This year marks 50 years since the unmistakable sounds of space rock emerged with the band Hawkwind. In those 5 decades, the bands many incarnations have seen dozens of musicians, including Motorhead legend Lemmy and Cream drummer Ginger Baker, move through the bands ranks. But Hawkwind remain most closely linked to founder member Dave Brock. Brock says “Ginger Baker played on a few albums in the 80’s. But we fell out while rehearsing at Rockfield recording studios in Monmouth, because he suddenly wanted to replace our bass player Harvey Bainbridge with his old Cream pal, Jack Bruce. We disagreed and fired Ginger instead. I remember him shouting at his roadie to pack up his stuff and head back to London. I’ll never forget seeing the owner of Rockfield studios get out this horse and horse box and put all Ginger’s drums and equipment in the back to take him to the railway station.
The late great Lemmy always insisted that his tenure in Hawkwind made him into the musician he always dreamed of being. At a Motorhead gig a few years ago Lemmy told me, “I really found myself as an instrumentalist in Hawkwind. Before that, I was just a bad guitar player. In Hawkwind, I became a good bass player.”
As the band hurtle towards their 50th anniversary in 2019, Dave Brock is continuing to keep things fresh. Hawkwind have broken new ground by recording an acoustic album called The Road To Utopia, made up of cover versions of their 70s songs. It features a guest appearance by Eric Clapton. The band have also been touring with an orchestra for the 1st time. Hawkwind are also planning to play some festivals next year to mark the big occasion. One of those will be Hard Rock Hell Road Trip X in Ibiza. They top a bill also featuring Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, Joe Lynn Turner of Deep Purple and Rainbow fame and former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden.
The band want to continue to make a big impression over the next few years as they always have done throughout their entire career.
Once encountered Hawkwind are never forgotten.
Dave Brock remembers the impact they had while recording their classic albums at Rockfield studios in the 70s and 80s.
He recalls, “there was a huge tractor tire at the studios overlooking the River Mono. We’d all take turns swinging over the water in it. One day, our girlfriends decided to get naked and take a trip down the river in it. So they all pile on top of this huge tire, totally stark naked. Later one farmer popped into a local pub having seen the girls on their river trip. ‘I just seen a group of naked girls on the river,’ he announced to the bar. ‘Ahh,’ replied one of the regulars without batting an eye. ‘That must been Hawkwind’s girlfriends!’ We were well known in the area obviously” smiles Brock.
Happy Birthday Hawkwind!
** Hawkwind headline the HRH Road Trip in Ibiza this year – May 8th to 12th – limited packages are still available at www.hrhroadtrip.com or by calling the HRH team on 0207 193 1164.
Photography – Si Dunkerley