Press Clippings V
|More from the scrapbook, or to be more precise, an old copy of Hawk U.S. fanzine. These clippings
represent a range of opinions about Hawkwind, from the snide to the ecstatic, and an equally wide range
of writing abilities.
Gig review at The Guildhall, Preston from Kerrang!, January 1987:
Dave Brock doesn't like Kerrang! When he finds out which of the staffers called him a 'has been' he's
going to poke them in the eye. I can see the whole office quaking in their wellies.
Hawkwind, by way of contrast, really have got the stage show art honed to a fine degree on this evidence.
The initial impact as the curtains are drawn away is quite stunning. A sort of mad scientist's laboratory has
been built, complete with 'Man From UNCLE' computers in the background and white-coated
shop-window dummies acting as Lab Techs.
The band, again in white coats, are something of a surprise too. No line-up changes since, correct me if
I'm wrong, 1985 is something of a record for this lot and I was expecting to see other than Brock,
Lloyd-Langton, Bainbridge, Thompson and Davey. Stability in Hawkwind? Whatever next?
Musically they played out of their skins. Now, I've not been a fan of the band since about 1976 but I've
seen them a couple of times since and I never saw a more complete performance from them than this. I
can't say that I like their music, uh-uh, but I'm still familiar with a hefty chunk of it and they played
There was a fairly large swathe of newer, less familiar songs midway through the set and I kinda lost the
plot a little but my amusement was captured by the laser show which was awesome.
Oldies? 'Needle Gun', 'Sonic Attack', 'Utopia', 'Levitation'. Enough to keep you happy.
Live Chronicles - unknown publication 1987 review:
Hawkwind is primarily a British phenomenon. Basically regarded as cult icons throughout the world, they've
truly attained a loyal following known as "Hawkfans". As a unit, Hawkwind has been active in one
incarnation or another for nearly two decades,
Initially emerging from the primeval morass of the psychedelic rock scene during the late 60s amidst a
plethora of hormone-laden hard rockers, Hawkwind ignored that adolescent aspect of the genre in favor of
a more progressive and unique approach. Melding the cosmic with the chaotic, they achieved levels of
originality only few of their ilk could parallel. This is apparent on their latest live double retrospective album,
Live Chronicles. Recorded live on the Chronicle Of The Black Sword Tour in 1985 in Britain, it highlights
the band's velocity and brilliance in concert.
There is an aura throughout ail four sides of this album, mostly due to the creative genius of bandleader
Dave Brock. Besides being a pinnacle composer, he proves to be a proficient and many-faceted musician,
playing synthesizer, guitar and vocals. Suffice it to say that Brock's vocals are above par of contemporary
Geddy Lee of Rush fame.
In fact, this whole band seems to consist of virtuosos. Lead guitarist Huw-Lloyd Langton is as yet an
unsung guitar hero, incorporating fluid riffs amidst a solid-driving rhythm generated by bassist Alan Davey
and drummer Danny Thompson. And the results of this line-up harmonizing in a live setting is combustive,
consequenting (sic) in climactic renditions of "Master Of The Universe," "Lords Of Chaos," and "Magnu."
Other memorable performances on Chronicles include "Zarozinia," and "Moonglum," which contain an
eerie, morose Pink Floyd reminiscence. "Needle Gun" is sporadic and catchy, guaranteeing its chorus will
be ingrained into the listener's memory for life.
This album is a MUST for true and devoted Rush or Pink Floyd fanatics as wel;l as those with a maturing
taste for rock. It should be recognized as one of the best live albums produced in the late 1980's.
Review of 'Space Bandits' from Metal Hammer magazine, 1990:
More mystery than Ocean Liners appearing in the Sahara. Hawkwind have based their new album on the
words of "Black Elk", the last Oglala Sioux Medicine Man. American poet John G Neihardt (known to the
Oglala Sioux as Flaming Rainbow - thought you'd like lo know!) jotted down his speakings and now lo and
behold they are being set to music by Hawkwind. Space Bandits rolls along on an endless wave of tranquil
keyboards and harmonious vocals courtesy of Bridget Wishart. This is her debut with the band - there's
also a smattering of tribal chanting and jiggie violins. Drums, by Richard Chadwick are reminiscent of a
camp fire war dancing on one track and erupt for a full bashing assault, as do the guitars, on others. All in
all a moody mixed-up mud tussle of an album well worth gelling your ears round for countless reasons
which we haven't got time to go into at the moment!
