a feeble attempt at retaliation for all you cheeky gits who are chortling at Simon’s latest

“If you look at the whole of that so-called ‘Industrial’ scene from Cabaret Voltaire to Marilyn Manson, the band with the most far reaching influence wouldn’t be Throbbing Gristle, but… Hawkwind!

This is something that they rarely mention in the press, as Hawkwind have this reputation as a British ‘hippie band’ who do ‘science fiction’ and theatrics, and therefore must be naff.

Whereas if they were a German hippie band… Zoviet France have told me they were very keen on Hawkwind. SPK were well into Hawkwind back in Australia. And what are Graeme Revell (SPK) and Brian Williams (SPK, Lustmord) doing nowadays? Making soundtracks for science fiction films – I rest my case!

I think it’s about time Hawkwind were reassessed. I have long been tired of those outfits who cite influences no-one has heard of, or can stand listening to. Back in the early 70s, Hawkwind were the first band I was aware of to popularise the idea of sonic attack – infra and ultra sound as a weapon. Listen to ‘Sonic Attack’ on Space Ritual. That of course has long since been taken up by that whole noise scene, but Hawkwind were rarely acknowledged.

If you look at the ‘information war’ thing, you’ll notice that Hawkwind had the post-modern writers, Michael Moorcock and Bob Calvert working with them. Though Moorcock is best known for his very popular science fiction and fantasy genre work, it’s more accurate to call him a postmodernist or at least a modernist. Moorcock pointed many in the direction of William Burroughs and J.G. Ballard and – stone me, he even wrote for Re/Search.

When Hawkwind’s ‘In Search of Space’ came out in the early 70s, it came with a booklet of very similar material to what the London Psychogeographical Association, The Association of Autonomous Astronauts, Iain Sinclair, and Tom Vague have been doing more recently. Whenever I used to see Psychic TV, I thought ‘Hawkwind’. Whenever I saw Throbbing Gristle I thought ‘Hawkwind without the lights…and without the tunes’. That combat clothing thing – Hawkwind!

Which brings me to the point that I would definitely question the history of punk rock and weirdy music that overlaps it – that media hacks have tended to spout. I remember that, apart from media darlings the Sex Pistols, the DIY punk scene in early 70s Britain seemed to be much inspired by the efforts of Hawkwind, the Edgar Broughton Band, the Pink Fairies and even Gong – and the context of the free festivals: Free festival – a self-organising proletarian cultural gathering often involving a bit of a knees up and maybe a punch up with the coppers.

See also ‘rave’. Brian Eno, for example used to hang out with the Pink Fairies. The whole set-up and costuming of Roxy Music was a direct crib off Hawkwind. AMM – my arse! Eno’s a popularist, otherwise why’s he working with U2? In 1972 Hawkwind followed up ‘Silver Machine’ – a million selling hit about a time travel machine built by the pataphysicist Alfred Jarry – with the single ‘Urban Guerrilla’. It was pulled by the record company because of fears about an IRA bombing campaign in London at the time. They later re-recorded it with Johnny Rotten.

Joe Strummer’s 101ers and The Stranglers used to play on the same bill as Hawkwind in the free festival days, pre 1976. In interviews at the time, Strummer cited Hawkwind as an influence on The Clash’s first album. Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks admitted he spent a lot of his youth listening to ‘Space Ritual’ and derived a lot of his musical direction from it.

And of course Lemmy of Motorhead used to play bass in Hawkwind. I went to see Sun Ra and his Arkestra once, and I got bored after 20 minutes of that jazz shite and went home. I’ve seen Hawkwind loads of times and they rock!”

Nigel Ayers of Nocturnal Emissions interviewed by War Arrow in The Sound Projector magazine..

Having said that, I had the misfortune of seeing Hawkwind once at the St.Albans Civic Centre circa 1987 and they were shite.


  1. Anyone for Coil?

    Since I can’t do astral stuff and I have no idea when the nu-moon is so this will have to do. Assuming the theme is vaguely teen.

    Not actually listening to Coil. Never listened to them. But they do have a reputation as a “magickal” group. However there is a connection.

