from: 'ORBIT 6'
HF: Could you tell us something about your next involvement with Hawkwind, the 'Warrior On The Edge Of Time' album, as it appears it was built around a concept of yours.
MM: 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 ..(chuckles).
HF: The Deep Fix is now born, why the name, was the (now legendary) New Worlds Fair album based on any conceptual idea(s), and are you surprised that it's now a cult-like record with hundreds of fans clamouring for the now deleted album?
MM: 'Deep Fix' was the title of a short story of mine I did in the early '60's and I used it in the 'Cornelius' series as a band title, so I just used it for the album. It was based on a concept, a kind of fairground at the end of the world really, and it's just people avoiding reality essentially, it's sort of the big party when you don't want to face the facts. I'm not surprised it's a cult-like album because it didn't... That tends to happen to albums anyway...
MM: 'Lucky Leif' was done at island and they needed a banjo player so I just went round with a banjo, but unfortunately what I hadn't realised was that the strings were about five years old cos I hadn't actually played the banjo, and so if you listen carefully it's dreadful flat strings on that.
HF: Your next musical involvement seems to be at the Roundhouse in 1978, where you performed with Pete Pavli and Adrian Shaw as 'The Deep Fix'. Can you tell us about the gig and how you met up with Pete and Adrian, and was the gig ever recorded?
MM: That was Nik
Turner, he just said "can you come along and do something at
the Roundhouse." So we rehearsed that with Adrian Shaw, who is now
a bus driver, but what happened was, I had an Ovation, an acoustic I was
using with a pickup on it, but the Ovation fits into a very tight case
and you can't take anything else in it. He'd put the strap on top of the
Ovation and closed the case and cracked it, so I turned up at the gig,
first live gig we'd done in god knows how long, and the guitar is smashed,
so we spent most of the soundcheck trying to find another guitar.
HF: How did you get involved with Eric Bloom and Blue Oyster Cult?
MM: I was in New York, I think, and Eric contacted me. He enjoyed 'Elric' so he asked me to write for the band, and I did 'Sun Jester'. It was written in memory of a friend of mine who'd died and had always wanted a rock'n'roll song written after him ..(chuckles).. What I do is I write a few songs and send them to Eric and every so often he'll do them, but I've never seen them live.
MM: That was after my marriage broke up and I was living up in Yorkshire. The band was playing in Preston I think and I just thought "what the hell, not very far to drive to Preston, we'll go along." Saw it in the paper, went along, turned up out of the blue. So Dave said "do you wanna go on and do something" and I said "well, I haven't done anything for a long time, I could probably fake something." He says "alright, do a couple of numbers." I can't remember how many I did in the end, I went on and did one or two numbers and enjoyed it. Then I did another gig in Lancaster then Dave said "come and do some stuff down at Rockfield." so I went down to Rockfield and I actually recorded a version of 'Sonic Attack' which wasn't used partly because they've changed it. I just wasn't quite getting the timing right. If you look at the stuff I did it was all about sound and language, on of the things is just letters of sentences I can't remember.
HF: They are trying to rob us of our right to communicate.
MM: That sounds right. That's one of my obsessions, people are always trying to do that, so that's what my contributions to the album were about.
HF: Flicknife have released several of your recordings - 'Good Girl, Bad Girl', 'Time Center' and 'Brothel In Rosenstrasse' - are they part of your apparently doomed concept EP/LP 'The Entropy Tango?'
MM: Flicknife still haven't released what I thought was, after 'Brothel', the best song we did, which is called 'Another Quiet Day In Auschwitz', but they were part of the concept album. Frenchy got us to do it all and then the money didn't turn up, wasn't his fault, so he just released bits and pieces.
HF: According to your press release hand-outs you wrote and recorded on the 'Choose Your Masques' album under a pseudonym. If this is so, why the pseudonym, and was it supposed to be a concept album?
MM: I did the 'Masques' under the name 'L. Steele' which is Linda's name because Douglas was still taking all the money, and when we got the cheque we were astonished at how much it was, I've never had anything like as much money. It's the first time we've actually had a substantial amount of money off just two numbers. There was a concept, the idea of people wearing masks to hide their real selves but in the end there wasn't that much of it left.
HF: Was it just time ran out and circumstances ..?
MM: Well, Dave just made the final selection really, he had other ones he wanted to put in.
HF: There are several songs you've written and performed with Hawkwind - 'Warrior On The Edge Of Time', Running Through The Back Brain', The Time Ship Will Not Sail Again' and 'Use Your Armour' - would you like to see them recorded and/or released, and are there any more gems locked away in the Michael Moorcock and Hawkwind vaults?
MM: 'Running Through The Back Brain' I don't know what's happened .. I did it in Hastings .. I would like to see them recorded.
