Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

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Hawkwind: Silver Machine (1972)
Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Aside from meeting some interesting (and ocassionally odd) people, interviewing musicians gets you into some different places. In another life I doubt I would have ever been backstage at the Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall in New York, inside Abbey Road, in expensive hotel rooms in places like Tokyo or Los Angeles, or sitting in a BBC studio while the Foo Fighters recorded together for the first time.

But one of the most mundane places I ever went -- and the band were far from that which made it even more interesting and unusual -- was to a run-down house in suburban West Auckland.

It was in Massey, and down a driveway was the place where I sat and chatted with members of Hawkwind who kept a line of joints burning, ambled off at various times and seemed thoroughly nice chaps all round.

At that time they had been around for over 30 years and sole original member Dave Brock laughed about him not being able to do anything else and how the band just "lurched on", sometimes highly unfashionable, sometimes back in the spotlight of the young'n'hip. 

"Sometimes it looks like the end, then something will happen and off we go again - like being here. A month ago we never thought we'd be here. I don't know how it happens, people get in touch ..."

And indeed they had come to New Zealand after a fan got in touch, stumped up the money and brought them to the country -- via an unhappy flight diversion to Hawaii where violinist Simon House was held under armed guard for a 1969 cannabis-possession charge -- to play a couple of shows.

They were staying at the guy's house, as I understood it, and seemed very happy with that. There were plenty of joints to keep them happy.

House described New Zealand as "like Torquay . . . on acid" (which made no sense at all) and when I looked back on the article I wrote what amused me was just how few quotes there were in it: just single short sentences or observations ("Music keeps you young" and other such insights)

I seem to recall there was some talk about constellation and satellites and such.

Nice people, odd place to meet them, slightly lost day . . . and a thoroughly boring show a couple of nights later unfortunately.

But at least I met them -- and went to Massey for the first and last time in my life. 

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Anthony - Jan 26, 2011

nice story, what year was this?

Graham Dunster - Aug 30, 2011

I'm guessing that's a Fawlty Towers reference.

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