This page looks at books that are about or feature Hawkwind. Not all are currently available, which is a good thing in some cases! This is about books only, not fanzines, which would need quite a lot of space of their own... I had to refer to the BOC-L/Hawkwind archives in some places, where my memory failed me or to add details about a book I've never seen. My thanks to those who posted the original information.
|Time of the Hawklords
This one *is* currently available (Nov 2002) - see the News Page for details. It was written by Michael Butterworth back in 1975 or so and was first published in 1976, co-credited to Michael Moorcock, who hastily disavowed it. Having read the quality of the writing, you can see why. Basically it's a pulp science fiction story featuring members of Hawkwind as they were in 1975, in a fight to save the world from the harmful emanations of the Death Generator, which was buried at the centre of the Earth millennia ago by an evil race called the Throdmyke. The enemies of the Throdmyke were the Baasark, whose influence results in the members of Hawkwind being reincarnated as the Hawklords. Oh dear.
When I first read this back in 1976 I thought it had to be the worst book I had ever read. That's probably still true, but approaching it now as a period piece, or exercise in nostalgia, it was quite enjoyable. The idea was already outdated when the book first appeared - the old world having been undone by its' own pollution, corruption and general nastiness, the Earth is more-or-less inherited by the Children Of The Sun, i.e. hippies. In 1970, maybe this was a plausible theme - by 1976 it was already an anachronism. (Hawkwind themselves
| were an anachronism by 1976, as the sleeve notes to Quark Strangeness & Charm admit.) Be that as it may, the book is also dated in terms of personnel. Dramatis personae include Baron Brock, Count Motorhead (Lemmy), Astral Al (Alan Powell), the Hound Master (Simon King - who is unaccountably described as having long golden hair), the Sonic Prince (Simon House), Lord Rudolph the Black (Paul Rudolph), the Thunder Rider (Nik Turner), the Light Lord (Jon Smeeton, aka Liquid Len), Stacia, Actonium Doug (Doug Smith, their then-manager) and Moorlock, the Acid Sorceror (Michael Moorcock). Already we know that this is a book that you don't want your friends to see you reading. Of course, Mr. Butterworth faced an insuperable problem in trying to write books featuring members of Hawkwind, since the membership of the band changed every week. He made a mistake, though, in having both Lemmy and Paul Rudolph as contemporaneous Hawklords!
OK, so we have a silly concept and even sillier nomenclature. The characterisation maintains this level of achievement, but it is pulp SF after all. Baron Brock is portrayed as macho and moody, Thunder Rider is expansive and quixotic. The Sonic Prince gets quite a lot of coverage and is a painted as a brilliant technician with a cool intellect, which allied with his super Hawklord powers allows him to save the day when the Earth is on the point of destruction. Almost everyone else is totally one-dimensional and every time Stacia is mentioned there is some reference to her bodily sensations. Dirty boy, Butterworth! We also have a friendly scientist called Hot Plate, and other characters who wander in and out seemingly at random. King Trash makes an early appearance and seems to be being set up as the baddie of the book. However he then disappears. Mephis (a contraction of Mephistopheles was probably the intention) is the actual evil mastermind. However towards the end of the story another evil character called Cronan also pops up, and is recognised with horror by the Hawklords, even though he has made no prior appearance in the book. This is typical of the shoddy construction of the book which reads as though it was thrown together at a single sitting.
Technically Butterworth does manage one thing quite well, and that is that the plot is quite dynamic in terms of scene changes. The opening pages of the book show the idyllic post-collapse period when Hawkwind play live for the Children of the Sun and everything is fine. Then the Death Generator starts up, and the members of the band notice that only their music, played live, can counteract the effects of the Death Ray. The Sonic Prince discovers why only live music has this effect - it's due to a device invented by Del Dettmar, called the Delatron, which is part of their stage equipment. With the help of Hot Plate, the band build more Delatrons, building them into the nozzles of music guns, which play taped Hawkwind songs, and which they use as weapons against the agents of Mephis. The dark forces eventually learn to counter this with music guns of their own, which they use to play Simon & Garfunkel, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra etc.. The effect of this music on the Hawklords and the Children of the Sun is quite as crippling as Hawkwind music is upon the forces of the Death Ray. This is quite an amusing motif, although Butterworth probably did not intend to be comic when he described hippies and soldiers ambushing each other in the ruins of Notting Hill Gate with music guns. And hey, this was before the appearance of Walkmans or ghettoblasters! The man was a prophet!
As for other motifs, of course the Hawklords discover the truth about their reincarnation in an *old book* owned by the Acid Sorceror. They then unaccountably go on holiday to Brighton and discover a magically preserved inn in the suburb of Rottingdean. Being there completes their transformation into demigods and also fulfills several prophecies in this old book. The action swings back to Notting Hill Gate and then to Parliament Hill as the effects of the Death Ray intensify. Computer storage of personalities, possession and flying saucers (sort of) all put in an appearance before the Hawklords snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, just like you knew they would all along?
Overall this book is unbelievably corny, but quite good fun if you overlook the shortcomings and accept it as a lurid tale on the same level as stories about bug-eyed monsters. I gave my original copy to Tim Marlow, with this proscription, which is still applicable now: don't read it in public and don't tell anyone you got it from me.
|Queens of Deliria
Not content with inflicting Time of the Hawklords upon the world, Butterworth followed it up 2 years later with the Queens of Deliria. This too is currently available and probably shouldn't be :-)
Butterworth had made some changes in personnel but this still didn't reflect the composition of the band at the time the book appeared, in 1977. Lemmy and Stacia were no more, but added to the ranks were the otherwise unremembered Crystal Princess (Rickie) who presumably was a dancer for Hawkwind at the time. Also making an appearance was one Elric of Melnibone. Hmmmm. At least this time Michael Moorcock's name was left out of the proceedings.
