Hawkwind is a deep-cuts kind of thing. The band is famous for two things: being home to Lemmy Kilmister before he formed Motörhead and for Stacia, the statuesque nude who stood in a Brazilian-Christ-Redeemer pose onstage at the band's shows in the 1970s. The band never really broke up but remained in flux through periods of obscurity and rediscovery. Nik Turner's Hawkwind will play the Hi-Tone on Friday, November 8th. We spoke with Turner by phone.
Nik Turner: I had a late night. It wasn't Pittsburg, no. It was Cleveland. I think we finished and got out of the venue at 2 o'clock and drove three hours to someone's house and got to bed at 5.
The Flyer: You've been doing that for a long time.
Touring or making people wait on the telephone? I guess it's what I do. Where are you based?
Old Memphis. I remember playing in Memphis. Oh, no. We've never played in Memphis. We played in, oh gosh, what's that other town?
Yeah, Nashville. We had a tornado when we were there. That's when I was there with Hawkwind some time ago. And the gigs were being put on by the local porn king, I think. They guy who owned all the local porn cinemas in Nashville. Really nice guy. He had a party at his house, and he invited all the porn stars.
I didn't know Nashville rolled that way.
I never knew as well. I think he fell in love with Stacia at the time.
It was all very romantic. I've always wanted to visit Memphis. I always liked the idea of visiting Graceland. I'm reading a book about Elvis by Albert Goldman. It seems to be shooting from the hip, spilling the beans. Not holding Elvis in magical high esteem. He was a great entertainer, but it just shows him up to be a simple country boy who had a nice voice and got exploited by Colonel Tom.
We love him for who he is.
A lot of positive energy came out of it. I look forward to going there.
So is this a Hawkwind show or a Nik Turner show?
I think it might be a Nik Turner's Hawkwind show. I'm not trying to run away with the name or anything else. Calling myself NTH is sort of a sign for people, letting people know what we're doing and not anything else really. There's a lot of hoo-ha going on and a lot of hysteria about. What I don't like about the whole situation is that it creates a very divisive situation where people are either on my side or Dave Brock's side. And that's all bullshit, because it's not what Hawkwind was all about. Hawkwind was an alternative attitude or culture. Doing things for people that needed help; lame ducks quite often. Being a people's band. And I still try to be that. I try to be very communicative with the audience and turn every gig into a healing experience. We all need healing, so we have to heal each other. So, I'm spreading good vibrations and peace and love. It all sounds a bit cheesy, but it keeps the world going round. It's better than war, death, and hate. I'm trying to perpetuate the spirit of what Hawkwind was all about. ... Space rock is a slightly different concept that we're presenting. We've got a new album out, and people really like it. But we're performing some of the original Space Ritual show, which I was involved in coordinating and choreographing together with Barney Bubbles and Robert Calvert. The original Space Ritual show was based on astrology and astronomy. It was trying to lay out the stage in the form of the Pythagorean music of the spheres. Barney took the astrological signs of all the members of the band and their corresponding colors and used those colors in the light show. ... [Pythagoras] invented the modern scales with his idea of a chord going through all of the planets and the solar system going from spirit to matter. Spirit at one end, matter at the other end. And all the planets suspended on a string, all vibrating at different frequencies, which represent the notes of the Western scale. ... Barney took all that information from Manley P. Hall's book on magic. [The Secret Teachings of All Ages] It's a great big tome that has all of this stuff about Solomon and ancient gods and all of that. I find mythology and ancient cultures very fascinating.
Nik Turner's Hawkwind, with Pallbearer and Hedersleben, plays the Hi-Tone, Friday, November 8th, 9 p.m. Tickets $10.