Disc Magazine – 14 July 1973
Lemmy snatches the pad and starts scribbling. It’s years since he last did an
interview and he’s just got hold of a really meaty question. “Local Welsh groups ’57 – 60,” he scribbles, “then Sam Gopal, Opal Butterfly with Simon…and now the conglomerate,” he mumbles, looking up and doffing
a roll-up on an adjacent ash tray. “This is the first band that I ever played
bass in though,” he adds, by way of a casual afterthought and begins studying a decade of graffiti etched on the long pine table.
Well then, says I, tell me about Hawkwind’s new album, Captain Lockheed. I mean, is it (being hip) going to be a concept album?
“No” says synth man Del Dettmar.
“It’s taken a psychological nose-dive” says Lemmy “Bob (Calvert – Hawkwind’s lyricist and vocalist) saw the symptoms coming and split.”
Calvert is, euphemistically speaking, taking a rest, so “Captain Lockheed”, his brainchild, has been shelved. It transpires that it’s intended as an offshoot project, utilising part of Hawkwind and Pink Fairies’
percussionist Twink and guitarist Paul Rudolph. Lemmy plays both bass and guitar and eventually explains that the concept is based around the series of Starfighter jet crashes in Germany a couple of years back.
Starfighters were designed and built in the States, and like the World War II Mustang, their great feature was not what you might call durability. Their dubious safety record earned them the title of “The Flying Coffins.”
The proceeds from the embryo of the project – a single called Ejection – are to go to the widows of the pilots killed in Starfighter accidents.
So it’s just going to be based on the facts – nothing else?
“That and the usual assorted idiocy… the last thing it’ll be is serious.” Lemmy proves the point by playing the B-side of the single, Catch A Falling Starfighter (and The Gremlin). The melody is as you’d think, but the words are clever and smirky: Catch a falling Starfighter / Put it in the pocket of your jeans / Use it as a cigarette lighter / Or as the opener for a can of beans.
Hawkwind have just returned from a barn-storming tour of the West Country, covering Torquay, Redruth, Swansea…and Barnstable – “The night Liquid Len looned off.” recalls Lemmy with a mysterious smile.
Oh yes, how is the light show? You aren’t using strobes now?
“That’s all we used at Torquay. It varies from night to night.”
America too, is in the offing, apparently.
“In September – if our record company gets it together,” says an unidentified figure attending to a cigarette paper construction. Hawkwind’s manager.
“No, people’s bands don’t have managers, they have co-ordinators, don’t they?” grins Del, flicking through a dog eared phone book.
By now the next Hawkwind single is grinding away in the background, buzz-sawing it’s way out of the stripped down speaker cabinets tilted in far corners of the room. It sounds not unlike Silver Machine with
multi tracked horn embroidery.
“The mix is too toppy,” comments Del. “I’d like to re-do the ending.”
“We haven’t the time.” says the unidentified person.
“Ah well, it’s not a very good song anyway.” replies Del quietly. “And it isn’t very well played.”
Lemmy confesses to almost total cynicism about everything except the music. “But I’m getting out of it gradually. Nevertheless there are times when you come off stage and you know you’ve just played one of the worst gigs in your life. Horrible, but there are still kids out there screaming for an encore… It amazes me, but if you look at it objectively I suppose it doesn’t matter as long as they enjoyed it.”
It gets boring too, on the road. Not the playing you understand, but the travelling. Hawkwind get so bored they have competitions to see who can wind the van windows up and down the fastest, or at least, that’s what Lemmy says. He says, too, the boredom’s the reason that Oscillator man Dik Mik left, and says he hopes he’ll come back in time.
“But meanwhile,” he says resignedly, “We’re just waiting for Bob to get back.”
A Plastic Fragment Hawkwind Press Cutting