    What I am listening to is Hawkwind’s “Doremi Faso Latido” album from 1972. What I listened to as a teenager [13 to 17] whilst reading Michael Moorcock books.

    What grabbed me first was their “In Search of Space” album. It came with a “Log book” -documenting the experiences of the crew of spaceship Hawkwind as they journeyed through space and time – very much an “acid science fiction” band.

    They were also part of the late sixties/ early seventies UK underground, playing free gigs and benefits for underground’s mags that got busted. It was radical stuff for the rural backwater I lived in [and have now returned to].

    I even wrote them fan letters and bought their posters – I remember one of a dinosaur [Apatosauraus/ Brontosaurus] lifting its head to gaze at a flying saucer with an Aztec style pyramid temple in the back ground.

    I wanted to be part of this amazing alternative/ revolutionary reality. Then punk happened. I visited London in the summer of 76, bit missed the Sex Pistols – I was looking for Hawkwind’s office over a ‘head shop’ in west London.

    Then I moved to London in 1979, when I was 20. I never found Hawkwind, but I did find the contemporary version of that alternative revolutionary scene – the post Pistols anarcho-punk scene. It was similar but different. there were squats and fanzines and free gigs and lots of rhetoric and some direct action – I helped set up the “Black Sheep Housing Co-op”.

    I met and lived in a black Sheep house with a group called The Mob. They were a colourful, even psychedelic, alternative to the black clad Crass. They played at Stonehenge and a Spanish Anarchist [as in refugees from 1936] squat on the Harrow Road and Meanwhile Gardens – the same area as Hawkwind had hung out 10 years before.

    I helped [cash contribution] The Mob put out their “Let the tribe Increase” album on their own record label called All the Madmen after a Bowie song – which was a difference, the DIY ethic of punk. It sold and made lots of money. So I was asked to “manage” the label and put out more records.

    One of the records was by Zos Kia. Zos Kia were an offshoot of Psychic TV and – so I have just found out- of Coil. For their very early existence Coil [before the split with Gen. P. Orridge / PTV] and Zos Kia were an overlapping project.

    I was doing/ living what I had only imagined as an impossible teenage dream ten years earlier.

    At the same time the Zos Kia record connected with adult realities. the A side was called “Rape”. It was written by Min. It described in stark detail her experience of being raped aged 13/14 in the Australian outback.

    It was and is shocking, almost unbearable to listen to. [Min only listened to the finished song once- “it was an exorcism” she told me].

    If a point marks my transition from teenage to adult, it took place when I was 23 and first heard Min describe the rape. We were both lying fully clothed in bed [she lived in a freezing cold squat and it was winter]. It was an encounter with a reality which under cut what ever “illusions” i may have had about the world. I remember her crying and myself unable to say or do anything to comfort her… what can be said or done in such circumstances?

    So being able to help Min exorcise the experience through the record was ? An act, however insufficient. We pressed up 1000 copies, but very few people bought them.

    Is there a magick which can engage with the depth of real horror which is so many people, so many teenagers, reality?

    Why? That is the question Tanith would ask me, since she had her own, similar, horrors to live with.

    I don’t know if the later music of Coil offers any resolution. I used to listen to “industrial music” which e.g. Throbbing Gristle, supposedly dealt with the “darker side of reality” more directly than punk… but to gender the reality, it was post- teenage boys playing with images, aural pornography.

    Maybe Coil aren’t like that, maybe magick isn’t like that.


    “Space is dark, it is so endless
    It does not feel it does not die
    It is neither truth nor lie
    into the void we have to travel
    the secret lies with our tomorrow
    beyond the realms of ancient night”
    [Hawkwind- Space is Deep]

    The darkness of chaos and ancient night at noon.

    “The day will come, we shall be as one
    Perhaps the dying has begun
    from the realm beyond the sun
    here our lifetime has begun”
    [Hawkwind- Lord of Light]

    Min is now a qualified Speech and Language therapist working in London with a case load of 93 children, most of whom do not have English as a first language.

    Alistair – for the new moon 19th April 2004


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