Metal Masters

This page is so called because this article first appeared in an Australian rock mag called Metal
Masters, probably in 1993.
Chats & Interviews <|> Gig/Tour/Festival Reviews <|> CD/DVD/Book Reviews <|> Photo Galleries
Free Hawkwind Downloads <|> Resources <|> Other Features
News <|> Links <|> Search <|> Site Map <|> Home
into it.  Lord of Light they regard as a special anthem, an insight into religious things they want to believe in.  
The Church of Rock'n'Roll in Ohio are really nice people, they've got this huge room with these stereo
speakers, all black and white, really psychedelic, they sit there and drop acid and get spaced out.  I've got a
Starflight leather-bound book by these people on a ranch who've read all sorts of things into the words," says
Dave incredulously.

Perhaps the fact that Brock was initially influenced by the blues - the indisputable power behind heavy metal -
is why they have slotted so easily into the genre and had so many great names pass through the band:
Motorhead's Lemmy, legendary drummer Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith, etc.), synthesizer innovator Tim
Blake, saxophonist Nik Turner among many; and traversed other realms with the likes of late poet mad Bob
Calvert, sci-fi novelist Michael Moorcock and the Amazonian exotic dancer Stacia.  "I never actually copied
anybody because we were doing our own music which was space music and there was no-one playing what
we were doing."

Clearly, the total obsession with science fiction and realms beyond our own dimension has given Hawkwind
metal credence, not to mention its own massive following.  Their latest offering, Electric Tepee, which was
recorded as a trio including Alan Davey (bass) and Richard Chadwick (drums), is living proof that the
Hawkwind trip continues.

"In the 60's we actually started with a circus in Holland.  It was 1967 and they called it 'Tent 67', and we were
like the flower power band.  We came back to England and I started busking again.  There was a lot of
creativity going on, art and underground newspapers.  People put a lot of energy into trying to change things."

There were drugs.  "You can't say that the music came from taking drugs.  LSD did change a lot of things and
I think musically it changed us.  We all took it and I wouldn't do it now, it was like a lesson in a way: as long
as you can use and not abuse.  It's hard to explain to people unless they've seen Jimi Hendrix setting fire to a
guitar and doing all those sort of things...¦now it's like 'God it was rather old hat’, but then it was daring
music that was coming out."

Brock remains the one consistent base that has kept the Hawkwind carnival in motion, but Doug Smith (who
also managed Motorhead for years) has also passed in and out of the fairground and has been one of the family
since the start.  In 1987 Hawkwind signed a worldwide deal with his label, GWR, and has released the albums
Live Chronicles, Xenon Codex, Space Bandits and Palace Springs.  Lemmy joined in 1971 prior to the release
of the highly-regarded In Search Of Space and was sacked in 1975 after he was arrested on the Canadian
border "with a substance" which he was never charged for possessing.  "Lemmy is a fantastic character, he's
very intelligent which people don't believe.  They think he's stupid but he's really sharp and an incredible guy to
talk to - he reads a lot."

A mere 23 years on from the release of its debut single Hurry On Sundown, and the album Hawkwind, Dave
Brock stands as testament to a band that has not only earned its place in hard rock history, but is fuelling many
a dance floor track with its hard core samples...¦Expected later this year is a tribute album that will feature a
collection of bands doing Hawkwind covers, including UK techno wizards The Orb who are about to go into
the studio to remix Hawkwind's 1972 classic Silver Machine.  Brock doesn't find it unusual that the new
electronic age has taken them up.

"The funny thing is, we never really got accepted on the arty side, like Pink Floyd, but so many people copied
our very effects."  While many may have spurned them, Hawkwind has always been welcomed with open
arms by metal fans and once even graced the stage at Castle Donington in England's Midlands.

"It was really horrific, every band had to dodge all these plastic bottles and clods of earth, it was like a
medieval fair and instead of playing I became preoccupied with dodging - it was like being put in the stocks.  I
don't think we were ever just into heavy metal, really.  We were basically playing three- or four-chord riffs, a
very hypnotic rhythm using so many chords over and over again, with chants and spacey noises behind - stuff
like that."

So looking back, what according to Brock are the great Hawkwind moments?  Playing Berkeley University in
California and rigging up a telephone through the PA to speak to 60's activist/writer Timothy Leary who was in
jail at the time was one of the most notable...¦ "There was a terrible kerfuffle about that, the police raided the
hall, they thought Leary was making a personal phone call and he was broadcasting to the whole of Berkeley
University!"

Nowadays as the new age traveller is confronted by the forces of law and order, the free festival movement
that Hawkwind has always spearheaded is not so free, says Brock.  But then Hawkwind, with its powerful
ethos of holding to your own truth is no newcomer to censorship.

The band's follow-up to Silver Machine -which, incidentally, got to Number 3 in the charts and hit the Top 40
when it was re-released six years later- with the provocative title of Urban Guerrilla was withdrawn after a
week due to pressure from the record company because of a spate of IRA bombings.  "It was a load of crap
because we were just stating the facts and nothing's changed."

Even with new album Electric Tepee, they withdrew a track about Albert Dryden, the 51-year old recently
jailed for life who took revenge on red tape in front of several million TV watchers by shooting dead the
council planner who had come to demolish the bungalow he had built.  "The planner's family had got a lot of
shit, so we deiced to cut it out, we probably wouldn't have done that years ago."

The odd moment of censorship aside, Dave Brock remains a symbol of everything that was positive about the
1960's.  Brock's ability to transfer the idea about the rights of the individual into the new world order, where
the hippie has been replaced by the new age fringe dweller is clearly evident on the latest tour.  A recent all-
nighter was outstanding: Stacia's place has been taken by a fluorescent-painted vision who dances in front of a
tepee (an earth symbol) as images are projected onto the familiar 'screen' producing a three-dimensional effect
that hides the Hawkwind members.

Lost in the pulsating rhythms and dynamics of the audio generator, I am taken back to the tranquility of the
Devonshire landscape (a short drive away from mystical Stonehenge) where Brock's farm and studio are
located, and where I witnessed a classic Hawkwind scene.  Manager Doug Smith and the Hawklord himself
were having to shout to have a conversation above the distorted sound waves.  As I walked into the room to
start this interview Brock shouted "I've got a big audio generator with six oscillators..."

"What you're doing is...¦ you get these crossover points, and where oscillators are crossed you get this pitch
variation.  Now, if you wear headphones and listen to this, they do affect your brain eventually, and if you've
been doing it for hours and you stop, you get really spaced out on the sound - and you don't have to take
drugs."  Say no more!
After 23 years, UK sci-fi, acid rockers Hawkwind
are still going strong  They've survived the LSD
haze of the 60's, the departure of bass player
Lemmy (yup, as in Motorhead) in the 70’s, the
alternative festival lifestyle of the 80’s and
the technological revolution of the 90’s.  
Karen Hooper talks with Master of the Universe
Dave Brock to find out why the hell metal fans
are still into their maniacal synth-driven sound...¦.
"This one fan had Space Ritual" (one of the band's
songs) "tattooed on his back.  He came to a gig and
asked us to sign our names on his back so he could
get them tattooed...¦we're a very basic, tribal band,"
says the self-proclaimed Master of the Universe Dave
Brock of Hawkwind's near-obsessive fan base.  
Apparently in the US there is a whole Church of
Hawkwind.

"They listen to all the words of songs and read things