interviews

Hawklords Interview - February 2010

by Jodie Humphries

Thank you to www.johnchasephotography.com for the majority of the photo's, and Birdman Dave Easthope for the rest of them.

Hawklords

It’s not often that you can list someone whose music you’ve grown up listening to as a friend, but that’s what I’m lucky enough to be able to call Alan Davey. It’s thanks to him that I’ve managed to get this interview with members of Hawklords – a band consisting of members from the Hawkwind family tree. Today, these men are all about getting back to their roots, making music for the love of it and bringing the fans what they want. February sees the band embarking on a mini tour, so we thought prior to these gigs it was time to find out a bit more about Hawklords. So I’ll hand you over to Alan Davey, Jerry Richards, Steve Swindells, Dan Thompson, Ron Tree and Nik Turner.

Alan Davey:

Alan

How did Hawklords come about?

That was Jerry’s idea - a good one too! We don’t always have all the members at the gigs, some float in and out, or up and down even! Jerry and I were talking about it back in 1999! With so many complaints about how un-Hawkwind, HW are these days. We thought its only right the fans get a chance to get/see what they really want. Yeah the fans still go to see HW (a lot don’t though I might add!), but there’s always an air of dissatisfaction about the Hawkwind gigs recently, so we thought ‘lets get on with it and do it properly!’ Going by the reaction from the Hawklords gig in London November 2009, the fans think we’ve got the right stuff! I’ve listened to some of the recordings and it’s just like 1972-73, that’s the best time of the Hawklords!!

How does it feel to be playing with ex-members of Hawkwind again?

Great! Dan, the drummer is always fun to play with, we click well as drums and bass, and we’ve been friends since we were 18! Steve is a very good keyboard player and a fun guy to be around, Jerry is a nice guy and plays good spacey guitar! Ron is a hoot, and Nik is unpredictable, he brings that classic Hawkwind sound to Hawklords with that weird sax style and flute playing! Together we make a great band!!

As you're usually involved in so many different musical projects, how do you stay focused on them all at the same time?

Well, I’ve been tested/told I’m dis-lex-sick (hahaha!!), so I can remember many songs and musical details, I don’t need to rehearse at all! But it’s wise too, if ya in a band right! Musically I like to keep busy too, it’s like I’m on red bull without drinking it!! I’m working on four albums at the moment, they’re all different and I go from one to the other like a pin ball!

Are there any plans to be writing and recording a Hawklords album?

Yes, we’re planning an album at the moment, we’ll no doubt be talking/planning it on this mini tour in February. It'll be a live in the studio album so we all play together (the best way eh!!) unlike the recent Hawkwind albums that are done a track at a time! I didn’t like this method for hawk-style music, it eliminates all the jamming aspect which is what hawk music is all about right!! The new Hawklords album will sound like lost Hawkwind tapes from the early 70s!!

For 2010, for Alan Davey you can expect:

Lotsa new CD releases in the pipeline for me, Gunslinger tours in Europe, Hawklords gigs and taking my mum on her dream trip!!
I’m re-issuing the Bedouin studio album ‘As Above So Below’ in metallic picture disc and new artwork with 30 minutes of extra live tracks and a possibly with a DVD too, all in the same package! The same goes for my ‘Al Chemical’s Lysergic Orchestra’ album too, I’m gonna re-master it, add to the existing songs, vocals and sound FX` etc, metallic picture disc with four-five extra flashback tracks, so 30 minutes extra music on it! I’m also releasing a four CD metallic picture disc box set of the four track mind volumes, limited edition of 200.

www.alandaveymusic.com

www.myspace.com/alandaveymusic

Jerry Richards:

Jerry - www.johnchasephotography.com

When you were playing in Tubliah Dog and supporting Hawkwind, did you ever imagine you’d end up as part of the Hawkwind family tree?

