in terms of commercial gain (god forbid!) I was a damn fool to state
this completely unfashionable and almost extinct group of hippies,
known to a small group of individuals as Hawkwind,
as our main influence. And to quote Robert
Calvert as one's guiding star is definitely *the* commercial
So, what's the
connection between darXtar and Robert Calvert you ask impatiently!?
Well, to be absolutely frank - there is no real connection. I never
met him in person and he never heard of this band before he passed
away, but the fact is that without him this band would probably
Story: I have
been a true Hawkfan since the early daze of the 1970's and saying
I'm influenced by this band is a vast understatement - I have them
in my veins. As so many other of the early fans I was heavily into
SF literature so the 'Hawkwind
log' and the various short stories and anecdotes printed on
their album sleeves completely blew me away...
I soon found
out that it was this bloke Robert Calvert who was primarily in charge
of the poetic
side of the band but was he a member or what?! I'm not sure
he knew that himself at that point!
Hearing him reading the poems
on the Space Ritual
album with his deadpan voice can still send shivers up my spine
and when I finally could lay my hands on the extremely hard to get
(in Sweden anyway) solo debut album Captain
Lockheed I could do nothing but exalt him to GOD status.
This man could
he could read poems,
he could thrill
with his stories, he could
sing, he could
compose, he could affect and he could
throw a joke - was he real?! Do guys like this really exist
in the real world or was he a figment of our imagination?
Ok, I admit he reached his artistic climax at this time but anyone
leaving footprints like these in the sands of time can never be
forgotten - ever.
crazy band also endured me to finally pick up the guitar since it
was obvious one didn't have to be Jimi
Hendrix to play good music, and I goofed around with some various
local musicians without achieving anything worthwhile until I more
or less gave up that 'career' in frustration and went into the coma
they call the 1980's...
At the end of
this lost decade things started to happen again, the ol' Hawks had
been there all the time alright, but without the glow of the golden
days and Robert's output was interesting but not up to his reputation.
He eventually went out on the road with the Inner
City Unit guys and did some nice gigs, I especially come to
think of the one at Dingwalls in 1986 where he joined Nik
& the boys in a far out gig covering most of his Hawkwind period
standards, and the 'Black Sword' turned the Hawkship to the right
direction too and rumours even had it that Robert and Dave was talking
about some sort of reunion.
future really looked bright when Robert suddenly was taken away
from us... I *was* chocked - God's don't die, they are forever!
A few years before
I had picked up the guitar again, influenced by the revived space-rock
scene and when Robert died it felt like I had to make a statement
of some sort, to somehow pay back my debts to Robert as well as
to the whole space-rock scene that might not had been at all without
his prescence, something that a lot of todays Hawkfans doesn't seem
I wrote a heap
of songs and recorded a cassette on my portastudio with a drummachine
(that I couldn't handle at all) and some cheap gear, dedicated it
to Robert in particular and the Hawks in general and did 20 copies
that I gave away to some fellow Hawkfans.
I did it under the guise of 'Alpha Scorpii' and subtitled it 'Dark
Star' which I thought was an appropriate description of the genius
One of the Hawkfans
that got a copy happened to be Steve Lines who drew the original
Hawkfan logo and also ran the cassette label Acid Tapes.
He liked it and picked out the two most obvious Calvert/Hawkwind
tributes on it and put them on the compilation cassette 'Daydreams
and Nightmares'. He misunderstood the message on the sleeve however
(who wouldn't...) and called the band (=me) Dark Star, which must
be one of the most frequently used group names on this planet! Still,
I wanted to keep the connection to these tracks and decided to rename
my 'band' to darXtar, same meaning but with a touch of mysticism!
Soon after this
I met Captain Juba, another SF/Hawkfan and the rest is history.
If you're interested in that story as well I'd suggest you take
a look at the
official SBm sweden site or Paul Ward's magnificent
So whatever happened
to the Calvert influences you may ask, 'Sju' isn't exactly related
to his music..!? No, clearly not, darXtar has developed their own
brand of space-rock by now, merging influences from several great
artists with that typical 'draX' sound.
will always remain clear in my consciousness as he looks down on
me from the portrait hanging on the wall in my Studio Terra (thanx
to John Hughes), feeding me with inspiration and guiding me through
difficulties. Please don't rest in peace up there in space Robert,
keep on shining like the star you are and rest assured we'll come
and join you in that ultimate gig one day - we miss you!
PS: darXtar have
actually put music to and recorded one calvert lyric! we 'borrowed'
the "position unknown" lyrics from the Hawkwind
Log and put it in a suitable costume (imho) and it was released
on the 'NetHawks' Hawkwind covers cassettes together with our version
of "visions of beyond recall" (Dreaming). this is as far as I know
the only recorded version of this text. <