|A Metalhead Remembers MORE!
This recollection was written by Dave Law & is published here with his permission.
Left and Above: advertising for two different UK
tours in 1984
More advertising for the Spring
1984 tour and a couple of press
clippings from the period. All
this stuff courtesy of Dave
Law (well, his mate Simon Lilly
Part 2 - Curtain Raiser to Addiction!!
Our story moves on a year, so it is now the winter of 1983.
Before we go any further I feel that I must introduce a new character to the proceedings, this being my
good friend Barry. He was in many ways my co-pilot as we traveled through time-space dimensions in
search of new galaxies where Hawkwind would land their ship and then bombard these new alien races with
their own brand of "sonic attack". In reality, Barry was the only one of my mates keen (or should that read
mad!) enough to travel with me in my own "mothership" (actually a lime green Morris Marina, anybody
remember them?) as we traveled the length and breadth of east Anglia in our ongoing quest to see the
Hawks entertaining the locals, visiting along the way, such stunning (?) places as Dunstable, St Albans and
not forgetting the University of East Anglia, Norwich. Anyway enough of that old bollocks, it just leaves me
to say, thanks Barry for being there and sharing these times with me, "you were a great co-pilot to have
aboard the ship!!" Must stop this endless babbling, so on with the story...
In 1983 it would be fair to say that my home town of Southend-on-Sea was hardly the rock and roll capital
of the world (or the south-east of England for that matter!), so you tended to go to what gigs were on
offer, rather than pick and choose the "good uns", so it was whilst at a Gary Numan gig (there's the tenuous
link folks!) at the town's "Cliffs Pavilion" venue that I found out that Hawkwind were to play the same place
early the following year. Although I had been disappointed after my first encounter, how could I refuse
another chance to see them as it was literally on my doorstep (well actually about a mile away from my
doorstep!) also, something in my head told me that this was going to be different, better than the first time,
and for one of the rare times in my life I was to be proved right.
As the day of the show approached, myself and Barry (well certainly me) hatched a plan, whereby we
would stand outside the venue in the afternoon, where we would of course meet the band, and as a matter
of course get invited to the sound check as you invariably do!!. If this is not bad enough, I feel that now is
a convenient time to go into full confessional mode. What follows I will take full responsibility for, and in
doing so totally exonerate Barry from any blame, however I cannot do anything about the "embarrassment
factor" (sorry Bazza!)
After about an hour of hanging around outside the venue, it would be a fair to say that all was quiet on the
western front, or put another way, not a lot was happening. The band's gear had been "loaded in" in the
morning, and for some reason unbeknown to myself, we were the only 2 nutters, I mean fans to have this
"great idea". It was alright for Barry, he was still at school and that afternoon had opted to study "unnatural
behavior of teenagers" first hand rather than attend his usual lessons, me on the other hand had started work
and had to book Â½ a day's leave so that I could have the pleasure of standing outside a provincial town's
concert hall at the beginning of March. Drastic action was required! If the band was being that
inconsiderate that they would not turn up and see us then there was only one thing left to do, we would go
and find them and DEMAND AN AUDIENCE (you can see I was getting mad now).
Southend's premier hotel at the time was "the Westcliffe" and as luck would have it was no more than a
couple of hundred yards from the venue, obviously a band of Hawkwind's stature would be staying there,
so without further ado I made the decision "if they won't come and see us then we'll have to go and see
them, come on Barry let's go". At this point Barry did say something along the lines of "If they are there and
they do agree to see us, what are we going to ask them?" Hindsight being the wonderful thing that it is, I
suppose he did have a point, I mean what do you say to the captain and his crew, but at the time there was
no stopping me, well only one thing anyway - just the little point that I didn't have the bottle to make the
enquiries at the reception!!!. What follows is a rough transcript of the conversation that took place between
the receptionist and Barry (I remain silent throughout)...
Oh just one other small point, we're entering Southend's leading hotel wearing typical 80's metal garb -
jeans, concert t-shirt etc, sorry, I digress-
Receptionist: Can I help you?
