Michael Moorcock first became aware of Hawkwind in 1970 through the underground magazine Frendz, a magazine similar to IT. To others who wrote for the magazine Jon Trux and Robert Calvert (who later joined Hawkwind) urged Michael to see the band perform as they were apparently heavily influenced by Moorcock's fiction. Michael liked their approach to music and the technology they utilised. In his own words, When I first saw them, they seemed like barbarians who'd got hold of a lot of electronic gear: instead of being self-conscious and pseudo-intellectual, they were actually of the electronic age. They weren't impressed by their own gear. They weren't anti-technology - they celebrated it..
In the summer of 1971, Moorcock first performed with Hawkwind at The Green, Portobello Road, particularly Two songs - Sonic Attack and Power Armour. During this time Robert Calvert had officially become the band's resident poet, and Moorcock would sometimes stand in for him during his intermittent spells in a mental hospital.
1972 saw the release of Doremi Farsol Latido, which was heavily influenced by Moorcock's book The Black Corridor. Furthermore during the tour that year, Robert Calvert recited the first portion of The Black Corridor as a performance piece, which was later released on the magnificent Space Ritual live double album.
1975 heralded a very exciting album - the mighty Warrior on the Edge of Time. Personally, this is one of my favourite Hawkwind albums, the concept of which is taken directly from the Eternal Champion series. The album itself included three songs written by Moorcock, The Wizard Blew His Horn and Warriors, both of which Michael performs. The other track is Standing at the Edge, performed by Nik Turner. An additional track was written, but left off the album, though this has since been performed elsewhere - Warrior at the Edge of Time.
Warrior On The Edge Of Time was a concept of mine. What Dave tends to do is he says "do us a concept" or "I've got this rough concept, can you work it out." I do it, then Dave has a different idea and the whole thing shifts away, so that's the way it works. It's a perfectly good way of working - it tends to give Dave a bit of a start or whatever. I was doing a lot of my 'Eternal Champion' stuff on stage, so it seemed automatic to do that because there were so many numbers I could fit into that. I was only in the studio about an hour to do the stuff I did, and it was one of those weird things I didn't get the session fee either.
Some time went by, during which Michael worked on his own musical projects, but during 1981 he went to Rockfield studios to record a song called Messages, which he actually sings. The song didn't appear immediately, though, but was to be released in 1983 on the album Zones under the title Running Through the Backbrain.
Also during 1981, he was also to write lyrics for the album Sonic Attack. The album features four songs written by Moorcock:- Sonic Attack, Coded Languages, Psychosonia and Lost Chances. He performed lead vocals on Coded Languages and Sonic Attack, but only Coded Languages was used on the album, Sonic Attack being performed by Harvey Bainbridge.
The band was playing in Preston I think and I just thought "what the hell, not very far to drive to Preston, we'll go along." Saw it in the paper, went along, turned up out of the blue. So Dave said "do you wanna go on and do something" and I said "well, I haven't done anything for a long time, I could probably fake something." He says "alright, do a couple of numbers." I can't remember how many I did in the end, I went on and did one or two numbers and enjoyed it. Then I did another gig in Lancaster then Dave said "come and do some stuff down at Rockfield." so I went down to Rockfield and I actually recorded a version of 'Sonic Attack' which wasn't used partly because they've changed it. I just wasn't quite getting the timing right. If you look at the stuff I did it was all about sound and language, on of the things is just letters of sentences I can't remember.
1982 saw the release of Choose Your Masques, which contained two songs penned by Moorcock - though he performs neither. The Songs were:- Choose Your Masques and Arrival in Utopia. The sleeve notes of this album don't mention Moorcock, but rather Steele, which is Moorcock's wife Linda's maiden name.
The most important Moorcock related Hawkwind release came in 1985 with the release of Chronicle of the Black Sword. No prizes for guessing what it is about! The entire album is based on the Elric series, though the only song composed by Moorcock is Sleep of a Thousand Tears. The tour from the album was a very large production with not only the mandatory dancers, but also mime artists preforming the parts of the various characters - most notable of which was Tony Crerar playing the part of Elric. Moorcock performed during several of the concerts, reading several new poems composed specifically for the concerts. Specifically:- Chronicle of the Black Sword, Dead God's Homecoming, Dragon Song, the Final Fight. Several differing versions of the concerts have appeared on CD, all entitled Live Chronicles. Previous to 1994 all of the released contained only negligible Moorcock content, but Griffin rectified this by releasing a double CD containing all of the narration spoken between songs.
The Black Sword more or less signalled the end of Moorcock's association with Hawkwind - at least until now, as there is talk of Michael performing with Hawkwind during the semi-reunion tour that is being planned for sometime in 1999. I say semi-reunion because, although Hawkwind have been together continuously since they formed, the tour is intended to re-unite old members as well - Nik Turner, Del Dettmar and Lemmy. Like all things, though, we'll have to wait and see what happens...