|Loonies at La Luna
Here are two articles about a February 1994 gig played by "Nik Turner's Hawkwind" at Portland, Oregon.
One is a preview and the other supposedly a review, though it reads to me as though the reviewer didn't
actually bother attending the gig! Well, maybe he did.
Hawkwind bassist Ian "Lemmy" Kilminster went on to form rough-cut, proto-punk metal band
Motorhead, taking the name from a Hawkwind song. And such punk icons as the Sex Pistols' Johnny
"Rotten" Lydon claimed Hawkwind as an influence.
The Dead kept on truckin' along more or less intact, but Hawkwind's glory days ended shortly after
Lemmy left in 1975. Saxophonist Nik Turner left the following year, dismissed by his bandmates as being
too "over the top." As if to prove them right, Turner went to Egypt and recorded himself playing flute in
the king's chamber of the Great Pyramid at Giza. He then formed a concept band called Sphynx, which
wallowed in ancient Egyptian music, mythology and magic. Turner returned to a more rocking (although
no less weird) approach in the '80s with his band Inner City Unit.
The space odyssey continues. Last year, Turner collaborated with former Chrome guitarist Helios Creed
and members of Pressurehed on the Sphynx album (on the Cleopatra label, of course), which included 24
minutes of his 1976 pyramid session. Throbbing Gristle / Psychic TV guy Genesis P-Orridge reads hits by
science-fiction writer Michael Moorcock on Turner's most recent recording, Prophets of Time, which
runs from New Age-y atmosphere to psychedelic industrial anthems.
Hawkwind was in its prime in 1972 when it embarked on the Space Ritual tour, a psychedelic circus of
dancers, a light show, movie and slide projections, and two hours of mind-warping space rock.
Twenty-two years later, Turner hopes to recapture past glories when he brings his Space Ritual '94
version of Hawkwind to Portland. Original Hawkwind guitarist Dave Brock has also toured and recorded
with bands under the Hawkwind banner, hence the "Nik Turner's" prefix on the bill. But Turner recruited
original synth player Del Dettmar, so his version boasts more original members - for what it's worth.
Nik Turner's Hawkwind and their Space Ritual '94 tour should be an "experience" that appeals to anyone
with an interest in psychedelic, industrial and even house music. Dettmar reportedly plays an axe - literally.
He's wired a synthesizer to an axe that he manipulates to trigger sounds. Creed's intense guitar work is
always worth catching. And Turner, who's known for a theatrical bent, sports mime-like face paint,
barcode-lensed goggles and a hubcap necklace. Prepare for liftoff.
-Harold Olaf Cecil
A Space Oddity
Nik Turner's Hawkwind returns with a concert tour
that tries to be out of this world (La Luna 215 SE
9th Ave. Sunday, February 20th 1994)
In the long, strange trip that is rock and roll, the
Hawkwind saga ranks right up there among the
longest and strangest. Flashback to 1970: The
Grateful Dead are giving free concerts for their
flipped-out followers in San Francisco's Golden Gate
Park. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Hawkwind is
giving free concerts for its high-flying fans in
English farmers' fields. But Hawkwind played space
rock to the Dead's spaced hippie.
Although the Dead do the "Space Jam" drum thing in
concert, they're downright terrestrial, a virtual folk
band by comparison, that evokes such adjectives as
"mellow" and "laid-back." Hawkwind charts a more
bizarre course with sci-fi-inspired themes and
songwriting that alternates between hard riffing and
hypnotic grooves. Every song's a space jam, a
sonic rocket ride through the cosmic expanse.
Hawkwind back... with a vengeance (from the
Daily Vanguard, Portland State University, 24th
It is said that history repeats itself. There is some
truth in this adage when applied to the band
Turner's show at La Luna Sunday night was
preceded by "Iommi, Stubbs and Sleet" who offered
guitar-driven mainline distortion while playing to a
movie "Jupiter Odyssey," which was a sojourn of
the cosmos and local celestial bodies.
"Space Ritual '94" is a recreation of a tour that
originally took place over 20 years ago. That tour is
back. This time around, the tour features Helios
Creed on guitar and members of Pressurehed.
Hawkwind began exploring sound in Britain during
the "60s when experimental music fed off a young
generation in search of more than a narcissistic-materialist culture could offer. For Hawkwind, the guiding
hand in the production of their music was the optimism fostered by their following. These were the same
people who participated in the rise of British artists such as David Bowie and Pink Floyd. Hawkwind's
direction (like that of early Bowie and Floyd) reflected the need for freedom of expression, healing and
discovery. This vision has since faded for Bowie and Floyd, and the same can be said for the original
members of Hawkwind, a band that was torn apart by suicide and conflict.
The foundational vision of Hawkwind is carried on by Nik Turner, co-founder of the original Hawkwind.
For Turner, keeping in touch with the fans of his music is a primary concern. This concern stems from
his observations of what happens to musicians when "they start listening to what other people say they are
and stop listening to themselves." Self-aggrandizement is the ultimate downfall for an artist. It is at this
point when bands lose touch with the people who made them what they are and consequently, themselves.
To remedy the dangers of idolatry, Turner turned to playing his saxophone in a circus act.
Nik Turner's stage show reflects his philosophy on being a successful artist - that is, grandiosity must be
avoided at all costs. Hawkwind played in front of a projection screen black-lit by a pulsating wall of
amoebic-honeycombed structures emphasizing the organic nature of the music. The lanky Turner's
saxophone solos drifted effortlessly above the supporting chords of his band. His work with wind
instruments has an ironic side however, as his music is not the product of years of institutionalized
learning through a music academy. Turner remarked about his method, stating that "in Berlin I learned that
I didn't need a great deal of technique to express myself."
Turner's exploration of sound is fuelled by spirit which he sees as a central element in ancient cultures.
This spirit he believes was the cause of the creation of the pyramids of Giza, where in 1976 Turner
recorded himself playing the flute in the king's chamber. He feels this spirit is responsible for the incredible
acoustics that he experienced inside the pyramids. He believes it was soulless dedication by a highly
inspired culture, rather than the product of slave labor. Turner feels it is this kind of spirit which is absent
in western culture and in particular America, where desperation and spiritual poverty reign supreme.