Parallel Universe

Nik's original liner notes for the Hawkwind compilation




This package of great tracks is something that no serious Hawkwind fan or collector should be without. These are the seminal recordings of the band, the essence of what Hawkwind was at that time, and was all about, doing the benefits, supporting just causes, playing anywhere, free concerts, under the flyover in Portobello Road, protesting with C.N.D. outside Nuclear Power Stations, playing inside Wormwood Scrubs and Chelmsford Prisons, playing for the love of it, the pure enjoyment, jamming anywhere and everywhere, an infectious thing that was completely natural, genuine, organic and not manufactured, and which attracted to the band a large grass-roots following, as well as a lot of very creative people, part of the whole alternative culture of that day, alternative media, Frendz/Friends magazine, International Times, OZ magazine, London Arts Laboratory, creative people like Barney Bubbles, the creative cutting edge graphic designer, art director of Frendz magazine, and ultimately the band's creative director, Mike Moorcock the science fantasy/fiction writer, contributor to Frendz, editor of New Worlds Science fiction publication, who saw the band as characters in his books, and producing the music his heroes listened to, danced to and made love to, J.G.Ballard sci-fi writer extraordinaire (Crashed Cars, and Dark They Were and Golden Eyed, etc), among others.

hawkwind - 1974

The CDs contain a good cross-section of the band's output over the first 5 years (the band was actually formed in 1969), previously unreleased different versions of some songs, as well as a couple of previously unreleased new songs, 'Hog Farm', and 'Take What You Can'.

Initially the band was psychedelic, musicians from a variety of musical genres, of very different stripes. Mick Slattery, blues guitarist, who played in the band at the conception, but left before the first album was produced, Dave Brock, a blues guitarist and busker, Nik Turner, a free-jazz saxophonist, John Harrison, a big-band bassist, Huw Lloyd-Langton, a classical guitarist, Dik Mik Davis, a primitive Concrete Music Electronics exponent, and Terry Ollis, a primitive drummer, They put together the first album, simply titled, 'Hawkwind', which was basically a live studio-recording of their live performance, which was a lot of jamming and free-form music, as well as a couple songs, 'Hurry on Sundown', and Mirror of Illusion', the whole thing was recorded two times and the best of the two versions chosen for the album, with some guitar added by the producer, Dick Taylor, guitarist with that band 'The Pretty Things'. The two songs on the album were released as the band's first single.

Bassist John Harrison, left the band, to be replaced by Skin Alley Bassist Thomas Crimble, who featured with the band at the Isle of Wight Festival, to powerful effect, like a super nova, and then left to organise Glastonbury's first Festival, where he obligingly depped on bass, with the then replacement Bassist Dave Anderson featuring on guitar, when the band played at the Festival in 1971 (Dave Brock did not attend, due to illness). The second album, 'Xin Search of Space', was a little more structured than the first, with more songs, and influence from Nik's friend Robert Calvert, the 'space poet', who he grew up with in Thanet, Kent. With Barney Bubbles, who had designed the album cover, Robert composed the 'Hawkwind Log', the logbook of the 'Space Ship Hawkwind', and gave the band a whole science fictional emphasis. The concept took the form of the 'Space-Ship Hawkwind,' which had crashed-landed on earth, and become 2-dimensional, the vinyl was the remaining 2-dimensional remnants of the crew, and the Log-Book was the Ship's log, describing the Ship's adventures, The band were now Dave Anderson, ex-bassist from Amon Duul, Dave Brock, Nik, Terry, Dik Mik on his Dik-Mikator, and Del Dettmar, ex-roadie from the Pretty Things and Hawkwind, on synthesizer and Delatron. They were definitely moving into space. In their live work, they were joined by the fabulous statuesque dancer and mime artist, Miss Stacia.

Robert then became more involved in the creative writing of songs, and performance ideas, and devised his Meisterwerk, the concept epic, 'The Space Ritual', the spectacular mixed media show, which would feature the song 'Silver Machine. At this point, exit Dave Anderson, enter Lemmy (Ian Kilmister), a friend of Dik Mik, and ex-guitarist from Opal Butterfly, Sam Gopal's Dream, and ex-roadie with Jimi Hendrix Experience. Lemmy played Loud Deep Space-bass. On the drum front, exit Terry Ollis, and enter Simon King, also ex-Opal Butterfly. The band recorded the song 'Silver Machine' live at the Roundhouse at the ''Greasy Truckers Party', with Robert singing, and the show was compered by the resident DJ extraordinaire, the very Awesome Mr Andy Dunkley, the thoroughly lovable guy (who very sadly, lately passed on to the next world, we miss him).

At this time Robert was a very delicate chap, a manic-depressive, and subject to regular nervous breakdowns, and unfortunately all the creative activity and excitement was too much for him, and he had a nervous breakdown. His vocals needed replacing, on the recording of Silver Machine, as they were deemed not strong enough, so Lemmy replaced Robert's vocals. The single went to number 1, and gave the band the finance to produce Robert's Space Ritual extravaganza. The show was produced by Barney, Gerry Fitzgerald, Doug Smith (the band's manager), Robert, Nik and Liquid Len, (a.k.a, Jonathan Smeeton), a truly cosmic production incorporating the Astrological information of all the performers, relevant planetary colours, Astronomical positions on-stage, and the Pythagorean Music of the Spheres. This ground-breaking show was taken on the road, featuring Miss Stacia, Miss Renee Leballister, and Mr Tony Crerar, performing dance and mime, MC'd and compered by 'FM On The Road', Mr. Andy Dunkley, and was wildly successful. A live recording was made of the show, and released as a double album, to great acclaim. At this point Dik Mik left the band to travel to India.

After that, another song of Robert's, a follow-up single was projected. Urban Guerrilla'/'Brainbox Pollution' were recorded, but unfortunately this, in hindsight, may not have been such a good idea for a single. The BBC refused to play the 'A' side, the police visited Nik's flat and tore up the floorboards looking for armaments and explosives, and the band were stopped frequently by Her Majesty's Constabulary, and delayed at ports, and equipment searched, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, because of the troubles in Northern Ireland at that time. The record company subsequently withdrew the single, so it's great to have it on this compilation. The next album was Doremi Farsol Latido. Great tracks, great artists, Simon House, the violin virtuoso, ex- High Tide, and Third Ear Band, and latterly David Bowie, joined the band, and featured on the following album, 'The Hall Of The Mountain Grill', and on the fourth single 'Psychedelic Warlords'/'It's So Easy'. Simon King broke some ribs playing football, so enter Alan Powell, ex Vinegar Joe, and Chicken Shack, drummer as a temporary replacement, Of course he stayed. The band then had two drummers, The beat goes on, most definitely, awesome stuff and most definitely a must-have album!!?!!