Quite frankly, I expected to be arrested by the police, most of the time! We had quite a few scrapes with 'the boys in blue', particularly in the area around Stonehenge, back in the 1980's, when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher branded us all "Brigands and law breakers" and sent in her goon squads to smash the free festival scene. Rather bleak, I know.
Generally though, we (Tubilah Dog) were only intent on putting on festivals, playing groovy gatherings and essentially having a good time. That's pretty much what Hawkwind, were into as well at that time. So after continually bumping into one another (Hawks & Dogs) at the same festivals, it got to the point where we all said 'Let's get a festival band together, call it Hawk Dog or The Agents Of Chaos (both names were used at various times) and go and have a lot of fun playing at as many gatherings in the 1980's as possible'. Which is exactly what we did. They were really fun times and helped the Dogs establish themselves in the consciousness of festival goers, per se, and also helped Hawkwind reconnect with their festival roots.
I guess the answer is: if you lie down with Dogs, you can wake up with Hawks!
All in the best possible taste, of course…

How do you balance work with Hawklords, EarthLab and Space Ritual?

Very carefully and without very much sleep.

Where do you see the future for Hawklords?

I never go looking for the future. It seems to find me without too much trouble all on its own. I suppose it'll be "putting on festivals, playing groovy gatherings and essentially having a good time." Er... Hang on, I seem to be having a Déjà Vu moment, there!

Where do you believe your passion for music comes from?

As with all passion: it comes from within and from without. As long as I'm working with equally passionate colleagues I find the energy and synergy of the music writing process something which still turns me on and so, re-energises my will to want to do this weird business that we call 'Show...'
My Great Grandfather was both an accountant and a musician. He played the piano. So maybe I get some of my tour management skills and musicianship from him. His nickname was, according to my Grandmother, Batty Bill... Maybe I inherited some of his eccentricities, too. You do need to be a bit weird to work with some of the guys in this band! Bless 'em.

For 2010 for Jerry Richards you can expect:

Earthlab currently have a studio CD available entitled "ELEMENT", which features a host of Hawkwind personnel alongside such luminaries as Jon Moss, from Culture Club, on drums and Winston Blissett, from Massive Attack, on bass.
A DVD from the E Lab show at the Sonic Rock Solstice Festival 2009, which is totally live and very groovy. Both products are available, direct from us through our MySpace page
A brand new studio album entitled ‘Oscillating Bodies’ is being recorded right now. It should be available direct from us, via our web space, fairly soon.

www.myspace.com/earthlab

Steve Swindells:

Steve

How does it feel knowing there is enough interest in you for your solo albums to have been rereleased in October 2009?

It feels absolutely brilliant. I'm really pleased that the albums have been reissued on CD for the first time. It's like a karmic return, especially regarding the extra CD on the Messages package, which is the second album that was never released because my abusive producer/manager Mark Edwards lost me my record deal with RCA by sweeping everything off the managing director's desk with his umbrella, in a drunken rage.
I prefer my 1980 album Fresh Blood myself (better songs, better singing), and am well pleased that it is now available to download exclusively on Amazon.com, before being available on all the other download websites from January 15th. I've also got two 'lost' albums from 1980 currently being digitally remastered. So look out for The Invisible Man and Treachery. You can already hear the former on

www.ilike.com/artist/steve+swindells along with loads of other stuff by me, and my other project DanMingo.

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a musician?

All the things that I also do anyway, like painting, digital photography, interior design, writing poetry and prose and walking, swimming and gyming.

What makes a Hawklords show unique?

We are the real deal; the cream of the ex-members of Hawkwind. Therefore, we perform with the raw power, energy and madness that recaptures the true spirit of the Hawks.

What do you feel your main influences are in music?

