(Interview - Bergen, Norway May 4, 2005)

by Scott Heller

Uploaded to Aural Innovations (September 2005)

DB - Dave Brock, AD - Alan Davey, RC - Richard Chadwick, Jason

Scott Heller (SH): Do you remember playing in Bergen in 1974?

DB: I remember playing here. I remember we had a huge journey from Trondheim with a bus falling apart and it took us a long time. I think we played at a concert hall the last time. We have played actually twice before, but you know how difficult it is to remember these things, one gig after another. You only remember the bad ones or if something that has happened that sticks in your memory.

SH: Let's talk about the new CD. The CD is coming out in September and the first single on August 29th.

DB: Yes. That is right. We have Mathew Wright….he does sort of a chat show and is an interesting character. It sort of puts people on the spot. He is very outspoken and he is a Hawkwind fan. He also has a radio show in London and we have actually been down there to do an interview with him and he confessed to us that he had been to Stonehenge where he taken some LSD and it changed his life. He said "Do you realize that you had changed me life? I know all the Hawkwind songs". I said I bet you don't and he said oh yes I do. So I asked him to repeat the words to Spirit of the Age, which he did just like that and Urban Guerrilla, so I knew it was true, he was an avid Hawkwind fan and so we asked him to sing Spirit of the Age with us and we recorded it and that's why we are doing the single. He is also going to come perform with us. He writes some nice poems too. He is very good and a great friend.

SH: It is going to be a CD single, a vinyl single or both??

DB: What we are going to do is a CD with a DVD with it. The first 2000 will have a DVD with it of some of the live stuff we did last year, which were videoed luckily enough.

SH: So there is not like an extra track. It is just going to be Spirit of the Age with a DVD?

DB: The single has Angelia Android and one other track. So it is not just Spirit of the age by itself. It has one other track but I can't remember what it is.

SH: Angelia Android, is it a studio version or a live version?

RC: It is a live version.

SH: Is it the same live version as on the Christmas single?

DB: No, it is completely different. We sort of adapted to it making different versions of it.

AD: This one has a key change in it, doesn't it?

DB: Yeah...it has a chord change in it. (laughs)

SH: Kris told me that the label releasing it is currently a secret and you can't tell me but you know what it is??

DB: Yeah….we know what it is..

SH: Do you think that once Take Me to Your Leader comes out you will tour a bit more?

DB: We have a tour in the Autumn and Christmas… Greece in October, then a UK tour, then January-February we are going to Australia and New Zealand and then we are either going to Canada in October or March, I don't know which yet.

SH: And for the German fans, are there any dates in Germany?

DB: Not at the moment. We were going to some festivals but because of this record coming out it has all been shelved as there is no point in actually going to Germany unless we have something to promote over there. You see, we are in this situation where the record company turns around and says what's the point of going to Germany for when you have nothing to promote. Either you go there to promote a record or... So we said oh yes, we will follow your wise words. So we won't get to Germany until that album comes out and all things will be organized properly.

SH: Will Arthur Brown join you on any of these dates? He is on 2 or 3 of the songs on the new CD?

DB: He has got a new band and he is doing some stuff for himself at the moment.

SH: So will there be a Hawkfest 2005 ?

DB: There is a possibility. We have actually got a site but the problem is... I think it is the Outlaws. They have got a site and they want to do it in conjunction together. But we just want to do just the family occasion without the biker side of it. It might happen.. I don't know. Nice venue though.

SH: Can we go through the new record. What can you tell me about To Love a Machine. I heard you play it during the soundcheck.

DB: Well, it is about people falling in love with androids basically and also machines, actually any machine really. Which is why we got our dancers last year. We had two beautiful androids next to me that I sung to, which was jolly fun.

SH: Was the song born before Angelia Android or after??

DB: After…

SH: Greenback Massacre... that is also in the live set and written by Alan. What do you want to say about it?

AD: It is about how the dollar is raging through the world, destroying it all. Destroying cultures and everyone's individuality. It's a massacre basically.

