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Nik Turner

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Nik Turner from 2018


You have had quite an interesting career thus far. Are there any moments that standout as the highlights for you?

Spending time in Vacaville Psychiatric Prison with Timothy Leary -very interesting, exciting social intellect. He said everyone’s a different element - interesting.

Performing with Hawkwind dressed as a frog on stage with Mr. Michael Moorcock reading poetry, sliding on the wet stage and landing in the pond in front of the stage.

Doing concerts with Hawkwind in British prisons, with Mr. Mike Moorcock, Wormwood Scrubs, Pentonville, Chelmsford Open Prison - saw lots of old friends.

Performing with Hawkwind, setting fire to myself, whilst fire-blowing on stage on tour in USA, DOH!

Performing with Hawkwind, getting electrocuted on stage, whilst tripping on LSD at Gay Liberation Fund-Raiser in London.

Helping organize a Painting Party at the Studio of the great Polish painter, Felix Topolski called "100 Hippies" where he did Exspressionist lightning paintings of all the guests, and we played.

Performing with Hawkwind, on LSD, at an Andy Warhol Superstar Launch, for Miss Viva, where all the electrical cables turned to snakes, and the audience turned into skeletons.

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
I think that I might have been an actor. I have always loved Shakespeare.
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?

Pee Wee Hunt (my first record), Charlie Parker, Earl Bostic, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Syd Barrett, Sid Vicious, Karl Heinz Stockhausen, John mother - played boogie-woogie stride uncle Bert - played clarinet.

MSJ: What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?
That it’s actually "music"
MSJ: It seems you are always showing up on different projects these days. What sort of criteria do you use to decide which projects you want to participate in doing?

I like projects where I feel that I can actually learn something from the music and the people that want me to be involved with them. This sometimes happens.

MSJ: I know of at least a couple H.P. Lovecraft based projects you've been involved with. Are you a Lovecraft fan at all?

I am a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, as I am a fan of all sci-fi and speculative fiction. I find it inspiring

MSJ: What's ahead for you?

Like J.Hendrix says, "going with the wind."

MSJ: I know many artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

"Speculative expressionist jazz" seems an apt title, where "jazzing" was a description of making love

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play in the future?
Wayne Shorter is one. Unfortunately I’m not up on all current trends. Kamasi Washington sounds cool.
Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

I think that illegal streaming and downloading is not a help to the financial careers of serious musicians.

MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?

I am happy about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them on-line, because if it encourages them to buy the bands’ accredited professional productions, then that can’t be bad.

MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

Thelonius Monk - awesome and unpredictable

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

The band featuring all my influences

MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, Ginger Baker, Arturo Arias, Chick Corea.

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

Miles Davis Bitches Brew

MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Genisis by David Woods

Cleopatra by Michael Grant

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Bob Dylan at the Royal Albert Hall, London, last year.

MSJ: Do you remember the first concert you attended?

Miles Davis at the Victoria Theatre, London. 1956

MSJ: Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?

I’m attracted to the Roland Loop Station, but need to sit down with it, but really love my Soprano Saxophone.

MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
I might say I like the album of Tony Bennett with Lady Gaga.
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Having my leg kicked from under me by Dave Brock, whilst doing the splits, and doing a solo - some painful joke. (laughter)
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Karl Marx, Plato, William Shakespeare

MSJ: What would be on the menu?
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Music is a healing thing. I like to try to heal people. After spending time inside the Great Pyramid, I found myself able to heal people of certain ailments. I made it a theme of my U.S. tours. Like Shakespeare said, "If music be the food of love, play on."
MSJ: This interview is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at:
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