Basically all the same criticisms of Time of the Hawklords apply here, and this sequel is basically a retread of the original book, with a plot that is, if anything, inferior. Once again only Hawkwind's music can save the world
|from Death Rays, which this time are marshalled by the Red Queen. 150 years have passed since the Time of the Hawklords but Hawkwind are still playing the same material - nothing newer than Reefer Madness is mentioned, so presumably they'd written no new material for a century and a half - another amazing prediction by Mr. Butterworth there! The part of the evil soldiers is this time around taken by a crew of criminals who were previously loaded onto a spaceship with a parabolic orbit so that they would serve their sentences out in deep space - but they never reappear after their first mention. Mutant American motorcycle cops instead perform the baddie role. Hawkwind are aided by a ghostly troop of scientists, plus Elric ("the Indecisive"), of course.
One innovation from The Time of the Hawklords is the fact that several Hawklords now have young adult children, who've formed a band of their own called the Complete Orgasm Band. Thunder Rider's daughter, Patti, apparently leads this band, playing an instrument known as the Vulvaphone!! Lord Rudolph the Black's son, Lord Jefferson of Polyddor, is also in this band. Wrong record label, Butterworth! Terry Ollis is also a member of the Complete Orgasm Band but appears to be clothed throughout (see below). The conflict between Hawkwind and the Red Queen starts off with the disappearance of the Complete Orgasm Band, so the Hawklords go in search of them and enter various alternate time streams. They find Patti and her band in a nightmarish alternate San Francisco (Butterworth's knowledge of the local geography is obviously limited) but are then sucked into a machine called a Transmogrifier, which the Red Queen uses to render the three-dimensional world into two-dimensional images, etc. etc.. Then the Hawklords become trapped in a giant pinball machine and - must I go on?
When this first came out I bought a copy and didn't finish it. The cover was suitably lurid featuring a red, bare-breasted woman wearing sunglasses (who looks exactly like a real woman I know who is certifiably mad) - in the foreground is a figure whom I take to be Nik Turner floundering inside a pinball machine. At least the current issue has a slightly more tasteful livery, featuring the Barney Bubbles illustration from the back cover of Doremi Fasol Latido. (Incidentally, the current issue of Time of the Hawklords also features a representation of Barney Bubbles' artwork.)
I've just finished re-reading this one (what a way to spend Thanksgiving - one helping of turkey was enough) and I could cheerfully leave it another 25 years before picking it up again to resample the risible dialog, cardboard cut-out characterisation and desperate shifts of location. It's awful. Even worse than Time of the Hawklords.
|The Ledge of Darkness
Originally Michael Butterworth intended for his Hawklords books to be a trilogy, the 3rd volume of which was to be called The Ledge of Darkness. Mercifully, he never got around to writing this, but someone else did the job for him. In 1994 a box-set compilation called "25 Years On" was released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Hawkwind. This box set included The Ledge of Darkness in the form of a black-and-white graphic novel (though it did have a colour cover).
It was written/drawn by Bob Walker, and the plot features the disappearance of Hawkwind...Nik Turner uses an *old book* (that motif again) to find out what happened to them and help bring them back... Some characters are sometime members of Hawkwind thinly disguised, e.g. The Shot Down Kid is Steve Swindells. A bit of a mystery though, is the
|bare-breasted woman in the Nun's habit, called Anquet. This is presumably not meant to be Stacia - maybe it's Rickie, the Cystal Princess from Queens of Deliria? Graphic novels are not really my cup of tea (and it's a long time since I clapped eyes on this one), but given the unintended comedy of the whole Hawklords series, perhaps they should all have been done as comic books...
June 2005: Now that a copy of this is once again in my clutches, I can be a bit more specific than my dim memories previously allowed. Something else that maybe dimmed in my memory was actually just how good this graphic novel is. It seems there was actually a plot outline produced by Michael Butterworth, which Bob Walker, who penned this entire thing, picked up and, I would guess, stuck to religiously. The result is a pretty disjointed story line, which breaks the work out structurally into various sections. The first of these is an introduction which starts out by briefly rehashing the outcome of Time Of The Hawklords, with some odd notions of the post-apocalyptic world having acquired properties called ‘Strangeness’ and ‘Charm’, that I do not recall: this bizarre little dislocation is one of the things that suggests the hand of M.Butterworth at work. It’s followed by a flashback of the Hawklords on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1978, which itself segues into Bob Calvert escaping from a rest home called Asgard House, in 1984, only to fly a silver machine of sorts (or a gaseo glider?) to the Cadillac Ranch: Nik Turner’s ramshackle farm in West Wales, which is charmingly rendered and looks all too likely to have been drawn from life! Then we cut to a two-page sequence documenting the Hawkwind Convention in Manchester, held in February 1985, and again, this looks like it was drawn from life. A backstage conversation between Dave Brock and an apparently deluded fan signposts the members of the band as regarding the Hawklords myth as nothing more than an album concept…
Fifteen pages into the novel, the story really starts, with a representation of the ancient war between the Baasaark and the Throdmyke. The visuals are fantastically dense and detailed, with a couple of nods to Hieronymous Bosch and bucketfuls of symbolism woven into every corner of the printed page. Swastikas, mandalas, pentagrams and Masonic eyes are just some of the devices that mingle with visual references to elements of various Hawkwind album covers. It sounds dire, but the draftsmanship is excellent and actually lends a smidgeon of credibility to the story line! We come back up to date with an explanation of how half the Hawklords disappear, only to be replaced by…the Hawklords! Yes, on stage are Messrs Brock, Calvert, Swindells, Bainbridge and Griffin pounding away, keeping the emanations of the Death Generator at bay, ably assisted by the bare-boobied Anqet (who?).
