Sunday, June 19, 2011
HAWKWIND: WARRIOR AT THE EDGE OF TIME
Hawkwind are an English rock band, one of the earliest space rock groups. Their lyrics favour urban and science fiction themes. They are also a noted precursor to punk rock and now are considered a link between the hippie and punk cultures.
Formed in November 1969 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Dave Brock, Hawkwind have gone through many incarnations and styles of music. Critic Jim Green describes their trademark sound as characterised by "that gargantuan and impenetrable pre-metal/hardcore drone, those great riffs, that inexorable drive to destinations unknown". Dozens of musicians have worked with the group; The addition of bassist Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister and drummer Simon King propelled the band to greater heights.
As well, fantasy and science fiction writer Michael Moorcock was an occasional collaborator. At the beginning of 1975, the band recorded Warrior on the Edge of Time, their fifth studio album. It reached #13 on the UK album charts and was their third and last album to make the US Billboard chart, where it peaked at #150. Many of the lyrics are by Michael Moorcock and the album is loosely based on the concept of Moorcock's Eternal Champion.
According to Michael Moorcock: "Warrior On The Edge Of Time was a concept of mine. What Dave tends to do is he says 'Do us a concept' or 'I've got this rough concept, can you work it out?' I do it, then Dave has a different idea and the whole thing shifts away, so that's the way it works. It's a perfectly good way of working - it tends to give Dave a bit of a start or whatever. I was doing a lot of my 'Eternal Champion' stuff on stage, so it seemed automatic to do that because there were so many numbers I could fit into that. I was only in the studio about an hour to do the stuff I did, and it was one of those weird things I didn't get the session fee either."
"Assault and Battery" lyrics quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Psalm Of Life". The song is a popular live number, being performed occasionally over the years, and has appeared on numerous live albums, sometimes under the title "Lives of Great Men". It was included as part of the live show for The Chronicle of the Black Sword concept, appearing on the album Live Chronicles.
"The Golden Void" segues from "Assault and Battery", and the two songs are often performed live as a pair as on the albums Palace Springs (1991) and Canterbury Fayre 2001. The song is a popular live number, being performed occasionally over the years, and has appeared on numerous live albums, sometimes under the title "Void of Golden Light", as on 1994's The Business Trip.
"The Wizard Blew His Horn", "Standing at the Edge" and "Warriors" are Michael Moorcock poems based on his Eternal Champion literary figure. The poems are recited to atmospheric soundscapes provided by Simon House, and the percussionists Simon King and Alan Powell. The band had been performing them on stage during 1974, versions appearing on the The 1999 Party live album.
"Opa-Loka" is an instrumental that features a motorik rhythm and is strongly influenced by the music of Neu!, the title possibly being a reference to Opa-locka, Florida. It was performed live, but when Robert Calvert joined the band at the beginning of 1976, he would recite the poem "Vikings on Mars" over the top of it, the song evolving into "Uncle Sam's on Mars" on the 1979 album PXR5.
"The Demented Man" is a Brock acoustic number.
The lyrics of "Magnu" are based upon Percy Shelley's poem "Hymn of Apollo". The song is a popular live number, being performed occasionally over the years, versions on the albums Choose Your Masques: Collectors Series Volume 2 (1982), The Friday Rock Show Sessions (1986) and Canterbury Fayre 2001.
"Spiral Galaxy 28948" is a Simon House instrumental, the title being his date of birth (28 September 1948). It was performed live in 1975 after the release of the album, and again during 2001 when House had temporarily rejoined the band, a version appearing on the album Canterbury Fayre 2001.
During a North America tour in support of the album, Lemmy was caught in possession of amphetamine crossing the border from the USA into Canada. The border police mistook the powder for cocaine and he was jailed, forcing the band to cancel some shows. Fed up with his erratic behaviour, the band fired the bass player replacing him with their long standing friend and former Pink Fairies guitarist Paul Rudolph. Lemmy then teamed up with another Pink Fairies guitarist, Larry Wallis, to form Motörhead, named after the last song he had written for Hawkwind.
Here is MAGNU from that album:
And here is my favorite track from the album: Assault and Battery Part 1:
Hawkwind is still a band and they still tour. You can find out more about the band here:
I've been here and there. I've drawn a lot of pictures. I've written a bit, too. I'm not good at this self-promotion thing. Look, you want to know about me? just visit these websites. Okay?