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Hawkwind is the band you barely heard of or the band you are more likely a rabid fan of but with Hawkwind, Lemmy is probably a name you know from Motorhead. Hawkwind also influenced almost everything in one form or another from the beginning. Their “Space Rock” was trance music and many shows could have been easily defined as a Rave but in the late 1960s. This is article one of four in the Magnificent History of a Legend of Music That began as Group X and ended up pioneers of a style of music all their own. This series will talk about space bandits, master of the universe, and on to the Hawkwind live experience. Then on to the continuing legacy of this band with many members like the grateful dead the had their ups and downs with past members.
Originally formed by Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Mick Slattery, Dik Mik, John Harrison, and Terry Ollis. The formative years of the band saw Triumph and Turnover. When Slattery departed first they brought in the Brilliant Guitarist Huw Lloyd Langton. Whose contribution over the decades Took the Hawks higher. This Line up created The Self-titled debut album and recharged the waning underground by accepting offers for free concerts as readily as paid shows.
They also Staged the concert outside the walls of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, and their presence was noted by Jimi Hendrix as he dedicated his set to “The Guy with the Silver face”. AKA Nik Turner. Little did they know That one member of the Hendrix Crew would within a year’s time enter their Band as The Isle of Wight and The Isle of Fehmarn in Germany would be Hendrix’s Last 2 performances shortly before his death.
Robert Calvert entered the picture as a Frontman, Poet and in short, the order would pen the First of Hawkwind’s songs to break them into Mainstream Radio and beyond. This was not to occur just yet. Del Detmar became the second member to employ the Ring Modulator and create the sonic spacey sounds. Their Second Album “In Search of Space” was recorded and became the Template for The Band’s full Glory.
HAWKWIND LEMMY YEARS
While performing to Promote this record The event that would change everything happened on Dec 12th, 1971. When the Bass player’s gear turned up but the Bass Player did not. Dik Mik Drafted on the spot his partner in crime Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. Lemmy had been a guitarist in bands Prior to Being Jim Hendrix’s Roadie, the larger know band “Sam Gopal” he wielded a Fender Telecaster. He was Handed the available Bass and was instructed to make noises in the key of E. With his “Ok, what the Hell” approach He would be a Major Force in the Band from 1971 through 1975.
By the time Their 3rd effort “DOREMI FASIL LATIDO” was released, a Single written by Robert Calvert “Silver Machine” Had been released., Recorded Live at The Roundhouse after a rehearsal with different members trying the vocal it became clear this was Lemmy’s voice best suited for the track. With the Addition of a Petrol attendant named Stacia Blake coming into a show with the band as a dancer be it Clothed or not. They began expanding into one of the most Important Music projects. They were on their way to creating the “Space Ritual” funded by having the financial success of “Silver Machine”.
I’ve often been asked if a person were to only ever own one album what would I suggest, and the Answer is always “Space Ritual”. A band at their conceptual peak and a Land Mark of the entity of Live Albums. You can’t find another like it. In it, you find the unadulterated soul of a Band that need not take it in the studio to fix mistakes. Hawkwind was such an amazing Live Band by 1972/73 that they just recorded what they do and it is Glorious.
After Hawkwind Lemmy went on to record on “Hall of the Mountain Grill” and “Warrior on the Edge of Time”, both works of incredible vision and launching pads for Tours of the United States and elsewhere. The “Elsewhere” factor would ultimately end Lemmy’s involvement. Drug snobbery and infighting began to come to the Band. During the 1975 tour of the United States Lemmy was off taking photographs in the back of a roadside restaurant, was knocked out, and robbed of his camera.
When he came to the Band had left him there. He Hitchhiked to Detroit to show up in time to play the show, In a dazed state but always the professional he ignored the nightmare that it was not the most normal gig by any stretch. I sat in Person with Alice Cooper to Talk about that last U.S. live show from the perspective of someone who was there. By his account, it was one of the best Shows Hawkwind ever played. Cooper expounded his love for Hawkwind and Lemmy as an individual.
The Hammer came down when he was detained by the Border patrol the next day going into Canada for possession of speed. This was Sorted out again right in time for Lemmy to Perform that Canadian show and then be fired immediately after the end of the concert.
The Song written for Hawkwind by Lemmy on one of the albums in this 4-year cycle was called “Motorhead”. It would Not be Long until the name meant something else. The Resolute will of Lemmy to press on In the band Originally to be Called Bastard…became “Motorhead” and they Left the psychedelia out of the equation and as he said every night thereafter until his death, “They Played Rock N’Roll.” End of Hawkwind Lemmy The next chapter here.