Thursday, 21 January 2016

Festivalized Now Shipping

Hello Everyone!

It's taken a while since the book was originally conceived - to say the least - but thanks to our friends at Gonzo Multimedia, Festivalized: Music, Politics, Alternative Culture is now out in paperback as well as the eBook edition that was released in November.

And we have our first Amazon review;

""From the horse's mouth". A history that absolutely needed to be told, and an absorbing and fascinating read - an excellent book."

You can order the paperback from Amazon (it currently says 4 - 6 weeks shipping, please ignore, they are shipping copies as of now) through this link:

or the eBook at Amazon is available through this link:

If you're an Amazon customer who can give us a review, that's always very welcome!

Gonzo Multimedia also have the book available and are shipping copies currently, and you can buy the paperback (though not the eBook), here. The eBook is also available from Smashwords, where you can also download a free extract first, iTunes and other digital book retailers supplied from the Smashwords platform.

It's been a labour of love - hope you like the end result!

Friday, 15 January 2016

News: Sendelica Announce New Studio Album - I'll Walk With The Stars For You

Welcome to a brand new year and the 10th anniversary of Sendelica! We are really proud to unveil the opening track, 'Black Widow Man' from our first release of 2016:

This brand new studio album, entitled I'll Walk With The Stars For You, will be released in Italy on VE Records in mid-March on special limited-edition blue vinyl with poster, black vinyl, and CD. It features guest appearances from Twink, Nik Turner, Virginia Tate, Geoff Chase, Roger Morgan, Vasily V. Bartov, Jack Jackson, and Paul Williams.

Pre-orders available at:

News Submitted by: Sendelica

Festivalized - Goodreads Giveaway


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Festivalized by Ian Abrahams




          by Ian Abrahams


            Giveaway ends January 31, 2016.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

    Enter Giveaway

Thursday, 14 January 2016

News: Mugstar Announce New Double-Album Magnetic Seasons

Announce new double-album Magnetic Seasons for release March 11th via Rock Action Records.

Liverpool’s MUGSTAR announce the release of their latest and most weighty sonic onslaught to date, Magnetic Seasons, the new double-album, due for release via Rock Action Records (Mogwai, Blanck Mass, Part Chimp, Envy etc) from March 11th 2016.

Magnetic Seasons sees MUGSTAR shifting through a whole range of newfound sonic gears. Recorded at Liverpool’s Whitewood Studios, the band approached the Magnetic Seasons sessions in an extended and open manner. Allowing time and space to experiment, improvising and feeling their way through playing, this free approach and method of working resulted in an extended body of material; nine intense and atmospheric soundscapes moving across an expansive and distinct four sides of vinyl.

With fresh layers and swathes of texture stretching out a much broader aural vocabulary than is often permitted during their explosive live shows, Magnetic Seasons is a game changer for MUGSTAR. Not just in terms of length, but in its fluidity and its breadth of moods and emotions locked within the songs. Lead track ‘Flemish Weave’ is a two-headed beast, drawing the listener in with intricate finger-picking, immersed in waves of sound before dropping effortlessly into a simultaneously tight and expansive psych-kraut groove. Where tracks like ‘Sky West & Crooked’ see MUGSTAR at their most mellow and laid back, with a Fender Rhodes blinking beside dusty guitar lines that float up into a soothing dream-like haze. Not to mention the engrossing, side-long, closer ‘Ascension Island’, an extended piece of improvisation and instantaneous composition. “On playback, it was apparent that this track had a life and trajectory all of its own. It felt organically right and complete immediately. Somehow it produced atmospheres that seem to embody a sense of eeriness, and yet be seductive and embracing all at the same time”, the band explains.

Underlying these forays into their bottomless cannon of creativity, MUGSTAR’s trademark rhythmic drive is ubiquitous as ever. Albeit in more subtle and muted guises, the overall effect of Magnetic Seasons emerges as being one that is ultimately engrossing and captivating.