SH: How did you come up with the music for it?

AD: The music for it I wrote in 1989. I have had it for years. (He looks at Dave). I played it for you once and you hated it! My new version you liked a bit better. (lots of laughs in the room)

DB: It had too many chord changes it in, that is why!

AD: It's an odd rhythm. It's got 10 beats in the resolving riff.

SH: Spirit of the Age is on the record and is the single.

RC: Yeah…that is featuring Mathew Wright and Dave singing.

SH: Out Here We Are, that is also in the live set.

AD: It's an instrumental. it is basically about earth… out here we are, all alone, its all we got…we better look after it... there is no where else to go…

SH: The title track, Take Me to Your Leader. How did you come up with the title and what inspired that?

DB: You know that is funny, I did a phone interview with this guy. And he asked the same question. I got this little android when we were in America, we did the Hawkfest.

RC: And someone gave you a little alien.

DB: One of these Roswell aliens and when you touch its tummy, it says "Take me to your Leader, he he he he.". so I thought yeah……actually it's on the beginning of the track. And then it goes off into the track.

SH: Sunray.

AD: Sunray, it's about finding the perfect partner and how it feels..

SH: And Arthur…he brought in lyrics or...

AD: I basically said what the song was to be about and he came up with them.

DB: I thought it was about Donkeys…the Donkey sanctuary?

AD: It's about Donkeys chasing women down the road when they shouldn't be. (massive laughs!)

DB: No, it's a silly joke. See, where we live, actually, we don't live far from a Donkey sanctuary, where they bring all these donkeys from all around the world. They rescue donkeys. There are fields and fields of donkeys, believe it or not. There must be 1000's of donkeys in our area.

AD: All 5 legged donkey's as well.

SH: Digital Nation. That is credited to Richard..

RC: Yeah. That is a song about computer games and the whole idea of online gaming where you... you must have read about the phenomenon of people, where you play video games and you build up your skills and it can take a long time. Hours of play to build those skills up and people start to sell those characters online because they are worth lots of money in terms of gaming hours. So the idea of interacting in a virtual world, that is what that song is all about really. I must admit, I based it on the best 3D third person type gaming environment, which was Tomb Raider. that was the first one that really brought the whole idea of 3D video gaming to age… Tomb Raider.

DB: Isn't that the Lara Croft that you fell in love with??

RC: That's the film.

AD: In which case it's called Womb Raider.

RC: The whole idea of online video gaming, the whole idea of going into a different universe as it were, that it can become so embracing that you prefer to stay there than in the real world. And this is actually happening.

SH: But it's not happening to you.

RC: No, I'm alright!

SH: Reality of Poverty is clearly a very socially conscious track.

DB: No, that's not on the album. We've taken that off now. That was on our Christmas EP instead.(It was not). That is about the terrible problems with starvation in the world when there is so much that can be done. A political comment.

SH: And Morley…. (he is credited as an author on the song)

DB: Richard Morley actually. He is the one who had the idea of the nuclear family. Funny enough he had gone off to Nepal… the king of Nepal, they all got murdered. They gave him 250 acres of land to form a world school so that people would not be isolated in different categories around the world and they all got assassinated, didn't they. The king and the royal family. So it all went down the drain and I haven't seen him since.

SH: Is Long Time Friend…

DB: No that is not on their either. I think we got some other numbers on there.

AD: Sighs, which is an instrumental. Its about humans becoming obsolete. Machines are coming alive.

DB: "Back to work and on the street, we must accept them to survive", as we all know. It's about computer technology taking over everyone's lives.

RC: It's an electronic kind of ambient thing.

DB: Letter to Arthur… Letter to Robert…sorry… Slip of the tongue.

DB: That was a magic moment. Arthur had come down. We had actually recorded a jam, prior to this.

RC: And he says, I have this idea for a letter to Robert.

DB: Robert Calvert, this is you see.