From there it just gets sillier. Doug Smith falls down a time-hole, just like half of Hawkwind did a few pages earlier on, and time itself starts to run backwards, until they get rescued by an alien starfarer (no relation) with a bad French accent. A few more pages of this gibberish culminate in something that looks remarkably like the 21/10/2000 Hawkestra – everyone who’s ever been in Hawkwind materialises to jam onstage in the final battle against the Throdmyke. Which they win of course, and having done so can be transported to whenever and wherever, so Wiltshire and the Battle Of The Beanfield in 1985 it is…the remainder of the action centers on Stonehenge but is so utterly confused and devoid of storyline that it could be anyone’s guess what is going, and the book ends suddenly with the air filled by tiny bubbles. Rubbish storyline but good graphics, in other words, and worth checking out.
|This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic
A rather different kettle of fish, this being Kris Tait's privately published history of the band, which appeared in early 1984. It covers the period from 1967 to the UK tour of 1981 and is surprisingly pithy. The writing is not bad, and Kris keeps the narrative voice very subdued, preferring to rely heavily on quotation from those in and around the band. The book is also blessed with a number of otherwise unseen photographs (many of which look like snapshots taken whilst on tour), publicity materials and old press clippings.
This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic is particularly successful at giving the flavour of the early band. The detail on how the band came to be formed is somewhat sketchy, but there are a number of early press clippings which get across the newness of what they were doing. In fact they do seem to have been regarded as a novelty in the negative sense, with one press article headlined "Hawkwind - More Serious Now". Another
|strength of the book is that there are a number of anecdotes sprinkled throughout which make for amusing reading, in an unintended, Spinal Tap kind of way. I particularly liked the one about Terry Ollis falling off his drumstool because he was so out of it. (Not quoted in the book, but mentioned in a Nik Turner interview, was Hawkwind's relative lack of commercial success being attributed to the fact that "our drummer kept taking his clothes off"!)
Chapter One covers the early band through the release of their eponymous first album, and Chapter Two covers 1971. The narrative really hits its' stride in Chapter 3 which covers 1972-74, taking in the Silver Machine surprise hit single, Space Ritual, and early American tours, finishing with Del Dettmar's departure from the band. Thereafter the chapters become fairly brief in terms of narrative but long on anecdote: plenty of crazy Bob Calvert stories, for example.
It's notable that the closer the book gets to the (then) present day, the more factual detail there is. There's quite a bit of "behind the scenes" stuff around 1980, including the parting of the ways (the first one) with Doug Smith and the story of Ginger Baker's dismissal from the band. At the end of the book are 3 quotes from Nik Turner, Bob Calvert and Dave Brock respectively, on the subject of Brock's "domination" of the band. This is a nice critical touch which, for my money, shows that the book is not a whitewash.
The privately-published nature of the book is fairly evident - there are no page numbers, which doesn't matter, and no index, which would have been useful. Mad & obsessed Hawkwind fans will be disappointed that it lacks exhaustive set lists and tour schedules, but this isn't that kind of book - it's more readable than that! (That kind of information can be found on the Golden Void and D-Rider websites for those who want it, and the archives of the BOC-L/Hawkwind and Yahoo! Hawkwind Group - all of which can be found on the Links page of this site.) There is a discography, done by Brian Tawn, at the end of the book which features largely the UK releases down to 1983.
The book is billed as the history of Hawkwind, part one, with Part Two to follow soon. Now I understand Kris is rather busy these days, running much of the band's organisation, and she probably doesn't have time to write Part Two. But if This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic is anything to go by, it would be a great read. And it would be nice to see this book reissued, since it hasn't been available for a very long time!
|The Illustrated Collector's Guide to Hawkwind
This little tome (176 pages) was written by Robert Godwin (director of the Griffin record label) and was included with the Griffin reissue of Warrior On The Edge Of Time as part of a boxed set, in 1993. At one point the label also released it as a box set along with California Brainstorm. As the title suggests it's far too anal to appeal to any but serious collectors of Hawkwind. (Well, everyone needs a hobby :-) The Griffin website had a page on this book, which was included on my Links page, but it has long been a dead link.
This book is basically an illustrated worldwide discography of Hawkwind LP's, EP's, singles and CD's, covering much the same ground as Andrew Dawson's website. This discography also covers individual solo projects and the like, plus there's a biography of Hawkwind from their formation (1969) up to 1992 or so. A few concert posters are also illustrated, and there are interviews with Dave
|Brock and Michael Moorcock. Then there are separate sections covering Hawkwind fanzines and concert programmes. Chapter headings are Introduction / 23 Years On-A Brief History Of Hawkwind / The Key Hawkwind Recordings / Personnel On The Key Recordings / Hawkwind Family Tree / Hawkwind Concert Dates / The Hawkwind 7" Singles & EP's / The Hawkwind 12" Singles & EP's / The Hawkwind LP's / Solo Appearances / Hawkwind In Print / The Hawkwind Compact Discs / Videos / The Weird Tapes / The Hawkwind Songs / Michael Moorcock Interview / Late Additions / Dave Brock Interview.
The 'Hawkwind Family Tree' is cross-referenced to the band's recordings, and the 'Hawkwind Songs' section (which is like the Hawkwind Codex but not as good :-) is cross-referenced against the albums on which they were available, and a list of essential albums.
