HAWKLORDS, originally formed as an offshoot from legendary space rockers Hawkwind are currently hitting the road in support of their sixth album (suitably called Six) .
Described by the band as “a study in dystopia and the dark spaces of the mind”, it features key former Hawkwind members Harvey Bainbridge and Jerry Richards, with Dave Pearce (from British psyche-rock band The Bevis Frond) alongside newest band member, Tom Ashurst.
More than forty musicians have passed through Hawkwind over the years including the likes of Lemmy, Ginger Baker and founder members Dave Brock and Nik Turner over the years but Harvey’s stint on bass and synthesizer between 1978-1991 makes him one of the longest serving and a confirmed legend among the band’s legion of fans.
After reforming Hawklords in 2008 alongside ex-Hawkwind vocalist Ron Tree, Harvey’s continuing quest to “melt minds and rock retinas” arrives in Chester later this month and despite recently celebrating his 68th birthday the keyboardist shows no sign of slowing down.
“I was just talking to our young bass player about how touring has changed,” laughs Harvey the morning after Hawklords played Newcastle.
“The most tiring thing is sitting in a vehicle for hours on end. The fun part is defiantly the gig itself and not the hanging around part.
“But it’s going very well and we’re getting good reports on social media. People are dancing and cheering at the end of each gig and it is really good to see so many smiles on faces.”
This latest tour sees the band’s amazing light show provided by veteran lighting designer Dave ‘Lighthouse’ Johnson and Harvey is promising audiences are in for a treat.
“What I’m pleased about is the reception we’re getting from the audiences,” he says. “It’s so good when they get off on what we do - they dance and they’re so keen to talk to us afterwards.
“The show also looks a lot more psychedelic on this tour. We watched the light show on YouTube the other day because we never get to see it from the stage and I have to say it was spellbinding and hypnotic - there were morphing faces and all sorts of things going on!”
As well as playing songs from Hawklords and his time in Hawkwind, Harvey and the band will also pay a special tribute to the band’s resident poet, lyricist and frontman Robert Calvert who died aged just 43 in 1988.
“I have lovely memories of him,” enthuses Harvey. “When we did the first Hawklords album I remember playing this bass riff and he was just writing lyrics bang straight off.
“We would be rehearsing and he’s be there striking a pose – I’d ask ‘what are you doing?’ and he’d reply ‘I’m rehearsing how I’m going to stand for the audience’!
Talk of former Hawkwind member prompts the obvious question about how relations are between the many members and versions of the band still going.
“I haven’t been in touch for Dave (Brock) for a few years now but then I keep myself to myself,” laughs Harvey.
“I’m happy for them to keep doing what they’re doing and for me to keep doing what I’m doing. We’re decent about it all and don’t stand on each others’ toes – we won’t tour at the same time for example.
“I remember a journalist once asking me what would happen if we pulled into a service station and Hawkwind were there. To be honest I’d probably just say ‘hello Dave’ – as far as I’m concerned there’s no animosity - that’s between Dave and Nick I’m afraid.”
With younger music fans discovering psychedelia through chart stars like Tame Impala and Kasabian, Harvey is hoping Hawklords can keep playing to their loyal fans as well reaching new audiences next summer when they hit the festival circuit.
“To be honest I don’t keep up to date with who is doing what or who is going where.” he adds. ”I have a fairly broad taste in music including a lot of classical music and interesting electronic stuff and Scott Walker’s music these days is just fantastic – it’s so out on the edge.
“He was a pop star who’s suddenly gone into this classical artistic thing and it’s amazing and an inspiration because there’s no point in doing the same thing over and over again – what you should be doing is seeing if you can extend yourself.
“We’re hoping they’ll be some interest in us doing some festivals next year. It’s strange not to be doing them so often these days as there was a time when we did them all the time. It would be like ‘sorry I’m off to a festival’ and three weeks later you’d come back!”
l Hawklords play Chester Live Rooms on Saturday, November 18. Doors 7pm. Tickets are £14 from www.seetickets.com call 0871 220 0260.
See full story in the Chester Leader