|Simon King Interview, 1976
This interview, by Seth Linder, appeared in the 1976 Astounding Sounds tour programme
After a year of endless problerns which almost threatened the future of the group, the space warriors of
Hawkwind are back with a vengeance. A new single, Kerb Crawler, was recently released. They've
recently completed radio interviews with Swansea, Plymouth, City, Trent, Hallarn and Pennine, and with
Metro, Forth, Clyde, Portsmouth and Radio London to come, Seth Linder talks to one of the band's two
drummers, Simon King.
First of all a brief rundown of the new lineup. On drums there's Simon, who joined back in January 1972
and Alan Powell, a later addition, who's played with an impressive array of bands (including Chicken Shack,
Vinegar Joe, Pacific Gas and Del Shannon). Co-founders, saxophonist Nik Turner and rhythm guitarist
Dave Brock, are still going strong and vocalist / lyricist Bob Calvert is back after an absence of 2½ years.
The lineup is cornpleted by the legendary ex-Pink Fairies bassist, Paul Rudolph, and violinist and keyboards
player Sirnon House.
Hawkwind's sound, though always distinctive, has in the past shown an aversion to change, is this true of
the present Hawkwind?
"The music has changed a lot in the last year, and for the better as well. Every time someone left they were
replaced by a better musician and every time someone new comes in you get a different feel.'
Kerb Crawler, though perhaps not a top twenty certainty, is a pretty nifty single, did you record this as a
single or was it just another album track?
"We recorded Kerb Crawler for the album but when we did it we knew that if there was going to be a single
then this was it. So we added some chick voices and some brass and remixed it as a single. We won't be
too upset if it doesn't make the charts because it's still a good advertisement for the album and anyway our
audience is basically not a single-buying one."
What about the album itself?
"The album is called Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music. It's got three instrumental tracks, each one very
different - two of them are very laidback and the third is a ridiculous little electrical ditty - sheer madness.
Then there's Steppenwolf, which is a thirteen minute track and shows a lot of the musical changes. The
production is much better this time - we did it ourselves. We did have a producer set up but that fell
through, so we found ourselves in the studio on our own. Luckily Paul Rudolph has a lot of experience and
he knows what he's doing behind a desk. Dave Gilmour of the Floyd did some of the remixes, including
Kerb Crawler, and we did a lot of them ourselves."
A couple of previous albums have had definite concepts, does this apply to the new one as well?
"Not really. There's no story line or musical concept. It's meant to be like a 1930's Sci-Fi magazine and the
cover is meant to be similar to their artwork and layout. The track titles look like story headings for a
Sci-Fi magazine and in that way they're collective, but each track is totally separate."
Who contributes the material these days?
"The whole band's writing material now. It used to be just Brock and Calvert but now everyone
contributes. That's what's causing the changes in the music, because you're getting more influences and
ideas put in. It gives you more to work from."
The last year must have been a pretty traumatic one for the band, did you ever come close to splitting up?
"We had a pretty dismal eight months when things could have fallen apart. There were a lot of hassles what
with leaving our old management and record company. But the talk of splitting just made us laugh. It
always came from other people, never from the band. We were off the road all that time and we were
mostly working on separate projects with friends. But we did the album together which took a lot of time
and I think after everything that happened we're more together than ever."
Needletime's interview with Simon King