Robert Calvert

K. Sören Bengtsson

'The invisible
Robert Calvert connection that
couldn't be heard...'

> Prelude: As a so called 'musician' one is quite regularly confronted with so called 'journalists' that are dying to know about ones influences and favourite bands etc etc, as if this was more important than ones own music, still I wouldn't mind if it wasn't for the fact that you mustn't tell them what you really like but what they actually want to hear if you want to be treated with some respect and not be ignored as 'just another bunch of ageing hippies'.
This has definitely been the case with darXtar from the very beginning.

Speaking 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 suicide.

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 not exist...

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!

the Ritual 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 write lyrics 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.

Hearing this 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.

The space-rock 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 to recognize.

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 of Robert.

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 darXtar page.

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.

Calvert however 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. <

more infos on K. Sören Bengtsson / darXtar

back to front