Not sure if it’s the sword, the “Daisy Dukes” cut-offs, the confused nationalist iconography or his absolutely manic, speedfreak smile, but the Motörhead frontman may have actually out-Lemmy-ed himself with this one. Yep, this is Lemmy at his Lemmyest.
In 1968, tabla player Sam Gopal started a band with Lemmy Kilmister (guitar/ vocals), Roger D’Elia (guitar) and Phil Duke on bass. Together they recorded the album Escalator, which is sitar-less raga-rock with typically vague mystical lyrics and a stoned vibe. On a psychedelic scale of purple to brown, I’d rate this one maroon.
Strange to see Lemmy this mellow. Though, as you see in the following quote, Lemmy was spending a lot of time on speed. I love the fact that he keeps referring to tablas as bongos.
That was in 1968. It was very rushed, obviously. But the speed was very good in those days. I sat up all night and wrote all the fucking songs. Eleven of them, I think.
Honestly, I have never been able to get into this record, and it’s entirely due to the drumming being bongos instead of a conventional drum set. I realize that Sam Gopal is the bongo player, so the whole project is based around him, and I’m totally missing the point. But I just want to hear some real drums behind these songs, damn it!
No one will ever mistake this dreary rain-drenched b&w clip for Yellow Submarine.
They may have looked like the oldest hippies in town, but before Punk, Hawkwind was the unwashed boy band of counter culture. Their music - the hymn book for the disenfranchised, the geeks, the loners, the smart kids at school, who never tried to please teacher. To be a fan was like running away to some intergalactic circus. John Lydon was a fan, and the Sex Pistols regularly performed “Silver Machine” - Hawkwind’s classic Dave Brock / Robert Calvert single, with its defining vocal by Lemmy (Ian Kilmister). Like millions of others, this was the song that first introduced me to Hawkwind, when it was played under a visual cornucopia from a performance at the Dunstable Civic Hall, on Top of the Pops in 1972.
Formed in 1969, Hawkwind were a rather sweaty and masculine mix of Acid Rock (LSD was handed out at gigs) and Space Rock. They appealed to those with an interest in Jerry Cornelius, Ballard, Burroughs, Philip K Dick, Freak Brothers’ comics, black holes, Gramsci, Kropotkin, Stacia and Derek ‘n’ Clive. In sixth form at school, we discussed the merits Quark, Strangeness and Charm against Warrior on the Edge of Time; Hawklords versus Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music or Doremi Fasol Latido. Hawkwind were an albums band, unlike Punk and New Wave which then seemed defined by singles, issued as keenly as revolutionary pamphlets. There was a ritual to playing thirty-three-and-a-third, long-playing discs: opening the sleeve, reading the liner notes or lyrics, cleaning the disc and stylus, listening to all of side 1, then side 2. It was like attending mass and sharing in the holy sacrament.
Hawkwind evolved from its original line-up - Dave Brock (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Nik Turner (saxophone, flute, vocals), Huw Lloyd-Langton (guitar, vocals), John A. Harrison (bass guitar, vocals), Dik Mik (Synthesizer), Terry Ollis (drums), Mick Slattery (guitar), to include amongst others such wayward talents as poet and singer Robert Calvert (who died too soon), Lemmy, and author Michael Moorcock. Being a fan of Hawkwind was like a rites of passage, that opened doors to other equally experimental and original music.
More than forty years on, Hawkwind, under the helm of its only original member Dave Brock, is still touring the world, bringing an incredible back catalogue of music and tuning people in to a world of possibility.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
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