Here's a quote from the author: "I have been a fan of Hawkwind since 1969. In 1989 an opportunity presented itself for me to represent the band in North America through my record label Griffin Music. This led to me writing this book. With the help of Hawkwind fans around the world I managed to accumulate pictures and details of hundreds of Hawkwind records and CDs. Each song the band wrote is cross-referenced by album to help the Hawkwind fans find their way through the band's tortuous catalogue. In conclusion Hawkwind guitarist and founder Dave Brock, and world famous sci-fi author Michael Moorcock both conducted interviews exclusively for the book. I hope you enjoy it."
And this is what Kerrang! magazine had to say about it: "Meticulous in every way...this is essential stuff for the committed fan....KKKK..." I don't own a copy of this and am going from memory (I borrowed it from someone a few years ago) but my own view is that if you've already got this, great: if not, it's probably not worth acquiring since it's now pretty out-of-date. All the information in it, except for the family tree and maybe some of the posters, can be found on the internet in up-to-date form.
|White Line Fever
Lemmy's autobiography focuses mostly upon Motorhead, as you would expect. However pages 60 to 95 or so cover his time with Hawkwind and provide more in the way of anecdote than hard information - which is also what you would expect. Several funny episodes are related, some already well known (Nik falling off the stage in his Frog Suit) and some new (Del Dettmar's log cabin).
Right up until he joined Hawkwind, Lemmy was (by his own admission, a mediocre) guitarist. The connection was with DikMik, who was a mate of Lemmy's and was then on board the Mothership. Lemmy had been so impressed by the band's sonic attack that he wanted to join when Huw left. However, his chance came when disaffection with Dave Anderson reached a head - DikMik then proclaimed Lemmy a bass player, and he was in.
Lemmy describes Hawkwind's four tours of the USA while he was in the band, and how they were taking acid all the time, on the first tour at least. Simon House's arrival for the second tour is noted,
|as is the departure of Del Dettmar. Surprisingly, he blames the 'Drum Orchestra' of Simon House and Alan Powell for wrecking Hawkwind. Their two drum kits, being the centrepiece of the band's stage set, incorporated an array of never used percussion and crowded out all the available space. Lemmy also blames the fact that he was the only speed freak left in the band, after DikMik's departure, and that caused friction between himself and others, with Lemmy out at the front of the stage while the others were presumably hanging back in the shadows. Lemmy's wrongful arrest on the Canadian border when the police mistook amphetmine sulphate (misdemeanour) for cocaine (felony) is well known. As he says "I was doing the wrong drugs, see. If I had been caught with acid, those guys would have all rallied around me."
Lemmy also ascribes Hawkwind's 'failure' to getting Paul Rudolph in to replace him and to their new direction, which he characterises as 'without nuts'. He also gives credit to Dave Brock (for whom he expresses a lot of respect overall: and cites his musical relationship with Brock as 'telepathic') for trying to get Lemmy back into Hawkwind - but this was apparently foiled by the 'Drum Orchestra'. He wreaked a terrible revenge for his sacking, which you'll have to read the book to discover...
This is probably the best written and most entertaining of all the books mentioned here, and absolutely essential reading for Motorhead fans. It's published in the UK by Simon & Schuster and can be obtained from http://www.amazon.co.uk, and also seems finally to have percoalted into American bookshops in paperback...
|Pete Frame's Rock Family Trees
Coffee-table Rock books...ugh. This one is an exception, though. It has something like 50 family trees of rock bands in it, and Hawkwind are one of only a handful of bands who get an entire 2-page family tree all to themselves. A copy of which also appeared as a free insert with the PXR5 album when it was released in 1979: and the family tree only covers the period 1969-79, unfortunately. Still, Hawkwind being what they are, another, separate, tree would be needed to cover the post-79 period...
If you've never seen one of Pete Frame's family trees, you will be amazed by this. Each one is a hand-drawn chart and packs an amazing amount of information into a smallish space. His format is to identify the name and instrument played by each musician in every version of the band, and link these together chronologically in a graphical format. Each version of the band is named (e.g. "Hawkwind #14") and has duration defined as Month/Year to Month/Year. The notable events or achievements of the band during that time period immediately follow. This is the tree itself. Incidental information is printed alongside, so the family tree ends up being an entire history/biography. Where a given musician appears in successive (or even non-coterminous) versions of the band, a vertical line connects each entry. When a musician leaves the band, a short curved arrow appears beneath his/her name with a note explaining their destination. For example, when Paul Hayles is shown in one version of the band in 1978, his entry is followed by an arrow and the note "Devon groups". This is actually not too difficult in the case of Hawkwind, but Frame does an amazing job on some other bands where several groups are shown in one family tree?
The tone of Frame's text is chatty and informal - he manages to give the impression of being a Hawkwind fan, which he might well be - the Hawkwind Family Tree was one of his earliest. He also does a good job of getting in plenty of quotes from band members. The only thing it's really missing is illustrations (he doesn't do them, period) and maybe being posted on the internet. (Which I've thought of doing but there is definitely a copyright issue there!) The book is quite expensive (and I'm not sure whether it's currently in print or not) and might not be worth buying o the Hawkwind Family Tree alone. However anyone who has any wider interest in rock music would enjoy the book and it would make a good suggestion the next time anyone asks you "what do you want for Christmas / your Birthday / your Bar Mitzvah" and you don't have a clue...
