|The Never Ending Space Ritual
"Max checks the vibe with Hawkwind." From a publication called Brum Beat, November 1993.
Back again! Those perennial space-rockers Hawkwind have just wowed us once more with their heady,
psychedelic live shows at the same time as releasing their latest and quite brilliant album, It Is The Business
Of The Future To Be Dangerous. I find it amazing that, despite a quarter of a century of success,
Hawkwind have still managed to maintain an underground, cult status.
"It's just the way it's turned out." shrugged founder Hawklord, Dave Brock. "You don't encourage
something like that, you just do what you want to do." In some ways and in retrospect, Hawkwind could
almost be said to have influenced an entire lifestyle in terms of that whole free festival culture. Did Dave
ever see it like that?
"Not really, 'cause it was all going on in the 70s as well. There were people living in vehicles then, so
nothing's really changed. When you look back over the history of music, even to traditional jazz, you find all
these parallels. I think it's just that there are more people interested in music nowadays. I mean, there was
this programme on John Lee Hooker recently, and it's amazing that a lot of these old blues artists never got
paid any royalties -like us really- but by the time they got to their 70s, it appears, they finally get the money
that they've been working for all these years!"
If it appeared that Dave strayed slightly from the point there, don't worry about it, it's what made chatting to
him so interesting! We covered a lot of ground. For instance, during the time that Dave's been involved in
the business, did its present state excite or depress him?
"The music industry is a very corrupt business unfortunately. It's taken for granted that musicians are going
to put up with it. But what I'd like to see is a huge strike all around the world to draw attention to the fact
that so many people are owed huge amounts of money. We've been suing so many different bloody record
labels for years. When the miners sued the government, the government kept fobbing them off, knowing
that the miners could only go so far before they ran out of money. It's exactly the same with us."
What about those who choose to live outside the system and the pressures bearing down on them and who
to some extent have rallied behind bands like Hawkwind - d'you sympathise with them?
"Over the years, yeah. There are a lot of people in the travelling community that work very hard. But a
percentage cause a lot of problems -I think a lot of them originate from the cities- saying they want anarchy,
but what that turns into is greed. People should be able to do what they want, but they should be informed
There was this programme on Radio 4 about drugs, saying they should have been legalised years ago. Half
the population of this country have smoked dope, so it's time for the government to take a completely
different view of the whole thing. It's all down to being taught from an early age. People have been
prescribed some awful rubbish like Valium over the years. Kids are always going to take something, so why
not give them the knowledge of what is good and what's bad. Taking magic mushrooms for example is like
a ritual in a sense, you have to think about it first, like meditation, instead of just taking something, getting
pissed and then being sick."
Much has been made of the whole hippie-punk (I hate the term, 'crusty', it's so derogatory) / rave crossover
and the recent infatuation with 60s/70s psychedelia. Did Dave think that the time was ripe for Hawkwind to
be heralded once more as the seminal 'head' band?
"I dunno. I mean, a lot of Acid House artists have sampled our stuff and I s'pose people are just looking
back to see what else there is."
Although the new album is still very much Hawkwind, it seems to be exploring more ambient territory. Were
there any conscious moves in that direction in the approach to '...Dangerous'?
"Not really. It's probably more an extension of Electric Tepee, which was quite a step for us, as we didn't
have Huw (Lloyd-Langton) playing lead guitars or doing harmonies or keyboards anymore. It was more of a
challenge for us. '...Dangerous' is more of a jamming thing, where we just left the tape running. But bands
have been doing this for years - look at Can. We can afford to do that now that we've got our own studio,
whereas before we'd always be watching the clock."
If you've yet to check out Hawkwind, pick up '...Dangerous', then work backwards - you'd be missing out
if you fell into the cliched trap of thinking such a band are no longer relevant. If you're already a Hawkwind
fan, yet think that they couldn't possibly come up with something that would surprise you, again buy the
album, the first of many that I'm sure will be appearing over the *next* 25 years!
|L-R Richard Chadwick, Dave Brock and Alan
Davey seen with a...¦riceburner...¦.hmmm...¦