Famed space rockers Hawkwind have announced a selective six date UK tour for this coming September to celebrate their incredible new LP ‘Somnia’ on Cherry Red Records, which followed on from their ‘Hawkwind 50 Live’ album last year.
The band are currently listed as featuring:
Dave Brock – vocals, guitar, keyboards, synthesisers (1969–present)
Tim Blake – synthesisers, theremin, keyboards (1979–1980, 2000–2002, 2007–2015, 2019–present)
Richard Chadwick – drums, vocals (1988–present)
Niall Hone – bass, keyboards (2008–2017, 2018–present)
Magnus Martin – keyboards, guitar (2017–present)
The ‘Somnia’ album will be available on cd and 180g vinyl versions and released to coincide with the return of their three day ‘Hawkfest Festival’, which runs from 27th – 29th August in East Devon, the anniversary of Hawkwind’s first ever live gig.
The concept of ‘Somnia’ makes many allusions to sleep; through Roman mythology and the god of sleep Somnus, the lyrics tell the tale of sleepless paranoia, strange encounters, fever dreams and meditation.
The tracklist on the CD version is:
- ‘Strange Encounters’
- ‘Counting Sheep’
- ‘China Blues’
- ‘It’s Only A Dream’
- ‘Sweet Dreams’
- ‘I Can’t Get You Off My Mind’
- ‘Small Objects In Space’
- ‘Cave Of Phantom Dreams’
So what has been happening in the world of Hawkwind over the past 50 years? Here are some of the milestones:
1969 – Hawkwind were formed by former London busker Dave Brock who remains at the helm today.
1970 – The band appeared outside the perimeter fence of the Isle of Wight Festival and the first Glastonbury Festival. Hawkwind’s first single, ‘Hurry On Sundown’, was also released followed by the self titled debut album, ‘Hawkwind’
1972 – Band record and release their trademark single ‘Silver Machine’, featuring Lemmy on vocals, a huge hit that brings the band to the attention of the wider public and has since been used in commercials for Mazda cars and Red Square vodka drink. Around the same time various contributors became involved in the creative process, these included sci-fi author Michael Moorcock, poet and visionary Bob Calvert, designer ‘Barney Bubbles’ and lighting engineer ‘Liquid Len. Band tour the USA for the first time.
1975 – After a drug bust in the USA, Lemmy leaves the band and goes on to form ‘Motörhead’.
1980 – Release 2 top 10 albums, ‘Live 79’ and ‘Levitation’, the latter sees former Cream member Ginger Baker on drumming duties.
1979 – 1985 the band’s singles and albums make regular inroads into the national, independent and heavy metal charts.
1985 – The band performed the ambitious ‘Chronicle Of The Black Sword’, as a spectacular live show inspired heavily by Michael Moorcock’s epic saga, ‘ELRIC’.
1986 – Headline the Reading Rock Festival, with a guest appearance from Lemmy.
Late 80’s – Early 90’s – Band become more electronic in approach, especially in the studio and are a huge influence on the emerging dance and rave scene.
The 90’s – As ever the band performed on regular national and international tours releasing more new material along the way.
Early 00’s – Appear on the TV show Top 10 (prog rock edition) and tour Australia for the first time. Iconic vocalist Arthur Brown makes various guest appearances at live shows.
In 2002 Hawkwind held the first “Hawkfest”, a family friendly event headlined by the band.
2005 – Release ‘Take Me To Your Leader’, first new studio album in 8 years
2006 – Release ‘Take Me To Your Future’ on “dual disc” format (music one side, film the other)
2009 – saw the band celebrating 40 years in the business playing to packed venues the length and breadth of the country with the highlights being a stunning headline set at the 2009 ‘Beautiful Days’ festival in Devon which earned them a nomination at the UK festival awards followed by 2 sold out shows at the exclusive Porchester Halls in London, where they were introduced on stage by Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. These shows marked the start of the 40th anniversary celebrations.
In December, joined by guest violinist Jon Sevink of the Levellers, Hawkwind play to sell out audiences on their Christmas UK tour.
In June 2010, Hawkwind were honoured with the MOJO Maverick Award to mark their influence and longevity in the music business.
June 2010 also sees the release of a new studio album, ‘Blood Of The Earth’ ”BLOOD released on the summer solstice.
Following a run of major festivals across Europe, Hawkwind return to the UK to mark both the end of their 40th anniversary celebrations, and also the 40 year anniversary of their iconic 1970 Isle of Wight appearance, by staging their own 3 day ‘Hawkfest’ on the exact same site, the Hawkwind performance taking place exactly 40 years to the day of the original..
Hawkwind finished off 2010 with their traditional pre Christmas tour of UK venues.
Early in 2011, Hawkwind returned to Australia for festival and regional shows.
2011 Dave Brock presents ‘Hero’ Mojo Award to John Lydon of the Sex Pistols/PIL
Following headline slots at the ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ and ‘Hellfest’ in France, summer 2011 saw the recording of a new studio album, ‘Onward’, released in June 2012.
November 2012 saw the release of two further albums. A Dave Brock solo album, ‘Looking For Love In The Lost Land Of Dreams’ and Hawkwind Light Orchestra, ‘Stellar Variations’.
The spring ‘Warrior’ 2013 tour, launched at their ‘HawkEaster’ event in Devon on 30th and 31st of March and included a full performance of the ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ album.
September 2013 Dave Brock received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Prog Rock awards at a ceremony in London’s Kew Gardens.
October 2013 sees a new album release ‘Spacehawks’ especially for the North American market.
Hawkwind released an animated single of ‘Sonic Attack’ with British acting legend Brian Blessed.
On Feb 22nd 2014 at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Hawkwind performed a unique recital of ‘The Space Ritual’ with proceeds being divided between three animal charities. (Team Badger, Animals Asia and Doris Banham Dog Rescue) The event was entitled Rock 4 Rescue. (A DVD of this show was released to great acclaim in 2015)
April 2014 – Second annual ‘HawkEaster’ takes place.
May 2014 – Wildlife Rocks charity concert with Brian May at Guildford Cathedral.
October 2014 – ‘Hawktoberfest’ is launched at the Academy 1 in Manchester UK, followed by a UK mini tour.
April 2015, sees the third annual ‘HawkEaster’, a successful 3 day Hawkwind festival held in Seaton, Devon.
April 2015 – First Hawkwind concerts in Tokyo Japan.
May – July 2015 – Hawkwind return to Earth Studios in Devon to record a new studio album based on a short sci-fi story by E.M Forster ‘The Machine Stops’.
October 2015 – Second ‘Hawktoberfest’ with special guests Amplifier, Ruts DC and Prime Sinister.
November 2015 – New solo album released by Hawkwind leader Dave Brock entitled ‘Brockworld’.
Dec 2015 – Hawkwind Winter Solstice Christmas Party with special guest guitarist, Steve Hillage at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
April 2016 – Release of concept studio album, ‘The Machine Stops’, followed by UK and European tour dates.
Further information on Hawkwind can be found on their official website – www.hawkwind.com
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