The Flight of the Griffin and the Hawks - Part 2 of 2

By Rob Godwin - founder of Griffin Music
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Around the same time Douglas cleared us to release the first of the Charisma albums. The American rights
had reverted to the band while they remained in the clutches of Virgin in the UK. All four Charisma albums
had been released on CD by Virgin back in 1989 as part of their Compact Price line. One can only imagine
that not many were pressed up because they very quickly sank into obscurity and today command
ridiculously high prices. In fact by 1994 people were calling us regularly to get us to release them. Once
Doug gave us the green light we moved ahead with plans to release Quark, Strangeness and Charm. I
prepared artwork only to suddenly have the brakes slammed on by Douglas. For the life of me I can't
remember why this happened, it probably had something to do with contractual issues with the old band
members, but once again the Calvert material would have to wait. An advert for Quark appeared inside the
booklet of Zones showing it as it was planned, with the original cover art.
Doug Smith had been working for some time to try and make some
sense of the band's back catalog and he had established a company with
various band members as co-directors. He called it the Emergency
Broadcast System (EBS) and he cut distribution deals with Vital in the
UK, Play It Again Sam in Europe and Griffin for North America. In
October of 1994 we distributed a finished product, imported from the
UK, of the band's latest EP, a new version of Quark Strangeness and
Charm along with remixes of Uncle Sam's on Mars remixed by
Astralasia. Griffin never pressed this title: we just sold British copies on
behalf of EBS of both the CD single and the 12" vinyl. The EP was to
help promote the new live album called The Business Trip Live. Doug
a quantity of the larger die-cut artwork for 12" vinyl LPs. We pressed the vinyl ourselves and the covers,
brought in from the UK, already had the Griffin logo added by Douglas.  By the end of November 1994 I
had finally put the finishing touches to my 25th anniversary project. It was the most ambitious project that
Griffin had ever undertaken. I wanted to put together the definitive â
€œBest Of..." package by including tracks from every major album in
the band's career. Douglas had voiced some frustration with another
label in the USA that had been cutting deals with EMI's special projects
division. The band weren't getting anything from these releases other
than a piece of the mechanical royalties and since many of them had
sold their publishing years ago this translated into almost nothing. Unlike
the label in upstate New York this label was owned and run by a guy
who was in fact a Hawkwind fan. He had tried to get the band on his
label but as far as we knew Douglas continued to rebuff his offers
because he was happy with the way things were going with Griffin.
With nowhere els
e to turn, this other label were stuck with licensing
By August of 1994 Douglas had
cleared us to release the two Bronze
albums, Live 79 and Levitation. I
begged permission to include the
single B-side of Nuclear Toy with
Levitation. I also threw in pages
from the tour booklet once again.
That concludes Part 2 of "The Flight of the Griffin and the Hawks" - text (c) Rob Godwin 2006, and
thank you also to Rob for the scanned images illustrating the narrative!

