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Thread: Hawkwind, an appreciation.

  1. #26
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    Back in the 70’s / 80’s I was completely unaware of Hawkwind, other than their occasional mention on the TV comedy “The Young Ones”. In the 90’s I had a friend of mine who tried to get me into their music. He would mail me cassettes of their stuff, but nothing ever really clicked with me. Then finally when they were going to play NEARfest in the early 00’s I tried exploring them again and for some reason this time it clicked. I now own about 10 of their albums and dig most of what they do. My favorite would probably be “Hall Of The Mountain Grill”.

  2. #27
    I've seen them 100+ times since 1985. My first concert was Chronicle Of The Black sword, it blew my little head apart! To be honest, I lost track somewhere in the after 70 but that was about 15 years ago so it would be over 100 now. Probably the band that's had the most influence on me over the years. My favourite stuff is the Bob Calvert albums from 1976-79 but I was a bit too young to catch them, although I did see Bob live a few months before he died.

    I think the albums have been poor to patchy since the fantastic Electric Teepee on 1992, although I do, of course go and see them whenever they're playing.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monet View Post
    I'd like to recall here two Hawkwind's DVDs that I really enjoyed, both released in 2004. First is "Solstice at Stonehenge". This DVD was released to mark the twentieth anniversary of Hawkwind's gig at the Peoples' Free Festival at Stonehenge during the Summer Solstice 1984, and this small-scale snippet of film is a beautiful yet important document of a time when there was still an amazing hippy spirit. Highly recommended 'cause Hawkwind blaring the audience into space with their high-voltage space-rock and fantastical showy behavior of Nik Turner, so fasten your seat belts and take a dazzling trip into times and a world that long gone past.
    It was quite a festival. Four of us traveled down from Glasgow for this one, and when we got there we found that the flysheet of the tent we had brought was missing. This turned out not to be a problem most of the time, as the weather was surprisingly mild that year. We were there for around a week. I took a bus into London one day and stayed over with a girlfriend, missing the only downpour (and a Roy Harper set, sadly). My friends were a bit bedraggled when I got back.

    Hawkwind played two sets on the main stage at sunset before the solstice and sunrise on the solstice. The sunset concert was Alan Davey's first show with Hawkwind and was a fairly normal set for that time, incorporating most of the excellent 'Earth Ritual Preview EP' that had recently been released (this is collected on the Atomhenge remastered version of 'Chronicle of the Black Sword' as bonus tracks) as well bringing in Robert Calvert's 'The Right Stuff' from 'Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters' which is a terrific album that features pretty much all Hawkwind band members of that time (1974). Also played from that album was 'Ejection' but this track had already been incorporated in to earlier shows on the 1984 tour. The sunrise concert was less typical and featured songs that ventured off into long improvisations based around Harvey Bainbridge and Dave Brock's synth explorations with Nik Turner's typically madcap free jazz sax and punky vocals over the top.

    Later that day, Nik played a fairly offbeat set at the pyramid stage, and that night the Cardiacs played. It was quite the day. With regard to the hippy spirit, it was definitely still there, but I found a passage in Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi's book congruent when Kavus described the Castlemorton rave of a few years later. "We found ourselves among parked BMWs and Mercedes, circled by mean-looking coke dealers in puffa jackets." This too was the case at Stonehenge in 1984. By then, the free festival scene was already too big and unwieldy to survive and was being predated on by all manner of dodgy ne'er-do-wells. While most of the people there were still participating in the unbridled love, hedonism and interconnectedness that comes from having a chemically induced seratonin lift, there were also plenty of people who were there for other reasons, and you saw that if you happened to get lost on your way from stage to tent.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by revporl View Post
    I've seen them 100+ times since 1985.
    Same, though I started a few years earlier, but living in the US I don't get to see them as much any more. If you aren't past me yet, you soon will be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Certainly their 70s run is all basically variations of 'pretty great'.

    There are definitely some treasures after that, although I can't say that I've heard more than 25% of their studio output since about Church Of Hawkwind (1982).

    I saw them as a trio in 1992 and they were fantastic.
    Yes, I like all the Liberty/United Artists and Charisma stuff, but I think the sound became a lot slicker after Robert Calvert left and Dave Brock steered the ship. Having said that I do enjoy Levitation as it was the first album I heard of theirs. I have those two Atomhenge anthologies which will do me for the later stuff.

  6. #31
    Very informative thread! Thanks for starting it, DrGoon! The stories are great, too!

