|Hawkwind Press Releases - Part 13
Above: an already familiar image which was
released as a Charisma promotional photo, and
accompanied the text press release (left and
below). This particular press release is a profile of
the Hawklords, and was written and issued by
Polydor Inc. in the USA, who were presumably
Charisma's partners / representatives in Noth
America (even though they had been allied with Sire
a year earlier). The text didn't reproduce very well in the above scans, so here it is retyped and cleaned up
a bit. I have, however, left in several factual inaccuracies that featured in the original text!
The Hawklords, formerly known as Hawkwind, is a band that thrives on the road. Their 1978 autumn
tour of the U.K. was a 36-date series that brought them before audiences totalling over 75,000. Melody
Maker reported that the London audience at Hammersmith Odeon "went absolutely bananas, and gave the
band the kind of reception that hasn't been seen at Hammersmith for many a gig." They have yet to play
the United States as Hawklords, but as Hawkwind, they have headlined three major tours here and sold
out numerous 10,000-seat auditoriums.
A lust for live performance was the major cause of Hawkwind's metamorphosis into Hawklords. In
Winter 1978, keyboardist and violinist Simon House left the band temporarily to tour with David Bowie.
Shortly thereafter, lead vocalist Bob Calvert and guitarist Dave Brock -the main figures in the Hawklords-
were encountering difficulty convincing their fellow members to play free concerts, benefits and
festivals. So they put together a new rhythm section, with Harvey Bainbridge on bass and Martin Griffin
on drums, called themselves the Sonic Assassins, and began to play the dates they'd previously been
forced to turn down. By summer of 1978, Bainbridge and Griffin has been absorbed permanently, and
the name of the group was changed from Hawkwind to Hawklords. Later that season, the gap left by
House's departure was filled by Steve Swindells. By autumn, the Hawklords were out on tour with the
new lineup of Calvert, Brock, Bainbridge, Griffin and Swindells.
25 Years On, the Hawklords' newest album for Charisma Records, combines rock, fantasy and humour
into a concept that formed the basis of the group's most recent stage show. The album's theme is the
story of Pan Transcendental Industries, a massive corporate organisation dedicated to the unividation of
religious thought and modern technology. Pan Transcendental manufactures car doors, then removes the
wings of angels and replaces them with the grey metal doors. "It might sound like a whimsical fairy
story," says Calvert, "but it's a concrete image that has something to say about modern technology. It
can be absurd."
The image is made more concrete by designer Barney Bubbles' album cover, which represents a Pan
Transcendental brochure design. The black and white photo illustration of a worker holding a light beam
is emblazoned with the word "Hawklords" in fluorescent graffiti scrawl, suggesting that the band's fans
engaged in a little playful vandalism at the Pan Transcendental plant. The Hawklords' attitude to
technology, however, shouldn't be interpreted as simple nose-thumbing. "Without modern technology,
bands like ours wouldn't be able to produce their music," says Calvert. "It's something we have to live
The Hawklords history began in 1970, when Calvert and Brock formed the group Hawkwind. Within a
year, Calvert and artist Barney Bubbles began collaborating on the design of the band's total presentation,
including the stage show, which grew more elaborate with the addition of dancers and special effects.
Hawkwind scored their first big British chart hit with the single "Silver Machine" in 1973. Their success
enabled them to mount the international "Space Ritual Tour," which made six U.S. stops, including a
sold-out date at the Chicago Auditorium.
The tour was followed by a double live album and the single "Urban Guerrilla", which rocketed into the
Top 40 on the British charts within one week. The controversial nature of the lyrics, however, brought
political pressure on the record company, and the single was withdrawn. About the same time, Calvert
left the group to pursue a solo recording career. Hawkwind prevailed, embarking on their "1999 Party
Tour" of the U.S. and England in March 1974.
They returned to the U.S. for a two-month tour in October 1974. At this point, they had nurtured a
sizeable number of U.S. enthusiasts in the major North-Eastern and Midwestern markets. In May 1975,
with Bob Calvert fronting the band, Hawkwind mounted their most extensive American tour to date,
playing 27 engagements and drawing audiences of over 10,000 in cities like Toledo and St.Louis.
Hawkwind signed with Charisma in 1976, and released the album Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music.
Their second album for the label, Quark Strangeness and Charm, was released in 1977. It wasn't till
Spring of 1978 that the band re-signed with Doug Smith, who had helped nurture the band through their
early years, and renewed their affiliation with artist / designer Bubbles. The change in name, 25 Years
On, and the tour followed.
With a new name, fresh players, and their established following to rely on, the Hawklords are once again
ready to master audiences the world over.