|KUSF Interview 25/04/1995
that... Gosh, how do you introduce a band that's been around for twenty-five plus years?
DB: "Who, me? I dunno, you tell me!" (Laughs)
There's always new listeners.... We have Dave, Dave Brock of course...
DB: "Good evening, or good afternoon, everybody, whichever, wherever you are..."
Yeah, whatever time zone you're in. Richard Chadwick, who pounds the skins, and Ron Tree who's the new
vocalist in the band. So the best way to introduce this band to new listeners is to come out to the show tonight
- you're playing at Slim's. First time here since 1989, I believe.
DB: "Is it? Or was it 1991? I dunno, I lose track of time. Being a timelord, we do lose...we do go
backwards and forwards through time, we do forget... No short-term memory loss, but, er..."
Memory loss - but there's definitely some kind of force there. What is this force that has kept you going,
Dave, through all these-
DB: "What is the force? Well, it's fast-moving..."
That's keeping you going, through what is it, the Dharma Blues Band or something, was that the name of
your first band?
DB: "Yeah, well no, it wasn't the first one, it was one of many. We used to play blues many years ago. I
dunno, I just enjoy doing what we're doing, really. I mean, if we can do it...if it was boring...we do actually
get a chance to see a bit of America, which is nice..."
Right. Throughout all these years, if there's been one message that's a constant theme throughout Hawkwind's
career, could it be some sort of anti-establishment message? What do you think?
DB: "I don't know. What do you think Richard? You're good at these questions... Come on, boy!"
RC: "Yeah, I would concur with that sort of idea. It's all about the idea of a counter-culture soundtrack, if
RC: "Yeah, we've always been involved with new ideas, a whole new sort of delivery of lifestyle and what
have you. I mean, the same sort of thing that was begun here, what, in the sixties I guess, with the hippy
movement if you want to call it that. The counter-culture type movement. We've been involved with that
sort of movement in England for the last twenty-five years. Free festivals, things like that."
DB: " 'Twenty-five years of social research' ! And where has that got us? Nowhere!" (Laughs)
Exactly - social research. How does the social research reflect in your lyrics and in your stuff?
DB: "Well, I mean, we write these songs -basically sci-fi- we're quite into science fiction and earth magic, it's
a mixture of both really. Isn't that right, Ron?"
DB: "Oh come on!" (Laughs)
What's your favourite science fiction book, then? I know you actually had Michael...
DB: " 'Tiger, Tiger', I liked 'Tiger, Tiger' - now that was a good story line, they should make a film of that, I
thought it was great."
RC: " 'Stranger In A Strange Land' ".
'Stranger In A Strange Land' says Richard, one of his...Heinlein's thing, his book. I know Michael Moorcock
of course has collaborated over the years with you on many different pieces, writing some lyrics, and...
DB: "Yeah, that's right, yeah, we did the Elric show. We condensed five of his books into sort of one book,
as it were, and we did the whole story of Elric, Stormbringer."
Right, that was your '86 release, the Black Sword...
DB: "That's right yeah, we did a stage show. We took it on tour all over the joint for a year, didn't we, doing
that. Even Kris, here, was appearing. Kris was Zarozinia in it, actually, on stage, doing Zarozinia, weren't
Oh! Well! So, the science fiction edge, science fiction is definitely one way you can look at society, through
DB: "Yeah, well I mean, science fiction always becomes science fact, really, so you know... When you read
books from the Fifties or even the Forties, I mean lots of the ideas now are actually happening, so I mean, as
technology advances, it's continually going. Isn't that right, Richard?"
RC: "Oh yeah, science fiction's always been allegorical, sort of a statement about what's going on now."
Right. You guys write songs like, in the past, Urban Guerilla, Sonic Attack... Very violent, societal type of
RT: "It's a violent world, innit?"
You think the music reflects what's happening, or are you guys creating this social / sonic revolution?
RT: "No, we're not creating it..."
DB: "We're commenting on it, really."
RT: "It's what you see, innit? It's just reality..."
But twenty-five years of anti-establishment underground stuff... In 1977 you wrote this song called 'Days Of
The Underground'. I guess you wrote it with Robert Calvert...
DB: "In delusions of acid, was it, we saw through...sorry, I forgot the words!"
You're not going to do it tonight, are you? Are you doing it tonight?
DB: "No, I can't remember the words, how can I do that tonight?!" (Laughs)
In '77 it was a nostalgic look back at Hawkwind's formative years. So do you feel like you're still in that
underground? I mean, in '77 that song appeared to me to be a nostalgic look at something that was
happening seven or eight years before that song. Here we are in '95...
DB: "And it's still happening, the same thing is still happening..."
Exactly! It's still happening. Are you content to be in this underground and not deal with all the
pompousness of major acts?
DB: "Well it would be nice to have a bit more money, because, I mean, we do lots of benefit concerts in
England, I mean...you know, for different charities and so on. Because it's good to do it, if you don't do
these things, nothing happens - we've got to keep trying to sort of change things, no matter which way we do
That's cool. I wanted to go into the song 'Days Of The Underground' because I think that song represents the
spirit that's been running through Hawkwind...