    As I mentioned in the Jack O' The Clock thread (of all places to discuss Hawkwind, that place seems the least likely), I have only recently dove in. That dive has been hard yet not quite all-consuming: Blue Öyster Cult is the other band I've recently discovered and am currently obsessed with. (I did not realize that there would be some overlapping themes and styles between the two bands; I wonder if they are aware of each other.)

    I'm pretty sure I bought Warrior one night when I wasn't quite in my most sober of minds. I had told myself that I needed to buy less music, and, upon arrival, I questioned my decision. The opening of "Assault and Battery" was enough to convince me I had made the right decision. Those opening lines from Longfellow's "Psalm of Life" have never sounded better (sorry, Sea Nymphs).

    I'm moving through all the periods of the band, trying to absorb everything. I imagine it will take a while. Perhaps my favorite thus far is Quark, Strangeness and Charm. Hawkwind 50 is a pretty damn good live album. Lots of energy.

    I see a new album is on the way, too. I'll happily have that be the first Hawkwind album I've bought upon release.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  7. #32
    Oh. I shouldn't forget.

    I picked up a few Moorcock books, too. I guess I'll see how those land.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  8. #33
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    I got into Hawkwind in the early 80's when they were among the bands (Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Saxon, etc) that me and my friends listened to. I saw them on the Choose Your Masques tour. They were terrific but Nik Turners bodysuit was a bit distracting. I don't have a huge number of albums. Personally Space Ritual is definitive and I'd rank Quark Strangeness & Charm along with In Search Of Space as my favorite studio albums.
    Ian

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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Very informative thread! Thanks for starting it, DrGoon! The stories are great, too!

    As I mentioned in the Jack O' The Clock thread (of all places to discuss Hawkwind, that place seems the least likely), I have only recently dove in. That dive has been hard yet not quite all-consuming: Blue Öyster Cult is the other band I've recently discovered and am currently obsessed with. (I did not realize that there would be some overlapping themes and styles between the two bands; I wonder if they are aware of each other.)
    Thanks for suggesting it! Back in the wild and hairy days of the Internet, there was a mailing list (listserv) called 'BOC-L' which was the primary meeting point for fans of Blue Oyster Cult, Hawkwind and Michael Moorcock. Moorcock has contributed lyrics (with overlapping stories) to and performed with both bands, and they do indeed have some stylistic similarities. The bands are aware of each other, but there haven't been any direct collaborations that I'm aware of.

    It will take a while to get through Hawkwind's back catalogue, but it sounds like you'll enjoy it.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    I picked up a few Moorcock books, too. I guess I'll see how those land.
    He's a great writer, but some of the best-loved books are among his most sparse in story content because he was writing them rapidly for pulp publishers to keep a roof over his head (and his avant-garde SF magazine New Worlds afloat). Not to say they are poor by any stretch - they're not. However, if you are after complex literary works, he has those too but they tend to be away from the 'main sequence' of his Eternal Champion fantasy stories. I particularly like his Jerry Cornelius books with their fractured narratives and lampooning of the 60s cultural norms and their connections to the shamelessly perverse Dancers at the End of Time stories. However, Moorcock's later works are tougher reads, but probably the most satisfying of all. My top recommendation would be for 'Mother London' and it's sequel 'King of the City' with their non-linear narratives and the author's personal experiences woven into fantastic tales as well as the 'Pyat Quartet' starting with 'Byzantium Endures' which features splendid unreliable narration, one of my favourite literary tropes.

    Recent Moorcock interview regarding his work with Hawkwind:

    https://www.austinchronicle.com/dail...lays-hawkwind/

  11. #36
    That sign at about 3 minutes into the first video - Hawkwind, Roy Harper, the Enid, and the Cardiacs? What a lineup....
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  12. #37
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Moorcock's Dancers at the Edge of Time is terrific
    Ian

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrGoon View Post
    All good albums. 'Choose Your Masques' has Nik Turner back for a guest role, Harvey Bainbridge stepping up to chart some interesting synth directions, lyrics from both Michael Moorcock and Bob Calvert used in several of Brock's more inventive songs and two great Huw Lloyd-Langton penned songs. The best of the RCA albums, although I find quite a bit to like on the other two (Sonic Attack and Church of Hawkwind) as well.

    'Chronicle of the Black Sword' is one of my favorites, and quite a nostalgic one for me, as I saw much of the UK tour including some very special gigs at the Hammersmith Odeon with Moorcock taking command of the stage. The 'Live Chronicles' album of this tour is worthwhile.

