"I have always felt mildly that the brain is a very powerful engine
in a slightly inadequate chassis." - M.M.


However, due to Calvert's mental instability and his more or less frequent submissions into mental hospitals, Moorcock performed as Calvert's 'stuntman' from time to time. - Moorcock in his own words on his performances and his feelings about those early Hawkwind days - from 'Record Collector' / June 96

"I was Bob Calvert's understudy, basically. When he was in the loony bin, I would attempt to tour with them. I first got involved with the group while I was organising free gigs under the motorway at Ladbroke Grove, in the days when we all felt the community spirit. I'd written 'Sonic Attack' for them, Bob got carted off by the men in white coats, and that's when I appeared with them. What I liked about Hawkwind was that they seemed like the crazed crew of a spaceship that didn't quite know how everything worked but nevertheless wanted to try everything out. There was a sense that they were completely out of it, but yet were producing something actually very interesting. And they weren't pretentious. There were a lot of people who the minute they stated using electronic music started talking about Stockhausen, which I think is crap, frankly. They didn't have any of those hi-faluting claims for themselves. I enjoyed doing it, and I have a lot of admiration for Dave Brock and what he did with the band. I like the fact that they stuck to the principles they believed in,particularly the first decade.
I don't see a great deal of difference between Hawkwind and what Punk was doing. It was just the same, really, with different haircuts. There was as much idealism, disgust with hypocrisy, and Hawkwind had this reputation as a peace and love band, but none of the lyrics were like that at all. It was urban stuff that could have been written ten or twenty years later. I was always very sceptical about the whole peace and love aspect of it all. I was for the sentiments, but you needed something more than just a peace sign and another joint."

"We were in the happy position of being the only band the Sex Pistols had any time for! The only 'long hair' band — that is, the Hawkwind, Motorhead axis in general. If you look at lyrics like "Kings of Speed," "Sonic Attack" and "Needle Gun" (all mine), you see more in common with punk than peace and love. Our lyrics weren't that dissimilar. And Hawkwind, don't forget, refused to play the media game very much as the Pistols refused. We didn't have the pleasure of telling Bill Grundy he was a miserable old hack, but we might have done, more reasonably. John L. and some of the others were far more interested in power, however, than we were.

I knew early on that punk was just another form of dandyism and I'm a great fan of dandyism. The true dandy, as exemplified by a certain version of Jerry Cornelius, has to be able to keep their cool on all occasions. As punk sank, like hippies, into mere fashion, I lost interest. I spent time at Blitz because I knew a fair number of the people there and was vaguely involved with some New Romantics, but I must say I preferred the return of grunge."

Moorcock's fantasy novels also inspired various Hawkwind records during the absence of Calvert - when he was not in the bin but was busily recording his first two solo albums Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters and Lucky Leif and the Longships - to the latter Moorcock also contributed his musical services - playing banjo(!) on the hilarious country-parody Moonshine in the Mountains - in 1982 he also appeared on Calvert's Hype album.

I've written for Hawkwind, The Deep Fix and Blue Oyster Cult. Done some session work, notably on the Calvert albums Lucky Leif and the Longships and Hype. I used to be in demand for banjo work - I was the only Brit who could play five-string that anyone knew. Generally these jobs have been casually arrived at. Eric Bloom suggested I write him a song, so I did. It worked. I wrote some other songs. Same with Hawkwind. I just do it if I'm asked.

Nik Turner and Moorcock - 1975
And Hawkwind did ask him - time after time...

In 1975
, while Calvert was working with Brian Eno and
Paul Rudolph on 'Lucky Leif...' Hawkwind collaborated with Moorcock on their 'Warrior at the Edge of Time' album that featured various spoken words / sound collage tracks, performed by Moorcock himself - some of them remained
on the band's set list for many years.

More collaborations and performances with Hawkwind followed in the early eighties on the 'Sonic Attack' + 'Choose your Masques' albums and in 1986 on their 'Chronicle of the Black Sword' double-album - the latter one was a double-concept-album based on Moorcock's famous Elric cycle. Many fans consider the 'Black Sword' album as the highlight of Hawkwind's output in the 80's

"Rock and roll is a working holiday for me. (...) I didn't make the rock music as much my own, I suppose, as the science fiction, but that's still the impulse. But my preferred position in a band is as a sideman and backing vocalist. I happen to have a good voice, so tend to do the songs when I'm on stage, but really I'd rather be in the shadows working up an interesting harmonic. Happily, I'm not the most self-conscious individual in the world and I absolutely love stage work--rock and roll, acting or reading or performing something of my own—I would almost certainly be doing something like that if I wasn't writing. But writing needs a rather solitary, disciplined life and I tend to prefer it as my base."