DB: "Yeah, yeah it's true, you're right..."
'Days Of The Underground', Hawkwind, 1977: from the album 'Quark Strangeness and Charm', there we go...
Back here in Studio B, Ira here with Dave Brock from Hawkwind, Richard Chadwick and Ron Tree. Stay
tuned because we have a pair of tickets for tonight's show to give away. We definitely have a pair of tickets.
You know, in the past Hawkwind shows have resembled a circus, there's been five to ten people up on stage.
So tonight how many people are going to be live with you?
DB: "Um, four to ten!" (Laughs)
Four to ten?
RC: "An integral number, but yeah, round about four..."
RC: "There will be traces and afterglows and after-images of many more people..."
Lots of after-images of many people on stage tonight!
DB: "What has been and what is not..."
Right. The last tour that you did, I guess in '93, the 'Business Trip' tour as it was called, there was a trio -
how come you toured as a trio, things were trimmed down a bit. What was up with that?
DB: "Well, we were using MIDI basically. The idea was that by using MIDI, and linking the guitar up to the
keyboards, it was a challenge, in a way. Because Harvey Bainbridge, who used to play keyboards in the band,
left. So it just left the three of us so we just got it together and took on the challenge - clambered up the
ladder, and did it! It was a real task, I'll tell you, man. A lot of work, actually, playing all these instruments,
and using sequencers, you have to keep right on the case. And now we've got Ron, it's taken a lot of the
pressure off us, we can actually relax and enjoy ourselves, because, I mean... Ron's a bass player, he used to
play in a very well-known band in England."
What were they called? What band?
DB: "2000DS...a band called Bastard, wasn't it, or something?"
RT: "Bastard and 2000DS, yeah..."
Right. So Dave, how did ...
RT: "Yeah...both pretty good bands..."
How did you come to be the only survivor on this twenty-five year, twenty-six year long trip?
How did you survive, I mean, there's been so many people in and out of the band, how did you...
DB: "Well, most bands over a long period... I mean, Alan Davey, our bass player has been in the band since
Six, I think...
DB: "...four. He played at Stonehenge, the last big Stonehenge Festival was when he joined the band.
Richard's been in the band since 1988, so it's sort of a pretty stable band. I mean, as you go past, looking
over twenty-five years is a long time, so you're bound to have different characters going in and out because
it's a very free-form band, you know. People go in and out and give their little bits and pieces and then just
decide that they're going to form their own band and off they go and...fall over!" (Laughs)
Too bad Alan Davey isn't here because I wanted to ask him about his carpentry skills - wasn't he a carpenter
before he joined the band?
DB: "Yeah he was, but he refuses to admit it, though!"
I shouldn't have said that, now...
RC: "He is a carpenter, actually, yeah."
He plays his bass with a hammer, though, I've noticed that. He bashes away...
DB: "With his thumb, you mean!"
So, up to date, bringing things up to date...you know, in our new release section, KUSF's new music release
section, we've got two bands right now that are covering Hawkwind songs. Sabalon Glitz you heard earlier
today, doing 'The Forge Of Vulcan', and that band from Boston, what was it, Architect...?
RC: "Architectural Metaphor."
Architectural Metaphor do 'Sonic Attack' and hardly a year goes by without two or three new Hawkwind
covers entering our new music section. How do you figure?
DB: "Well, in England we actually get loads of covers don't we, I mean, there's a huge amount of different
covers, there's lots of different songs that we've been doing..."
RC: "Well with any band that have been around a really long time they're going to have a lot of influence on
It's quite a compliment. It's definitely quite a compliment - wouldn't you think it's a compliment that bands
think highly enough to cover your tunes...
DB: "Oh yeah, it's great, we love it. Especially when they do different versions, which is the way it should
be. It's no good doing exactly the same, I mean the joy is if you can listen to something and actually hear it as
a totally different sort of version. We're doing, lots of bands are actually doing lots of house or trance sort of
variations of a lot of our stuff at the moment, as well. Salt Tank being one of them - close friends of ours...
and Astralasia. Erm, yeah, there's quite a few actually, yeah."
Yeah, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to say that Hawkwind didn't influence the whole rave scene in a sense,
because it kind of shows what Hawkwind has done over the years...
DB: "Yeah, well with the lights, and I mean, we used to get slagged off for playing three chords all the time,
'boring rhythmic passages in three chords', you know, which is what we've been doing for quite a few years,
and of course, now everybody thinks it's jolly wonderful, but at the time... I mean, there's a lot of bands, a
lot of German bands - Can, a very well know band, and Neu!, Kraftwerk, all the German bands of that era...a
lot of really good space rock music..."
DB: "And I mean like Gong...they're still going, all these bands are still playing now."
Yeah. Daevid Allen comes through here a couple of times a year, yeah...
DB: "Yeah, we quite often play together in England, doing different shows..."
Right. So do you think that the underground alternative music scene, especially what we call here indie rock,
has kind of caught up with what you guys have been doing all these years, in a sense?
DB: "I dunno. What do you think, Richard? Come along!"