RC: So he just starts going into this diatribe as if he was chatting with Robert as he is just strolling along in the countryside..

DB: He basically comments to Robert, well "What do you think of this fucking electric or these power lines, women taking over our jobs. All they should be doing is the washing, cleaning up, the cleaning and the hoovering". And off he goes on this fantastic wonderful ad lib.

DB: What's Angelia Android about Richard??

AD: That's the horny drummer song!

RC: No it isn't. It's an extrapolation of the whole Spirit of the Age song where there is a line in the song where the character in the space ship who's travelling along complains about his android replica of his girlfriend packing up and not working properly. It is an extrapolation of that idea. Dave and I made this sort of jam with our machines and I did a sort of a joke kind of lyric about this idea of the android going wrong. And the idea was that you program the android…

DB: To satisfy your every whim.

RC: Because he is lonely he programs it to have a romantic relationship with him. But because he programs the android with the idea of romance and love.emotions its like an emotion engine has been introduced into the android and it starts to malfunction because its original prime directive is totally skewed by this emotive engine. The android instead of performing the mission, making sure the spaceship gets where it is going, she gets all into romance instead of the original idea of what she meant to do..

SH: Does Alan's band Bedouin still exist?

AD: No.

SH: Is there archive material still around?

AD: A lot. I got a live album I am mixing at the moment, when I have time.

SH: What is the status of the Ledge of Darkness project. Is it totally dead??

AD: Didn't we get pre-empted by a comic, really??

DB: The Ledge of Darkness was the comic and the idea was to as in the Michael Moorcock story, like the last band on earth, the last show on earth, wasn't it? Where we were playing to all the leftover remnants of people from the cities and basically what the ledge of darkness was all about and all the old members come back to do their bit. We did have this idea of actually doing this whole show which was actually the Hawkestra. Which was such a fucking disaster because of the greed and the egos involved it became such a monster it was just impossible to do. When we did the Hawkestra we discovered what a lot of them were like and we...

SH: But you had already composed some tracks at that point.

DB: Yeah…we had worked things out and had a rough idea of what we were going to do.

RC: It was all centered around this idea for a death generator. This anti-lifeforce.

SH: And Ron had this very far out...

DB: He had a lot of good ideas because we were going to experiment on the audiences with this great throbbing thing. Like earthquake velocity sound effects with the light show kind of thing pulsating away. It would actually take people... we know this from the past. It can be quite dangerous.

Jason: The army tried to develop it for years, didn't they?

DB: It all fell apart.

SH: Del, he used to do that in his evil ways in the old days.

DB: Yeah, he used to work on all these sound frequencies and it's dangerous and it does over a period of time. if you have an EMS synthesizer and you twiddle around with it for days on end, it puts you into another world. If have gone into the bank and people just talking weird synthesized noise… quite weird actually. It does affect your brain. We did a program for radio 4 about LSD in the new year which was really interesting. They interviewed us and they used Realms, an Alan song.

RC: He made it while under the influence, didn't you.?

AD: Yes I did.

SH: It seems to me in the early days that when you went into the studio to record these first 4 records or so, that you actually did a lot of jamming in the studio and you would then later edit it out.

DB: Yeah. That is right.

SH: Pieces like Brainstorm are said to have been like 25 minutes long but then edited down.

DB: Yeah…but some of it was really boring. You know it would go on for far too long. It would go on for so long. You know bands like CAN would do like a whole 25 minute side to one track but sometimes it never goes anywhere and you have got to draw a line. A lot of these jams are just meandering, going nowhere, a bit boring.

SH: I also read about the first record that you played all the tracks as jams and then took the best parts..