There was also
The Flight Of The Griffin and the Hawks - Part 1
To me it was a great album and I certainly didn't need to do anything else to try and improve on it. Both
albums had been out on CD in Britain for some time so again, due to the import problem, I didn't expect
them to sell very well. Whenever we acquired rights to something that was readily available in the UK we
just scaled back the pressing numbers. Although the steady flow of releases may seem a bit over-the-top
today, we didn't press a lot of any of these re-issues. As far as I can remember few of them went to
second pressings.
Smith and the band had made a concerted effort to do something really
special with the cover for the new album. An elaborate digipak cover
had been created, the overall design was reminiscent of the original
cover art for X In Search of Space. Douglas asked me if Griffin would
be willing to buy a quantity of the digipaks to try and keep the printing
costs down. We readily agreed and also prepared a regular jewel case
version. Both versions included Griffin pressed CDs. We also purchased
stuff from EMI and releasing a mish-mash of compilations, some of which were fleshed out with new Nik
Turner material. I had grown increasingly frustrated by the way the old United Artists material kept being
chopped up and thrown out in the USA, so Neale and I struck up a relationship with EMI in Hollywood. It
soon became apparent that they were quite willing to license material to us for compilations as long as we
let them press the discs (i.e. so they could keep a firm hand on the money and auditing). However, because
of the licenses they had issued previously to the label in New York we couldn't just go and release an album
in its entirety. So although Space Ritual was off-limits we could make any compilation we liked.
Now that we had EMI on board I knew that we could put together the ultimate Hawkwind compilation
album. I went into lengthy discussions with Douglas and Dave with my plans. I gave them track listings and
told them what I wanted from the band's later catalog. The album was to be called, predictably, 25 Years
On and would be a four CD set packaged in an elaborate box that would include liner notes by Michael
Moorcock, two books by artist Bob Walker and, painfully, the entire lyrics for every track. It was a
monumental undertaking that involved negotiating with the band, EMI, GWR, Flicknife and Kingsley Ward
at Rockfield studios who owned the RCA material, while also negotiating with a long list of music
publishing houses to reproduce the lyrics. On top of that I had to come up with artwork to try and do
justice to the army of brilliant artists that had contributed to Hawkwind covers over the previous 25 years.
The whole project had a budget of $75,000, just to make 3,000 copies. It was a mighty gamble for what
was essentially a re-issue of previously available material.  Earlier in the year I'd been over to Manchester to
hook up with artist Bob Walker.
Dave had told me that Bob had
created this amazing graphic novel
and that I should release it. One
night I found myself in the rather
bizarre surroundings of Michael
Butterworth's Savoy Books office,
a menagerie of art and books and
other strange trappings located
above a hardware store. Bob
showed me his artwork and I was
completely astounded at the amount
of work that had gone into its
creation. The book was called
Ledge of Darkness and it was

ostensibly the missing third volume
of Butterworth's Hawkwind trilogy  Although I didn't read the whole thing I knew that it absolutely had to
be seen because it represented god only knows how many man-hours of painstaking work, all done by
hand. The blades of grass on one page were all individually hand drawn. It was a brilliant piece of work,
even if the story was hard to follow. The 25 Years On box set was the perfect vehicle for it. Bob threw in a
smaller booklet which he dubbed Further Extracts from the Hawkwind Log. He
also very kindly gave me
the original art that he had created for Ledge of
Darkness and an unreleased cover for Chronicle of the
Black Sword. I travelled back to Canada armed with
the final pieces to finish off the box set.

Using Photoshop I created four unique covers for the
CDs, deriving components from each of the original
album jackets that were appropriate for that era. My
musician friend and Griffin recording artist Michael
White helped me structure the music that I had
chosen so that it flowed in a way that made musical
sense, rather than just slapping it on in chronological
order. I then paid to have the whole thing assembled
and digitally remastered at Musicland Studios in
Toronto.
Released in November of 1994 the box set was an instant success but due to its high price it took some
time to sell the 3,000 copies. EMI pressed the first two discs and Griffin pressed the third and fourth and
when we ran out of boxes a few CDs were left over and sold separately, these still show up on-line
occasionally.
At the time I was exhausted from this huge project but Griffin was on a ballistic trajectory, being offered
some extremely big names. I didn't know it at the time but big trouble was coming along with the big names;
just five months after we released 25 Years On, Griffin would start a long painful slide into oblivion, but not
before I'd completed several more Hawkwind projects.

In January of 1995 Griffin released Michael Moorcock's elusive New World's Fair album on CD. Michael
had given me the rights but some of the material still resided with Doug Smith. In the interests of  co -
operation Douglas had also agreed to let me proceed. Michael told me
about demo tracks that he had always wanted to release and I had urged
the inclusion of the two single tracks that Flicknife had released on vinyl
in the UK. The entire package would be bundled with a hardback book
that had been published by Savoy in Manchester. It was really done as
my thank you to Michael for all of his support. The fans were suitably
surprised and our package totally overwhelmed the Dojo release in the
UK. We followed it promptly with the Spirit of the Age Solstice Remix
CD EP.
The very same month Griffin
released its most expensive and
elaborate album package to date (it
wasn't a Hawkwind title) and
within a few days found ourselves
being injuncted by another label. It
was the beginning of a situation
that would ultimately destroy the company. It's a long story that has nothing to do with Hawkwind but the
upshot was that someone had all of our money and we had nothing to show for it. We sued them. The
lawsuit would not be settled before it drove Griffin into bankruptcy.
At this point my memory isn't too
clear. In April 1995 Griffin released
Undisclosed Files Addendum and
the ambient instrumental album
White Zone follwed a few weeks
later.  Neale did the negotiations with
Douglas for them and I had little ornothing to do with their release. I do recall that a metal shield was made
to house the Undisclosed album but Douglas refused to let us release it. I'm not sure why. When Griffin
went bankrupt a wooden pallet full of them were sitting in the warehouse still awaiting release approval from
Douglas. After the liquidators took over I never did find out what happened to those shields. I managed to
keep one for myself and that's about it.

