...welcome to part
IV of this complicated story - your patience is appreciated...
- the last stop
- followed by a short break and some more outstanding recordings for
their next album named PXR5
- that shouldn't see the light of day for a while as....alas, the tension
The reasons leading
to the first half-split of this line-up are quite unclear. Brock
and Calvert stated they wanted to play at free festivals and other
venues the other members did not want to - though this seems hardly to
be a point for such a radical step -and is also denied by the other members.
Whatever the reasons were - Brock and Calvert formed
a splinter group which was recruited from members of the North-Devon based
band 'Ark': Harvey Bainbridge
on bass, Martin Griffin on drums and Paul
Hayles on keyboards. This band performed under another Hawkwind
The Sonic Assassinsdid a prestigious gig
at Barnstaple's Queens Hall, Christmas eve 1977, that has also been
recorded - and has been described by Brock as 'a gem of a gig'.
Though Calvert offered to pull out of the gig, due to the feeling he was
heading into one of his manic phases again, he finally showed up after
Harvey Bainbridge managed to talk him into it.
Calvert appeared onstage in his notorious battledress and injected his
current obsession on World-War I into a glorious, highly intense piece
of improvisation: Over
the Top - that also became part of the Sonic Assassin's release.
conflicts among the current HW members, indicated by the forming of The
Sonic Assassins, developed their full destructive effect during
the '78 US Tour.
The biggest blow hit the band halfway through the tour: Simon
House - who's brilliant work on keyboards and violin made up a
quintessential part of the band's sound at the time - opted to leave the
band to accompany David Bowie on his world tour.
Paul Hayles from the Sonic Assassins stepped in but couldn't really replace
on the band when Simon House left - in my opinion this marked the end
of the band as a band.
- R. Calvert
amputated on the musical side, additional strain was again put upon
the other members by Calvert:
we did the US-tour Bob was on a real downer, and the tour became a
disaster. He just stood there on stage, doing nothing and brought
everyone else down with him. It was terrible.
Paul Kantner from the Jefferson Airplane came to see us and said it
was just like a shell of a band. Next day I sold my guitar. There'd
been this guy who wanted to buy it. I was totally depressed. I walked
offstage and said: "You still want this guitar? It's yours". He gave
me 100 dollars for it. -
Hayles, who only did half the tour was walking on his nerve's ends...
"When he returned, he was completely spaced out of his brain. Soon afterwards
he took his wife and moved to France."
- H. Bainbridge
On March 25th, the
last performance of this
(already crippled) line-up took place in San Francisco -
than the band dismantled itself - again...
it was NOT the real living end...
Another short break
...and Calvert and Brock revived their spirits and together they forged
another formation to keep their shared vision of the band going.
final split is being made now, leaving myself and Dave Brock at the helm
and in control of the situation which is in my and Daves opinion that
we've gone back to an earlier point in Hawkwind's development in terms
of actual presentation of ideals but a bigger step ahead in musical terms.
The band we've got now is musically very flexible and sophisticated
but is also
willing to play free festivals still - go anywhere, play anywhere, Nothern
Irleland, Southern Ireland - do everything that Hawkwind is supposed to
do and hasn't done for a long time. So far Hawkwind has almost been a
worker's cooperative - which I am afraid it isn't now - it's more a management
and workers situation - or a leader and back-up team."
- R. Calvert; Dec. '78
to some some legal complications with former members they
changed the band's name from HAWKWIND to
- which was another
HAWKWIND - pseudonym created by the band many
The HAWKLORDS were more or less identical with
The Sonic Assassins - only
Swindells (from 'Pilot') took over on keyboards and synths.
Brock and Calvert delievered another collection of powerful compositions
for the first Hawklords
/ 25 YEARS ON
skepticism and fascination for new technologies (and aviation) again became
the subjects of various songs.
songs developed the music even further into the New
Wave and Industrial direction. A song like 25
Years On could have well been part of a DEVO
PSI POWER would have gone down well with any 'New Wave' audience at
But the STIGMA problem remained - the HAWKLORDS
were HAWKWIND - consequently they could be nothing
but old acid-heads to the oh so open-minded british music papers...
- at least for the bigger part of the press they remained the old hippies
- no matter how far ahead they were musically, no matter what concepts
they developed - that other bands were succesful with, only years later...
The cover design,
done by the famous 'Hipgnosis' company, features
some austere industrial-like photos of mostly faceless human(oids) - placed
in sterile surroundings; captivated in bandages and strange poses of pseudo-scientific
The stage show and
design for the tour in 1978 went equally futuristic ways.
