If you were to take bits of poetry, outer and inner space, trippy synths, ripping guitar riffs, a pinch of insanity, a goodly amount of bass, driving drums, a dash of Pink Floyd inspiration, and concepts from orgone energy to industrialization to terrorist attacks to a bicycle, and shake them up a bit, you would get something very like Hawkwind.  The band is probably best classified as progressive rock, but even that doesn't quite fit....  So we call it space rock and let it define itself.

[Love in Space Album]This is not just a rock band but an experience.  One stage show, based on science fiction author Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion saga, involved swordplay and exotic dancing.  Another show was a "space ritual," with the band at Pythagorean intervals and the audience filling in the representative void between the celestial spheres.  Audience reaction to the performance fuels this mental spaceship of which all involved are part.  And it really flies!

[Choose Your Masques Album]The band's songs from 30 years ago are still appropriate today, some dealing with the Internet, privacy, debris in space...  The gritty reality of slum life, urban guerrilla tactics, and prostitution are other topics for songs.  The future is not forgotten either.  Others' visions of the possible are found in the Hawks' music too; science fiction fans will easily find something in the tongue-in-cheek "Steppenwolf" (from Herman Hesse's seminal work), "Damnation Alley" (based on the book by Roger Zelazny), "Fahrenheit 451" (based on Ray Bradbury's book), and much more.  The band even bends time, at one moment sampling Black Elk or Shakespeare and at the next moment singing about the last days (or seconds) of Earth.

The group is still recording music.  Original band member Dave Brock is still on board the ship.  Many others went on to do their own thing but retained ties to the group.  Bassist Lemmy (Ian Kilminster) went on to found Motörhead, said to have inspired Douglas Adams's description of the band Disaster Area in the Hitch-hiker's "trilogy."  Robert Calvert (some of whose solo work is featured below) wrote a novel, a musical soon to be staged in London, and a lot more.  Moorcock's association with the band led him to play banjo(!) on one of Calvert's albums and even write a novel called The Time of the Hawklords.  Before giving you a couple links, I'll just put in a few random quotes and clips from songs (okay, maybe I got carried away):

The Awakening
I would rather the fire storms of atmospheres
Than this cruel descent from a thousand years
of dreams into the starkness of the capsule,
Where two of our crew still lay suspended cool
in their tombs of sleep,
Those nagging choirs of memory,
The tubes and wires,
Worming from their flesh to machinery.
I would have to cut.
Such midwifery is but one function of the leader here,
Floating in a sac of fluid dark,
A clear century of space
Away from Earth,
While one man stirs from the trauma of his birth,
Attending to the hypno-tapes
Assuring him
That this was reality
however grim.
Our journey's end.
Landing itself was nothing.
We touched upon a shelf of rock
Selected by the automind
And left a galaxy of dreams behind...
Black Corridor
Space does not comfort.
It does not sleep.  It does not wake.
It does not dream.
It does not hope.  It does not fear.
It does not love.  It does not hate.
It does not encourage any of these qualities.
  Space cannot be measured.  It cannot be angered.
It cannot be placated.  It cannot be summed up.
Space is there.
Coded Languages
Investigate the meaning of your sentence.
What is it telling you?
Where does it begin and where does it end?
Question the nature of your orders...
A rendezvous upon the sound --
The cars rev up; the word goes round.
Their words are weapons of their will.
Their words can hurt.
Their words can kill.
A burning phrase can burn a town.
A syllable can bring you down.
Their languages are coded.
Your image is eroded...
Their sentimental calling signs
Are calculatingly designed
To rob you of your mind and time,
And still you listen to
The lulling drone of reassuring voices,
Tunes to take away your choices,
Make you slaves to fancy words and phrases
Until you're pushing up the daisies.
They steal away your freedom
and your love.
The Damage of Life
Can't you see the pain tattooed on faces,
Cracks appearing on a broken plate?
Mirror, Oh, Mirror, is there any answer?
But the mirror drops, smashing our fate.

Dust of Time
Looking from the future into the past
Footprints of awareness approaching so fast
Queues of sterile mothers waiting for inspection
Populace diminished -- everywhere there is rejection
Dust of time caught in your eye
A fleeting glimpse gone in a sigh 

She led me to a palace gate
With constellation towers.
She is the keeper of my fate.
I sleep locked in her powers.
She turned the key
Of endlessness and locked me
In a dream.  Infinity.

Living on a Knife Edge
Every time I go out, I think I'm being checked out,
Faceless people watching on a TV screen.
Do you begin to sense it, just beneath the surface,
Reflections of a window whilst walking down the street?
   Computers are abused.  School records are fed.
Police are checking on what you've said.
The number of your car's fed into a box.
Your journey's being checked; it's a paradox.
Duplicate forms and ID cards are next in line to disregard.
Future generations are relying on us.
It's a world we've made -- Incubus.
We're living on a knife edge, looking for the ground.

