Melody Maker – 30 June 1973
FROM the outer galaxies of space came a “Silver Machine.” That was in August of last year and its crewmen, collectively known as Hawkwind were unleashed upon the masses.
“Silver Machine” brought them fame and fortune – well, almost. In fact it screwed the band up a little. But it helped to refuel their finances for another musical voyage, the “Space Ritual.”
Guitarist Dave Brock looks a lot more earthly these days. He and the rest of the band are currently rehearsing before going back out on the road to resume their first love – gigging.
The band are definitely changing in style. “We are getting more musical,” he says.
I asked him about the success of the single and the effect it had on the band.
“Hawkwind in the past had always had a ‘cool’ type of audience. We liked to see our friends coming to gigs and bringing their children along.
“When the single took off, then the audiences got progressively younger and the atmosphere was crushing and uncomfortable, so naturally they stayed away.
“It was good for us to have had a successful single at that time because the band were pretty skint. It gave us enough bread to get the “Space Ritual” together. If we’d not been able to do it then I think the band would have broken up.”
For a while now, Hawkwind’s cosmic creations have ceased to be heard. The group hasn’t played a proper concert since Wembley, although they’ve done a couple of free gigs, which amounted to nothing more than jam sessions.
“Today, as far as money in the bank is concerned, Hawkwind are broke. We own our equipment, but we’ve no money to pursue our direction in music.”
“As an individual, I don’t like all the scenes that singles bring. Things like autographs and people looking upon you as some great hero, isn’t where I’m at,” says Dave.
In spite of his dislike, Hawkwind have a new single on release. It’s called, “Urban Geurilla Brainbox Pollution,” which is co-written by Dave and Hawkwind’s space poet Bob Calvert.
“We’ve been forced to bring out another single, because we need the bread to advance. It’s not from choice – I mean, who wants to be a pop star?”
As a group, Hawkwind cannot be compared with any other group around at the moment. When they started, it seemed money was the least of their worries. Now, four years on, their attitude hasn’t basically changed, although they are aware of how important it is to them.
“It seems terrible that money determines the future of a band. On the road we just about break even, which means that we have to rely on our record sales to finance any new projects,” explains Brock.
“Silver Machine,” saved the band once and it looks as though another single is going to have to save the band again.
It may seem confusing, but Hawkwind are a confused band.
“We’ve really got to get ourselves together. There’s plenty of things left for the band to do, but they, all revolve around time and money – both of which are scarce at the moment.
“We’re into a communication network like charity gigs and things. We can see the world and the way it’s being run and we’re trying to awaken people to the fact that it’s wrong.
“But nobody will listen to you unless you’ve the money to keep the pressure up. Hawkwind is city music and it’s trying to relate to what’s happening. Too many laws against this and that.”
Asking Hawkwind about their future is a little pointless.
“Right from the time when I was a busker, I’ve lived from day to day and that’s how I intend to continue. Our manager Doug Smith is the one who looks into the future for us.
“Negotiations are going for us to visit the States later this year,” says Dave. It’s about the only positive answer he’ll give.
Meanwhile, Hawkwind are picking themselves up after the initial excitement of last year. I noticed a decline in their attendances shortly after the single came out, but now their old audiences are going back to them.
“The freaks are returning to us now that the masses have forgotten about the single. They are the people who really go out and buy our records – they are investing their money in the next project of the band.
“The last single lost us our ‘People’s Band’ image, but I’m glad that we had the single when we did. If it’d come earlier when we were younger, then it might have given us ego trips,” he says.
While we would have thought Hawkwind had it made, the band are at a dangerous kind of crossroads position.
“Sometimes we still starve. No one really believes you’re skint because you’ve had a hit single. For four months now the group has been on a downer – thankfully we’re just getting over it.,
“We don’t know where we’re going, but something will come along. Musically we’re improving all the time.”
A Plastic Fragment Hawkwind Press Cutting