Wednesday, December 02, 2020


Boy can you bet that I was really front 'n center for this 'un! The (relatively) recent in-depth biographies of everyone from Can to Eno to Peter Laughner have naturally gotten me all excited, and when I latched my clammy paws upon DAYS OF THE UNDERGROUND you can bet that the first thing I did was rush right to my bedroom, lock the door, slap on a series of Hawkwind and related music and set the controls for the heart of the earth! Sheesh, it musta been at least forty-six years since I first espied that painting where Stacia shows off her suckems on the front cover of SPACE RITUAL gaping at 'em in total awe, and here in my -- ahem -- "advanced age" the Hawkwind chronicles have an even bigger meaning in my life 'n they ever have! 

Not that I was fully on-board the spaceship since frankly, the first Hawkwind platter I did bother to pick up, a flea market find of HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN GRILL during my teenbo days, didn't really settle in with my own sense of Flash Gordon realities. But move and groove to Hawkwind I eventually did, and I did it to the point where I came to realize not only what a powerful brand of "space rock" (which during those rather esoteric times was just as much of a broad reference to certain aspects of the quest as heavy metal and punk were) these guys exuded but that Hawkwind stood firm in a collection that also housed everything from the New Thing in Jazz to the mid-sixties suburban sprawl of the Seeds and Stooges. And like man, that's really sayin' somethin'!

It's all here, finely documented by some guy called Joe Banks who I have never heard hide nor hair of before this book hit the boards though who, despite being one of those up 'n comers who actually contributes to (wretch!) THE GUARDIAN, seems like a front and center fan rather'n one more of those stuck up rock critics who seem like the unholy spawn of Chris Welch and Anastasia Pantsios, and it was a rectal birth t' boot!

In fact the legendary MELODY MAKER editor who made his paper the mouthpiece for interstellar progressive music doesn't even rate a mention here, though such rock-as-energy stalwarts as Mick Farren, Nick Kent and even Lester Bangs do. So does some of the heavier breed of aural destruction who make the 60s/70s cusp so refreshing in the face of alla that hippoid flower jamz even if you hadda hear it all via a really good free form station.  And with this more NME-bred outlook you can most certainly bet that the entire Hawkwind oeuvre will be seen through a pair of high-energy spectacles more appealing to us stubborn holdouts from The Golden Age of Rock Criticism (or something rather similar) than it would to the aerie faerie outlooks of people who used to stare at Roger Dean album covers for hours on end.

Cuz yeh, Hawkwind were about as far away from the astral utopianism that a good portion of the more commercial prog acts flaunted about. More in league with the sharp attacks of the groups that sent the sixties crashing and created the language of the seventies...the kraut rockers, Ladbrook Grove groovers and midwest high energy rock exponents along with other factions that had nil to do with the more complacent, get-along-gang corporate twist on what I would assume was a movement sprung from grass roots efforts that got tangled up somewhere.

Believe-you-me, just about everything that you wanted to know about these guys 'n gal and more is presented here, washing away years of mystery and downright pondering about the whys and wherefores of a musical entity that was so popular despite them not having any real chart action o'er here in the US of Whoa. If you (like me) spent a whole slew of time thumbing through the bins of seventies record shops pondering about the sounds encased in the grooves of thousands of records you knew that you would in no way ever hear then a book like this'll bring back loads of memories of those longings that eventually did get sated, but not with daddy's trust fund money that's fer sure!!!!

Yeah, DAYS OF THE UNDERGROUND gets into the nitty gritty deal regarding these space cadets and the names are named and the songs detailed giving us all perhaps even more than we'd care to know but eh. it's not like you have to digest this 'un in one full SWOOP. Some pre-Hawkwind history regarding the main players (Dave Brock and Nik Turner etc.) seems to be skipped over but from what you DO get will sate those inner qualms regarding such touchy questions like why did ex-Deviants/Pink Fairies guitarist Paul Rudolph get the boot anyway!

I don't wanna give away ALL of the interesting newly found facts and fancies that have been divulged of in this book BUT there's one rather eye-opening tittilator that I'm sure will tickle the innards of just about every BTC reader pink that I will divulget of if only to get you penny pinchers to go out and scarf a copy for yourselves...didja know that on/off frontman and certified madman Robert Calvert admitted that he was trying his durndest to be England's answer to IGGY POP??? Lemme tell ya that it was a surprise to me, and frankly this mere fact is enough to elevate Mr. Calvert even higher in my own pantheon of rock 'n roll greats who never really did get the same hosannas and accolades usually bestowed to such superior breeds of life form as James Taylor and Elton John.

One final word if only to prove to you that I'm not in the pockets of either the author or publishers and thus can look upon this read with a critical mind. I wish the book went into detail about some of those Hawkwind-inspired groups that were up and about in the seventies such as Brian James's Bastard which had none other'n Twink as a second drummer for a spell (his Tanz der Youth with ex-Hawkwinder Alan Powell is mentioned in passing) and howcum no nudie shots of Stacia are to be found anywhere here? If ya wanna get the adolescent gang to find out about you oldsters you'd think they'd'a printed some spicy snaps to lure 'em onto the craft ifyaknowaddamean...

1 comment:

debs said...

lol you should write about someone good lol try the black crowes lol