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Adrian Shaw - live '77
> Bob Calvert was a truly complex personality. Capable of being, on the one hand a highly amusing companion one day, a demanding strung-out space cadet the next.< Adrian Shaw

Adrian Shaw was Hawkwind's bass player in 1977/78, recording the Quark, Strangeness and Charm and PXR5 albums with them.
This is the period that I consider the two very best years of the band - and Shaw's outstanding bass-playing had it's fair share in it - as Gary Cooper put it in an article:

"Now Adrian Shaw has taken the gig and grabbed the band by the scruff of its neck, shaking it back into peak form with a driving melodic excellence."

Adrian Shaw live - 1977 Before these days Hawkwind was known for it's simply overwhelmingly pounding rhythm section - at times banging away with two solid drum kits and a throttling bass. Adrian Shaw's "driving melodic excellence" increased the band's variety and musicality a lot. While still pushing the band forward the bass-lines are much more lively - melodic and flexible - and still, if the performance calls for some heavy noises or improvisations, its all there. Just listen to a live version of Sonic Attack from these days will know what I mean. It's simply hard to believe that one can produce such sounds with a 'simple' 4 string-ed instrument....

Shaw's superb melodic sense can also be heard in his (unfortunately) only song he wrote for the band: Jack of Shadows. An -in Hawkwind terms- unusually lighthearted song - that inspired the band to even put their one and only "lala - lalala" chorus to the end of it - which, surprisingly, works extremly well!

        Adrian's Pre-Hawkwind days...

Writes Gary Cooper: "His history as a player is as unusual as you have every right to expect from a Hawklord."

You might as well say, it's a typical late-sixties-hippie career - only a bit stranger and more twisted as usual...
One of the first outfits was J.P. Sunshine - which later on featured Rod Goodway and Andy Rickell (aka "Android Funnel") with whom Adrian would later on play in several other bands.

Andy Rickell went on to join The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Adrian followed him shortly afterwards to the Crazy World's notorious farmhouse in the strangely-named "Puddletown".
This must have been around the time that the Crazy World recorded the recently re-released Strangelands album - probably the weirdest album they ever did. Imagine Captain Beefheart on a psychedlelic cosmic helter skelter and you have a slight idea of the lunacy behind it.

A bit too much of lunacy was probably involved for Arthur Brown - whatever it was, he left the band who then contacted Rod Goodway and born were Rustic Hinge and the Provincial Swimmers.
One of their finest outrageously inspired musical acts of strangeness was in fact captured by a team of the BBC! Adrian showed me the clip once. Believe me, its as crazy as you can imagine the noisy and weird side of the late 60s, with the late and zany Drachen Theaker thrashing away on any piece of tin in his reach.
But this exactly soon turned into a problem:

Adrian Shaw: "Drachen and Andy unfortunately didn't want to gig, but were intent on becoming the British answer (if one was needed) to Captain Beefheart, whilst Rod and I wanted to be out playing live in a "people's band", so we split to Bristol and formed Magic Muscle."

Hawkwind + Magic Muscle gig-ad Adrian was already befriended with the Hawkwind tribe and so Magic Muscle soon reached a wider audience when supporting the band on their extensive and highly acclaimed Space Ritual tour.

Magic Musle, like Hawkwind, became one of the people's bands at the time, playing numerous free gigs together with Hawkwind, The Pink Fairies a.o. - even the Hells Angels took a special liking in them:

"The house in Bristol we were living in was a notorious centre of depravity at the time, we were adopted by the West Coast chapter of the Hells Angels.
We played, by request, at the all England run of the Angels at Worthy Farm, an experience I'll never forget. For some reason, the Angels liked us, and seemed to think of us as kindred spirits, which in a way I guess we were."

Some time later Hawkwind's co-founder Nik Turner asked Adrian for the first time to join Hawkwind, as the notorious Lemmy had just been given the boot.
"I turned them down out of loyalty to Muscle. A bad move as a few months later, largely owing to us being in the middle of the country, broke and bored, the band split."
... a twisted career, as I told you....

Numerous, more or less short timed outfits followed. Magic Muscle regrouped several times in different line-ups, recording some material which eventually saw the light of day on some albums.
Adrian played with Atomic Rooster, Tony Hill (of High Tide), Keith Christmas and in the band of the former T-REX percussionist Steve Peregrine Took (another late musician from those days) ... and....finally, he formed a band called Zarabanda.