-THE TECHNICOLOUR TWINS
Review of "Space Bandits" from unknown publication, Nov 1990:
"Ha-ha. I've turned Zorozinia into a giant slug, Elric!" Oops. That was a lyric from this long-lived band of
acid-addled extraterrestrials about two albums back - must have gotten carried away by a flashback or two.
Anyway, bandits, schmandits, the first side of Hawkwind's umpteenth disc sounds more like a space opera
about Indians!? Synthesized toms-toms beat in the background. A grizzled Indian, Black Elk, prays to the
"magic in the ground." Guitars swift and whirl as a female vocalist, Bridget Wishart, mumbles wispily over
the miasma of sound. "The ang-uh and fee-uh of the lost..." jumps out of the mix. Right on, sister, right on!
Gig review from Cleveland Scene, December 1990:
There really aren't any bands around today that sound much like Hawkwind - in fact, throughout the band's
20-year existence, they've pretty much had their sound all to themselves. It's a thick, sludgy mix that
rumbles along inexorably in an almost hypnotic way. A somewhat archaic sound it is, laden with distortion
on the guitar and the bass, and washed over with long, sustained analog synth chords. It all still seems to
work, to which a full house at Empire would readily attest.
In their hour-and-a-half show, the Brit quartet concentrated on their two most recent albums, SPACE
BANDITS and THE XENON CODEX. "The War I Survived" and "Neon Skyline" were but a couple of the
many darkly ethereal anthems Hawkwind churned out.
Group founder and chief songwriter Dave Brock let bassist Alan Davey handle most of the lead vocals,
even on some of the older songs, first recorded years before Davey joined the band. Brock contented
himself with a few vocals, some lead and rhythm guitar and plenty of synth work, often in tandem with
keyboardist Harvey Bainbridge.
Hawkwind reached back into the '70s for "Hassan-i-Sahba," "Reefer Madness" and "Ejection", which
offered some of the harder edged moments of the show. If the Hawkwind sound has changed at all, it's
been in trading some guitar for extra layers of synth.
Hawkwind have long been known for presenting a colorfully visual show. This concert was no exception,
with strobing lights and screen projections galore, though not as wildly cosmic as their previous trip
through town last year. No spinning pinwheels of surreal images this time around, but they did bring along
a female singer/dancer who went through a series of bizarre costumes and characterizations. Visually, as
well as musically, these space cadets are still off in their own orbit.
Gig Review of Fairfield Halls, Croydon, 27/10/90, from RAW fanzine, Nov 1990:
VERDICT: Yeah, man, still spaced out after all these years!
Just down the corridor the D'Oyly Carte Light Opera Company are going through their paces to an audience
of dinner suits and evening gowns. But this particular hall is awash with another institution - Hawkwind.
Whilst most of their contemporaries have either disintegrated or else gone on to achieve coffee-table
stardom, guitarist/vocalist Dave Brock and his legions still roll out their signature Space-Rock, tinctured
with the pagan riffs that Lemmy turned into Motorhead and those unmistakably celestial synth spheres.
With an atmosphere soaked in 'relaxing' smoke, the current 'Wind fivesome of founding father Brock,
keyboardsman Harvey Bainbridge, bassist Alan Davey, drummer Richard Chadwick and dancer/vocalist
Bridget Wishart cull a musical extravaganza that draws on the band's 21-year history, backed by a visual
presentation that is both surreal yet accommodating.
Hawkwind always offer their audience guaranteed entertainment in a fashion whose ground rules were laid
many eons ago. They remain one of the few bands around who can be cerlain of selling out tours without
recourse to trends or charts. Their appeal is timeless and in these days when the likes of the Stone Roses
and the Happy Mondays are proclaimed as Hippy revivalists, they put such preposterous claims into
Review of 'Space Bandits' from B-Side, Dec 1990-Jan 1991:
Heavy spaced out new age-ish metal from an old time band with some new time energy. In the great
tradition of an era that spawned bands like The Floyd - druggie music that is so potent you don't need to
take 'em - just listen to this shit! Zooming around in the fringe, Hawkwind revitalizes themselves from
yesterday's band to one of today with this release... Way cool!
