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Hawkwind

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Dave Brock from 1998
Audio of this Interview is available in our members' area
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

What do you see in the future for space rock?
I did hear Madonna`s major single which is called "Ray of Light". I said "who is this singer?" She`s using old sort of synthesizer sounds, a very nice sort of dancy trance sort of beat. Basically it sounds like space rock music. Afriend of mine phoned me up and said "you won`t believe it, but I heard Madonna`s new single and she`s gone into space rock music." Over here we have a lot of sort of dancey trance bands who are very influenced by us because of the old psychedelia sort of stuff that we did, and it`s nice actually. A lot of people have done samples of our stuff and rehashed them and put stuff out. It does make it quite interesting because therefore we`re in touch with the younger generation. I really like all that sort of music as well. I might be old, but really never lost touch with it all. So, maybe Madonna`s gonna set space rock up for us, who knows.
MSJ: What would you say the changes in the music of the band have been over the years?
Well, the changes are to do with different people. We`ve always had different people in and out of the band. Obviously, I`m the captain, it`s like aboard ship. We set our course and off we go. When Tim Blake was in the band, Tim Blake with his Gong influence brought a lot of nice spacey music. Each character who is in the band obviously brings in a little bit of speciality. All in all we still have our central sort of part of the ship. Which is sort of the good old electronics with the good beat behind it.
MSJ: The live show for Hawkwind is such a major experience. How would you describe it and what are your goals with it?
To actually be a multi sort of media. When we do a show, I always thought, "if someone pays some money to come into one of our gigs. The light show, everything has to be really together and good, so they go out thinking, that was a fantastic experience". That`s what we`re aiming for all the time. Obviously we use dancers and all sorts of different people working with us. The next show that we`re gonna do next year is gonna be the Ledge of Darkness and Death Generator. What we`re probably gonna do is get all the old members, which will be Lemmy, Simon House, Michael Moorcock, Nik Turner, Tim Blake, Harvey Bainbridge, Huy Lloyd Langton, to actually come and do a few numbers per night over the period of the tour. We can actually do the whole of the show of the Ledge of Darkness. It would be a continuing saga. It`s quite a lot to get together. Griffin Records put out the 25th anniversary 4 CD compilation. They did 4 CDs in this package with the comic book of the Ledge of Darkness, which was the old Michael Moorcock/Mike Butterworth 2 books, condensed down into a comic. It`s quite interesting. That`s what we`re gonna do. There`s a company over here that would like to do a cartoon of all this. The tour is the project for 1999. We`re not going to be doing much this year, except trying to get this organized for next year. We`ve got some young guys that do all the dance music over here that are really sort of into the light shows. It`s quite spectacular what they want to do. If all this comes together, it will be really something else. The last big show we did was Love in Space in 1995. We haven`t really done a proper show with a theme and a story line in a while. If all this comes together, hopefully a major label will take all this on board. It`s a very interesting story line. It`s a parody of the band over 30 years. The story line is very strong as well, with the fight against the death generator. Our bass player, Ron Tree, has 10 oscillators all linked up, into this old EMS synthesizer, which is linked together, which will be the death generator. You get crossover points. They warp your sense in your head. If this got together, it could be quite an interesting experience, going through a big PA. Done the right way, it could be very hypnotic. Utilizing all of this, we`re working on it for next year.
MSJ: How long do you see Hawkwind continuing?
I don`t know. I really don`t know. From year to year, sometimes you go through times when things don`t go right, other times it`s wonderful. We just have to keep going.
MSJ: If you could assemble the ultimate Hawkwind lineup, who would be in it?
Lemmy would because Lemmy is a charismatic character. The band we`ve got at the moment is very interesting, because it`s similar to the band of the `70`s in a way. We`ve got characters like Captain Rizz coming in from outside working with us. We`ve got Crumb who plays keyboards. All these guys have been band leaders. Ron Tree playing bass, he`s had his own band. Jerry Richards, lead guitarist, he`s had his own band. They`ve all been band leaders in a way, so they`ve all got their own special little things. That`s really what we`re going to try to utilize next year. Simon House, Nik, there`s Alan Davey. Alan is a wonderful bass player. He was in the band for 13 years. He plays good keyboard stuff. There`s a lot of characters that you can call upon. It`s like a soap opera, noone is bigger than the actual show. The band has done a tour of Europe without me before and noone has actually noticed. I don`t think it was particularly noticed that much. That`s the way I like to see it. Noone is bigger than the band itself. If you start thinking you`re the big star in the band, that is not the case. It`s like a soap opera, the same sort of thing. They`re all involved.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought?
The last one I bought was Venuti/Lang, which is an old 20`s/30`s sort of thing. Joe Venuti who is a violin player. Eddie Lang was a guitarist, used to play in the `20`s jazz bands. Similar to Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelly it`s hard to explain.
MSJ: What was the last concert you went to?
Last concert I went to was one of our own. I will be going to a few. You`ve got a lot of big houses over here. "Stately homes" they`re called. They actually have lots of concerts with actual orchestras, jazz bands. It`s a fantastic thing to go and visit. It`s quite interesting cause you get a orchestra playing outside a stately home. You can sit outside on the lawn, have your bottle of wine, and have a really nice time. It`s quite pleasant actually. We do that. In fact, we`ll probably be going to one this weekend. There`s a fireworks display and a jazz band playing.
MSJ: Are there any particular projects that you would like to talk about right now?
There is a CD of the American Space Rock Festival which we did last year which should be out soon. Hawkwind itself has just finished recording. We are rehearsing at the moment. We`ve done another album, which I don`t know when it will be released. I`ve also done a solo project. You have to keep going. Forever onward, striving for the lost chord.
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