DB: Yeah. But you still have to have an objective. It is easy to just make up things and meander round everywhere. You have to have a structure and the first album, although it was a lot of free playing and daring electronically, a lot of it was structured. Like Paranoia. You can't play Paranoia unless you have worked out what is going to happen. A lot of it was orchestrated even though it was free, you still had to have an objective. With old music, if you start listening to free jazz, it is just fucking awful. You have a load of people just honking on bloody saxophones all over the place. After so much of it you say I can't listen to anymore of this. It's fucking rubbish. Put somebody who can play. That is the difference. Consequently, that is what we had to do with the first album. We did have Dick Taylor (Pretty Things) and he was a good producer because we were all sort of like barbarians and he was able to say no no don't do this. He was very constructive yet not domineering. He helped it a lot.

SH: Was Cymbaline recorded in those sessions?

DB: No, we had done Cymbaline earlier with Hurry On Sundown and Kiss of the Velvet Whip, which was done in a private studio.

SH: So do these tapes still exist with the long jams that were edited down?

DB: Ah….I think they have probably been chucked away by now. Because they are all on 2" big tape. I remember we were at Rockfield Studios many years ago. Kingley, who owns the place, went into the big store and he has got all the bands from around the world's tapes that had been left there and he asked do you want your tape and he gave us boxes and boxes of 2" tape, which I've got at home. And it has started getting all moldy and it has been chucked away now, I think.

SH: You have a new live double CD coming out?

DB: Yeah. That is the whole of the Hawkfest 2003. We have finished all these things. We have been quite busy you know. It has taken a couple of years. We have the Bob Calvert album of all his poems. That is quite interesting. It was difficult as some of these poems are only 50 seconds long and you have to come up with like 5 minutes of music for someone just reciting a poem. Cutting the sentences up so they come across interesting and relay a message and stuff like that.

SH: Will you release that on Voiceprint, Hawkrecords...

DB: It might go out on Voiceprint probably. Because Rob has a got a deal with Jill Calvert as well. In actual fact, the actual tapes were the ones that I got off Bob to start with and I gave them to Trevor Hughes and Trevor gave them to Jill Calvert and Jill gave them to Rob Eling and Rob cleaned them up and put them on a CD and gave them to me again! It took quite a long time to do that. It was quite a task.

SH: That will be very interesting to hear.

AD: I play double bass on that one.

DB: Yeah. It's got Richard and Alan playing on that one. It is a bit different from a lot of the Hawkwind stuff, isn't it. One of the tracks is just piano, guitar and double bass and Calvert when he was a child on a swing. Interesting pieces.

SH: Do you have a title for it?

DB: It's called the Calvert Project.

SH: Do you think there will be more archival Hawkwind releases coming??

DB: It is possible. There is actually a really good album, a lot of stuff that was recorded at Rockfield studios that was never released. I have actually found that I had because a guy Keith Kniveton, who plays synthesizer with us, started doing archiving and I have got a room filled up with loads and loads of tapes and he started taking them away and playing them and cleaning them up and suddenly finding all these wonderful golden oldies recorded on 16 track and all that, 8 track at Rockfield, which was quite interesting.

SH: Is this late 70's or 80's??

DB: Late 70's with Simon King, Adrian Shaw, Simon House. Its interesting stuff.

SH: Oh. wow….I really hope that sees the light of day as that sounds really interesting.

DB: Actually, it's all done just sitting there waiting for releasing at some point. We will probably release that too.

SH: You know there are a lot of dedicated Hawkwind fans who would love to hear all the stuff that you have in that room…

DB: Yeah…I know, but you have really got to have quality control as some of that stuff is bad recording. I don't like releasing stuff, as a musician, if I have a bad day of playing or singing out of tune, or you know... you wouldn't want these things released because they are embarrassments. So some of it might but a lot of it won't.

SH: One more question… 36 years of Hawkwind, where to next???

DB: The funny thing, I was talking to Thomas from WE and they played in Delhi as part of some cultural exchange thing and he said it was absolutely unbelievable. All the guys just went bananas when they played and I said that sounds absolutely fantastic as we would love to do things like that. One thing about playing in a band is you do get around to see different places and different countries. Ok... you are playing but sometimes you get a bit of a holiday afterwards. It would be nice to go to India and do something like that.

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