MUGSTAR have been playing, performing and recording since 2003. Their tireless work ethic and astonishing, internationally renowned, live performances have earned them a much deserved status as cult heroes. Their first single ‘Spotlight Over Memphis’ caught the ears of late and great radio legend John Peel, who later went on to record them as his last-ever Peel Session in 2004. A subsequent string of singles, EP’s and several full-length albums make up the band’s back catalogue, not to mention a split release with Mudhoney.

2015 also saw a particularly busy year. With the release of Start From Zero, the hugely anticipated collaborative LP by MUGSTAR and Damo Suzuki (from legendary krautrock band Can) on Important Records, recording what has become Magnetic Seasons, playing Austin Psych Fest and completing a tour of the USA. 2016 will see the band will play the following UK dates with a full EU tour soon to be announced.

Live Dates
26th February, London, Electrowerkz
1st April, Brighton, Green Door Store
28th/29th May, London, Raw Power Festival

Mugstar is Pete Smyth (guitar / keyboards / vocals), Neil Murphy (guitar), Jason Stoll (bass) and Steve Ashton (drums).

News Submitted: Division Promotions

Mugstar Official Website
Mugstar Facebook

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Radio Interviews

Hello everyone; a very quick post to link to a couple of radio interviews that I've recently done to talk about Festivalized and the free festival scene.

Firstly I was at Radio Cornwall yesterday to talk to Tiffany Truscott on their afternoon show, which is currently on 'Listen Again', I would think for the next six days:

And I've been chatting with Gonzo's Jon Downes for their website:

Do have a listen! Print copies of Festivalized will be shipping in the next few days and the eBook is available from Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes and other digital sellers right now.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

A Farewell To Lemmy

I saw Motorhead only once – at the much missed St Austell Cornwall Coliseum – and as far as I can remember I only ever owned one of their LPs, No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith, though I’ve heard many over the years and always held a soft-spot for Ace Of Spades in particular. So when I think of Lemmy, it’s usually for the Hawkwind connection and in writing this blog, it’s not, then, to talk about his whole career, which of course stretched back into the 1960s, and for which there are so many obituaries today, but to reflect on his importance to Hawkwind during his tenure, and the legacy that he’s left them.

Think back to the very early albums, Hawkwind and In Search Of Space and they are distinctive and distinct entries into the catalogue; calling cards with differing messages and classic albums in and of themselves. Both, in their own ways, are fantastic records. And I guess it’s entirely arguable that In Search Of Space, in its production, is more advanced than what came next. But what came next was Lemmy, an unarguable force of nature riding his bass lines like the Silver Surfer on acid, a rollercoaster balanced on its tracks but twisting and turning, looping and pushing forward, twisting, turning and looping again, free spirited but in service to the whole as well. I mean, Simon King is a key component of that sound as well, but that period of Hawkwind is about Lemmy and the way which he and Dave Brock coalesced the idea of a rhythmic, driving, powerhouse space-rock that defined the musical content of Hawkwind across Doremi Fasol Latido, Space Ritual, Hall Of The Mountain Grill and Warrior On The Edge Of Time.

I wrote about ‘Brainstorm’ for Shindig! when they did their space-rock special a couple of years ago and identified, as so many have before, that meshing of musical comradeship: “Though ‘Brainstorm’ is Nik Turner’s first solo credit on a Hawkwind track, and his lyrics lean the band almost in to territory that might retrospectively be described as ‘cyberpunk’, the musical story that ‘Brainstorm’ tells is of the definitive guitar and bass Hawk line-up of Brock and Lemmy gelling together in what they’d both come to recall as an empathetic and intuitive partnership and, alongside Turner’s wailing sax, that collision of sound not only created one of the great space-rock classics but setting the texture and tone of the classic Hawkwind sound. It has a great mythology and mystique to it – great versions abound, the pulse-pounding Live 79 blast-through, the dark and mysterious Space Ritual rendition and its original Doremi… album appearance with its at times almost ethereal vocal delivery from Turner.”