    I would say that 'Xenon Codex' is a bit spotty, but it has a couple of standout tracks and not too much filler so it's a good listen. The tracks 'The War I survived' and 'Sword of the East' are both very good, but 'Heads' is my favourite.
    Co-signed on the above. Live Chronicles remains a righteous great romp all these years — decades! — later, bolstered by the Warrior songs, Moorcock's narration and additional material. I love the instrumental "Pulsing Cavern." And that guy whistling in the quiet parts of "Zarozinia" still cracks me up.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mythos View Post
    My first concert at 15 years old was the 1973 Space Ritual Tour.....


    Quote Originally Posted by revporl View Post
    I've seen them 100+ times since 1985.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    That sign at about 3 minutes into the first video - Hawkwind, Roy Harper, the Enid, and the Cardiacs? What a lineup....
    Man, Here & Now, Solstice, Ozric Tentacles (with their own PA, near our tent), The Tibetan Ukrainian Mountain Troupe and their music offshoot The Wystic Mankers (also with their own PA) and Chemical Alice (now no longer featuring Mark Kelly, who had left to join a band called Marillion).

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by DrGoon View Post
    However, Moorcock's later works are tougher reads, but probably the most satisfying of all. My top recommendation would be for 'Mother London' and it's sequel 'King of the City' with their non-linear narratives and the author's personal experiences woven into fantastic tales as well as the 'Pyat Quartet' starting with 'Byzantium Endures' which features splendid unreliable narration, one of my favourite literary tropes.
    I've got Mother London coming. I'm happy to read non-linear fiction, so this will (hopefully) be right up my alley.

    I picked up a collection of Elric stories which include scripts for some comics that (I think?) came out in the '70s. I quite like comic books; I'm no snob. But I think I lack the enthusiasm to read a comic book script. (I did find the collections on Comixology; they look very much like the Conan books that Marvel put out in the '70s--this is a good thing, and I'll probably wind up buying them.). So I'll likely skim through the Elric collection while waiting for Mother London.

    If you like unreliability in narrators, try Ottessa Moshfegh. Not only can you not count on her narrators, but you can't really count on the plot to work out. Non sequitur that this is, her work has nothing to do with fantasy, Moorcock or Hawkwind.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  17. #42
    Hawkwind is a weird story for me. I remember first hearing of them sometime in the mid 80's. It was either reading about Lemmy's distant past, or maybe it was that Young Ones episode where Neil complains about the BBC always playing the same band ​when they go off the air. "Why don't you get some good groups on?! Like Hawkwind! Or Marillion!", he yells at the time.

    Then a kid in my music literature class in the 10th grade (whose dad, I would find out decades later, was the guy who apparently supplied Steve Feigenbaum with the tape that led to Cuneiform issuing the second Present album) told me "Hawkwind are awesome! You gotta hear them!". Mike also mentioned Van Der Graaf Generator to me, among other bands, and for one of our assignments in music lit class, brought in side one of Tangerine Dream's Ricochet (just giving you an idea of the mindset, somewhat, of an American teenager, circa 1989 who thinks Hawkwind are "awesome").

    Anyhow, so I go up to Wax Stax one day, and I bought what I think was the one and only Hawkwind album I'd ever laid eyes on, which of course, was their most recent one: The Xenon Codex. I think I spent like an hour debating whether to buy it or not (I did that a lot back in those days). Anyhow, so I did pull the trigger, so that was my introduction to Hawkwind. I remember liking it immediately, but it didn't really sound like what I imagined, from the descriptions I'd heard of the band. But I dug Huw Lloyd Langton's melodic guitar work and the instrumental pieces, immediately.

    And for a long time, that was the only Hawkwind album I owned, because, the majority of their back catalog was out of print, and the ones that weren't out of print were just liek...ya know, unobtainium where I lived. Very slowly I picked up more...first a semi-authorized compilation called Anthology Vol I (the one with the robot had on the cover and the bonus "never before released" live version of Silver Machine). Then a copy of Levitation bobbed to the surface (the first of three I'd end up owning over the course of the next 30 years).

    Then various LP's started to reveal themselves in the used bins: In Search Of Space, both Space Ritual albums, Hall Of The Mountain Grill, 25 Years On and so on. I finally got to see Hawkwind live in December 1990, and then again the following May (wonder of wonders Hawkwind actually toured North America TWICE in the space of 9 months, the second time falling on the same day as my prom, btw). By this time, it was all over, I was the archetypal fanboy, and would be so through most of the 90's.

    So I eventually ended up owning on CD every Hawkwind album from the first record all the way through The Business Trip, as well as a few of the 70's era ones on LP. Actually, I think the first album, Doremi Fasol Latido, Warrior On The Edge Of Time and PXR-5 are the only ones I don't have on vinyl).

