Bob Calvert Article

Frendz – June/July  1973

If you’re a working musician you don’t often think about the future, or the past.  You live in the eternal present of playing, and travelling from gig to gig.  You leave the crystal gazing to your manager.  That’s why he gets his palm crossed with ten per cent of the silver.

With a futuristic band like Hawkwind you might think things were a bit different.  The imagery of their songs is connected with Science Fiction.  Very often they sound like visions of what might be coming in the centuries ahead.  But if you ask the members of Hawkwind individually how thy see the immediate future, it’s a different story again.

Nik Turner, the Saxist of the band, is a little put out about the future at the moment.  He sees things becoming a bit too commercial.  He’d prefer things as they were in the old days: plenty of free gigs and festivals.  The band isn’t doing so many of those these days.  Nik has in fact reached the point of threatening to split from the band if things don’t improve.   But don’t worry Nik Turner fans.
things are getting better.  Doug Smith, Hawkwind’s manager, explains that for the time being, it’s a bit impractical to do free concerts, but as the financial position improves this will be sorted out.

Musically though, things are progressing fast.  Dave Brock’s guitar sound is improving the whole time with advanced equipment at his disposal, and his playing style, as with the rest of the band, is going forward with the solid practice of working.  Lemmy has developed a bass style of his own together with Simon King, whose relentless sense of timing leaves most rock drummers standing.

Del Dettmar has advanced from roadie to musician with remarkable results on the synthesizer: a very difficult instrument to master.  Dik Mik has split with his audio generator, not for the first time, or the last.  It’s more than likely that he’ll be back. Again.

The future development of the band, as Nik says, depends very much of the way it evolves out of the present situation.  You take care of the present and the future shapes itself, says Nik.  It would seem that the way Hawkwind is going is towards a tighter stage production, with the help of Science Fiction writer Michael Moorcock, and a bit from myself in the role of poet.

The coming single, “Urban Guerrilla”, could be taken by some to be a sign that the band is going to become more socially aware and even politically orientated.  But this is not really the case.  The words of the song, which I wrote with Dave Brock, are not meant to be taken too literally.  There is quite a bit of irony behind them.  It certainly isn’t advocating violence in the streets by any means.  There’s a slogan written up on a few walls around town that says: “Revolution is the Opium of the intellectuals.”  Think about that one for a minute.

I would imagine that the next album from Hawkwind is going to be along the lines of the “Space Ritual”.  What you would call a “concept album”.  But more tightly organised than the last one.  With a stronger story line.

The much discussed trip to America could have quite an effect on the musical direction of the band.  Or possibly Hawkwind might have an effect on the music scene in America.  Who can say?  But whatever happens I doubt if we’ll ever see Hawkwind coming on like the New York Dolls in make-up and glittery tights.  Could you imagine Dave Brock in a gold lamé jock-strap, girls?  Well maybe you can, but I doubt if his wife would stand for it.

-Bob Calvert

A Plastic Fragment Hawkwind Press Cutting

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