On Doremi… though, there’s also Lemmy’s own first solo credit for Hawkwind, on ‘’The Watcher’; pensive, brooding, thoughtful, involving. I was playing it recently, listening out for that great lyric that seems to me to rally against the futility of boredom in a proto-punk manner: ‘where I come from no-one smiles/every inch exists in miles’ and was astounded not to hear it… but it’s not on Doremi… an addition in the live set, as heard on the 1974 American  live album. It adds another dimension, a different texture, to the dense songs around it, and really is a strong argument for Hawkwind’s influence on punk even though it’s quite removed in sound.

‘Silver Machine’, that timeless Brock/Calvert number, had of course been in the Hawkwind set for a few months, Calvert on vocal duty when available, before Dave Robinson, future Stiff Records boss, identified its potential buried in the tape of their ‘Greasy Truckers’ Roundhouse gig in February 1972 and highlighted it as something special, with Lemmy overdubbing the vocals at Morgan Studios, where the sprawling original was cut and distilled down to its 7” release. One reviewer might have claimed at the time that “the vocals are so submerged in the thudding, whirling sound that they are largely irrelevant,” but it’s that growling delivery set against the grungy guitars, all around the kit drumming, and spacey electronics that turned that song into a perennial, known to the many who don’t know it’s Hawkwind and don’t realise – how could they not – that it is Lemmy. It’s a piece of magic, atypical of Hawkwind in some respects, but a stone cold classic.

I posted on-line in one comment thread today that those familiar with Lemmy only through Motorhead should listen to Hall Of The Mountain Grill and discover the more nuanced playing that Lemmy delivered there. I later reflected on that as not really being correct, because you can hear it on something such as ‘1916’, music with intelligence and thought that transcends the public image. But on that Hawkwind record you get the most proper understanding of what he brought to the band. It’s a sharp blend of heavy rocking and sympathetic playing, taking joint control with Dave Brock of the really big songs – ‘The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)’ and ‘You’d Better Believe It’ – but adding something more subdued on things such as ‘Wind Of Change’. ‘Lost Johnny’ is, of course, one of his own, co-written with Mick Farren. I was fortunate to able to ask Mick Farren about this one and have added his comments to the new edition of Sonic Asssassins: “It’s Lemmy’s song. It was written for Lemmy, for Hawkwind. They were doing Hall of the Mountain Grill and Lemmy was concerned he wasn’t going to get any songs on to it, so I said ‘Let’s write one’. I had this idea about all these loser characters, of which we knew many, looking for drugs and ‘baying at the moon’. I mean, it wasn’t Terry Ollis and it wasn’t Steve Took, and it wasn’t nine other people ... it was a combination of all of them, or seven versions or whatever it was. I put it down on a piece of paper, handed it to Lemmy and he took it away and put the music to it and came back and we changed a few things and that was ‘Lost Johnny’. I can’t sit down with a guitar, a blank mind and somebody else and come up with a song. I usually have to go away by myself and write the lyrics, and that song was no exception.” But he’d also told Alan Burridge years previously how: ““[Lemmy] said, ‘Hey, you got any lyrics?’ and I said yeah, and we wrote ‘Lost Johnny’.” Farren and Lemmy wrote a handful of other songs together, when Lemmy was assembling his band Motörhead, but the writing partnership “faded away, because Lemmy started writing his own lyrics with great fluidity.”

Then there is ‘Motorhead’, the B-side of ‘Kings of Speed’, complete with violin break, but despite that a pointer to where Lemmy would be going once he was ejected from the band. Would he ever have left on his own accord? He’d suggested not in the past and indeed when asked why he made so many guest returns afterwards he’d simply responded ‘because I can’t resist it’. And I wonder if that was how he was afterwards, elevated to National Treasure status and at the helm of a band that eclipsed Hawkwind in terms of record sales and recognition (achieved in no small measure I’d suggest, from working with Dave Brock and learning what it takes to put together and sustain a band), but still looking backwards with a fondness and nostalgia and appreciating what Hawkwind had been for him as his career developed and his profile expanded. He’d never have thought in that term of course, it wasn’t a career, it wasn’t even a way of life, it was what he had to do.

