|Hawkwind of Change
Look Hear! In Star Spot, Gerry Crooks talks to controversial rock band Hawkwind about its new image,
drugs and changing music. 'Now we don't need drugs', says new-look band in comeback bid
From the Halifax Evening Courier, March 1984
Times have changed since the freak-out days of the late Sixties and early Seventies when Hawkwind was at
The band is presently on a 24-date British tour of the UK, which included Halifax Civic Theatre a couple of
weeks ago, aimed at promoting a new EP, "Night of the Hawks," and what appears to be some sort of a
If the eventual sound of Hawkwind has only been updated slightly, to fit in with a punkier image, the
attitudes of the musicians have somewhat mellowed. And that goes especially for drugs for which
Hawkwind was once well known.
Backstage at the Halifax Civic, Dave Brock, the man around whom Hawkwind has always revolved,
admitted frankly that the band's early albums had been produced under the influence of LSD. "To be
honest, more people like bank managers and accountants smoke dope than musicians. If you get smashed
every night, you can't go on stage," he said.
Nik Turner, the present vocalist / saxophonist who recently returned to the band after about three years'
absence, added that needs and views changed as people grew older. Audiences expected them to be the
same people that they were in 1970.
"The whole point should be to create a show, a trip in itself and you have to make sure that drugs don't take
over," explained Huw Lloyd-Langton.
"You can achieve the same effect using lights and sound frequency. The drugs were an over-indulgence,
we don't need that kind of thing," said Dave Brock. He lit up a roll-up and a sweet sickly smell drifted
across the room.
The ever-changing Hawkwind line-up has come together for this tour as Dave Brock (the only member of
every line-up), Nik Turner, Harvey Bainbridge and Huw Lloyd- Langton, with the final addition of Dead
Fred on keyboards and violin and drummer Rick Martinez, brother of Paul Martinez, who is presently with
There have also been a number of guests from the old Hawkwind days on the tour, including Bob Calvert
and Mike Moorcock and Motorhead's Lemmy. Their appearances, however, were restricted to Southern
gigs. "They only like going to London and the big gigs - they weren't interested in coming up here," said
So why was a small place like Halifax included in the tour alongside venues like Hammersmith Odeon,
Liverpool Empire and Manchester Apollo? There are in fact a number of smaller gigs, and the truth is, says
Nik, that the band enjoys visiting different places, especially in the North. People really appreciate the show
when a band plays somewhere where they have not been seen a great deal, he says.
Hawkwind was particularly impressed by Halifax's Civic Theatre. "It is a really beautiful theatre: we were
told it was going to be pretty dingy, and got a pleasant surprise," said Dave. "There are a lot of these
theatres about and they could make a lot of money by using them as rock venues."
Hawkwind's new EP contains typically weird titles like "Dream Dancers," "Dragons and Fables," "Green
Finned Demon" and "Night of the Hawks."
"It's better than before, more back to the lines of 'Silver Machine.' Of course we are hoping for another big
hit - we always are." said Dave.
Much of the new influence has come with the return of Nik, who has been carrying out all sorts of weird
projects of his own, such as recording inside the Pyramids in Egypt. "I feel I have been able to inject more
high energy," said Nik. "We are now including more hard rock while retaining the spacey image."
Future plans were for an "Earth Ritual" album and show - including lights and lasers and 360 degree stereo
sound system, a "total experience" to follow "Space Ritual."
"We are very inventive and always have been," said Nik. "Hawkwind is a band of the past and the future.
Possibly not the present, but definitely the future."
|Above, Harvey Bainbidge and Nik Turner on stage a couple of weeks earlier (16th Feb 1984)
Why we sacked Lemmy
Why did Hawkwind's Lemmy leave Hawkwind to form Motorhead? There are a number of conflicting
tales, ranging from comments that he had grown tired of the musical direction of the band, to stories that
he was sacked.
In fact, said the Hawkwind men, they were touring America and Lemmy somehow got left behind. "I think
he fell asleep in a toilet or something," said Dave.
Lemmy was found in possession of a quantity of white powder which the police believed to be cocaine. It
was actually only speed but Lemmy was held by the police and the band had to pay large amounts of
money to get a lawyer and get him out of jail.
"We were all pretty angry and decided he would have to go. It was the first corporate decision ever made
by the band." said Nik.