> The first time
I worked with
Robert Calvert was during the seventies.
Robert had a project
called the 'Lord of the Hornets' and organised that Simon King, Lemmy
and I record the demos with him.
This we did; in
fact, as far as I know the project got no further due to Robert's
mental energies tending to zap from one inspiration to another very
quickly. Although, I know certain of the tracks, if not all were
released as they were, through whichever label he was involved with
at the time.*
[* 'Lord of the Hornets'was in fact released as a single and was
later on - in a new recording - included on Calvert's HYPE
album in 1982. The original version with HLL on guitar has been
re-released on Calvert's FREQ
into army mode
at the time, striding around in Kaki's with a cigarette holder
dangling from his mouth.
I thought it
a shame he didn't finish the project, as it was highly amusing
and inspired – such is life!
points of musical involvement include the situations you mention
already Knut, i.e. the Sci-Fi Convention
(which was totally electronically based, myself playing only my
synth (Roland Guitar) and Ramsgate, where
he joined the (at that time) regular line up of Hawkwind.
I also seem to recall talk of Robert rejoining us (Hawkwind) shortly
before he died, certainly Dave
[Brock]and he were going to get together to do some writing.
he would get up on stage at Hammersmith, during a 'Hawkwind' Tour;
one time unfortunately, a bout of fisticuffs erupted between himself
and a certain M.
Moorcock, which Marion (the wife), being only 5 foot nothing,
had to step in and break up. Obviously down to differences in
the genius talents.
God Bless them both.
an out and out eccentric - but he was a lovely bloke. I don't
think that I ever got a bad impression of him.
He was definitely eccentric and a little bit loopy.
He'd go through different
phases. He'd be a colonel in the British Army at one point
and whatever the next and so he definitely did, sort of like,
waver a bit in his ideas.
But he was a very talented man.
It's very sad
that he went as he did, that young in life. <
Lloyd Langton and Robert Calvert
were both long-time members of Hawkwind,
they were never part of the same line-up... - but, the did play
together when Calvert showed up for
the occasional guest-spot - which could (still) turn every Hawkwind
gig into a 'mindblowing experience' - as witnessed by Trevor Hughes...
played an amazing one-off-gig at Ramsgate's Marina Park as special
guest + top band at the end of a 3-day 'Battle Of The Bands' competition,
with Nik Turner
being the judge!
It was all relatively un-promoted, and Robert
Calvert joined the band for this one gig on the Southcoast,
one of the best gigs I've witnessed in the past few.years. Taking
tbe stage at about 10pm and playing 'til well after midnight.
They opened with 'Coded Languages' & 'Angels of Death'.
Calvert was playing a small synth unit, dressed in black
trenchcoat, red scarf and black beret, with Dave to the far right,
thrashing out chords.
Harvey Bainbridge and Huw
Lloyd Langton were far-left keeping things together with
drummer Clive, and Dead
Fred was adjacent to Bob, playing a larger keyboard.
He also played violin.
Nik runs on, blasting sax through the monitors unaware that it's
not. coming out the P.A. Everyone carries on playing and as the
number:draws to a finish, Nik grabs a vocals mike and shoves the
sax over it, straining a climax on a lengthy unheard solo.
you heard was sax, and the raptuous applause from the thousand
or so fans present. The full light: show was very impressive,
projected onto the band and cliffs above, and the whole gig seemed
surreal and reminiscent of a Stonehenge gig.
Fables' & 'Watching The Grass Grow' followed, then the hypnotic
'Ghost Dance' The 'Countdown' cued Bob to take the lead vocals
stagecentre for a fantastic Born
To Go, and the 7-piece went mad. Bob chanted 'We were born
to go' sixteen times, and the mantra must have hit him as much
as it hit us.
Metamorphosing into 'Paranoia', Huw's lead slows down and Bob
reads the Ten
Seconds Of Forever, ever-slower, until the beat
is so slow that even Bob seems to strain. lt was very .effective
and seemed to become the ten minutes of eternity - very weird.
Nik, then took
the lead and welcomed us to 'Utopia'. He had a stunning fluorescant
day-glo luminous sort of skin-tight psychedelic suit on which
combined with the strobes/lights/liquid to give incredible visual
Nik took us to 'Motorway City', where Bob takes over and then
explodes into space with Ejection'.
Excellent vocals take the song to Mars, where the tempo slows
a bit and Uncle
Sam takes over. Calvert lets rip, gold megaphone in one hand
and HW Iyric book in the other, whispering, speaking and singing
the vocals like he always has, backed with conviction. Visually
I was transfixed. lt was too much.
Nik takes the
lead vocals for a medley of 'Brainstorm', Sonic
Attack, 'The Island and the climax of 'Brainstorm'. Throughout,
Bob echoed vocals and the band played flat out until gone midnight,
when they left the stage. Everyone screamed for an encore.
A few minutes later, the band emerged to play an incredible encore
Right Stuff (from Calvert's solo album Captain
of the Age & Silver
Machine. Until the encore, I'd felt that Bob had been holding
back. slightly, not too over-the-top, but now, he just let rip,
screaming, 'I don't feel fear or panic, nothing brings me down...'