What was his legacy to Hawkwind? Well, it was in bridging the gap between their hippie roots and their biker following; no surprise that once punk had burst across the music scene that he’d be adopted by that scene. He was a talisman for Hawkwind in that period, when he’d been such a major part of defining their sound even though that time was quite brief in the context of all the years the band have continued onward. He seemed to be someone who just went on; Captain Sensible once told me how Lemmy was always nicely topped up on his favourite Jack Daniels tipple but never drunk. He loved the rock star life, bought into some of its excesses and mantras for sure, but he seemed to transcend it, to walk over it with impunity where lesser people succumbed to it or were enslaved by it. Small wonder then that he had to be ‘Killed by Death’… rock ‘n’ roll could never have seen him off.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Festivalized – Digital Publication Day!

festivaliZed (1)

Today is the digital publication day for Festivalized: Music, Politics, And Alternative Culture. The print edition will be available in the next few weeks. For the moment though you can get it for your e-reader via Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes and other retailers that are serviced via Smashwords. Some links here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US


If you are a reviewer / blogger who wants to cover his book we’d love to hear from you – drop me an email from my profile page and I’ll organise a download code or PDF for you.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Festivalized Extract – Aktivator ‘88


Here’s the first proper extract from the forthcoming Festivalized: Music, Politics, Alternative Culture. In this section we discuss the Aktivator ‘88 festival, which, while not strictly being a free festival, is very much of the free festival vive and ilk, and is notable in Hawkwind legend for being Richard Chadwick’s first gig with the band – probably in that summer’s ‘Hawkdog’ or ‘Agents of Chaos’ by-line.

Pe-orders for the print edition are now live on Gonzo Multimedia website and can be placed here. For the eBook edition, see the Amazon link at the end of this extract.

Aktivator – 1988

“The doctor’s wife went around and told all the old people to get their relatives to come and stay with them and lock up their garden sheds.”

Aktivator ’88, named after a Steve Hillage track, took place over the weekend of 12th – 14th August, 1988 and featured a collection of West Country bands, many hailing from the Bath scene. Nik Turner’s All-Stars, Rhythmites, Jonah and the Wail, Ozric Tentacles, Childe Roland, and the Hippy Slags were all listed on the flyers for this festival, whilst it also passed into Hawkwind folklore as the first appearance with the band of drummer Richard Chadwick, who would go on to become their second-longest serving member.

Not a free festival per se, it had a gate charge of £5 to raise funds for the travellers’ ‘Skool Bus’, a mobile educational establishment intended to follow the travelling community across the country, the registered keeper of which was Richie Cotterill. “Conflicts are arising amongst the travellers over where the Skool Bus should be,” noted its newsletter the following year. “The Skool Bus is a large, symbolic accumulation of the energy which has been put into this project but is only the beginning of this manifestation. It may not be long before the poisoned attitudes of our critics will destroy what little faith the travellers had in the whole project and after that, nothing will work.”

slags at acktivator

Hippy Slags at Aktivator ‘88 (Bridget Wishart Collection)

Sheila Wynter (Landowner): The farm was about ninety-eight acres, and then we bought another twenty, so it was quite a small farm. We had four fields down by the Severn and when it flooded, which it did every year between November and February, most of it went underwater, which was most inconvenient! We had a Rainbow Camp just before Aktivator started. They’d get in touch with a farm and say, ‘Can we do it?’ and they wouldn’t tell people where it was until the last minute. They’d get people signed up and then they’d say, ‘You go to this place on the OS map.’ They came with beautiful tents and organised a lot of talking and practical workshops. They knew me from the Farmers’ Third World Network. It was well organised, people came with tepees; they put up a wonderful shower that had a big boiler and they lit a fire and people would run out of their tents, all completely naked. There was a stuffy old Colonel who lived near the bottom of our garden and he was out with his binoculars every morning… someone caught him doing that! I sat in on some of their workshops and they’d have a talking stick which was passed around, and if you had something to say you’d say it while you held the stick, and if you didn’t you just passed it on. They talked about all sorts of topics, philosophy and religion; they had speakers and wonderful food in their kitchens and it was lovely.

