The Hawk: Sailing in the Face of the Wind

Melody Maker – 5 September 1970

HAWKWIND are the progressive band, who, they say, are too progressive for British progressive clubs, and receive few bookings because of that fact.

“We don’t do too much work. Most of Britain’s progressive clubs won’t have us, because they say we are too progressive for them,” said Dave Brock, singer and guitarist with the electronic group.

“But work is picking up now,” added Nick Turner, “mainly because of the LP. I think we have six bookings next month.”

Hawkwind, a truly progressive group, don’t just rely on noise and sex to create excitement. The strangely named Dikmik plays electronic noises on an audio generator which is an important part of the overall sound.

“Dikmik originally joined as our roadie, but when we found he was interested in making noises on electric things. We asked him to join.

“It was the same with Nick. He came to town to join us as our roadie, and when we found he played alto, we asked him to join as well,” said Dave.

Nick added: “When they asked me to join as a musician, I said yes. Then I realised I hadn’t played the alto for about five years, so I had to brush up on my technique pretty quickly.”

The group – Nick, alto; Dave, vocals and guitar; Huw Langton, lead guitar; Dikmik, electronic noises; Terry Ollis, drums; and Thomas Crimble, bass (he replaced John Harrison who played bass on the album) – were planning to do a free concert on the Isle of Wight, when I met them last week. “We did a free concert at Bath with the Pink Fairies and we are going to do the same at the I.O.W.” said Dave Brock.

“We did a free thing the other week at the Scrubs and really enjoyed it. When a concert is for free you get good vibrations because no-one has paid to see you. You are on the same level as the audience, the only difference being the fact that you are playing the guitar and not them,” said Dave.

“When we played at Bath we organised a collection. The things we received were incredible. Money, acid and loads of other things,” added Nick.

The subject changed to money and groups, and how it changed them, and the unfortunate fact that because Hawkwind have no money, at least half of them are sleeping rough at any one time. “A lot of bands as they become successful and earn a lot of bread seem to put themselves above the audience. When you get successful, bread does seem to change a lot of people. A lot of bands get their bread then forget what they were before.

“They tend to turn their backs on the people they mixed with before,” said Huw, sitting reading a Batman comic.

“Yeah, but when you get a lot of bread, you get a lot of hangers on,” challenged Nick.

“But you have to sort them out from your real friends, not cut yourself off from everyone,” said Dave.

Hawkwind’s first album, due for release in March then put back, “and put back again, when the factory went on holiday for a week,” was cut live in the studio.

“We tried double tracking, and laying down separate parts, but it was so sterile that we ended up just playing it live. Doing two or three takes of each number and picking the best, after a little polish was added here and there,” said Nick.

“The studio was sterile and inhuman,” added Huw, before sinking back into his comic.

“A lot of the takes were much longer when we did them in the studio. Dave writes the idea for the song, then we improvise round that idea, including the words which Dave writes roughly beforehand. The trouble is the cuts were about 15 or 20 minutes each, then they cut them down to seven and things like that,” added Nick.

Hawkwind are now using lights and strobes to turn their audiences on. “We want to use a complete environmental thing, where all the senses are moved and used. We want people to get stoned on the show, not on acid and things.

“At the moment we are rehearsing with the strobes turned on us, and it really does get you high,” said Nick.

“And Dikmik is working on a thing where sheets of reflecting plastic are put in front of the speakers, and they move round with the sound waves, sending sound and reflected light in all directions. But one of our troubles is money,” said Dave. ” We want to add a Moog to our line – up, and really give Dikmik something to do. But money we have not got.”

MARK PLUMMER

A Plastic Fragment Hawkwind Press Cutting