Barry (a bit sheepishly, although who can blame him!): Er, yeah, er can you tell me if Hawkwind are
Barry (getting in the swing of things now!): Yeah, you know Hawkwind, playing the Cliffs Pavilion tonight,
are they staying here?
Receptionist (by this point totally confused!): I don't think so!
Barry: OK, ta, thanks, bye.
That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the afternoon, i.e. not a lot happened. Apparently the band
turned up about 20 minutes after we left and proceeded to do "Motorway City" at the sound check. I did
hear later that Dave Brock did enquire with the venue's management as to our whereabouts, only to be
informed that like Elvis "we had left the building".
On to the gig itself ("about bloody time" I hear you cry). There was one major difference to my previous
encounter with the Hawks and this was the fact that another close friend of mine was in attendance
tonight!. Their name was "Alcohol". Oh yes, a few beers and a few more bacardi and cokes and I was more
than ready for my own "Night of the Hawks!"
Support for tonight's show was something of a disappointment compared to the mighty "Baron Rojo" from
last time and came in the form of trad brit metal plodders "Bronz". There only saving grace was the fact that
not only were they called "Bronz" but they were signed to the "Bronze" record label, good marketing ploy! (I
think they call it product placement or something these days). Whatever way they were crap!!
And so it came to pass that once more it was time for our heroes to grace us with their presence. I had met
up with Barry (although why he would want to after that afternoon's debacle is beyond me). Along with
some of his other mates from school we made our way "down the front" in readiness for Hawkwind's
arrival. Together with the near capacity crowd we didn't have to wait long, and before you could say
"CHRIST, THIS IS BETTER THAN LAST TIME!" Baron Brock and his band of merry men (well most of
them seemed quite merry) were treating us to a set that was well and truly "rockin". Where we were down
the front was chaotic to say the least, a "mosh pit" had formed the minute that the opening chords to
"Angels of Death" had struck up and we were in the thick of it, and I think I can say in all honesty that at
the time I hadn't witnessed a band that evoked such a wild reaction from its audience from the word go.
It got better, not only were the band playing a "belter" but the Captain also saw fit to lay on a comedy
cabaret act in the form of Nik Turner in the now legendary skin tight spandex all in one suit, together with
the almost "phallic" hair spike. To me, it has always been one of life's great mysteries why that look never
caught on and became the spring 1984 "must have" outfit, still there is no accounting for the general public's
lack of taste. Nik, like any great fashion icon, also knew that to really make yourself look the part and stand
out from the crowd that it was important to "accessorize". He did this in the form of a large mystical, day
glo shield that he wore around his neck almost like an over sized medallion. On closer inspection it turned
out to be a painted wheel cover probably from a Mark 4 Cortina. Mind you I guess it looked good (and
mystical) from a distance.
One thing that I noticed about the stage show was that the backdrop was very similar (the same) as the one
used on the "Choose Your Masques" tour, only this time the TV screens had been replaced by projections.
At the time the concept of re-using props was totally alien to me as I was used to the big "metal"
productions of the day where it seemed that every band was trying to out-do the next. To their credit I feel
that Hawkwind should be applauded for the stance that they took, in many ways they pre-empted the whole
recycling boom that we now see every day in our own lives (I've always seen them as visionaries!)
Talking of the stage set as we were, I suppose that it was about a 1/3 of the way into the set the an incident
of "Spinal Tap" proportions took place. As well as the traditional backdrop the band was also employing a
couple of transparent curtains that came down in front of them to project onto as they played. As they did
so on this night, they managed to get themselves tangled together and in the process got well and truly stuck
in the down position. Cue frantic actions from the roadies, which ended with Nik holding the guy's torch as
he tried to undo the mess whilst the rest of the band jammed on a synthy type piece to pass the time. The
problem was sorted eventually and normal service was resumed.