Almost immediately after the fiasco with the shields the word finally
came in from Douglas that we could start to release the Charisma
material. As far as I was concerned it had to be done right and so
Quark and Astounding were both prepared for inclusion in box sets that
would
have new editions of Butterworth's two novels, Time of the
Hawklords and Queens of Deliria. The art department at Griffin now
included several talented young designers. Rob Kistner and Gina Sapienza put  together the box for
Astounding an
d George Kalantzis did Quark. I provided them with the raw materials and they created
entirely new designs which I really
like. At the same time Douglas gave
us California Brainstorm, but only
for the UK. Neale decided to put it
in another matching box which
would include my Collectors Guide
book.
This would appear through our
sister label Cyclops based in
London. I insisted on the inclusion
of 3 bonus tracks
f
or Astounding:
The Dream of
Isis, Back on the
Streets and
Honky Dorky.
Even though the
Butterworth
novels have been
thoroughly
pilloried over the
years, they are
a part of the Hawkwind mythos and as such many fans wanted copies
of them. At the time finding used books was nowhere near as easy as it
is today, and so I put together matching editions that utilized Barney
Bubble's art on the cover. All three boxes are extremely scarce today.
That same spring Neale and I had concluded a national distribution deal
with Sony for Canada. The first thing we did was provide them with a
sampler disc to send out to Canadian record stores. It included four
Hawkwind tracks (Spirit of the Age, Gimme Shelter, Right to Decide
and Silver Machine Requiem) as well as two tracks each by Michael
Moorcock and Rick Wakeman. Only a few hundred copies were pressed.
Over the course of 1995 Neale and I became more and more embroiled
in our lawsuit. Hawkwind finally returned to America and we attended
several shows. We licensed four compilations from the UK and they
were all released in October and November. They included The Best of
Friends And Relations, Friends And Relations Rarities, Independent Daze
Volumes 1 & 2, and Mighty Hawkwind Classics.
These four albums consisted of the bulk of the incidental Flicknife material which had variously appeared
through Cherry Red and Anagram in the UK. Unlike the material that had first appeared as the three record
Acid Daze it was still relatively
scarce and worth releasing in
America. Capping off the releases
for 1995 we released Dave Brockâ
€™s Strange Trips and Pipe
Dreams and Simon House's
Yassassim.
Griffin's legal travails really started to take root by 1996 and so our attention was diverted from pursuing
many Hawkwind releases. For the 25 Years On box I'd struck up a relationship with Kingsley Ward at
Rockfield, who still owned the two elusive RCA albums. Kingsley was willing to license them to Griffin as
long as it was OK with Dave. Douglas asked me to delay the releases until he was ready to release them
simultaneously through EBS. Once again I asked for permission to include the various singles and B-sides. I
also included material from the tour programmes in the booklets again, as well as the lyrics. Both albums
came out in September of 1996 and Sonic Attack included Trans Dimensional Man while Choose Your
Masques included the full version
of the remade Silver Machine as
well as the new version of
Psychedelic Warlords. The two
RCA albums brought to a close
the era of Hawkwind on Griffin.
In January 1997 the company was forced into bankruptcy by our legal woes. We had been in court trying
to get our money back for nearly two years and the cost of the battle finally took its toll. Right near the end
we sold a batch of Hawkwind CDs to Douglas in the UK which were cross-billed against royalties that were
still outstanding. To the best of my knowledge when Griffin went bankrupt we owed nothing to the band.
The liquidators hired by the bank took over the job of trying to get rid of Griffin's assets. An outside
investor came in and bought the company including all of its legal entitlements but Douglas took action to
make sure that all of the Hawkwind contracts were terminated. He was in the process of trying to get the
entire Hawkwind catalog sorted out and Griffin's demise gave him a golden opportunity. The new owners
kept in touch with me but it would not be until November of 1998 that I would bring them a new
Hawkwind album.
Dave and I kept in touch and in late 1998 he asked me
if I knew anyone who might be interested in releasing
a new album in America. I said that I'd love to be
involved and I could probably get the new Griffin
owners to release it. He sent me the tapes and I
created a whole new booklet built around a pile of
artwork that Dave had sent to me for inclusion. It
was called In Your Area. I never did find out how
many were sold. Once I'd done the layout and
artwork my involvement ended.