    Unfortunately, the shifting music retail landscape in my area meant that circa 1995, their music became significantly harder to come by than it had been during the first half of the 90's. And as I was developing more of an interest in bands like Magma and King Crimson, plus the fact that Hawkwind were (blech!) "going techno", I kinda drifted away from Hawkwind. I did however manage to secure a Levitation tour program from E-bay (which I eventually had signed by all the band members of that lineup but one...you'll never guess which one).

    But I still say that run from the first album up through about Electric Tepee is an amazing run of great music. A lot of different stylistic changes, sure, and maybe some people might feel the post Lemmy years (or the post Calvert years, or whatever) aren't as strong as the earlier stuff, but I think it all still rules.
    Last edited by GuitarGeek; 2 Days Ago at 10:34 PM.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I did however manage to secure a Levitation tour program from E-bay (which I eventually had signed by all the band members of that lineup but one...you'll never guess which one).
    Cool story! Keith Hale?

  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by DrGoon View Post
    Cool story! Keith Hale?
    I was thinking of the five musicians who are pictured in the program itself, i.e. the five guys the tour started off with, before Dave sacked Tim.

  20. #45
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    Probably Dave Brock then, since he's the one who has an after-show routine that usually precludes signing autographs.

  21. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by DrGoon View Post
    Probably Dave Brock then, since he's the one who has an after-show routine that usually precludes signing autographs.
    He signed it for me when Hawkwind played at NEARfest.

  22. #47
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    ^^^ GG, fun story! Did your prom date enjoy Hawkwind?

    You might have gotten Ginger's autograph when he toured with BBM but still... Ginger would be my next guess. You might have gotten Blake's autograph at a more recent Hawks show.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrGoon View Post
    He's a great writer, but some of the best-loved books are among his most sparse in story content because he was writing them rapidly for pulp publishers to keep a roof over his head (and his avant-garde SF magazine New Worlds afloat). Not to say they are poor by any stretch - they're not. However, if you are after complex literary works, he has those too but they tend to be away from the 'main sequence' of his Eternal Champion fantasy stories. I particularly like his Jerry Cornelius books with their fractured narratives and lampooning of the 60s cultural norms and their connections to the shamelessly perverse Dancers at the End of Time stories. However, Moorcock's later works are tougher reads, but probably the most satisfying of all. My top recommendation would be for 'Mother London' and it's sequel 'King of the City' with their non-linear narratives and the author's personal experiences woven into fantastic tales as well as the 'Pyat Quartet' starting with 'Byzantium Endures' which features splendid unreliable narration, one of my favourite literary tropes.

    Recent Moorcock interview regarding his work with Hawkwind:

    https://www.austinchronicle.com/dail...lays-hawkwind/
    Moorcock's "How to Write a Novel in 3 Days"

    https://interestingliterature.com/20...vel-in-3-days/

  24. #49
    [QUOTE=arturs;1049818]
    ^^^ GG, fun story! Did your prom date enjoy Hawkwind?
    Prom date? The yotz are you talking about?!

    You might have gotten Ginger's autograph when he toured with BBM but still... Ginger would be my next guess.
    But alas, BBM was before my ownership of the program. And yes, Ginge is the one missing from my program. Given the stories I've heard about him over the years, I kinda imagine he might not have been himself availabe for things like autographs, and I can imagine he maybe throwing a fit if someone stuck in front of him something from the "world's worst bassist" (I think that's how he described his departure from Hawkwind, "I got sacked by the world's worst bassist", after he tried to talk Dave Brock into replacing Harvey).

    Harvey Bainbridge has played here several times, but the time in particular that I got his autograph was the last Strange Daze fest, in 2001, I think. I had just gotten it like a couple months before that, from E-bay, and I remember all my buddies at the show were stunned to see it.
    Brock, as I said I got at NEARfest (was it 2007? or 2008?)
    Tim Blake I got at the Gong Family Uncon back in 2006. I somehow had the impression that he was kind of on the outs with Brock at the time, so I opened the program to the page his photo was on, and sort of shoved it in front of him, hoping he wouldn't recognize or freak or anything if he realized it was a piece of Hawkwind memorabilia.
    Huw Lloyd Langton I got when he, somewhat improbably, played here, on a bill with Nektar and Brainticket, back 2011. I gather they were all on the same label, that's why the package tour was done, but they couldn't afford to bring Huw's band over from England, so he just came on and did a short solo acoustic set. So I at least got to meet him. He's definitely one of my true blue guitar heroes.

  25. #50
    My favourite Hawkwind albums are the series from the debut up and including Warrior On The Edge Of Time.

    Then Levitation, Electric Tepee, It Is The Business Of The Future To Be Dangerous and Blood Of The Earth.
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