RC: "I'd say that all the music sort of fashion is just turning around, you know, so that we've had a long, a
big period of what you might call stadium rock, where the public interest is diverted towards bigger stars and
productions. Now you've got the indie scene coming up again, you've got a situation where people are
creating new ideas using the format of rock music. They're coming up with new ideas and there again, the
public, the general public, if you like, are taking an interest in that. So yeah, things are turning around."
Yeah, so, the music-listening audiences are coming around, a lot of the bands are being influenced by the
things you do, so it's kind of a nice payoff. So what are some projects...every year there's like five different
Hawkwind things that come out, we can't keep track here. Brian Tawn who writes the Hawkfan sends me a
list every once in a while of all the new things that you have out. What are some things that are coming out
DB: "In '95? Gosh..."
That's the year we're in, 1995!
DB: "That's next year, isn't it?!" (Laughs)
RC: "Well before we came away on this tour we were recording new material for an LP that we're trying to
get together for what, the autumn period?"
DB: "Yeah, yeah, we should be doing that, which is based on a good old space theme again, isn't it, that we're
Working on a new album for '95...
DB: "Yeah well, we'll probably get Mike Moorcock involved in doing a few things as well. Normally back in
England we have you know, fire eaters, mime artists, we have quite a big multimedia show going on, I mean
it's quite visual and quite exciting. There's always something dramatic going on, because we're a very free
range band, we don't actually play basically the same thing, I mean we do actually improvise quite a lot. So
um, there you go..."
Right - lots of improvisation over there... Over here it's a little different because you can't travel with all
those people across the ocean...
DB: "Yeah, it would cost a lot of money..."
We're looking for a new release in '95, Michael Moorcock.... Doesn't he also have an album coming out this
year, of his own stuff?
DB: "I dunno, what's that - the 'New World's Fair' is it?"
'New World's Fair' on Griffin Records. Michael Moorcock for you science fiction fans...
DB: "There's a book in it as well, I believe, it's a package, isn't it?"
RT: "A really nice package, yeah."
And that's available in England, I don't know about the States...
DB: "Yeah, if it's Griffin Records."
Griffin Records, OK, so it will be available.
DB: "You'll probably have to order it in your local record store, folks!"
Right. So tonight at Slim's, Hawkwind - Dave Brock, Alan Davey, Ron Tree, Richard Chadwick. Got a pair
of tickets... You ready to throw that question out?
DB: "Go on, then...go on, Ron"
RT: "Er, what songs by Hawkwind are on the Greasy Truckers LP?"
OK, you got that, what Hawkwind songs are on the Greasy Truckers album that came out, what, in '72 or '73?
RT: "A few years ago...it's rare, it'll take a real Hawkwind fan out there..."
It's real rare, yeah. 751-KUSF, for a true Hawkwind fan...
DB: "It's in this book here we looked at..."
It's in this book, we got it in the book. 751-KUSF...the first to ring...
DB: "I wouldn't buy it though, because Nik Turner's been telling a load of old lies again. What a c*** he is,
get him!" (Laughs)
You two guys don't like each other...actually, Nik and you don't like each other at all...
DB: "I'll tell you man, what he done is, er...oh, I don't want to discuss him."
Well he was here last year actually.
DB: "He's been a naughty boy, Nik Turner is, he's upset loads of people back in England. He's on their
blacklist all right."
Being a peacemaker is a little bit too hard for me today, so we'll leave it for now. I did have Nik in here last
year and we had his side, we'll get your side.
DB: "I've got nothing to say about him."
Yeah...but I've got those tickets for you guys tonight at Slim's: 751-KUSF for the first person who can answer
that question. And we're going to go out with this song, 'Right To Decide'.
DB: "Yes! The Right to Decide..."
You've got to decide...you've got to decide who's right and who's wrong...
DB: " 'And choose the side that you'll be on'."
It's a political song, right?
OK. 751-KUSF for those tickets. Come to Slim's tonight, check out Hawkwind...
[The live version of Right To Decide from 'The Business Trip' is played]
|The following is a transcript of an interview conducted
for San Francisco college radio station KUSF on 25th
April 1995. It helps to have a knowledgeable /
enthusiastic interviewer, but I have another reason for
being fond of this piece. When I lived in San
Francisco I could see USF out of my bathroom
window, and I had my radio alarm tuned to 90.3FM,
so that I would wake up to whatever they were
playing...it was never Hawkwind, though!
Thanks to Dave Law who provided me with the
cassette tape from which I transcribed the interview
(which was 14 minutes and 43 seconds long).
Left: Ron Tree, not a loquacious interviewee, seen on
stage at Slim's in San Francisco a few hours after the
interview was recorded on 25th April 1995.
OK...we would like to welcome Dave Brock and
Hawkwind here to KUSF. I'll let Ira take over...
Yeah, how you doing? Ira here, and finally these guys
have arrived. We just led off with "25 Years". That
comes out of, off the album Hawklords. And I threw
that one on there because this is sort of, according to
one poster that I saw for your tour, your 25th
anniversary tour, even though you're not calling it