Review of "Space Bandits" from Option fanzine Jan/Feb 1991:
These guys are a total throwback, whose only claim to credibility at this late date is the fact that they've
actually spewed out a few useful discs over some 20 years of recording. You could consider them a
real-life inspiration for Spinal Tap, what with their sci-fi hippie brand of progressive metal. But wait -
behind the sub-Roger Dean, Heavy Metal mag-style cover art (a lordly alien/Viking on the front, UFOs in an
alien planetscape on the back) lurks a higher intelligence. Hawkwind's mushy approach to production takes
the edge off the guitar heroics and allows their multiple keyboards to wage war on the synapses. There's
lots of trippy panning and other synthesized effects, all of which can distract from the fact that the band
can be pretty darned tuneful. Despite the group's best efforts to be grandiose, the urge to experiment keeps
them from shooting themselves in their little cloven feet. Here, for instance, they take one of their old tricks,
found voice played over a spacy instrumental. But by pumping up the drums and injecting psychedelic
guitar behind a grainy recording of Black Elk (on "Black Elk Speaks"), they turn an exercise in New Age
silliness into an ironic and eerie sound piece. Metallica, eat your heart out - this is thinking person's metal,
with enough smarts for the progressive crowd to boot.
Review of "Church Of Hawkwind" from U.S. Rocker, May 1994:
According to my research, CHURCH OF HAWKWIND was released by RCA in 1982 for England-only
distribution and hasn't been available domestically. (With the band's convoluted history in mind, that
investigation borders on a real good guess.) Viewed by some as Pink Floyd's esoteric cousins, Hawkwind
will always have a toast raised to them by metal heads for kicking bassist Lemmy out in 1975, an action
that led to the formation of Motorhead. This escapee from the archives is a heavily electronic project with
long-time Hawkwind guitarist/keyboardist Dave Brock in charge. While that might explain spacey,
percolating instrumentals like "The Church" and "Experiment With Destiny,' it doesn't clarify why a tune
like "Nuclear Drive" with obvious dance overtones is on board. Although bassist Harvey Bainbridge takes
the lead vocal for the nervous "Joker At The Gate," CHURCH OF HAWKWIND is pretty much Brock's
baby, including the looping synth work of "Star Cannibal" and other oddball sounds. All in all, this release
should please Hawkwind's long-lime fanatics and puzzle those folks still stuck on this plane of reality.
Review of "Live Chronicles" from U.S. Rocker, May 1994:
For those into dungeons and dragons, Hawkwind's LIVE CHRONICLES will be perfect background music
for your next tunnel adventure. First released in 1988, it's a double musical live trip of the band's previous
project, THE CHRONICLE OF THE BLACK SWORD, and subsequent 1985 tour (which was based on
Michael Moorcock's 1961 story called "The Dreaming City" from Science Fiction Magazine). This
Hawkwind line-up is guitarist Dave Brock-led and stays orderly throughout, especially when compared to
the group's other meandering recording projects. Beside four unreleased numbers, the band also throws in
a couple of their better earlier efforts, including the swirling "Magnu" and yet another "Master Of The
Universe" translation. If you're a science fiction buff and looking for some tunes to relate to, LIVE
CHRONICLES isn't a bad place to start in the Hawkwind universe.
"Odds, sods and Hawkwind" - review of IITBOTFTBD from Pulse! magazine, September 1994:
The perpetually misunderstood Hawkwind has spent a quarter-century inventing genres and executing them
more enjoyably than their acolytes. The new, mostly instrumental It Is the Business of the Future to Be
Dangerous finds the group's current incarnation -a trio led by charter mastermind Dave Brock- too often
coasting on those big swooping space-grooves, but even marginal, water-treading Hawkwind is pretty darn
great. Griffin, incidentally, has reissued a passel of Hawkwind titles on CD, as have the Cleopatra and One
Way labels. Buy every one of them at full list price.
Album reviews from unknown publication, October 1994:
Science-fiction and rock music have shared many an experience over the years. Author Michael Moorcock
and his Elric of Melibone stories are strong influences for the English progressive rock band Hawkwind.
