|Up In Smoke!
This article is from an issue of Kerrang! dated January 15th, 1994
"There just seems to be an endless saga of mistakes," he whines. "At one place they had a recent picture of
us and a list of all the gigs, and then itâ€™s got 'Latest record: Palace Springs' - which is a f**king four-
"We walked into the place in Berlin and thought, 'Oh, this is quite a nice stage'," says Brock. "But it was the
f**king stage where Run DMC were playing. We were playing in this poky dive in the same building, and
every time we played quietly you could hear all this f**king noise in the background!"
Apparently, four people were stabbed at the Run DMC show, and Brock muses that there's no trouble
between the bikers, punks, hippies and freaks that attend Hawkwind shows, because "they just get stoned
and have a good time". During the show that evening, the audience certainly do "get stoned and have a good
time", but having stayed straight, these seem like the worst excesses of hippydom.
The sequencers pack up, both Brock and bassist / vocalist Alan Davey sing out of tune because of the flu
and the Hawkwind dancer, while being a nice enough human being, has about as much chance of developing
dancing talents as Hitler has of being remembered fondly in Poland!
In short, the show, unlike the last one I saw, is total shite - but everyone is too stoned to notice. I mean, for
Christ's sake, some people are too wasted to even know the band are onstage - they sit in the bar like long-
haired cabbages, smoking huge spliffs and having conversations they'll have forgotten five minutes later.
This is pathetic.
"I've just been reading 'The American Dream: The History Of LSD'," Brock tells me. "That's quite
interesting, y'know, the way things went on, how the idea of LSD became corrupt. The purity of it all
became worse and worse, and it was mixed with more and more bad drugs," he continues. "People are so
callous and greedy. It's like dope now; it's just a load of old rubbish! I don't smoke very much any more
myself. Years ago, there used to be a really nice selection like there is over here, but in England it's cut with
all sorts of crap now. Making it legal would solve a lot of problems, but it's the way things always get
corrupted, isn't it? The ideas are good, then it becomes wonderful and a lot of people get involved; then it
starts going downhill when people start making money out of it."
So is everything is destined to turn to shit?
"Yeah," nods Brock, "that's the way it goes. As you get older in life you see how things are; people striving
to fulfill their dreams, and eventually they become sour. You find that with lots of wonderful ideas. It's like
writing a magazine: at first you get a lot of enthusiasm, and maybe you start selling a lot of copies, but
people get a change of lifestyle and their attitude changes. It's bound to, with money being involved, and
then the whole format will change."
"I suppose a true revolutionary is someone who builds something up but then tears it down and starts on
something else, and just continually does that."
Brock makes no secret of his dislike of the press, and in many ways has good reason for it. Hawkwind have
been harshly treated in their 23 years to say the least, but at the same time Brock is his own worst enemy -
being jaded and cynical. Hawkwind should, by rights, be as big as Pink Floyd, but Brock is only too willing
to bite a helping hand. He recently blew out a BBC Radio One interview at the last minute, and Davey had to
stand in for him; all they wanted to do was play some of his music and have a chat.
In contrast, drummer Richard Chadwick is almost beautifully naive. Despite looking like a pixie and wearing
an awful jumper, he is one of the nicest people you could wish to meet; perhaps too nice, as Brock is right -
a lot of people are money-grabbing scum and Chadwick is an obvious target. On the other hand, Chadwick
was at Stonehenge the year that Crass played and some biker chapters decided to kick the living shit out of
all the punks. Chadwick had a mohawk then, and played in an Anarcho-Punk band called The Smart Pills.
Like many people, he's held the shitty end of the stick and seen dreams turn into nightmares, but from our
brief meeting it's difficult to imagine him ever being bitter.
Chadwick thanks us for coming all this way to do a feature; Brock, having talked about turning gigs down
because "money's not everything", turns round and sneers, "Well, they get f**king paid for it!" Two very
different sides to the same coin, while Alan Davey is perhaps a mixture of both.
What is it that makes people sell out and lose sight of their dreams?
"I suppose they get swallowed up in the morass of average jobs," shrugs Brock. "We've all done average
jobs, and a lot of people just grit their teeth and plough on. I mean, we've got guys who are bank managers
and directors who come to see us. They're real Hawkwind freaks, but when they've got their suits on
they're quite powerful-looking characters."
Don't you find that an offensive thought? I mean, bank managers are hardly known for their ethics.
"Yeah, but that's their prerogative," argues Brock. "At least I have my principles; other people don't have so
many principles. I suppose it's getting to an age where you're obliged to become normal. I mean, you could
be 50 and looking as you are; there's no reason why you shouldn't, but the problems we get all the f**king
time! I always get pulled at customs just because of the way I look."
So people give up because it's easier?
"Yeah, they do f**king give up," spits Brock, "and they shouldn't. If you stick to your principles, you
change things; if you give up, you don't!"