Ode to a Time Flower
But not quite as easy after all
I find.  As my fingers reach to grasp
Your gleaming head to wrench from its tall
Transparent stalk, they refuse to clasp,
As did Pandora's eager hands hold still
At the thought of the box containing ill
Or the stoned explorers of Medusa stall
For time not entered in their log
Before they dared the petrific fog
That holds them still in its timeless thrall...
a nectary of time
That with my fingers I could pluck as easily
As sounding strings to recite their chime,
And your most exquisite petals melt icily
In my palm.   To hold the flow of moments past
As carefully as I would my last
Few seconds left on Earth -- Would that be crime?
Or if I picked you just to see you turn
To crystalled pearl in my eyes and learn
How man is Angel on his way from slime .... 

Psi Power
When I was a kid in school,
They showed me symbols on cards.
Then they showed me from a locked and bolted room.
I had to fake that it was hard....
And all I said was "may I please take a rest?"
I didn't want them to know I was possessed
with Psi Power.
Psi Power
Psi Power
I can read your mind like a magazine.
I see where you're at.
I know what you mean.
I get all the secrets that you'd rather keep...
Psi Power
It's a gift that soon turns sour.
Why don't they let me get some rest?
It's too much to understand,
Too much to digest.
Psi Power
Reptoid Vision
Reptoid Vision, silicon eyes.......
Digital crystal, scratched with the scene
Escalator sidewalks, split at the seams
Fire created the chemical motion
Tidal wave curve on the rise of the ocean
Nine to five or ten to six, up to the city and back to the
You've got to unwind your mind. You've got to unwind your
Sit back.  Switch on.  Your face has got a twitch on.
Your fuses are blown out in a double bind.
Air-conditioned, psycho-analysed -- you're very nearly human,
You're so well disguised.
Robot, Robot, you're a Robot, Robot.
You're warm when it's cold.  You're cool when it's hot.
Your life is recorded on a micro-dot, Robot, Robot.
You'd hold the whole world in your metal claws
if it wasn't for the three laws of robotics.
Automated homunculus, you queue for the paper.
You queue for the bus You're a "good morning" machine.
You're a "how are you?" device.
Sit back.  Light up.  Never put a fight up.
Sit there fuming till your face turns green.
Air conditioned, and desensitised -- you're very nearly human
You're so well disguised.
Robot, Robot
Running Through the Backbrain
There's a roaring in my ears that will not die
And signals in the sky I can't identify.
My eyes are melting and my lips are moving
And the words that I am hearing are not soothing.
Breathing's getting harder.
There's nothing in the larder.
The building's falling over,
Or the Sun is going nova,
Or is it my old-fashioned paranoia?...
A myriad of letters
From my elders and my betters.
The Killer's moving faster.
He tells me that he's my master.
Or was he just asking me "the time please?"
The Secret Agent
I was trained in Arizona
in a secret desert camp
where we did night manoeuvers
without a lighted lamp.
I've got an old worn Trilby hat
that doesn't keep me dry.
When the rain falls on my mack
it plays havoc with the dye.
I wear my dark shades every day of the year.
When I see my reflection, it strikes a note of fear.
I've got a dozen gadgets concealed in my clothes.
I've got some suicide pills that taste like herb of cloves.
I've not got a single friend -- just my armpit gun,
and when I go to bed at night it certainly helps me, son.
I'm always getting in tight spots.
I manage to escape
by either jumping off a train
or swimming in a lake.
Soon I'm in a right state.
I'm a secret agent; there's nowhere you can hide.
I'm a secret agent taking you for a ride.
What's your name?  What's your game?
Details never stop.
Work alone on your own,
collar up, hat pulled down,
on the beach, with a peach,
sometimes good, sometimes bad,
drinking coffee, feeling sad.
Seven By Seven
Lost am I in this world of timelessness and woe.
Can I find the doorways through which I must go?
Is the key to this plane too much for me to try to gain?
Is the passport to this world my astral soul?
Sonic Attack -- ( from planned government development of sound
                as a weapon or crowd suppresser)
In case of sonic attack on your district, follow these rules:...
Use your wheels. It is what they are for.
Small babies may be placed inside the special cocoons,
which should be left, if possible, in a shelter.
Do not attempt to use your own limbs.
If no wheels are available, metal, not organic, limbs
should be employed whenever practical.....
Statistically more people survive if they think only of
Do not attempt to rescue friends, relatives, or loved ones.
You have only a few seconds to escape.
Use those seconds sensibly or you will inevitably die.
Do not panic.
Think only of yourselves....
You can help no-one else, No-one else, No-one else...... 