A year later Dave offered me a live album from the
1976 Astounding tour for a similar deal. Once again I
put together artwork that I thought suited the era. I
called it Thrilling Hawkwind Adventures and I pulled a bunch of
1930's sci-fi artwork together that was in the spirit of the original
Astounding concept. Griffin released it in late 1999 and then some time
later a longer version would be released by Voiceprint in the UK.

By this time I was out of the record business entirely. My book
publishing company had take
n over my life but I kept in touch with
Dave and Kris. Every once in a while someone would ask if I could persuade Dave to let Griffin re-release
Warrior or some of the Charisma albums but Dave always steadfastly refused the offers - presumably
because it would not have been solely his decision to make. In 2001 I approached Dave and asked him if
the band would consider recording a Pink Floyd track to include in
a book I was about to publish called The
Pink Floyd Encyclopedia. The band kindly agreed and we shipped the
book that same year. Ro
unding everything off for me is the latest
project where I asked the band to
provide some ambient music for a
book I was publishing called Kids
To Space. The book included
questions and artwork from over
6,000 school kids. The kid's art
would run as a Powerpoint
presentation set to new music by
Hawkwind. My friend Buzz Aldrin
was involved in the project and he
and Lonnie Schorer, the author,
both thought Hawkwind were a
good choice.

My Hawkwind adventure has now
lasted for 36 years and my direct involvement with the band spans 15 years. In that time Griffin released 25
complete albums (four as box sets), one double album, one 4 CD set, four solo albums (counting a Captain
Rizz title), three singles, one sampler, two EPs with books (we released the Pink Floyd disc twice with
different tracks), six books, a press kit, at least two posters, a vinyl
album (maybe two), a cardboard
mobile and a CD-ROM. That's 43 different discs which by my
estimation makes Griffin one of the most prolific Hawkwind labels in
the band's career.

I'm particularly proud of the fact that even though we went bankrupt
(through no fault of ours or Hawkwind) we still paid the band in full.
Not once during the seventeen years I've known the band have I had
my illusions shattered. I'm just as much a Hawkwind fan today as I
was in 1972 at that first concert in Southampton. If they come back to
America again I'll be standing in line for tickets, this time with my kids!

-Rob Godwin
For the sake of completeness, here's a schedule of all the Hawkwind-related Griffin releases mentioned in this article.  
Thanks to Rob Godwin for the information:

Date    Artist       Title                             Format  Catalogue #  Price
---------- ------------ --------------------------------- ------  ------------ ------
15/03/1992 Hawkwind     Hawklords Live                        CD  GN-3921-2    $12.98
15/03/1992 Hawkwind     Out & Intake                          CD  GN-3922-2    $12.98
17/05/1993 Hawkwind     Warrior on the Edge of Time          Box  55421 3931-2 $28.98
07/10/1993 Hawkwind     Electric Tepee                        CD  GN-0931-2    $12.98
22/02/1994 Hawkwind     Church of Hawkwind                    CD  GN-0932-2    $12.98
22/02/1994 Hawkwind     Live Chronicles                      2CD  GCDHA-136    $22.98
06/03/1994 Hawkwind     Decide Your Future                 CD EP  GCDHA-120    $ 8.98
03/05/1994 Hawkwind     Chronicle of the Black Sword          CD  GCDHA-142    $12.98
24/05/1994 Hawkwind     It Is The Business of the Future To   CD  GCDHA-161    $12.98
                      Be Dangerous
24/05/1994 Hawkwind     It Is The Business   2xLP coloured vinyl  GCDHA-161-1  $19.98
                      of the Future To Be Dangerous
07/06/1994 Hawkwind     Quark Strangeness & Charm (postponed) CD  GCDHA-162-2  $12.98
07/06/1994 Hawkwind     This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic        CD  GCDHA-163    $12.98
05/07/1994 Hawkwind     Zones                                 CD  GCDHA-164-2  $12.98
16/08/1994 Hawkwind     Levitation                            CD  GCD-230-2    $12.98
16/08/1994 Hawkwind     Live 79                               CD  GCD-229-2    $12.98
23/08/1994 Hawkwind     Live Legends                       Video  GV-114-3     $19.98
18/10/1994 Hawkwind     Quark Strangeness & Charm EP       CD EP  EBCD110      $10.98
18/10/1994 Hawkwind     Quark Strangeness & Charm EP   12" vinyl  EBT 110      $10.98
25/10/1994 Hawkwind     The Business Trip            CD Digipack  GCD-279-2    $15.98
25/10/1994 Hawkwind     The Business Trip          CD jewel case  GCD-280-2    $12.98
25/10/1994 Hawkwind     The Business Trip                   2xLP  GLP-280-1    $19.98
01/11/1994 Hawkwind     25 Years On                  4CD Box set  GCD-299-0    $69.98
01/11/1994 Hawkwind     25 Years On Vol. 1                    CD  GCD-295-2    $12.98
01/11/1994 Hawkwind     25 Years On Vol. 2                    CD  GCD-296-2    $12.98
01/11/1994 Hawkwind     25 Years On Vol. 3                    CD  GCD-297-2    $12.98
01/11/1994 Hawkwind     25 Years On Vol. 4                    CD  GCD-298-2    $12.98
21/11/1994 Hawkwind     California Brainstorm (Cyclops)      Box  CYCL-015     $28.98
24/01/1995 Michael      New World's Fair                     Box  GCD-332-0    $28.98
         Moorcock
24/01/1995 Michael      New World's Fair                      CD  GCD-332-2    $15.98
         Moorcock
31/01/1995 Hawkwind     Spirit of the Age Solstice Remix   CD EP  GCD-343-2    $10.98
18/04/1995 Hawkwind     Undisclosed Files Addendum            CD  GCD-372-2    $12.98
16/05/1995 Psychedelic  White Zone                            CD  GCD 376-2    $12.98
         Warriors
30/05/1995 Hawkwind     Quark Strangeness & Charm            Box  GCD-370-0    $28.98
30/06/1995 Hawkwind     Astounding Sounds Amazing Music      Box  GCD-345-0    $28.98
30/06/1995 Captain Rizz Manifesto                             CD  GCD-388-2    $12.98
30/06/1995 Hawkwind     Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music      CD  GCD-483-2    $12.98
31/10/1995 Simon House  Yassassim                    CD Digipack  GCD-494-2    $12.98
31/10/1995 Hawkwind     Mighty Hawkwind Classics              CD  GCD-496-2    $12.98
31/10/1995 Hawkwind     Independent Daze Vol 1 & 2            CD  GCD-497-2    $12.98
31/10/1995 Dave Brock   Strange Trips & Pipe Dreams           CD  GCD-515-2    $12.98
31/10/1995 Simon House  Yassassim                             CD  GCD-517-2    $12.98
07/11/1995 Hawkwind     Friends and Relations: The Best Of    CD  GCD-535-2    $12.98
24/09/1996 Hawkwind     Choose Your Masques                   CD  GCD-613-2    $12.98
24/09/1996 Hawkwind     Sonic Attack                          CD  GCD-612-2    $12.98
03/11/1998 Hawkwind     In Your Area                          CD  GCD-740-2    $12.98
02/11/1999 Hawkwind     Thrilling Hawkwind Adventures         CD  GCD-840-2    $12.98