sugarcubes track. We'd cut the album at Porky Prime Cuts in London and
the one they'd cut just before ours was a Sugarcubes album, so the only thing I can think was that one of
the tracks got mixed up during the mastering! We dids another 10,000 pressings after that, but with the
right tracks. We gave the travellers two or three thousand copies and they sold them at festivals. There are
two Hawkwind tracks, and that was primarily to sell the record, but the idea was to have an album that
represented the festivals and the New Age Travellers. It was a document of the scene at that particular
John Harrison Obituary (from Record Collector, August 2012):
John Harrison, bassist, producer (born May, 1942) died at Los Angeles Garden Crest clinic, California, on
26 May, aged 69. Best remembered for his brief tenure with Hawkwind, Harrison joined Hawkwind Zoo in
1969 and recorded several demos with the band, which were posthumously released as an EP. John's bass
playing also featured on the space rockers' eponymous debut LP, released in 1970, and the single Hurry On
Sundown. His throbbing, inventive lines helped define their otherworldly sound, laying the template for a
revolving door of bassists who followed him. His rhythms helped bridge the gap between electronic prog
and both punk and trance in later years. John left Hawkwind soon after recording the first album and went
on to work successfully as a producer and staff engineer at Village Records. He was diagnosed with
Huntington's disease and died two days before his 70th birthday .