|The Hawkwind Lyric Book
This book was another private publication, and was compiled by John Coulthart and Nick Randles in 1982, with John Coulthart doing the illustrations. (He also illustrated a number of Hawkwind album covers, most notably Chronicle of the Black Sword.) The Hawkwind Lyric Book was sold as part of the Hawkwind merchandising available on the Choose Your Masques 1982 UK tour, and was then subsequently made available by mail order from the band's own merchandising outlet. I've never actually seen it, but it is said to have been incomplete, i.e. not all lyrics were included, and to have contained a number of errors. Having tried to decipher Hawkwind lyrics myself, I can well believe this :-) Copies sometimes become available when some misguided soul sells his/her Hawkwind collection, for example on EBay...
|Nowadays, of course, there is a comprehensive lyrics section on Mission Control, the band's official website. It too is incomplete despite claims to the contrary :-) You won't find many Nik Turnerlyrics there. And I have a few of the missing ones on my Hawkwind Tablature page, as it happens...|
|Light Specific Discs - Hawkwind albums on compact disc
The subtitle explains it all. Consisting of approximately 60 stapled pages, this book was privately issued by U.S. Hawkfan Marc Sperhauk, in the early 90's. It provides an exhaustive listing of all (then) available Hawkwind CD's. Each entry consisted of a review of the CD, a track listing, identification of the record label and total playing time, along with any other miscellaneous information available for that CD.
A second edition was published in 1995 and the author provided looseleaf updates for many years to keep the book current. This work was published in standard U.S. Letter size paper, i.e. 8.5 x 11 inches.
|Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock
This book (pictured left) by Jim DeRogatis is, as the title suggests, a comprehensive survey of psychedelic music, weighing in at a few hundred pages. Four of these (pp 213 - 217, to be precise) are devoted to Hawkwind, and present quite a decent summary of their nature and career. They're illustrated with a few monochrome reproductions of album covers.
The book is not an encyclopaedia with alphabetical entries, but rather a narrative survey of the development of psychedelic music within the eponymous timeframe. Hawkwind's piece segues
|from the preceding text on the subject of the Deviants, and commences with this splendid observation: "Metal was born when these bands shifted modes from mindbending to headbanging, but one group managed to do both at once: Hawkwind."
I would quibble with the author's claim that "the pinnacle of their psychedelic-space-science-fiction synthesis is the anthemic single 'Silver Machine' " but I suppose a certain cursory quality to a four-page entry in a book of 500 or pages is maybe to be expected. This bloke surely can't have pored over the entire recorded work of every band he's written about. But he does end the Hawkwind section with a good quotation from Nik Turner in 1971: "We've never pandered to public taste, never compromised, and just played exactly what we wanted. By way of a happy accident, people seem to dig it." The author adds "His words still ring true a quarter-century later."
Good book this, though you'd need to be interested in the wider subject matter to consider buying it!
|Hawkwind mentions in Michael Moorcock books
*Real* Michael Moorcock books, I mean, not ones that just have his name on the front in the hope that people will think they are semi-decent. Hawkwind are mentioned here and there in the Jerry Cornelius books, which unlike most other of Mr. Moorcock's SF work, are recognisably set in something like the real world. (I also wonder how such pitiful drivel ever made it into print, but that's beside the point.) Here a few quotations:
From 'The English Assassin' (3rd of the Jerry Cornelius series): In a chapter entitled "At the Peace Talks: The Ball", a lengthy description of a party includes this text: "...Mr. Frankie Howerd, the comedian; a number of dons who wrote children's novels at Oxford*; the most corrupt and feeble-minded paperback publisher in America; Mr. Max Miller, the comedian; a number of television producers; Nik Turner, Dave Brock, Del Dettmar, Robert Calvert, DikMik, Terry Ollis: members of the Hawkwind orchestra; some advertising executives..."
* What's the likelihood that "a number of dons who wrote children's novels at Oxford" refers to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien?
Also from 'The English Assassin': In a chapter entitled "The Alternative Apocalypse, 8", Jerry Cornelius and his sister Catherine are alone in the ruins of London. "Jerry reached into his pocket. He turned on his miniature stereo taper. Hawkwind was halfway through Captain Justice: a VCS3's synthetic sounds shuddered, roared and decayed."
From 'The Condition of Muzak' (4th of the Jerry Cornelius series): In a chapter called "Mrs. C and Frankie C.", there is a description of the space under the Westway at the top of Portobello Road, where Hawkwind used to play in their early days (see the photos on the foldout inner sleeve of In Search Of Space): "They skirted the stalls even as their eyes automatically shifted across the wares, rounding the corner to the big patch of grass where a crowd of young bohemians and their children had already gathered outside the graffiti-smeared walls of one of the motorway bays. This bay had a chicken-wire fence strung between its columns and a sign, already much attacked by weather and local children: WESTWAY THEATRE... (skipping a few lines here)...But, first the first time in over a year, it was to be opened -or had been opened- by the people who had originally started the scheme with their free Saturday concerts featuring Quiver, Brinsley Schwarz, the Pink Fairies, Henry Cow, Mighty Baby, Come To The River and Hawkwind, until the police, in support of seven Rate Payers, had managed to put a stop to them..."
From 'The Entropy Tango' (5th in the series):
'The smell of damp charcoal was getting to Una. "Shall we go and have a cup of coffee in the Mountain Grill? We'll be under cover most of the way. You won't get much wetter."