HF: Do you have any memorable Hawkwind or Deep Fix performances?
MM: I always enjoy free gigs, I always like the atmosphere, and I like Christmas gigs - I really enjoyed the Rainbow gig. Memories are more to do with cock-ups. I remember we did a free gig at Harlow and Nik and I were late getting on stage, they'd already started, and we both ran forward but Nik had this frog mask on and he actually missed the edge and fell into the audience ..(laughs loudly).. It was great.
HF: Do you have any favourite Hawkwind or Deep Fix recordings?
MM: My favourite Hawkwind recording remains 'Sonic Attack', Deep Fix, I think the last track on the album is my favourite, 'Rolling In The Ruins'. My favourite actual number of my own is 'Brothel In Rosenstrasse'.
HF: How about performing some Deep Fix material overseas, say the USA?
MM: The idea of performing in the States is totally...
HF: You've got an extraordinarily strong following in the States from what I gather.
MM: That's true, but it's also very dissipated by British standards, it's such vast distances it's not really the same thing. Also, it's now mainly big concerts, there aren't that many small venues and it's just a different atmosphere. I still prefer the English atmosphere.
HF: Why do you appear to disown yours and Michael Butterworth's 'Time Of The Hawklords?'
MM: The reason I disown those Hawkwind books is that I didn't write them - Mike Butterworth wrote them. The publisher decided to put my name big and Mike's small on the first one, and that was when I broke with that publisher.
HF: What are your opinions of the film made of 'The Final Programme', and did you have any say in it's making?
MM: I thought I had a say in the making but when the director came to make it he made it exactly the way he wanted to. The only say I had was about half way through the film when Jon Finch said "I don't know what the hell this bloke (the director) wants me to do" so we talked it over and it became more of Cornelius in the second half. It was more of a wanky James Bond thing in the first half, it wasn't meant to be like that.
HF: Is Jerry Cornelius an incarnation of the Eternal Champion?
MM: You can say that he is - we all are, you and I are ..(chuckles)..
HF: How did you create Elric, and did you base him on anyone?
MM: I pretty much explained that when I did those in 'Science Fantasy', but I based him on one of my boyhood detective story idols called Zenith The Albino - it was a straight rip really.
HF: Is 'Stormbringer' s' chaotic life force based on anybody/anything?
MM: 'Stormbringer's' just a piece of imagination really. It's not based on anything.
HF: Why did you kill Elric in 'Stormbringer'?
MM: It naturally followed that way. Also I'd had enough of him even though I subsequently wrote a lot more books. At the time I was just sick and tired of it ..(laughs)..
HF: Does 'Elric At The End Of Time' follow on from that, and what briefly happens in it?
MM: That was a peculiar mixture of all sorts of different elements of all my stories, and it's Elric seen as almost a ludicrous figure - he's very serious but it's in the End Of Time humorous vein. I originally did that for Rodney Matthews, he wanted to do the illustrations for it but the company that was going to do it collapsed so all of these very good illustrations by Rodney - full paintings - he can't get published now cos that kind of publishing is not being done any more cos it's so expensive.
HF: Have 'Bane Of The Black Sword' and 'Weird Of The White Wolf' been published in this country (UK) under different titles, if not, what are they about, please?
MM: Granada are at last going to do all the Elric books in the same order that they appeared in the States, so all those that are published - Bane Of The Black Blade', Weird Of The White Wolf' - are now being published in chronological order, and they're gonna use the same covers that were used in the Daw books, so I think it's an improvement.
HF: When was 'Elric, Return To Melnibonè' published and by whom, and again, what was that briefly about?
MM: That was originally done as a pirated thing by Druillet the artist without my permission. Bill Butler pirated it back and involved him and me and Druillet in a French legal battle that went on for years. Finally it was agreed that nobody would ever republish it and that was how it was resolved.
HF: Do you play Dungeons and Dragons, how do you feel about the two Elric games?
MM: I haven't got the dimmest idea how to play Dungeons and Dragons ..(chuckles).. I feel very ashamed cos so many people ask me about it. I might have played it if I was younger and everything but .. The two Elric games I think are very fine but I don't understand them ..(chuckles).. It's as simple as that.
HF: Do some of your gods appear in the D&D book 'Deities and Demigods?.
MM: There was a legal thing between the two different games and that's why the Elric stuff got pulled out. I didn't know there was any difference between the games and so I gave both people permission to do it. They had their own fight and I had no part in that at all.
HF: Will 'Stormbringer' or any of your other books ever be filmed, if so would you like to direct the film yourself?
MM: There's been a lot of talk for films but they keep falling through. So far it hasn't happened - I don't think it ever will.
HF: What would you particularly like to see done?