Very broad and catholic, but I particularly like black music - especially Tamla Motown and albums like Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On and The Temptation's Psychedelic Shack, along with Sly Stone and Parliament Funkedelic. I also really like Love's Forever Changes, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Led Zeppelin 2 and good stuff by Steely Dan, Vaughn Williams, Spirit, The Band, Tonto's Expanding Headband, Caravan, Pink Floyd, Ravel, Magazine, Prince, Little Feat, Debussy, Bob Dylan (particularly for his song writing skills), The Beatles (in their later period), Nirvana, Aretha Franklin, Mozart, Snow Patrol, Dusty Springfield, Eric Satie, Scott Walker, Echo & The Bunnymen, Beethoven, The Grateful Dead, Delius, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys (especially their obscure album Holland), Miles Davis, Blackstreet, PIL, Bob Marley, The Ramones, Television, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, The Staples Singers, Mahler, Herbie Hancock, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Serge Gainbourg, The Sex Pistols, Joni Mitchell, The Clash, Cream, Mos Def, The Buzzcocks, Kelis, Maxwell, Nina Simone, Iggy Pop, A Tribe Called Quest, John Holt, The Velvet Underground, REM, Roxy Music, En Vogue, TLC, Egg, Robert Owens, Neu, Marshall Jefferson, Kraftwerk, Jethro Tull (particularly Thick As A Brick), Amen Corner, The Who, Rachmaninov, Stevie Wonder, Coleman Hawkins, The Cure, The Moody Blues, Jimi Hendrix, The Four Tops, Frank Zappa... and many more from right across the board!

www.myspace.com/steveswindellsspace

www.myspace.com/steveswindellsstuff

Dan Thompson:

Dan - www.johnchasephotography.com

How is it to be playing with your old friend Alan again?

Playing with Alan is always a delight as we have a mutual intuition I think? I always feel where he’s going to go with things musically and he swings! Bearing in mind it’s not rocket science! But having a feel and being able to groove is not something you can learn! You’ve got it or you haven’t! Alan is a great bass player! We both play powerfully so I guess that’s why we fit together nicely.

Did your inspiration to become a musician come from your Dad being a musician?

I was brought up listening to all my dads’ music and that must have influenced me! Although the only genre he hasn’t done is the rock/metal thing and it’s the only genre I have done so between us we’ve covered it all! :) I do think it’s in the genes though!
I must say though when I was 16 and heard AC/DC and Sabbath for the first time that was it! Musical dad or not! That’s what I would have wanted to do. I was never encouraged to pick up music as such it was just something in me when I heard ‘Sin City’ awesome!

What would be your ideal line-up for a gig if you could have anyone?

Well me on drums! Slash on guitar! Lemmy on bass! And Bruce Dickinson on vocals! Oh yeah!

What do you think makes you all work so well together as Hawklords?

Well we’ve only done one gig so dunno yet??!! We’ll have to see :-)

www.myspace.com/dan.thompson63

Nik Turner:

Nik

Do you find that original Hawkwind fans favour Hawklords and Space Ritual over Hawkwind as both bands are bringing back the original old power and sound of Hawkwind?

Most original HW fans favour SR and HL, because both bands embody the spirit of what HW was about when I formed HW, and was in the band, [1969-77, 1982-84], communication, and brotherly love, which we were helped and encouraged in by Barney Bubbles and Michael Moorcock. Both bands are very different, SR play mostly new material, with a dash of mine and Robert Calvert’s HW material, and HL play mostly Robert’s material, with a dash of my HW material, but both have that original power, that sense of fun, enjoyment, and accessibility.

You’re known as being quite an eccentric character, do you feel this helps you with your stage persona?

I don’t really think I’m eccentric, I just like to think that I’m presenting the sort of show I would like to go and see myself, as wild, weird, off the wall, and wonderful as I can imagine, or of which I am capable. My family background is theatre and film, so I guess I’m just carrying on the family tradition, and I’m sure this all helps my stage persona.

How does it feel to have been a musician for all these years, with people idolising you and your music?

I feel privileged to be able to perform, and entertain people, my friends, and to feel that people appreciate what I do; and I feel that they have given me a gift that I wish to share with them. Music is a spiritual and healing force, and I feel myself lucky to be the instrument of helping to raise peoples’ consciousness, and help them enjoy themselves.

Do you find that you have a mixed age range of fans due to your music being passed through the generations?

Yes, I have a very mixed age range at the shows, kids have grown up with me, I was probably in the first band a lot of them ever experienced, I meet people whose dad brought them to a gig when they were five years old, or they were at Stonehenge or another festival as kids, and they’re still coming to my shows and bringing their children. I think it’s not about fashion, more about giving a good deal, being genuine, being honest and sincere, spreading happiness and good vibes.