"If you like." He had stopped sulking and had become artificially compliant. He got up at once and followed her through the gap in the wire, round the corner into Portobello Road. The windows of the Mountain Grill were steamed up from the inside. Within, the usual cast looked at the newcomers. There was a row of tables against either wall. Each row contained five tables. At the end of the cafe was the counter with the till on it. Behind the counter was the kitchen. In the kitchen were the Cypriot proprietor, his wife and his father. They were cooking the food. A little boy and a little girl, the proprietor's children, were serving it. There was a smell of boiling potatoes. It dominated all the other smells. At the furthest table on the left row sat Miss Brunner, Bishop Beesley, Karen von Krupp, Frank Cornelius. At the next table down sat Shakey Mo Collier, Nestor Makhno, Maxime and Mrs Cornelius. At the third table were Major Nye, Elizabeth Nye, Pip Nye and Captain Nye. At the fourth were William Randolph Hearst, Orson Welles, Alfred Bester and Zenith the Albino, all in evening dress. The fifth was empty and Jerry and Una sat down at it, facing one another. On Una's right (her back was to the moist window) the tables were occupied thus:
Table One: Nik Turner, Dave Brock, DikMik, Del Dettmar
Table Two: Simon King, Bob Calvert, Lemmy, Martin Griffin
Table Three: Pete Pavli, Adrian Shaw, Michael Moorcock, Simon House
Table Four: Steve Gilmore, Douglas Smith, Wayne Bardell, Graham Charnock
Table Five: Phil Taylor, Eddy Clarke, Catherine Cornelius, Harvey Bainbridge
"It's bloody full this afternoon," said Jerry. "It's a wonder there's any empty chairs at all." '
|Hawkwind mentions in Mick Farren's "Give The Anarchist a Cigarette"
This brilliant book is Mick Farren's autobiography for the years he spent involved in the Counterculture, concentrating on the period from 1967 to 1973. It is not a book about Hawkwind but includes several mentions of them, quoted below. I have included a lot of the surrounding text so as to show the context of each quote and also to avoid spoiling Farren's excellent prose.
"I rebelled against the Marxist-Leninist dress code - Mac McDonnell, one of the Deviants' ex-bass players, had given me a rather beautiful white jacket for my birthday, and I began building a new look around it. It must have worked, because the second time I strolled down Portobello so arrayed, I ran into Stacia, Hawkwind's towering and statuesque dancer. We exchanged flirtatious pleasantries, as was our practice, and then, as we turned into the pub, she grinned at me. 'I'm so glad you've started dressing rock & roll again.' I laughed and nodded. It was always good to receive compliments from a very tall woman with massive breasts. 'Yeah, so am I.' "
"If my recollection is correct, a relatively unknown and just-up-from-the-country Hawkwind first came to public attention at Phun City, but I'm afraid we old lags from London treated them with unconscionable city-slicker condescension." Phun City was a chaotic but successful festival in Sussex which Mick Farren and Boss (Dave) Goodman had organised. It ended in a huge drugs bust: as Hawkwind manager Doug Smith put it, 'It was exactly what would happen if you let Boss and Mick put on a festival'. "
On the first Glastonbury Fayre festival: "The combined underground press had a large military tent with a Soviet naval flag flying above it. Our next-door neighbours were Hawkwind, in a massive tepee of psychedelic tarpaulin supported on a conical cluster of scaffold poles... We might as well have been in the sixth or even the twenty-sixth century, as we told tall traveller's tales of intoxication, of outwitting the law, of the lights in the sky, lost continents, the lies of governments, collective triumphs and personal moments of gross stupidity, while the music of past, present and future roared from the pyramid stage. On that same stage Hawkwind hammered out their legend, and David Bowie, in a dress and still with his Veronica Lake hairstyle, played a magical set in the dawn."
Mr. Farren also describes the 'Nasty Balls' fundraisers to pay for IT's legal defence against a prosecution for obscenity, at which Lou Reed and Iggy Pop had performed: "This is not to say that the other old lags were lagging, hopelessly mired in flower power, or about to make their exits. Hawkwind played at the Nasty Balls, as did the MC4 - singer Rob Tyner having fallen out with his bandmates and winged it back to Motown - but, like I said earlier, the Pink Fairies showed up with pigs' heads on poles." He continues, over a number of pages which I have run here into a single, lengthy quotation:
"In the new life I was constructing for myself after the Nasty Tales trial and the gradual collapse of the underground press, I discovered plenty of ways to delay the inevitable. I would get up around noon, and go down to a pub called the Princess Alexandra where I could expect to find a quorum of a drinking crew that included Edward, Boss, Roger Hutchinson, John Manly, a friend of John's with the impossible name of Andy Colquhoun, Lemmy and DikMik from Hawkwind, and maybe Russell or Sandy from the Pink Fairies. Ladbroke Grove was a turbulent environment of incipient crisis, seductive stimulants, constant distraction and people dropping by. Lemmy, now playing bass for Hawkwind, could be counted on to turn up at all hours of the day or night, as speed challenged him to go for days on end without sleep and he felt the need for company or to borrow money."
"The biggest surprise in the neighbourhood was the sudden rise to fame of Hawkwind. After labouring long and hard in the raw, solar wind, they had scored a completely unforeseen top-ten hit with the uncharacteristically short and radio-friendly 'Silver Machine'. Mercifully the band appeared little affected, wither in lifestyle or attitude, by having their pictures in the papers or being on Top Of The Pops. Certainly chart success didn't allay Lemmy's constant need to borrow money from all and sundry. (A T-shirt was commissioned that read 'LEMMY A QUID 'TIL FRIDAY'.) The Hawk Lords continued to dine on the grease and flypaper at the Mountain Grill, and their only concession to pop stardom was going to gigs in a Mercedes bus. Manager Douglas Smith looked more stressed-out and Bill-Graham haggard than ever, but began drinking a much better brand of Scotch. The overall outcome of Hawkwind having a hit was that their lightshow, designed and furiously operated by Jonathon Smeaton, the ramrod of Liquid Len and the Lensmen, became truly stunning."
