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This piece is from the October 2000 issue of Classic Rock magazine
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Classic Rock sponsor Hawkwind's Brixton reunion all-nighter, Motorhead confirm their own anniversary bash, even Girlschool announce one-off date! However, Classic Rock can now exclusively reveal the extraordinary news that Lemmy's pre-Motorhead band, Hawkwind are also set to reform their classic early 70s line-up for their own special one-off "anniversary" show at the very same venue the previous night.
What's more, Classic Rock is delighted to announce that it will be sponsoring the Hawkwind show. As a result, we have five pairs of tickets for the show to give away (see Swag page 81.)
The plan is to have as many former members of this legendarily ramshackle band taking turns to join the current line-up (featuring vocalist / guitarist / keyboardist Dave Brock, the only surviving founding member, along with ex-Tubular Dog keyboardist Jerry and former Bastard bassist, Ron) on stage. As Hawkwind always seemed to change line-ups on an almost album-by-album basis, this means you're in for a long show. But that's OK because the Academy show is to be an all-nighter. The 'Hawkestra', as it's been dubbed, will commence at the Brixton Academy, at 7.00 pm, October 21. Tickets priced: £18.50.
Most fascinating of all, of course, will be the heady prospect of seeing the classic early 70s line-up of Brock, Lemmy, Nik Turner (sax), Simon King (drums), Dikmik (audio generator) and/or Del Dettmar (synthesiser) playing on the same stage again. This was the line-up that recorded the band's only hit single, 'Silver Machine' (currently featured in a TV car ad - oh, the shame!) as well as what are now regarded as the quintessential Hawkwind albums: 'In Search Of Space' (1971), 'Doremi Fasol Latido' ('72), 'Space Ritual Alive' ('73), 'In The Hall Of The Mountain Grill' ('74, and named after a cafe in Ladbroke Grove) and 'Warrior On The Edge Of Time' ('75).
The latter was Lemmy's last album with Hawkwind and their decline can be traced directly to the band's, in retrospect disastrous, decision to dispense with his services.
There is even talk of trying to locate other former "captains" like Liquid Len (a.k.a. Jonathan Smeaton), who designed the light shows for all those classic 70s Hawkwind shows; and noted science fiction author and former onstage poet, Michael Moorcock. Missing in action, sadly, will be original Frendz artistic director and future Hawkwind album-sleeve designer, Barney Bubbles (who committed suicide in the 80s) and vocalist/raconteur and author of the fabled 'Hawkwind Log', Robert Calvert (the manic depressive genius who died of a heart attack in 1987). And the prospects of getting the delightful Stacia up on stage for one last dance-of-the-seven-veils (or in her case, usually just one or two) are also less than zero. The beautiful 'Amazonian' whose wildly painted naked body adorned all Hawkwind's shows throughout the 70s is now a proud middle-aged mum. ("The last anybody heard," says former Hawkwind manager Doug Smith, who is helping co-ordinate the event, "Stacia was married with children and living in Hamburg with her husband Roy Dyke, formerly of Ashton Gardner & Dyke.")
But as Brock points out, current bassist Ron "can do a good Robert take off. In early videos, he even looks like a young Calvert." And there are sure to be plenty of volunteers, as always, to try and take Stacia's place on stage.
So what has finally brought about this unlikely reunion? As long-time Classic Rock readers will recall, this idea was originally floated this time last year, when EMI released the 3CD box-set 'Epocheclipse' to mark what was then the 30th anniversary of Hawkwind's first, eponymously titled flight of fancy, in 1969. But in typical Hawkwind style, the show was abandoned after Lemmy reportedly withdrew at the 11th hour. When Classic Rock spoke to him at the time, he said: "I dunno. It's all, like, retread and it's all nostalgia... I'm not really into that. We [Motorhead] really want to make a great studio album this time."
So what's changed? Well, the fact that Lemmy's going to be in London anyway for the Motorhead show has obviously helped, as has the recent release of that "great album", 'We Are Motorhead'. But it obviously goes much deeper than that. As Lemmy said: "Yeah, I'd love to do it, man. I would never have left Hawkwind if they hadn't fired me. I mean, I did all right by them firing me - I got [Motorhead] together and I get to be the boss. But, yeah..."
A notoriously demanding line-up that, says Lemmy, "exploded then died," the atmosphere surrounding the forthcoming reunion, says Brock, has been "quite affable. We shook hands and said all these things. Really, there's no big deal."
Of his own turbulent relationship with Lemmy, Brock smiles and says: "Oh, we're good old buddies. Good old boys, you know? Well, he's a character, isn't he? I mean, there's few and far between of them, I tell ya, and he's one of the long-lasting ones."
He admits he missed Lemmy after he left, in 1975. "Oh yeah. He was the best bass player we had, really. I mean, we've had lots of other good ones, but Lemmy - he was good. Without a doubt. And Lemmy was always good on stage, it was just the erratic-ness offstage.
"But, I mean, you look back and think, 'So what?', you know? We were all up to no good back then."
Lemmy concurs: "Yeah, well, I had this rapport with Brock, you know. It's very funny because a lot of the time we didn't get on together as people but on stage we always did - like I could actually tell where he was going, which chord, you know. And I'd just change with him, it was like...fluid."
If the show, as expected, is a success, what then for Hawkwind? Would either Brock or Lemmy consider a full-blown reunion, even on a temporary basis?
Brock says not. "I don't see it as a long-term thing, no." While Lemmy is non-committal: "I'm letting them sort it out, you know? And if they can get it together and make it, like, governable, then I'll run it up the flagpole, see who salutes it."
Nik Turner, however, is much more gung-ho. "I'd like to see us do an album," he said last year. "Lemmy was really into that, as well. We could all write two tracks each, including material that Robert Calvert had written, which I've spoken to his wife about. And we ought to try and get DikMik involved, even if he's just standing on stage rolling a joint."
Meantime, there is talk of finally releasing the industrial-strength remix of 'Silver Machine' that KLF alumni Jimmy Cauty recorded for them last year, though Brock, for one, is not sure how much he actually likes it.
"That horrible wrenching noise?", he chuckles. "Eeeaarrgghhh! Well, I don't particularly like that noise. When I first heard it, I thought, well, that's all right. It doesn't sound that bad. But after hearing it a few times, that fucking noise... But there again, I suppose, for kids down clubs, they might like it."
He still, quite rightly, prefers the original. "We could have been as big the Floyd," he muses. "A few times the openings were there. But it's whether you've got a torpedo mechanism to bring it all down, and you think, fuck that, you know? Once you do that, you're on the other side. And Hawkwind was always on the other side of everything..."
Or, as Lemmy cheerfully put it: "One thing about Hawkwind and Motorhead, you either love us or you hate us. There isn't any of that 'They're OK' stuff. You either become a trusted, loyal, devoted follower or you fucking can't stand it and run howling from the room."
|Above: an ad for the concert|