In the same year Hawkwind's 'Warrior...' album was released,
Moorcock recorded his own solo album:


'There were Turkish and Persian lesbians with
huge houri eyes like those of sad, neutered
cats, French tailors, German musicians;
Jewish martyrs; a fire-eater from Suffolk; a
barber-shop quartet from Britain's remaining
American base - the Columbia Club in Lancaster
Gate; two fat prudes; Hans Smith of Hampstead.
Last of the Left-Wing-Intellectuals - the
Microfilm Mind; Shades; fourteen dealers in
the same antique from the Portobello Road,
their faces sagging under the weight of their
own self-deception; a jobless Polish french-
polisher brought by one of the dealers;
a pop group called The Deep Fix'

- from Moorcock's 'The Final Programme', 1965

This was the first mention of 'The Deep Fix', that became a feature of Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius books - and the name of Moorcocks own band to accompany him on his musical FAIRground.

'Deep Fix was the title of a short story of mine I did in the early 60's and I used it in the Cornelius series as a band title, so I just used it for the album. It was based on a concept, a kind of fairground at the end of the world - people avoiding reality essentially, it's sort of the big party when you don't want to face the facts.'

More on the story in Moorcock's own words - taken from the sleeve of the CD re-release of the NEW WORLD's FAIR album in 1995:

'In the early 1970's Ladbroke Grove was and still is crammed with rock and roll poeple and it was almost impossible not to know at least half-a-dozen musicinas who were either already famous or would soon become famous. In this atmosphere, with Islands's amazing studios ten minutes from my house and almost everyone you knew working in some capacitly for the music business, it felt a little weird if you didn't have a recording contract.
I was doing a lot of stuff with Hawkwind at the time, both writing and performing and it revived my interest in music.

I had begun in the mid 50's, doing rock and roll and bluegrass as well as R&B and skiffle.
Those early years in the clubs of Soho, where British rock first began, were fairly similar to the 60's in Ladbroke Grove - everybody knew everybody and it was quite often possible to be involved in a session with someone like Charlie Watts on drums, Long John Baldry doing vocals and Pete Green playing guitar. I cut my first demo with EMI in 1957, and it was, even by the standards of the day, considered too dreadful to release. So it was perfectly natural, living as I did in Ladbroke Grove, to slide back into doing music. Also I was helping Jon Trux (publishing manager of FRENDZ) and others put on concerts under the motorway in Portobello Road - my first performance with Hawkwind was at one of these gigs, and at that first performance I did 'Sonic Attack'.

I think it was Dave Brock who encouraged me to do a demo of two songs I'd written, Dodgem Dude and ' Star Cruiser', and I somehow found myself having lunch with an A&R man from Liberty Records who casually asked me when I intended to schedule my first LP. Almost without realizing it, I had a record contract and 'New World's Fair' was the result.
I was already doing some stuff with Steve Gilmore and Graham Charnock - and I insisted that they be represented on the album, which is why you'll hear several of their songs on it. Steve was at the time working with Sam Shepard (now more famous as a film star, but then a writer who had co-scripted 'Zabriskie Point' by Antonioni and whose first collection of poems was called 'Hawkmoon') and it's Sam's lyrics you'll hear on 'Song for Marlene'. It was a very small world, in many ways. The idea was mine and Dodgem Dude, in particular, set the theme for NWF. Ironically, Liberty Rec. never showed any great interest in taking it beyond the demo stage and the record wasn't released until some seven years after the album.
'The Deep Fix' was formed in 1972. By the time we made the album it consisted of myself, Steve, Graham, Pete Pavli (late of the Thrid Ear Band and High Tide), with Simon House (Third Ear Band / High Tide / Hawkwind), Snowy White and Kumo.

Dodgem Dude single cover The original album was musically a bit more ambitious than it turned out, partly because some of the people weren't happy with doing eccentric rhythms and bar lines, while some tracks were abandoned altogether.
If you listen to 'The Brothel in Rosenstrasse' or even 'At The Time Centre' (music for both songs by Pete Pavli) you'll have a better idea of the flavour I was aiming for.
'Brothel in Rosenstrasse' is in many ways more typical of the The Deep Fix, who gave their final performance (with Adrian Shaw on bass) at Nik Turner's 'Bohemian Love Inn the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, in 1978 - in many ways the Grand Finale of the alternative music scene as we had experienced and enjoyed it.
After that, our music got less and less commercial and times had changed so radically that nobody, except occasionally Flicknife, actually wanted to produce it."