The book ends with Mick emigrating to the USA, and in a final quote, Hawkwind get another mention: "We were circling Parliament Square, past Big Ben, the statues of Winston Churchill and Richard I -the famous homicidal gay psychopath King- and drummer Al Powell announced that he was going to vote for Thatcher. 'Someone's gotta be in charge here'. 'Are you kidding me?' Was he winding me up? Apparently not. I think that was actually the moment I decided I wanted out, that it was time metaphorically to take ship and seek adventures elsewhere. If Al from Hawkwind could make such a statement, Britain as a nation had surely become so demoralised and collectively depressed that it would run, lemming-like, to any self-proclaimed authoritarian who promised an illusion of strength, order and return to some greetings-card past that had never really existed."
So there you are, Hawkwind were responsible for Thatcherism! 'Give The Anarchist A Cigarette' is the best thing I have read in a long time and I thoroughly recommend it. It's published in paperback by Pimlico and is readily available from http://www.amazon.co.uk. Many, many thanks to Mark Newbury for providing me with my copy and introducing me to the concept of Book Karma!
These I have never seen but know of:
|1991: 'The Never Ending Story Of The Psychedelic Warlords' by Brian Tawn and Gigi Marioni. This was not a private publication, but a glossy book published by "Stampa Alternativa", who are billed in English as 'the Italian Free Press'. It had a colour Barney Bubbles illustration on the cover (Doremi shield rendered in red-and-yellow) and was printed in an unusual format, being eight inches wide and eight inches from top to bottom. The book came with a free CD called "Hawkwind - Live in Space 1990" which was a 30-minute live recording from Leicester De Montford Hall on November 5th 1990. Apparently the book was written with the approval of and contributions from Dave Brock and Trevor Hughes of Hawkfrendz. The English text is by Brian Tawn of Hawkfan|
|fame with an Italian translation on the other half of the page. Also lots of lyrics (inc. Italian translation), discography, black and white photos, a reprint of Pete Frame's Hawkwind Family Tree and the music to Silver Machine.
May 2005: An update is in order as I've now obtained a copy of this. I've no wish to knock author Brian Tawn, who's done such a fantastic job over the years of keeping the flag flying - but I was somewhat disappointed with this book. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the publication of Ian Abrahams' "Sonic Assassins" and Carol Clerk's "The Saga Of Hawkwind" not so very long ago. By comparison this reads more like a pamphlet or set of album sleeve notes. In the acknowledgements the author thanks various others for allowing use of material they'd already published, and this encompasses maybe two out of the ten photos in the book (the other eight are high quality originals) which contend for page space with graphics by Bob Walker and Trevor Hughes, plus dual English / Italian text. All told there are 24 such pages, plus a double-spread reproduction of Pete Frame's Hawkwind family tree in the first section of the book. I estimate the actual narrative to come in well below 4,000 words.
There are 40 pages devoted to lyrics, again in both English and Italian, and these are liberally illustrated with the aforementioned graphical material. Time has been unkind to this section of the book, in that the lyrics to Hawkwind songs have become widely available via the Internet since "The Never Ending Story Of The Psychedelic Warlords" was first published, in 1991 (I think). And the same can be said of the seven-page discography which rounds out the book. These were no doubt wonderful resources at the time, and doubtless this entire book still is for an Italian speaker, but this is otherwise in the "nice to have" category for anyone who collects Hawkwind memorabilia.
I'll add a note about the free CD that comes with the book. As mentioned above, it's a 30-minute live recording, and the sound quality is excellent. When played on a computer, it's listed as a single 30-minute track with no separation between numbers. There's already a boatload of live Hawkwind from 1990 available on various CD's, DVD's and videos, and this is more of the same, albeit with a tracklist that doesn't just follow everything else that's out there. It covers, in this order, TV Suicide / Back In The Box / Paranoia / Assassins of Allah / Images / Hi-Tech Cities. The first of these are not too different from other recordings, and neither is Assassins of Allah. However, "Back In The Box" is the most muscular treatment I've yet heard of this song, with the whole thing being lifted several degrees by Dave Brock's riffing, snarling guitar - other, more defective, elements of the song are as previously heard and described. Except that Harvey outdoes himself for hideous crap spoken-word lyrics, which are just the worst ever, here. .
"Paranoia" is supposed to be the next track, but it's just a single riff from that song, which is used as a segue into the song that I prefer to call Hassan-i-Sahba in these post-September 11th times. As with Back In The Box, it does actually have some blazing guitar from Dave, but with all the versions of this already available, it's a case of enough already.
"Images" and "Hi-Tech Cities" have been less thoroughly documented, especially the latter. I always enjoy "Images" and this is well up to par, just like the one on a VHS tape that I reviewed recently (maybe the Promo Collection) and whichever 1990 live album it's on - possibly California Brainstorm. But I doubt, without doing an A/B listening test, that it's any advance on either of those renditions, or indeed, qualitatively any different at all. This is obviously not an issue with "Hi-Tech Cities" since this is the only live version available, and in fact technically the only Hawkwind version available when you consider that it originated on a Dave Brock solo album. It has a little more thrust than the studio recording, although much of it is still made up of sequenced synth parts. Not the greatest song either, but it's nonetheless a welcome addition to the body of their live work.