“The Rainbow Circle is primarily dedicated to planetary healing, personal awareness and inner growth. Our aim is to provide a beautiful and protected village atmosphere for people who seek genuine human communication. The camp provides a focused space for experimental learning, knowledge sharing and ceremony.”

Quote from Rainbow Camp information flyer

Nigel Mazlyn Jones: At the last Stonehenge I remember a meeting of the people that had ‘organised’ it saying that its mayhem gave the authorities the excuse to dump on it big time. That ‘spiritually’ it was indicating these events had become too huge. That was the core issue. It was suffocating the beauty, the mystique and the atmosphere that Stonehenge could give to a smaller gathering. It had become out of hand, thus creating the reaction it got from the establishment. What came out of the meeting was that those who cared about having a gathering that was sacred and mystical should go and celebrate the other sacred sites in Britain in small gatherings. I was astonished that it worked, because out of it came the Rainbow Circle camps which were always paid for by a hat gathering and deliberately not advertised and avoided getting the druggies from London coming to deal and people abusing it. It very much spawned lots of little festivals that took on various cloaks of what they were trying to achieve. So whilst it appeared to all blow up, it actually created a whole other thing. Rainbow Camps were acoustically based and there were no generators allowed, no electric music, no star names, and no huge expenditure. No massive drug use – some of them were very specific: no drug use at all. I know lots of people who helped run these things and had children, and I’ve seen them grow up and become fine people, education professionals out there in the world doing all sorts of things. Children of those, if you like, wandering, searching adults.

Sheila Wynter: My husband was an alcoholic and had got himself into a really bad state and had taken himself off to a treatment centre, where he was for a very long time. [My son] Adrian talked about hosting a little music festival; I suppose I said ‘Okay,’ but I didn’t think much about it. Adrian had been saying, ‘We’re doing this for the Skool Bus’ and he kept talking about this young couple who were organising this collection to keep it running. Aktivator took over nearly the whole farm, we estimated about seven thousand attendees. We heard there were great queues of travellers coming down from Wales, which is when the police got interested – they were very worried. As the travellers came into the village, we got them in at a gate before the farm and we’d put a fence so that we could get lots of vehicles in all the way down. Then we got the caravans with horses into the paddock at the end. They were lovely because they brought with them their chickens and goats, and all their horses were having foals.

Bridget Wishart: [On travelling with horses]. You were, at that point, still able to do it. You needed the support of the people around you but you could just take to the road. Because of the animals’ needs they tended to park in one place, they weren’t part of the Brew Crew types because they had responsibilities to their animals. Yet they partied like other people but they had responsibilities that other people didn’t have. Some [normal travellers] would steal a vehicle to get to festivals and then abandon them and move on.


Dancers. Sheila Wynter.

Sheila Wynter: The travellers didn’t pay on the way in, but they paid on the way out because they’d had such a good time. The weather was good, there were no accidents - but there was one case of sheep-worrying and the villagers were terrified. The village didn’t really like us anyway and they were furious. They’d had the Rainbow Camp, which didn’t do any harm at all, but then all this lot came and the doctor’s wife went around and told all the old people to get their relatives to come and stay with them and lock up their garden sheds. All sorts of things, winding them up and saying it was dangerous – these people with earrings and coloured hair! They didn’t phone up or come around much, but there were a few threats.

Bridget Wishart: There was that whole thing… it would be portrayed on the news as ‘travellers are coming to your area’ and they’d have kind of, ‘Farmers, lock up your daughters and protect your land.’ Farmers and other landowners were blocking access to their land with huge stones so that travellers couldn’t pull onto it.


