There's no substitute for the real thing, just ask Nik Turner, saxophonist / flautist / vocalist with the seminal
British psychedelic outfit Hawkwind. In England, they drew comparisons to the Grateful Dead in terms of
the communal spirit that both bands evoked, and Turner was their Jerry Garcia.
"Captain Trips" or not, Turner is now on the road with a band, who perform music that he believes captures
the spirit of Hawkwind. Nik Turner's Hawkwind will play Peabody's DownUnder this Tuesday, February 1,
but this tour almost didn't happen.
"It's not the same Hawkwind that you might have seen before," Turner says by phone from somewhere on
the road. "I'm not the band Hawkwind. What I'm presenting is like the spirit of Hawkwind, so I call it 'Nik
Turner's Hawkwind'. It's a slightly different animal, and the show we're doing is a different animal as well.
What we're doing is re-creating the sound and spirit of early Hawkwind. I hope people will like it. We're
doing a very theatrical show. We're calling it 'Space Ritual '94.' "
The show is a flashback to Hawkwind's 1973 double album SPACE RITUAL, which was the band's most
commercially successful recording. Turner, who co-founded the band in 1969, left the group in 1976. His
latest album, PROPHETS OF TIME, was just released this month, and it features Helios Creed, Genesis P.
Orridge, Simon House and Pressurehed, all of whom will be performing with Turner at Peabody's
The wrangling between the former bandmates has heated up in recent months.
"I've had problems with the other Hawkwind," Turner explains. "I didn't think I was on bad terms with them
until they suddenly served an injunction on one of the gigs and got the gig cancelled because I'm using the
name. Dave Brock [original Hawkwind guitarist / vocalist] is the one who's causing all of the problems," he
continues. "What happened with Hawkwind is that Dave was the one who sort of hired and fired
everybody. We all thought it was a people's band, like the Grateful Dead, and we were actually likened to the
Dead in the early days. I was supposed to be the British counterpart to Jerry Garcia."
"The band went on with everybody thinking it was the people's band, and suddenly people started getting
sacked. I was in the band for eight years, and then suddenly I got sacked. I thought it was my band and
everybody's band, and suddenly it wasn't. It was Dave Brock's band, and he made sure of that."
Turner, ever the hippie, maintains that there is no ill will between him and Brock. "I don't bear any malice
against him," Turner says. "I just think it's all a bit stupid. It's not really in the spirit of what Hawkwind
should be and what people believe Hawkwind to be about."
Considering the legal action that has already been initiated, the Hawkwind legacy has taken a shot to the
groin. Turner, for one, remains deeply concerned about what the ramifications of the legal actions will be.
"We've stipulated to all the promoters that they should advertise it as 'Nik Turner's Hawkwind' or 'Nik Turner
- co-founder of Hawkwind', something like that," Turner explains. "This is what I'm up against at the
moment. I just came over here thinking I'd do a simple, little tour as Nik Turner's Hawkwind, [and it's]
obviously not the same as the other Hawkwind. But that's my problem."
So far, the tour is going well, selling out clubs in certain major cities, but not all the dates have been sold out.
"It's going very well," Turner says. "We're getting a great reaction everywhere we go. We did a sold-out
show at the Club Lingerie in L.A., and we've done other sold-out gigs. There was one gig, however, in
Lubbock, Texas, that wasn't, shall I say, very well attended."
Lubbock, Texas? That's Buddy Holly's hometown. I tell Turner that I wouldn't expect people in Lubbock,
Texas to come out to see Hawkwind.
"Well, maybe we should've been Buddy Holly's Hawkwind," Turner says with a laugh. "We could have done
'Peggy Sue' with synthesizers and oscillators. Actually I'd like to do that someday."
Hey Nik! Nothing's too weird for 1994...
|This article is from North-East Ohio's long-running
publication "Scene", dated January`27th - February
4th 1994 (Volume 25 no. 4). It covers the
still-contentious 1994 USA tour by 'Nik Turner's
Hawkwind', who were advertised as such (left)