|1995: 'Born To Go: Hawkwind in the Seventies' by David Watson. I believe there was a single print run of 300 copies which were all sold (quickly!) by mail order. Described as "an essential spiral-bound labour of|
|love that documents Hawkwind's classic period. Steering clear of the anecdotal and controversial, this thorough and well written account sets the Hawkwind story against a background of the prevailing music trends, from the Underground scene of late 60s|
|London to the punk era and beyond. A limited edition that's crying out for a reprint. Shame the picture on the front cover is from 1981 (Sonic Attack tour) but you can't have everything!"|
|1995: 'Roadhawks Live 1969-95' by Adrian Parr: "Spiral bound 94-page A4 type-script guide to all known Hawkwind gigs until publication, interspersed with dozens of music press gig ads from the period. A product of 3 weeks searching through old copies of NME and Melody Maker at the National Sound Archives in London - Adrian Parr did this so you don't have to. If you can't sleep without knowing where the first night of the Space Ritual took place, or who supported Hawkwind at the|
|Adrian Parr has also completed a book called The Hawkwind Chronicles, which is a history of the first 30 years of the band. Last I heard he was looking for a publisher.|
|1996: 'Hawkwind and Related Worldwide Discography' by Adrian Parr: "Useful and exhaustive type-script A4 manual, documenting every slice of vinyl or CD you could possibly want from Hawkwind and their many satellite projects. Does what it says on the cover."|
|1986: 'The Approved History of Hawkwind 1967-82' by Brian Tawn. This 11,000-word colour, glossy booklet came free with an official compilation album of the same name,|
|issued in November 1986. The album was subsequently reissued as 'Anthology 1967-82' and the booklet was reprinted and reissued with it. As with "The Never Ending Story Of The Psychedelic Warlords" I've acquired a copy since first writing this, and it too is really not much more than a set|
|Spotted by Alan Linsley. From 'The Quest for Tanelorn' by Michael Moorcock. (Volume 3 of the Chronicles of Castle Brass. i.e. the 2nd set of adventures of Dorian Hawkmoon)|
|1996: 'Hawkwind Decoded 69/96' by John MacElhone: this one is a 35,000 word history of the band in French, with a discography, gig list, song list and lyrics translated into French! .
2004: Hawkwind - Sonic Assassins has its own page
2004: The Saga of Hawkwind also has its own page
|Thanks to Alan Linsley for some of the images and extra commentary|
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|Space Daze - the History & Mystery of Electronic Ambient Space Rock
Written by Dave Thompson, this was first published by Cleopatra (the American independent record company) in 1994, and the author has since (or before) penned a number of other rock-related books in addition.
It's a comprehensive survey of the development of space rock and covers artists such as Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Amon Duul, Kraftwerk, The Pink Fairies, Can, Gong, Tangerine Dream, and of course Hawkwind. The cover collage includes shots of Dave Brock and Bob Calvert at Cardiff Castle in 1976, and promises "Over 150 pages of Brain Damage!"
|Chapter 1 is entitled "The Space Ritual" and is devoted to Hawkwind, who are pretty much credited as inventors, or at least innovators, of the genre: "In the beginning, there was Hawkwind." The chapter includes a few well-known photos of the band and members thereof, and a loose biography of their early years down to the first American tour of 1973. Some of the writing is stilted, and occasionally confused. On the topic of their first appearance in the USA, we get: "But if the gulf that separated one nation from another was vast, that which Hawkwind would be closing the following evening was even vaster." Still, it's overall fairly readable if not very original - it seems to me that there's a heavy reliance on secondary quotation from other sources like press interviews.
Chapter 2 moves onto other ground with a look at the early Pink Floyd, and this indicates the way the book is structured, on a thematic basis first with chronology following in its wake. Chapter 3 uses "The Psychedelic Warlords" as its title but covers the general development of the genre, taking in outfits like the Pretty Things and The Deviants along the way. Succeeding chapters examine Gong and Daevid Allen, the UK free festival scene, kraut rock and the emergence of rave / techno music. As this book was published ten years ago, it doesn't quite cover the mid-90's U.S. space rock scene (if there was such a thing) although the postscript ("Prophets of Time") takes a look at Nik Turner's tour collaboration with Farflung and Helios Creed.
There are a few more places in the book after Chapter 1 where Hawkwind get a bit of coverage. The first couple of pages of Chapter 7 ("Uncle Harry's Very Last Freakout...") picks up the story from the first US tour onwards, and by now the author's enthusiasm is starting to wane, although he credits the "scaled-down majesty of Hawkwind's stage presence which still left the band's contemporaries in the comparative dark." But at the beginning of Chapter 8, he agrees with the prognosis that Hawkwind had become "simply a Metal band with a lot of fancy electronics."
All in all, this is a reasonable effort at identifying the various strands of space rock, especially if the subtitle ("...electronic ambient...") is taken into account. However, the author has not quite succeeded at creating a coherent story out of this disparate material and the result is vaguely unsatisfying. The book is worth a look if you have an interest in the genre per se, but otherwise you might want to pass it by.
|of extensive album sleeve notes - although it functions excellently if read on that basis. In fact you don't have to take my word for it as the textual content is here on my site. And here.
By the way, I'm none too sure about the provenance of the image shown directly above this text - my copy of "The Approved History of Hawkwind" looks nothing like that and has no illustrations. Maybe it's from the 'Anthology 1967-82' reissue.
|The NME Book Of Rock (1974) must have been one of the first rock encyclopaedias. Thanks to Steve G. from Warwick for the scan.I actually had the 2nd edition (1975), which had been renamed to "the NME Encyclopaedia of Rock" with a red and blue cover & a different entry for Hawkwind than the one shown here. Anyone who can scan that, please email me here|
|Cambridge Dorothy Ballroom on 27/10/1971, then this book is for you."|