The 'Wind Of Change

This article first appeared in Melody Maker on 5th January 1980
With the Seventies drawing to a close,
Hawkwind members Dave Brock and Simon
King recently took time out to look back on the
history of the band, now celebrating its tenth
anniversary.

Following the success of their nationwide trek
last November the group enter the Eighties with
renewed energy and much optimism for further
triumphs. The line-up has altered considerably
over the past decade, and currently it comprises
Brock on guitar and vocals with King on
drums, guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton, bassist
Harvey Bainbridge and electronics wizard Tim
Blake. Despite constant reshuffles, Hawkwind
have still managed to retain a healthy following,
and seem to attract new fans all the time.

"They're getting so much younger," Simon was
swift to point out, "and that's what really blew
us away this time around. In fact, in
Wolverhampton I was ligging in the bar and I
approached a couple of kids all decked out with
badges and and patches, to ask them how old
they were in '72 when 'Silver Machine' first
came out. It turned out that the guy was seven
and that the chick was eight at the time. They
said that they liked the album, referring to
'PXR5', but when I asked them about the
others they both looked at me in amazement
and said
'what others?"

The last series of British dates was actually the first Hawkwind tour for quite some time, the previous
Hawknest activity being over a year ago, when the "Hawklords" album was released with an
accompanying tour. It looked then as if Hawkwind itself was a thing of the past, although Dave
Brock now feels that the Hawklords affair was merely an "offshoot of the main band". As it
happened, Hawklords didn't work out because lead singer Bob Calvert appeared to take it over,
making it seem like his solo venture.

"That's why I didn't want to do the tour, even though I'd played on the album," stressed King. "It was
just like Bob and a backing band - which had little to do with the real essence of Hawkwind, where
essentially there are four or five musicians, all of whom are fronting and backing the show. If ever
the guy wanted me to do some work for him in .the studio, I would - but I couldn't go on a tour."

Bob Calvert left the band a year ago, and subsequently the recording contract with Charisma fell
through. Dave offered an explanation for the relative silence that followed:

"When Bob finally freaked out on us, we were once again left as a band and not part of a stageshow;
but after coming to an end with Charisma, we began running into trouble and we almost starved. It
was a pretty rough ride, but nevertheless we kept together when Hawklords finished. We went up to
Rockfield a few times, even though we didn't have any money, just to keep the nucleus of the band
together.

"During the summer we started to sort out material, and then before the tour we rehearsed for about
three weeks. There was no record company finance for the tour, and we had minimal publicity, yet
we still managed to sell out all but four gigs."

So what's happening now as far as a deal is concerned?

"We're going to sign with Automatic Records," Simon announced. "You see there was no way we
could have got an album out for this last tour, but we were simply determined to get out and play
again. We preferred to wait until after it was over before getting the deal finally sorted out. The same
band that played the recent concerts will be doing the record, though, and it should come out in May
or June."

That outfit includes electronics genius Tim Blake, the newest recruit to the band, and apparently his
presence has been most beneficial. Dave Brock is especially happy with the new man, pointing out:

"When I first rang him up to see if he was interested in playing, he creamed his pants at the thought
of joining Hawkwind. Things have worked out really well with Tim - we're able to have a break
during a gig, while he does his solo spot. The show starts off with five or six straightforward
numbers, which last for almost an hour, and then there's Tim's bit with the lasers and the electronics,
which takes up about 15 minutes and gives us a chance to go off and get our heads straight."

During the tour, much to Dave's delight, a number of faces from the past turned up backstage.

"It was great because DikMik was at the Hammersmith show, and when we played at Leeds Nik
Turner was there, and he came up on stage and joined us for 'Brainstorm'. We often see Lemmy
these days (who doesn't?), as we have the same management."

How about Bob Calvert?

"I haven't seen him since he left in January," Brock admitted.

Strangely enough I bumped into Mr Calvert several months ago, and subsequently spent an afternoon
chatting to him at his London flat. He was working on a project entitled "Lord Of The Hornets", a
highly imaginative story around which Bob had recorded a number of tunes with the aid of Lemmy,
Simon King, Huw Lloyd-Langton and ex-Hawklords keyboard player Steve Swindells. At the time he
was obsessed with computers, and hardly a minute passed without the conversation returning to the
silicon chip.

Yet, despite his various quirks, Calvert is extremely talented and I'm certain we shall hear from him
again. In spite of their break-up, Dave Brock also has a lot of regard for him, emphasising: "Calvert's
a very clever man."

Dave has lived through many different bands going under the immortal name of Hawkwind, and on
reflection he feels that the first album was the best. Simon King's favoured line-up was the one
featured during the "Space Ritual" tour, but both musicians agreed that they are happier now than they
have ever been.

"I haven't enjoyed myself so much for at least three years," Dave stated. "This last tour was really
fun. We'd had our little holiday earlier in the year, but now we're getting back into the swing of
things. We'll definitely progress from here, and I think that the reason Hawkwind has lasted so long is
that we do what we want to do. In many ways this is only the start of it all!"

-Steve Gett
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