It's not likely you're going to find them in the Guiness Book of Rock bands, as they were often operating in the background of some dubious "cabaret shows":
" We played the clubs and cabaret scene for a couple of years, doing solo spots, backing singers, male strippers, drag acts, whatever."
In the not-totally serious words of Hawkwind's drummer Simon King:
"We had to get a release for him from the east Grinstead Transvestite Society."
continues Adrian: "You wouldn't believe some of the gigs we were playing, places like Tilbury Power Station. We were just a bunch of freaks who used to get very st***d and laugh about it."

Adrian Shaw and R. Calvert - 1977 But those days, in which Mr. Shaw somewhat wasted his talent (I am sure he would disapprove!!) came to an end when he got another call from his former collaborator of the Magic Muscle days, Simon House, who since 1974 played Hawkwind's keyboards and violin.

Adrian took over from his relatively short termed predecessor and ex - Pink Fairies member Paul Rudolph.
Dave Brock and Robert Calvert had just 'cleaned up' the band of three of its former members in a "stalinistic purge" - in order to bring the band back on its (their) musical course.

So, Adrian Shaw came right in (as the only new member) for a fresh start and the recording of their next album Quark, Strangeness and Charm.

Ok, I know I am repeating myself here for the x...-time - but - it's a FACT: the band has never seen a finer moment and delievered a better, more imaginative and innovative record than this one. I am not again going into all the details of this grand-album - as you can read about it as well in the Calvert and Hawkwind section of this site.

The album - and especially the single were quite successful - the Melody Maker elected the title song as 'Single of the Month' and soon afterwards even the television offered the band another one of their extremly rare TV appearances:

Adrian Shaw and R. Calvert on the Marc Bolan Show "We did, amongst other things, the Marc Bolan Show on ITV. Marc had the same manager as us at the time as well as Pink Floyd. I got on well with Marc, and his death, which coincided with the start of a European tour hit us all hard. I found out later from our manager, Tony Howard’s secretary that Marc's bass player, Herbie Flowers was leaving and he was going to offer me the gig. That would have been an interesting proposition."
(...twisted career, part 2....)

Hawkwind live - 1977 The band embarked on their highly successful UK tour - which saw the band and especially Robert Calvert delievering their very best performances.
But Calvert's intense performances and his tendency to get completely absorbed in the characters of his stage-personae's was as well one of the points that endangered the whole undertaking - especially during extended periods of touring.
The next one leading the band over the continent ended in mental turmoil for Calvert - as you can read in another chapter of the Calvert and Hawkwind saga.

However, the band got it together again and recorded some new material for their next
album called PXR5.
But things remained shaky and unstable and the end of the following US-Tour was also the end of this - and the best of all Hawkwind line-ups.

Adrian Shaw - 1977 Surprisingly however is, how much memories and the perception of supposedly nightmarish experiences can differ... - Calvert's mental problems were showing up again, Dave Brock sold his guitar after the last gig, the keyboarder returned "completely spaced out of his brain"....
Adrian Shaw: "... but I have to say that this particular tour was from my perspective great fun, and I've been surprised to read subsequently that certain other band members were having such a bad time that they were virtually suicidal!"

...all a humble editor can say on these sort of stories is: beware of those rumours. One of them even had it that Adrian had a nervous breakdown on that tour. As this seems to make a good reading this invention was even re-written in some books on Hawkwind. My suggestion: speak to the man himself - and you just know that he is one of the very last musos to have a nervy-breakdown for whatever reason...remember, the man backed male-strippers for a living!

Adrian then briefly thought about packing his bags for America - when one of the most important messages in his life 'hit' him: his wife was pregnant with their (soon to become a musician himself) son.

Then came a time when you could see him quite often on the public buses. No, not as a worried soon-to-become-father, thinking 'bout how the hell he could raise the money to afford his new 'role', but driving the very thing to earn the bloody money.

Fortunately, bit by bit, the 'showbiz' dragged him back in. He did a guest spot with Michael Moorcock's The Deep Fix and played for a while as a duo with the Canadian guitarist Dave Rutchinski as The Vox Bros.

Also Magic Muscle got together one more time and "raised it’s ugly head again." - this time joined by Simon House and Twink. The result was another album - entitled 100 Miles Below.
A Magic Muscle post script, followed in 1991, called Gulp!