Two recent releases illustrate this, to the great satisfaction of their listeners. Hawkwind - Live Chronicles is
a stirring live CD showcasing their entire "Live Chronicles" concerts. Added to this release are six
previously unreleased tracks, four of which are written and performed live by Michael Moorcock. His
appearances with Hawkwind were the talk of this band's fandom, now you may hear it for yourself. There
is also a beautiful 44 page reprint of Moorcock's The Dreaming City inside the disc.
New for Hawkwind aficionados is The Chronicle of the Black Sword. This most recent Hawkwind disc
continues the Elric tales; in fact, "Elric the Enchanter," in two parts, is on this recording. Sound quality is
impressive, vocal work is quite good. Hawkwind features music of layers and diverse sound, yet always
with a strong basic rock foundation. Good interesting stuff.
Review of "It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous" from Expose fanzine, 1994:
The latest incarnation of Hawkwind comprises Dave Brock, Alan Davey, and Richard Chadwick. "It Is The
Business" takes all but the most open-minded Hawkfan by surprise for one reason: it's so mellow. Someone
must have switched their morning brew from lysergic tea to a Quaalude blend. It's not until the fourth song,
a good twenty minutes into the disc, that the group unleashes a sample of the forcefully intense music that
Hawkfans have come to expect from these veterans of a thousand psychic wars.
Roughly half of the disc is mellow by Hawkwind standards. Among the more energized songs is a tasty
nine-minute piece titled "Let Barking Dogs Lie," in which Brock opens up on guitar. "Tibet Is Not China
(Part 2)," "Letting In The Past," and "Gimme Shelter" are the other tracks that have a bit of zip. Two
remakes stand out here: "Letting In The Past" is a nice remake of "Looking In The Future," a classic piece
on "Church'; the version of one of the Stones' hits is also worthwhile. "The Camera That Could Lie" is a
first, as Hawkwind meets Bob Marley, musically speaking.
This album is reminiscent of the mellow songs on "Electric Tepee," the group's previous outstanding
offering. Overall, although "It Is The Business" is not as intense as "Electric Tepee," it is still well
Review of "Church of Hawkwind" from Expose magazine, Summer 1994:
The 1982 incarnation of Hawkwind that wrote "Church of Hawkwind" comprised Dave "Baron von" Brock,
Harvey Bainbridge, Huw Lloyd-Langton, and Martin Griffin. This particular offering by these veteran
psychedelic warlords bespeaks Robert Calvert's influence on the band. The subject matter relates to time
and space travel: looking at the earth from above and with a command of its history and fate in mind; homo
sapiens' impact on the Earth, and Earth as seen from the perspective of a person living in the future. The
music is not easy to classify or draw analogies for, but one could hear certain elements of mid-period Pink
Floyd, early Gong, and early Black Sabbath. The music can be quite edgy, with less flow but more contrast
than Ozric Tentacles' music, for instance. For the CD release of "Church," Brock rearranged the song
order and added three new songs from the "Electric Tepee" incarnation of the band (Brock, Alan Davey,
and Richard Chadwick). The songs are quite reminiscent of Brock solo material. Prior to Griffin's release of
this disc, "Church" has been a surprisingly elusive album to locate. If you are a Hawkwind fan (and don't
have this one) or a fan of space rock with an edge, then this album won't let you down.
"Church" has perhaps five minutes or so of music that, although cool on initial listening, can become a bit
tiresome over the long haul. However, there isn't any poor music on the album, and the lyrics are insightful
and inspiring. The remaining 15-plus minutes of music more than makes up for any dull passages. This one
is well worth the money.
Review of 'Space Bandits' from Players magazine, Feb 1991:
Hawkwind has existed in some form or another since 1969. Never-ending personnel changes within the
band and enormous long-term recording activity (and subsequent reissues) make this one of the most
difficult bands to pursue and categorize. Their current label even goofs on this turbulent and absurd band
history in the newest press release on the band.