Stage at Aktivator. Sheila Wynter

Keith Bailey: At Megan’s Fayre, up in the mountains of Wales, a small festival with maybe five or ten thousand people, the local farmers got together and drove around spraying everybody with pig shit, which got rid of us for sure and we ended up on some barren hillside with no water or anything. The people who’d put it together had spent weeks and weeks on the site putting up these amazing facilities. Everything was made from wood and the people who set it up were just such nice people and the whole vibe was excellent. And that got turned over by the local authorities because the farmers around it hated us doing it. You’d get the progressive thinking people in any area who’d welcome it with open arms and say ‘look, it’s good for local businesses,’ because the shops would sell out of everything nearly overnight, but then you’d get the Colonel Blimps who were dyed-in-the-wool nimbies.

Sheila Wynter: There was a strong police presence; they took over a barn just up the hill, and there were helicopters as well. It was really feared that ‘things’ were going to happen. We sat around the kitchen table and a lot of the police chiefs came and Adrian explained what we’d done, and what we were doing. They said that they were going to keep an eye on it and it all seemed very solemn but there wasn’t any trouble, apart from the one sheep-worrying incident. The dogs were the worst thing, a lot of the travellers had dogs and they fought a bit and then they’d run off and there was one sheep killed, which was a bad thing and caused terrible anger. But nobody was defecating on the village green, which was what the villagers had all been warned they were going to do!


Bender being established, Sheila Wynter

Sheila Wynter: We thought that if we fed and watered and rested the people who were in charge of those coming in, and made sure they all had wood for their fires and the loos worked and laid on water… if we serviced them really well, the thing was much more likely to work. Adrian hired a digger and made two really big pits and had eighteen-hole loos. And he’d managed to find a timber yard that was selling up and said ‘I’ll buy all the wood’ and found some lorries to bring it all up to the farm, because otherwise they’d have taken down all our precious trees to make fires to cook with. So this wood was brought in, and Adrian arranged to have skips brought in each day to take all the rubbish away. He was only twenty at the time, but he was a brilliant organiser. There was a chap that did a morning and an afternoon newsletter letting people know what was happening. We had the Aga and we made bread constantly, and as soon as it was made we cut it into vegetarian and vegan sandwiches and took them up to the people who were dealing with things and taking the money. And we took all the money and put the cash in margarine containers in the fridge and then someone else took the cartons up to Tewkesbury and hid them under a bed! So when Adrian needed to pay the bands, someone else went and got the cash – and in the end there was about three thousand pounds left over for the Skool Bus. At the end he went up to the barn and said to the police, ‘Well, you’ve had a great time while we’ve had the festival. You’ve sat here the whole time playing cards, you haven’t had to do anything. Could you give us a donation for the Travellers’ Skool Bus?’ I don’t know whether they did, but they were fine and were really surprised. I liked the travellers and met a lot of them; there were bad ones of course and a lot of druggies. But you know, when people were really down and out and they got below the social services [radar] and they didn’t have an address, they were advised to go to the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army couldn’t really help them, because it had rules, quite reasonable rules but some of them couldn’t take that either, so the Salvation Army suggested they join the travellers. There was one woman who had a London bus with forests painted all over it and she had her own children but she’d also taken in some very sad cases and helped them. I thought she was a wonderful person. Some of the kids she’d taken in were from middle-class families, who’d got chucked out because of their behaviour. The travellers had their own First Aid unit, who were a lovely lot because you couldn’t get the Red Cross or St. Johns to come in. I had some old sheets and they wanted those to make bandages and stuff, not that there was much trouble… and there wasn’t too much trouble with drugs though we did have one chap who came into the farmhouse and said he’d been spiked and was very ill. He was all right, he got through, but that was a bit frightening.

Bridget Wishart: Jock, who was a healer and a homeopath, he and his wife Sally used to help people out; there were people who you knew, like you could say ‘Go and see her on the red bus, she’s got some herbal teas.’ But there were a slow but steady stream of people who would go and visit Sally and Jock to have various injuries and traumas tended. Sally always had her homeopathies with her. And she cooked the most amazing pea fritters!

Steve Bemand: Many times people off their heads or drunk would cause a rumpus of one kind or other. But it usually got chilled by people around them before a mass brawl could erupt, and the trouble-makers were always in the minority.