I am so distant
        And so cold.
I've lived too long
        And I'm so old.
I've tried so many distant ways.
I've watched each one of them delayed.
I can't expound for the ages
While we are leafing through the pages.
The office blocks from which we march
The mirrored shades of the Patriarch.
Caught by streams of constant motion,
Most of the workers have no notion.
Sitting glued to the computer screens
Fingers raised -- "must finish the scene."
TV Suicide
All our life is squarely pictured.
An eye on the world    It's no mystery.
Grazing with the handset  is a nightly feature.
Everything I need is on my TV:
     Soft soap, Hard Sell         Infrared Remote Control
Your finger is on the button.
But who has got your soul?
     Soft Soap, Hard Sell, Come on down the price is hell.
Can you tell the difference?
     Soft Soap, Hard Sell, Come on down the price is hell.
Hit pain where it hurts.
     Soft Soap, Hard Sell, Come on down the price is hell.
Have I ever let you down?
     Soft Soap, Hard Sell, Come on down the price is hell.
Trust Me, Trust Me.
     Soft Soap, Hard Sell, Come on down the price is hell.
Watching the Grass Grow
Particle Accelerators
Morality Degenerators
Data Disseminators
Cyclotron attenuators
Hyperspatial Conflagrators
MEST Integrators
Letting the grass grow
Letting the grass grow
We all know where the flowers went today:
Media explosion blew them all away.
After the thunder
Always comes the rain.
We're coming up again.
Letting the grass grow
Letting the grass grow
Post future reality -- it's a better real world.
Post future reality -- it's a real better world.
Post future super-reality -- it's a real super world.
Post holocaust hilarity -- it's a super real world.
Post future surreality -- it's sure a surreal world.
Post future surreality -- it's a real surreal world.
The Welcoming Hands of Space
The stars are sprinkled in handfuls tonight.
They are something we can't crush or deface,
Rough cut diamonds in a juggler's palms.
The welcoming hands of Space
The welcoming hands of Space
Orbital junk and failed re-entries,
Unclear warheads and nuclear waste,
A fragile girdle, jet-propelled
Into the welcoming hands of Space
Into the welcoming hands of Space...
Blind alleys, divine ironies
Launch us out to the cold embrace
To seek enclosure and completion
In the welcoming hands of Space
In the welcoming hands of Space
Antibodies feel me.
You can't even see me,
Synthetically productive
Xenomorphic blood test
My blood type has raped you.
I'll have to sedate you.
You'll have to escape through
The tunnel of light.

Robert Calvert's Solo Work

The Song of the Gremlin
I focused the magnifying glass
that brought the downfall of Icarus.
Balloons were easy:  a simple pin.
Or a knife in the case of the zeppelin.
      That blade was the cause of many a prang
in the early days of stick and string.
      I am the gremlin. I was there,
Making mischief in the air,
and always will be, wherever man
flies in the face of Creation's plan.
The Luminous Green Glow of the Dials of the Dashboard (at Night)
The digital read-out of the fuel and the pressure
The flickering needle of time overloading
The glare of the headlights reverts in the distance
The luminous green glow of the dials on the dashboard at night
The nebula city's like a video coin-game.
On the curved screen of real-time, the lights blink like radar.
The radio static white noise fluctuations.
The changes of accent as you glide through the stations.
The luminous green glow of the dials on the dashboard at night
Spotlit intersection indicate overtaking.
Turn down the dip-switch, the world's just a blurred frame.
Peripheral detuned forever perspective
Morse code off the white line, the motorway flare path
The service is neon, a juke-box of concrete.
The luminous green glow of the dials on the dashboard at night
All the Machines are Quiet
we're walking out
we're downing our tools.
this management
they take us for fools.
all we're asking is
a living wage...
and now
there's nothing i can do.
i spend my days in dreams
and join the endless queue,
so far from the machines,
all the machines are quiet.
i could scream.
all the machines are quiet.
Fly on the Wall
While you wait in the queue
hanging round in the foyer,
there's a lens fixed on you.
(no, it's not paranoia.)
It's a steel toothed comb
like the ones used for head-lice tests.
You can tell by the tone:
hollow echoing on the phone.
It's all on tape --
your voice-print's wave shape.
It's stored on file.
There's a sign on the door:
The Department of Secrets --
And in there there's yours,
all your hopes and your regrets.
They've invaded your home.
They've invaded your privacy.
You thought you were alone,
but there's always the microphone
listening in -- before you begin
it's all on file.

Here are a few links:

Welcome to the Future -- The official Hawkwind web site

This site is a labor of love by Knut Gerwers, who recognizes the many talents of deceased band member Robert Calvert, a man ahead of his time.  Leave a fair amount of time if you plan to visit this site.

 Return to the Music Page

© 2005 by Frances Shefl
Album art and lyrics belong to Hawkwind.