"This has probably caught the true Muscle spirit better than any of the other releases."

Another very important meeting re. his future career took place:
"At this point I got to know Nick Saloman (AKA The Bevis Frond), and we hit it off immediately. When I was offered a spot for Muscle on Hawkwind’s 20th anniversary gig at Brixton Academy, I asked Nick’s views on who we could get to play guitar with us, as Huw was living in New York. I knew Nick didn’t gig, having terminal stage fright as a result of playing too many crap pub gigs in his formative years. To my surprise he offered his services. The gig was a success, and as a result of not having glasses thrown at him, he got the taste for it.

The line-up went through a few changes and for a while did a few gigs under the brain-damaging name The Magic Bevis Muscle Frond.
Finally, with Nick Saloman being one of the most productive song-writers around - and a splendid guitar player / multi-instrumentalist - The Bevis Frond took over.

Nick Saloman +  Adrian Shaw - 1995 Adrian stayed with the Frond, which is in fact, musically, 100% Nick Saloman's project. Since the early 90's the Frond is regularly touring the continent, pulling out an album once a year (at least) and enjoying an ever-growing success.

Since 1990, Adrian Shaw is also quite busy working in what must be one of the smallest and most effective home-studios ever: F'tang studios!
Out of these came in 1990 his first solo release Aerial Dance - proving the wide range and flexibility of his musical approaches - but all with a definite psychedelic flavour - and often with a certain poetical strangeness:

"A strange but wonderful mixture of psych-pop and cosmo - stucco - grunged up melodiousness."

Various numbers for compilation albums followed - and of course his constant work for The Bevis Frond on the usual tours and at times also in the studio.

Tea... 1996, finally, saw his next solo release, the brilliant   Tea for the Hydra.
A huge step ahead, if you consider the Aerial Dance pieces as a kind of laboratory for this release. The HYDRA songs are more hard-hitting, atmospheric and most of them have an even more stranger feel to them - like the wonderfully 'weird' opening track Son of Sam or the heavy-hitting Heart of Stone - featuring a furious solo-guitar guest-spot by the former Frond member Bari Watts.
Another great solo-guitar-spot is in fact taken by Adrian's son Aaron Shaw.
Yes, these genes...

Strangely enough - and quite against the general musicians-rule: the older the man gets, the more productive & creative he seems to become.

displaced collage And right when I was hacking this page together the brandnew release from Mr. Shaw dropped into my mailbox...
Entitled Displaced Person - and if you think this title points to even a bit more of strangeness you are absolutely right. Strangeness in the most positive sense of the word.
And...again... this album is definitely another step ahead - featuring more of the particular poetic Shaw-ish flavour - at times tinged with a melancholic touch - and yet mixed again with some catchy harder / rock-ish tracks - with his taste for the all time fab-four still lurking through here and there.
Commercially, this might not be the most fortunate direction Mr. Shaw is heading for. Artistically, he hardly couldn't do any better.

An extra-recommendation might be obsolete after these lines - but is still appropriate. If you can't find it in your next record store, you can also mail-order it via Woronzow's web-site.
So, keep your eyes open for these items.

Nov. 2003 - the shortest of updates...: Adrian Shaw keeps on his schedule - he still performs and records with The Bevis Frond - one album a year (at least) - and during the last years The Frond have been quite active in the States - headlining the Terrastock festival regularly and doing some US-tours - with one live album coming out of this. I haven't heard it, but it MUST be brilliant, as I've heard/seen the Frond playing live a few times - and they're an extremly tight and powerful unit.
Adrian also released two new solo-records since Discplaced Person - and currently there's a new one in the pipeline. Once again: I really recommend to check out his work - and that of the Bevis Frond as well.
More news on his work and all things Shaw and Bevis Frond-ish you'll find on their own website.

        Woronzow Rec & The Ptolemaic Terrascope

Besides being together in The Bevis Frond Adrian Shaw and Nick Saloman are also running the Woronzow label, on which they are releasing all the BF and Adrian Shaw solo-albums plus various other releases.

And - just don't ask me how he manages - Nick Saloman is also the publisher & co-editor of the Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine. Over the years PT has become one of the most acclaimed magazines - featuring articles, interviews, reviews etc. on psychedelic music and various related subjects. PT has also set up its own website - actually featuring an extensive interview with Nick himself about his various activities, the band's history....

LINKS - More on : Adrian Shaw / The Bevis Frond