As the band continued to play on at full tilt we were treated to excellent versions of "Master of the
Universe", "Social Alliance" and "Uncle Sam's on Mars" amongst others. The customary encores were
played and in what seemed like no time at all, the Captain was bidding us a cheery "thank you and good
night". That was it, what a performance, the band had left myself and I suspect the vast majority of the
audience well and truly "spent". I for one was a convert, Archbishop Brock, Reverend Nik and their select
band of choirboys had done their job, and done it well. In a mere hour and a half they had taken this
(reasonably?) sane lad, placed him at their altar (with a paper mache hawk on either side) and inducted him
into the cult known as the "CHURCH OF HAWKWIND". At long last I had found what I was looking for,
something I could truly believe in. I think I should stop there as I can hear the men in white (lab coats)
coming up my pathway!.
Cutting the crap for one moment and being a little bit serious it was a brilliant show and after saying my
goodbyes to Barry and the rest of his gang, I got myself together and made ready for the journey home. At
the time it was a custom at the Cliffs to hand back the used tickets at the end of the show as a little
souvenir. It was at this point that I had a brainwave, why not pick up a few and go wait by the back stage
door and get the band to sign them as they appeared. Having collected an ample supply of stubs I strolled
the short distance round to the back of the venue, where about 20 or so other fans had also gathered,
obviously with the same idea. Already the roadies were hard at work dismantling the gear. Pieces of props,
lighting and sound equipment packed in flight cases were hastily loaded onto the "Edwin Shirley" truck
parked by the rear entrance, in readiness for their onward journey to Southampton for the next show.
Occasionally there would be some interaction between the fans and the crew. I overheard snippets of
conversations such as "was Lemmy supposed to have been here tonight?", "Dave needs to be away quickly,
so I don't know if he will be signing anything tonight" and "yeah, Nik will see you all in a little while". Mr
Brock was indeed the first of the hawks to show his face and did need to "get away quickly". What was his
reason for his hasty exit I hear you cry - to beat the crowds? (No): the hordes of groupies ready to be at his
beck and call back at his hotel suite? (No); a massive row with one of the other band members? (the most
likely of the 3, but still no). NO... the reason for Dave's rapid departure was - Sergeant Bilko! Although he
did sign some bits and pieces (mine included) he said words along the lines of "can't stop, got to get back to
the hotel as Sgt. Bilko's on the telly in 10 minutes", and with that and armed with nothing more than a bottle
of cheap white wine for company (and possibly Kris Tait) he was gone.
Another thing that surprised me was the band's mode of transport. Whilst I wasn't expecting the whole Led
Zep bit i.e. police-escorted limos from the venue straight to the nearest airport, where the private jet is
"standing on the runway waiting to take off" (sorry I couldn't resist it). On the other hand I was expecting
the odd luxury tour coach (or two), instead what did our intrepid band of space travelling warriors, standing
at the edge of time have to transverse the galaxies - a pair of hired Vauxhall Astra estates, not exactly the
height of luxury, but once again only further endeared me to them as it was just so ordinary, and most un
rock and roll.
One by one the other Hawks also made their exits from the venue and we managed to grab a quick word
with them and get our bits signed. Whilst I think that the whole meet and greet thing comes as "part of the
territory" of being a successful musician I do feel sorry for them when somebody turns up with their entire
back catalog of the artist in question and then insist that they stand there and autograph the lot, and if
memory serves me right there was one such punter on this night, couple this with the size of the Hawks'
back catalogue (even then) and the words "pain in the arse" come to mind - but to give them their due, all
the band signed whatever was placed in front of them with no complaints. I have to say that the friendliest
member was "Uncle Nik", he invited us in to the backstage area and happily chatting to the fans and
answering questions. Somebody did ask him if Lemmy was meant to turn up tonight to which he replied
something along the lines of "Yeah, he was supposed to turn up but probably ended up playing a fruit
machine in a pub all night!"
And that was it, once I had all the band's signatures I wandered off into the night, knowing that "the habit
Once again thanks for reading my ramblings, hope that you enjoyed our little foray into the past and will be
looking forward the next episode!! Again please feel free to send feedback, positive or negative to
Just leaves time for a couple of quick "thank you's", thanks again to STARFARER aka Steve for letting me
write this gibber and finally to Simon Lilly for his seemingly endless supply of Hawkwind press clippings
and other bits and bobs, some of which adorn this piece!!!!!
THE END (FOR NOW)