Jerry Richards: People would look out for one another. Someone came to our tent at one festival and said, ‘I’ve got this Timothy Leary acid here,’ and we said, ‘Yeah, sure, sure you have mate.’ But he said ‘No, seriously, I’m a chemist and I’ve got the formula together and made this stuff up.’ He got this blotter out that looked really professional, some sort of holographic paper and Steve Mills, the Tubilah Dog singer, and I, said we’d have some to try and it was really powerful stuff. Anyway, this guy at the same festival had tried it and was really off his head and going around hitting children because he was so far gone he said that they were ‘like demons, small demons.’ Of course, people spotted what was going on and grabbed hold of him, sat him down and tried to calm him, gave him a pipe and something to drink. But he was raving, and so someone put him on a flatbed truck and took him out of the festival site and into the nearest town and dropped him off. He wasn’t abandoned, because he was somewhere he could get some help. He was just beyond our help.

tractorlads watch the slags

Tractor lads watching the Hippy Slags. Sheila Wynter

Sheila Wynter: Afterwards we got some of the travellers and went up to the top fields and we had about twenty people in a line and we went over the whole lot in case there were any needles. I don’t think we found anything. We had a few travellers who didn’t leave at the end and that caused a lot of trouble. I think it was difficult for some of them to move on for one reason or another, they should have done but didn’t. They all did go away eventually. One sinister lot had a big black hearse, there were about six of them and they weren’t very popular. But it was a very difficult time for me; the farmer who’d lost a sheep came over and there was a terrible row in the kitchen. I had neighbours coming down and shouting at me, and that was very unpleasant. The village never forgave me, but then quite soon afterwards I had to sell the farm anyway – and they were very glad to get rid of me. I was one of the oldest inhabitants of the village by the time I left, but I’d say hello and people who I’d known for years, I was there for thirty-odd years, would just turn away from me in the street or shout at me. At one time I had a letter from Malvern Hills District Council saying that they were prosecuting me for making a noise after midnight for four nights running and they were charging me something like seven thousand pounds. Someone said to me ‘What about this letter, this prosecution? What are you going to do about it?’ Well, I didn’t know what I was going to do about it because I didn’t have seven thousand pounds so I said, ‘Well, I suppose I’ll have to go to prison.’ I didn’t realise it, but someone from the press was listening to this and they put it on Radio Gloucester, and Malvern Hills Council had farmers’ wives from all over the place phoning up saying, ‘What are you doing? You’re going to put a farmer’s wife in prison just because the children have been having a music festival!’ They couldn’t prosecute me because I didn’t own the land, my husband did. I did take exception to [being prosecuted] though because we were [in those days] having planes coming zooming over the farm making a noise, but this was music… and noise and making music are very different things. It took about ten days to get everyone off the farm, and then we had to dispose of the abandoned cars. There was a scam with the AA, because they did a deal that guaranteed to get you from A to B if you broke down, no matter what condition your car was in. So a whole lot of cars arrived that were total wrecks – some were towed in because they didn’t have any engines at all. The AA came in and took some of them to the next festival but others were just abandoned. Of course, the AA put that loophole right very quickly but the travellers caught this thing where they paid up at the beginning of the year and the AA towed them from festival to festival!

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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Stuff Happening!



A few things going on at the moment to let you know about!

Firstly, the new edition of Record Collector has a feature from me on Flicknife Records, including an interview that I did with Frenchy Gloder a couple of years back where we talk, of course, about his Hawkwind releases, but also associated releases (Frenchy has a great story to tell about recording striking miners for Bob Calvert’s Freq mini-LP), and some of the other great musicians who recorded for Flicknife, such as Nikki Sudden, whose Bible Belt LP alone would have made Flicknife an important 80s label if they hadn’t released anything else. And paired with that feature I’m chatting to Dave Brock and reflecting on 30 years of The Chronicle of the Black Sword as well as hearing from sleeve artist John Coulthart on the associated ‘Chronicle of the Cursed Sleeve’!