It was based on Calvert's idea of a fictitiuous industrial mega-trust:
complete with a detailed megalomanic philosophy - that was outlined in
the tour-programme - which in fact looked like a (strange) company's record
- and gave no indication to any kind of band or concert.
"In recent times, Pan
Transcendental Industries Inc., realising the fundamental
problems of twentieth century man, have started to implement our
next 25 year plan. Using our extensive resources we intend to celebrate
a Utopia unprecedented in history. Our
true ambition is to create
- a Heaven totally fabricated by man -
entire concept of Hawklords' PAN
TRANCENDENTAL INDUSTRIES is far too complex to be presented
However, it's a truly visionary must-read piece
- so, click HERE
for an extensive presentation of PTI Inc.
- incl. the texts from the tourbook, images, animations, sounds...
The following tour
- though commercially and conceptually a success - brought back the old
complications. An increasing conflict arose between Calvert and Martin
was really freaking out. He was suffering from a persecution complex.
He thought everyone was against him.
- D. Brock
"By the end
of the tour it was obvious that the chemistry wans't very good.
Maybe it was unusual for Calvert to have another extrovert in the band.'
- M. Griffin
...and this resulted
in yet another sacking - Martin Griffin had to pack his drum-kit..
last offshoot from this troublesome -
but highly fruitful period was the release of PXR5.
These were the last recordings performed by the
same line-up that did the QUARK...
album. But after their split the album got shelved in favour
of the new HAWKLORDS project.
Though PXR5 doesn't have the same musical
consistency as QUARK... it is another outstanding
document of this line up's musical variety and innovative style -
ranging from the heavy, almost industrial-like punkish-paranoid Death
Trap to Adrian Shaw's
more lighthearted Jack
And again Calvert's occupation
for new technologies and their social impacts
is marking the strongest influence - like in the haunting and driving Robot
(in which he quotes Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics) and in the wonderful,
melodic High Rise
- based on J.G. Ballard's
novel by the same name.
The song addresses the de-humanizing effects of being gathered in an architectural
structure - or rather life-form: the sky-scraper -- the perfect symbol for
man's inability to overcome certain killer-instincts - all this wrapped
into an even more disconcerting melodic and poetical beauty.
Themes like urban alienation became in fact some of the major subjects
of up-coming New-Wave bands like Joy Division a. o. - not to mention that
even bands of today don't seem to care much about the effects of new technologies,
robots, etc. - Calvert's lyrics are still ahead of
their time - in regards to its subjects AND lyrical quality.
committed by our label to make an album at the end of last year - and
we found that we've made an album that we really didn't wanted to make
- QUARK... is an album that we wanted to make - and the end result was
pretty much what Dave and I intended it to sound like. PXR5 wasn't as
good as QUARK... - it wasn't in the same direction - it was back in another
direction we didn't want to go in."
Listening to PXR5
it is difficult to imagine why both Calvert and Brock were so displeased
with an album that features a handful of the band's best songs ever recorded
- and is still even better than the Hawklords
But - as you've read on these pages - the main problems were EGO-problems
and eventually it were those high-explosive ego's that produced these
outstanding sounds - AND brought this collaboration to an early end.
was a lot of backbiting going on. I remember times when an awful lot of
plotting went on to bring down various key-figures, myself included. It
was quite often like a complex of cross-plotting.
Certainly enough to feed the average paranoid mind
with enough material to send it right over the edge - a lot of
back-stabbing - but also 'good human comradeship' - and a lot of good
- I can't say that I regret any time I spent in that
area at all."
Considering all this
- those 4 years were not that short - and highly productive they were,
I don't think
there is a likelihood that I will ever perform with a band called Hawkwind
again, unless it's a reforming of what I consider the
best line-up of the band, which was in the days of the QUARK,
STRANGENESS AND CHARM album."
- and he never did
- except from some rare guest- appearances at Hawkwind gigs.
Brock and Robert Calvert
certainly brought the
best out of each other during those 4 years.
After the final split Hawkwind musical direction changed dramatically
- after some time, however, they did release a number of good records
again - but - to me - they never reached that creative strength
Well, everyone knows - music & bands are a matter of chemistry - and
the Calvert & Brock certainly reacted in highly creative ways during
we used to have Bob Calvert, we used to work really well together. We
used to feed off each other. He'd give us a lot of ideas and when he left,
I found it really difficult for the past few years, because it's very
hard to feed off of everybody else... I mean, Calvert was a real loony
and he used to make me go a bit peculiar as well!
Accompanied by their
many musical comrades in arms, Calvert
& Brock broke
much more new ground - in terms of music,
AND lyrics - than other bands
will in a whole lifetime - and it's more than overdue they receive
the credit for that.