The Entropy Tangos...
"The work Pete Pavli and I did on Gloriana and The Entropy Tango, two ambitious projects, scarcely got beyond demo stage before we grew tired of the record industry's increasing orthodoxy. Like many of our contemporaries who were not quite young enough to feel immortal and not old enough to have grown cynical, we gradually dropped out of doing music. 'The Deep Fix' did a few numbers on Flicknife and then we went our different ways. Since then, of course, there had been a lot of interest in this album and some of the other stuff we did." (M.M.)
Moorcock himself describes the Gloriana/Entropy Tango sessions - quite rightly - as 'ambitious' and 'less commercial'... - however, I think they are musically by far the best work he did - and Pete Pavli, bass-and cello-player extraordinaire, surely had more than his fair share in these intriguing avantgard-ish compositions. Unfortunately, like the equally stunning and experimental Revenge-recordings, that Pavli did with Calvert, this material never went beyond demo-stage... - however, one can only hope that they, like the Revenge-recordings, will be released officially...someday.

And there's not only a strong connection between these songs and the Revenge tracks by Calvert and Pavli - one of these songs, entitled BUGATTI, even has a musical twin: "The Brothel in Rosenstrasse" - both songs are based on the same rhythms, chords etc...

To describe these recordings is QUITE difficult... a lot of those I've heard are semi-acoustic - many of them feature Pavli's fantastic cello-playing - and I assume that the equally gifted Simon House had his violin-bow in a couple of them as well. You have fabulous, highly poetical tango and waltz numbers (Entropy Tango + Lost in the Megaflow), songs which feature almost spoken word renditions of Moorcock against semi-classical - at time mediaeval lieder renditions....and all sorts of strange mixtures. Mike Moorcock makes equally inventive use of his peculiar voice - the Pierrot and the Jester are recurring figures in these songs - and indeed, at times he sounds like quite a melancholic, maybe forgotten jester, reciting songs to a long gone (or still awaited) audience... - Fascinating stuff!
As far as I know this material is only available in bootleg formats - but if you have an ear for the more experimental sounds: get them.
....well, talking about music...always a hopeless thing - so: here you can listen to 2 tracks from those highly praised recordings:

The Entropy Tango Lost in the Megaflow

"I've had some great times in rock and roll, though, and it's nice to have enjoyed all the things that most people only get a chance to fantasize about. My own stuff tends to be more melodic than Hawkwind but even less commercial ("Another Quiet Day in Auschwitz" somehow never made it even to the indie charts. . . ) and the work I've done with my partner (ex-High Tide and Third Ear Band, bass and cello Pete Pavli) is much more complex. I gave up recording it when we couldn't find an engineer who didn't want to lay down bass and drums first. We were using neither. Pete and I both had an enthusiasm for Schoenberg, Captain Beefheart and, in my case, Iggy Pop."

After these recordings with Pavli, Moorcocks musical activities seems to have come more or less to a hold - but surely enough his output as a writer hasn't decreased for a bit. After all: writing novels remains his favourite form of expression - and there's certainly some truth in Moorcock's comparison btw. writing and modern (pop-ular) music:

"Unfortunately rock 'n' roll itself didn't develop as much as I hoped. No, so far the novel is still proving to be the most flexible and complex medium of all."

However, Moorcock did some rare guest-appearances with Hawkwind (via sattelite-phone during their 30th anniversary show) and appeared on-stage at a Nik Turner gig in 1995, when the latter was doing a gig in Moorcock's now-hometown Austin, Texas.
Word has been around that there are plans for a new collaboration with Hawkwind - based an a Moorcock idea - the working title has been named as "The Destruction of the Death Generator". However...nothing's showed up so far...

There's nothing better than going on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon with two thousand people, and getting approval just for stepping on stage. Everybody cheers. You can't get better than that. But in a sense it is just a bit too easy for me. And with writing novels there's a lot more hard work involved. And it's slightly less boring than recording. (from an interview in 1995)

My private wish: Some good and/or rich producer should throw some money against Mr. Moorcock and Mr. Pavli for a fully-fledged recording of their Entropy Tango & Gloriana sessions...
Well, good luck, gentlemen, wherever you are...

back to part I

More Moorcock:

Read a statement of Moorcock on Calvert

Read another interview-excerpt of Moorcock on Calvert

Read an extensive Moorcock interview on his own musical activities, his collaborations
with Hawkwind and Robert Calvert and his biographical background.

More Moorcock on the web:

  • the MULTIVERSE - the main source for Michael Moorcock on the web -
    there are numerous other pages, but this is the best point to take off in the multitude of M.M's universes....

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