I’m also chatting with Dave Brock on the Louder Than War website, hearing about his Top 10 Favourite (ish) albums – and those he enjoys today. Pop along and have a read:

Finally, and I’ll talk more about this during the week, with an extract planned for sometime in the next few days, Gonzo Multimedia now have the (I hope) long awaited ‘Festivalized’ for pre-order in its print edition (the eBook is also available to pre-order via Amazon, Smashwords etc.):


Hawklords – R:Evolution


A new Hawklords album seems now to be a regular fixture on the calendar, coming along like clockwork and each time building a bit more on what Jerry Richards, Ron Tree, Harvey Bainbridge and collaborators have done before. In that sense, you know it’s going to be an annual treat and R:Evolution is no exception to this rule, a really strong collection of new material that has echoes of its mothership source but continues to push away from being a straight Hawkwind spin-off band – though that influence still permeates through the music – and refines the band’s own distinct identity.

There’s been a few changes along the way, with Steve Swindells standing down early in their story (I have to say, I really miss his contributions, particularly his Farfisa which was a highlight of We Are One when they started off back in 2012) and now the great Adrian Shaw having left them. (I’ll come on to Adrian’s marvellous new solo album later this week if all goes well). They’ve still got Bevis Frond drummer Dave Pearce propelling them at the back though, while the new recruit is Tom Ashurst on bass.

It’s a lovely, fluid, record that they’ve released here; lots of variety and plenty of ideas, some of which still keeps them focused on redeveloping the original Hawklords concept for the 21st Century, some of which tantalises what might have been if the Distant Horizons Hawkwind had more time to develop what Jerry describes as their ‘screaming psychedelia’, and some of which stretches their boundaries further, a flow from psych-punk through bucolic, pastoral sounds and on to evocative spacescapes.

To pick out some highlights – and really there isn’t anything that disappoints on this album – let’s go right to the end of the record first, because when we think of this Hawklords being a recreating and revitalising of the original Hawklords concept, which it was at the outset, then we’d think particularly of Bob Calvert’s vision being borrowed, played with, expanded and updated. In ‘Shadow of the Machines’ though I think what we hear is a very Dave Brock sort of track, maybe circa Church of Hawkwind or perhaps from one of his solo albums, a playing with shifting sounds and words, so a track that displays a distinctly Brockian influence shall we say! And I liked to hear this… it’s easy to think of Hawklords as being a Calvert-driven thing back in the 70s, something more high-art than the regular Hawkwind work, and I just feel that hearing something by this band that demonstrates the legacy of Dave Brock specifically is a really good thing. That’s now I hear that one, anyway!


Photo Credit: Oz Hardwick

But again, the thing I take from R:Evolution is its sense of variation, even though everything meshes together so well. I don’t think I’ve heard Jerry playing better than he delivers here, a real mix of rock guitar and more delicate and intricate work. ‘The Dreaming’, a beautiful work with some lovely guitar and very nice synth work is aptly described by the track’s title. ‘And every body catching the vibe’ says the lyric, ‘And all ah we say: Yo! Ho-Ho!’ What a fantastic vibe this largely instrumental piece, with those end coda words, has.

On the other end of the sonic scale, the bright and sparkly ‘Re-Animator’, bursting with bristling and robust chops but still sprightly with its keyboards and FXs over the top, and ‘Blink of an Eye’, the opening pairing, are proper powerful space-rock with Ron Tree moving between Calvert, PIL rather than Sex Pistols John Lydon, and his own charismatic vocal presence. ‘The Last Change’ is Harvey Bainbridge’s composing credit this time around, a very Bainbridge dexterous mood piece that neatly shifts the record away from the opening powerhouses and onto ‘The Dreaming’ and the charming, folky, warm, hopeful and feel good, Hurry on Sundown, of ‘One Day’ – via one more typically Ron Tree wordage in ‘Space Monkey’.

‘A commentary on existence,’ says Jerry Richards. ‘Loads of old school retro, bound together with a nice take on the modern space-rock/prog format.’ He should know, of course, but that seems an excellent summing up of this one to me. OK, I’ve just marked-off October 2016 in my diary… no pressure for the next one, chaps.

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