Hawkwind's following maintains one of Europe's largest and most loyal fan clubs where members argue
among themselves about the relative strengths and weaknesses of each new release. Anyone unfamiliar
with the band, or anyone that may have lost interest in them along the way, will want to check out how
Hawkwind are evolving into this new decade. They are a more powerful, streamlined unit who are aided by
digital studio technology - but who still cast a longing eye to their "space rock" musical excursions of the
Hawkwind had acquired a heavy metal edge on recent releases, but the sound is much more diversified
here. The opening "Images" explodes like a sonic fireball. New vocalist Bridget Wishart sounds mystical as
the band churns and burns its way through this musical journey. The song eventually drifts into a cosmic
exploration provided by keyboardist Harvey Bainbridge, only to return to an incendiary duel between
violinist Simon House and guitarist Dave Brock.
While Hawkwind prove that they can still trigger a few smoke detectors, their experimental side surfaces
occasionally. "Black Elk Speaks" is an electronic assemblage that includes the writings of the Oglala Sioux
chief, recited by John G. Neihardt. The assured manipulation of tape loops and sampled voices here is a
reminder that Hawkwind were incorporating those sounds in their repertoire before most of the industrial
roster of Wax Trax Records were in diapers.
Space Bandits may be Hawkwind's most wholly accomplished sounding work yet. New listeners, explore.
Review of "The Chronicle Of The Black Sword" from U.S. Rocker, July 1994:
For any Hawkwind fans in the audience (pay attention Floyd, I'm talking to you), Griffin Music of Illinois
must be a godsend. The label seems to be cranking out the band's re-issues at a record pace each month for
the hardcore fans who could only originally get these as imports. This 1985 studio project was taken from
sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock's famous sword and sorcery tales and was later the jumping off point for
LIVE CHRONICLES (see the May 1994 U.S. Rocker for details on that release). If nothing else, Hawkwind
has some cohesive ideas here instead of their usual cosmic doodling for an entire project. "Song Of The
Swords" and "The Sea King" stand on their own, thanks to the steady beats from drummer Danny
Thompson, as the group takes off for a higher plane during "Elric The Enchanter." Best of this pack may be
"Sleep Of A Thousand Tears," where bassist Alan Davey gets to play guardian for the various synths and
other effects flying around. Finishing off with two bonus live cuts. THE CHRONICLE OF THE BLACK
SWORD can easily put the listener in a medieval state of mind.
Review of 'It Is The Business of the Future To Be Dangerous' from Options fanzine, 1994:
I think it's all an unwitting result of their longevity, but Hawkwind manages to sound at home in almost
every new rock trend. From their beginnings as post-Pink Floyd psychedelic gypsies, through their
prog-rock indulgences, into a period of cosmic heavy metal and incorporating proto-punk. indie-rock,
Goth-tinged, dub-inspired, ethno-tribal elements as well, Hawkwind reinvents itself more or less intact for
the '90s as... an ambient/trance group. Most unbelievably of all, this is a group that sounds utterly true to
itself, not remade, remodeled or retooled for a "new" audience (compare them - or please don't - to Yes or
Genesis for an instructive lesson in integrity). Boiled down at this point to a trio of grotty-looking hippies,
the band plies its trade with a collection of analog synths and sequencers, a bit of guitar, negligeable vocals
and the unrestrained (but buried in the mix) drumming of Richard Chadwick. Somewhere in the
neighborhood of an acid rock jam and self conscious chill-out music, the results are nonetheless
entertaining in an unwittingly goofy way. The token reggae beat on "The Camera That Could Lie" and the
unfortunate cover of "Gimme Shelter" mar an otherwise appealing album.
Review of 'It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous' from Jam 'zine, August 1994:
Yes folks, Hawkwind is still recording. These days, the band is Guitarist/keyboardist Dave Brock, bassist
Alan Davey and drummer Richard Chadwick. This latest effort, released this year on the growing Griffin
label out of Chicago, is typically trippy in the Hawkwind style. The trademark Hawkwind outer-space
timbres and Spinal Tap-ish humour to the approach (e:g. "Tibet Is Not China," "Let Barking Dogs Lie") are
all evident here. A nod to nostalgia in the sound with an eye to the future gives this psychedelic music a
transitional/temporal charm. About the only disappointment is a less than enjoyable cover of the Rolling
Stones' "Gimme Shelter," which lacks both the kick of the original and a sufficient reworking to make its
dirge-like presentation amusing.