For 2010 for Nick Turner you can expect:

2010, time for the best gigs I have ever done, spreading more love and awareness, and bringing great joy and happiness, uniting the tribes, one source, one world, one race, one god, one love, Yippee!!?!
Check my website for involvement with films, DVDs, books, recordings and live performance

www.nikturner.com

www.myspace.com/nikturner

www.spaceritual.org

www.myspace.com/spaceritual

Ron Tree:

Ron - www.johnchasephotography.com

How does it feel to have played with Hawkwind, played guest spots with Space Ritual, and be part of Hawklords?

I looked up to Hawkwind in a degree about 15 years ago when I first saw the band, I thought they were good then. I only joined Hawkwind cos I thought they needed a singer and I thought I could do something on that, and it was looking good or a while, but then Dave wouldn’t stop doing the same thing all the time with his sequencer, I couldn’t get him to forge ahead.
It’s good to get somewhere with music rather than not getting listened to and ignored. Before I was in them, you’d have a job to play to an audience, you’d have to let them in for nout sometimes. I did loads of stuff before Hawkwind, but never managed to make a living out of it. This has been like a curse, sometime it’s really good, but sometimes bad – it’s a funny one. I’m determined to get it to be alright with Hawklords.

Could you ever imagine turning your back on music?

I tried once, but I always end up going back to it as it’s the only thing I can do – I’m good at art and sculpture – anything artistic. It always ends up being music; I’ve gone that far into music now, it’s there. You just end up doing music, no matter what happens, you always come back to it – even to the point of busking down town when I’m skint. My son even comes with me at times on his bugle – he dresses in full military uniform. He’s fucking brilliant on it, and drums! He’s got something off me!

Do you get out much yourself and go to gigs?

I can’t really, I’ve got a kid and I don’t get the time. But there aren’t really many bands that I’d want to see, sometimes there are in London, but it’s too far and it costs too much – 30 quid – 50 quid, you know. I’ve seen loads of bands, I’ve made up for it in the past – hundreds of bands.

Do you hope that Hawklords will be held in the same esteem as Hawkwind and go on just as long?

I hope Hawklords do. Hawkwind did do some pretty amazing albums; they were shit hot at one point. Hawklords are like the original Hawkwind sound, but we’re trying to get a modern edge on it – a modern type of psychedelia – I don’t know what that is, that will have to form itself – we don’t want it to get dated and in the loop of what’s come before – we’ve got to keep it fresh somehow. We want to try and get that Space Ritual power, if we can get that, it’s powerful. The sound is still developing cos we’ve only done two gigs – no rehearsal, but each time we play it’s getting better, tighter – maybe after these five gigs we might be really good – I’d say without any rehearsing we’re pretty good, but it can be a lot better. I think Hawkwind fans will like it. People pay money to be excited by a band. I want there to be a concept, I want all the fans to go ‘fucking hell this is brilliant’. We’ve got to get these costumes to go with the old Hawkwind sound. I want chainmail and crazy lights, chanting and dancers covered in paint with chanting – something very visual – that’s the idea.

Are you involved in any other projects other than Hawklords at the moment?

I was doing ‘Mother Of All Bands’ which was basically anyone could join in if you had an instrument, and you basically just make it up, it’s like a mixture of all styles, a bit chaotic and mad, anything could happen. It mainly happened at festivals, but it’s not really taken off because the people I know live all over the country so it’s a logistic nightmare to get together. It existed a bit on the internet, a few gigs at festivals, but it’s kind of gone flat. I can’t do much cos I’ve got a boy you know. I’m just going to go along with the Hawklords for now.”

For 2010 for Ron you can expect:

I’d like to get Danny and Alan to do something as I can play guitar – quite good, quite raw – we wouldn’t really need anyone else as we’d have a tight rhythm section. I just want to keep plenty of things going – you have to try. Alan’s a nice bloke – he’ll help you out if he can – you can trust him.

To give the final words to Ron - “And yes the Hawklords have returned.”

www.hawklords.com

www.myspace.com/hawklordsinmyspace

< Back to previous page