And, alas, those positive words are the last thing Dave Brock says before curtailing the interview. After the
gig he leaves quickly for the hotel, still fighting, but already defeated by his own attitude. Chadwick stays
behind, happily bombed. A hippy trundles through the backstage area. "How do I get out?" she says.
Chadwick grins, a Hawkwind grin - or at least what you imagine a Hawkwind grin to be. "Close your eyes
and make a wish," he replies.
If you thought Hawkwind were just dippy old hippies,
think again! MORAT catches up with the original
Space Rock kings in Europe's dope capital,
Amsterdam, and discovers the dark side of leader
Love and peace? Bollocks! The Sex Pistols were
right, NEVER TRUST A HIPPY!
Hawkwind vocalist / guitarist Dave Brock has a smile
that can light the place up like sunrise on the Summer
solstice, but here at the Patronaat in Haarlem, just a
few miles outside Amsterdam, he's giving off vibes
(man!) like a Saturday night in the heavier parts of
Glasgow! You could cut the atmosphere with a
Having ranted on about what 'c**ts' the music press
are and how this tour is a waste of time, Brock sits in
the comer of the room with his back to us, drinking
honey and Jim Beam to try and shake off a dose of
There were a couple of sidebars accompanying this article and here they are:
In their 25-year history Hawkwind have influenced countless combos! Phil Alexander picks out three outfits
who owe a debt to Dave Brock and his troupe!
East Coast acid-heads Monster Magnet are one of the current crop of post-Grunge combos to rely on the
dynamics (not to mention hallucinogenics!) of the early Hawks. Magnet mainman Dave Wyndorf openly
admits that while he was growing up, his brother played him Hawkwind masterpieces like 1972's seminal
'Doremi Fasol Latido' offering and the double-live 'Space Ritual'. In fact, the Magnet used to cover such
Hawk cuts as 'Master Of The Universe' and jam for hours in the early days. Their latest LP, 'Superjudge',
boasts a revamped version of the Hawks' trippy anthem 'Brainstorm', by way of homage. Recommended
vibes: 'Spine Of God' and 'Superjudge' LPs.
Rap Metal noise terrorists Senser have supported Hawkwind at numerous all-nighters over the last few years.
Their open-minded set of influences could be deemed as being inspired by Hawkwind's constant absorption of
sounds and moods. Far from being cheesecloth-wearing merchants, Senser nevertheless do manage to
combine the ambient elements of '70s Hawkdom alongside a set of free-thinking, anti-Fascist politics.
Recommended vibes: 'The Key' EP.
The most prolific Space Rockers in recent times, Ozric Tentacles produce soothing platters that rely on the
Hawk heritage at its most mellow. Deeply trippy, their albums fuse a certain Progressive Rock savvy with
Jazz fusion, synth-overload and a nod in the direction of Hawkwind's use of flute-ferreting. Again, the Ozrics
have supported Hawkwind on countless occasions, their artwork bears a similarity to later Hawk-art, and they
adhere to the same open-minded set of values.
Their staunch following of travellers could easily be the same audience that pack out each Hawk show.
Recommended vibes: 'Pungent' Effulgent' LP..
Time Bandits - Morat charts pivotal Hawkwind moments from the 70s!
August 1971 (sic)
Hawkwind play a free gig outside the Isle Of Wight Rock Festival as a protest at high ticket prices. The gig
becomes legendary, but in actual fact is no different to Blazon playing in the car park at Donington! But
who'd wanna see Hawkwind when you could be watching Jimi Hendrix's last gig?
Hawkwind play Glastonbury Fayre with dancer Stacia making her debut appearance, and poet Robert Calvert
on vocals. At least they recruited Lemmy a month later and hit the charts with the mighty 'Silver Machine'!
'Urban Guerilla' makes Number 39 in the charts but is withdrawn because of worries about being associated
with the IRA...
Hawkwind play a benefit gig for acid guru Timothy Leary, who's in jail for being acid guru Timothy Leary.
Right on, man! Turn on, tune in, er, get nicked!
Lemmy gets caught with some illegal nasal powder and spends five days in jail. Hawkwind fail to play a
benefit gig for him and instead chuck him out of the band. They then headline Reading Festival (presumably
not worried about ticket prices) and Stacia leaves to get married.
Who gives a f**k what Hawkwind were doing? The Sex Pistols release 'Anarchy In The UK'.
Still don't care. The Pistols get to Number One with 'God Save The Queen'. Death to all hippies.
Some guff about being called The Hawklords instead of Hawkwind for legal reasons. 'Silver Machine' is
re-released. Like, yeah, far out!
Hawkwind play Leeds Science Fiction Festival. While everyone else is singing about the real world,
Hawkwind sing about little green men to sad computer nerds in anoraks. Well okay, so maybe they were
ahead of their time, considering all the virtual reality stuff 15 years later!