MM: For my own part I'd like to see the Cornelius books done properly, but I don't mind as long as I'm not involved. The best thing that ever nearly happened was Mia Zetterling the film star, also a director I admire, she was going to do 'Behold The Man' but the money fell through on that. I'd love her to have done that - the idea she had was much better then the idea I had for it ..(chuckles)..
HF: Who are your favourite science fiction/fantasy writers?
MM: I haven't got many. I like M. John Harrison, and I like Alfred Bester's early work, J.G. Ballard, Tom Disch. If you take the basic New Worlds anthology, those are my favourite science fiction writers. People like Brian Aldiss, Barrington Bailey I think is a very underrated author, Norman Spinrad, John Sladek ..
HF: Is it intentional that the Corum, Hawkmoon, Elric and Erekose books are intertwined?
MM: For the last 20 years, it sounds peculiar, I don't know why I did it, I've actually been working on a vast single novel, they are just one big book. I don't know why it is but while other people do one book or maybe a trilogy, I think in terms of vast numbers of books ..(chuckles).. I tend to work with these huge 5, 10, 20 year plans and if something happens to throw me out then I'm really ..(chuckles).. I'm about three years behind schedule at the moment. It works out quite well commercially of course because people buy series but that's not the reason I do it. I just do it because I've got this vast pictures in my head and I'm trying to do every bit of it. God knows why, I'm a lunatic.
HF: Do you, Dave and Harvey work well off each other's idea's, or is it really a case of one writes the lyrics and the others the music?
MM: I do lyrics and after that .. I get on very well with Dave and Harvey, I think that's true of most of the band as it's now constituted.
HF: What's Pete Pavli doing at the moment?
MM: At the moment he's working on some stuff of his own for Frenchy, and he's also working in a bookshop at the moment, moaning and groaning about the first proper job he's ever had ..(chuckles)..
HF: What's the latest on your daughters' band, The Speed Queens?
MM: I think Kate is now working with another band, Sophie is travelling the world at the moment, so they're not doing much as a band at all. Sophie enjoyed doing it but it's not her main interest. She's more interested in doing journalism and in broadening her mind so she's travelling around all over the place.
HF: What's your favourite book, yours or by others, please?
MM: Favourite book of mine is 'Byzantium Endures', and of the fantasies I think I still like the Elric's best, they're not necessarily the best written - no, 'Gloriana' is probably the fantasy I like best. I like 'The Dancers At The End Of Time' and the Cornelius books but 'Byzantium Endures' is the one I feel...
HF: What sort of music do you listen to and purchase now?
MM: I've got a very varied taste, I like almost anything. I still buy a lot of classical music, which is probably my only real passion. I like Siouxsie a lot, I enjoy Motorhead actually, though I haven't been to a gig for a long time. I hate disco, I loathe disco, I would cheerfully kill the whole disco industry.
HF: Have you a favourite musician, if so, why?
MM: Hendrix I liked until he started going self-indulgent - or dead - and I like Ry Cooder. I would always say Lennon if it came down to it, and Dylan, even though Dylan's sort of gone off a bit, but I still feel one should acknowledge the enormous effect he's had. I like Madness actually cos I just like British music hall which is what it's always like. And Ian Dury, I really do like his stuff - at his best he's brilliant.
HF: Have you played any instruments on any Hawkwind albums or tours?
MM: I haven't played any instruments on any Hawkwind albums or tours because I'm sure they wouldn't let me ..(laughs).. I did a bit on Bob's Hype album but I was so rusty it took me ages just to do one riff, so I need to practice a bit more before I do anything.
HF: Who, or what, is 'Magnu'? Is it a mythological horse, if so, which country?
MM: I don't know, that's to do with Dave. I think it comes out of a comic.
HF: Is it? Oh, Nik thought it was one of yours.
MM: I think it's out of a Marvel comic, some superhero comic.
HF: Are you aware of the importance fans put on your appearances and recordings with Hawkwind?
MM: Yes I am. I've said it over and over again, I think Hawkwind audiences are smashing audiences, and that's still a lot of the reason why I do gigs, entirely for that reason. I do them for my own egocentric enjoyment as well, but I wouldn't do them if the fans weren't there. I really like Hawkwind fans.
HF: Have you achieved your ambitions in both writing and music, or are you continually striving for higher goals/aspirations?
MM: No. You never do, you always have higher aspirations. Certainly in music I've never done anything like I wanted to do. I've actually quite complex ideas for musical things but again it takes time, and you die in any case, you die not having done what you really could do.
HF: Finally, do you have a message for all your fans out there, please?
MM: I don't know ..erm.. Just 'Thank you' really, I think. It sounds like, you know, (American film star voice) "All you wonderful people out there" but I really am grateful to the fans.
Moorcock & Calvert