NIK TURNER INTERVIEW 10.1.2000
The Mighty Thunder Rider, the ex-Hawkwind sax & flute player & singer Nik Turner stayed at my place a couple of nights again in 2000, when he was doing some studio work with my band Dark Sun and Five Fifteen with whom he also played live. We did this pretty massive interview for Aural Innovations net zine, and Jerry was smart enough to edit it quite a lot. I just now feel like publishing it in its full-length version, directly transcribed from the tape as it is, so here we go...
Dj Astro: So, what have you been doing lately?
Nik: I’ve been doing some recording with my band. I’m trying to finish an album, Kubano Kickasso, by Nik Turner’s Fantastic Allstars. It’s sort of Afro-Cuban, sort of Dance, Latin Rave sort of music. You know, a bit spacey, quite modern sound, and using some drum loops and different samples and stuff like that. And I’ve been busking, as well. I’ve been busking on the streets in Cardiff!
Dj Astro: Yeah. Is it cold there, right now?
Nik: It wasn’t too bad, no. I was busking there on Christmas Eve, and it was actually quite cold, but I found quite a warm place to stand, so it’s quite all right, and I had a little party when I’m busking. I just play; I play alto saxophone and a tambourine on my foot. I just play all sorts of dance tunes and pop tunes and the Pink Panther and stuff like that, you know...
Dj Astro: Have you been playing the theme from the Simpsons?
Nik: I have been playing it a little bit, yeah. I get a lot of requests for it from the kids, you know, everybody wants to hear the Simpsons.
Dj Astro: Heh heh heh...Okay...
Nik: And stuff like that, it’s good, yeah. And, I’ve also been doing gigs with my band. We played a big New Years Eve event in Bristol, in the city centre, in front of 50 000 people, or something like that.
Dj Astro: 50 000?
Nik: Oh yeah, heh heh, it’s quite a lot... They said they had a hundred and twenty thousand all together there, and the thing‘s going all over the place, you know, but we were on this really big, we were on the main stage there, and we played from eleven o’clock till midnight, to one minute before midnight, and then they had Big Ben and a lot of fireworks, and the sort of twelve o’clock chimes of the Big Ben. And they had fireworks and then we played Old Lang Shine, which is a traditional Scottish song that they’d played on New Years Eve and everybody joins hands and dances around. Then we turned into a reggae dance, and we sort of played that for about ten minutes. We had to get everybody dancing in the city.
Dj Astro: Oh, that must have been great!
Nik: Yeah, it was great. I’ve been doing other gigs as well. I haven’t been doing very much writing, or any sort of solo projects. I’m working on writing some songs and stuff like that, and haven’t really done very much about lately. But it’s an ongoing thing, you know, like that book Kalevala, you know, I read books like that, and stuff like that, and I get ideas from them really. I just thought, what a great idea for a song! You know, I read a story yesterday called The Song Competition or something like that, The Battle of the Songs or something like that, and the lyrics, the way they are written, they make quite a nice rap, or quite a nice song. Oh yeah, different things.
Dj Astro: And you also went to the USA and... Earlier?
Nik: Yes, I went to... There was this Hawkwind fan based festival called Strange Daze. It was happening in Ohio I think it was this year. I went out to play that, and while I was there, I did two other concerts. I did one concert in Chicago, two days before the festival, then I played at the festival with my own band in the America, I’ve got American band that I play with, they’re called Farflung. There’s some of the guys that used to be in Pressurehed, and they probably still are in Pressurehed, but I played with them, and including a guy called Steve Taylor, who plays guitar. He called me the other day he’s going to Australia with Hawkwind, playing bass, so... I don’t know if that’s happening or...He said it, so...
Dj Astro: It is happening,
Nik: I think they’re going to New Zealand, I think, that’s right.
Dj Astro: Yeah, I’ve got some email just today, and I saw his name in there, so he is coming to play. I think Ron Tree has some troubles with his visa, or something like that.
Nik: Yeah, he’s got problems and he has... I mean he’s a very nice guy, but he’s what you might call fucked up, basically, so...
Dj Astro: Yeah, that’s too bad.
Dj Astro: So, when is the Fantastic Allstars Cubano Kickasso album coming out? Do you have any idea?
Nik: Well, I don’t know really. I hope in a probably about two month’s time, I think. I want to finish it as quickly as I can, because this is going to be a bit like an ongoing thing you know, if you know how these thing are like...
Dj Astro: Yeah... I know. Yeah, I know how it goes.
Nik: When you’re financing them yourselves, and you’re doing it slowly, and then you sort of think: Oh, I could do this, I could do that, it’s not going to cost that much more money, but it’s all time, really, you know, and I’m just thinking, perhaps I should give myself a deadline, then put it out. And then work on something new.
Dj Astro: You’re going to release it on your own, or?
Nik: I think so, yeah, on my own label, yeah. NIKT records, and through EBS, I think, I’m doing it with their distribution. I don’t know if that’s Plastichead, or somebody, or who ever their distributor is, Roadrunner.
Dj Astro: What was it like to play with Dave and Hawkwind?
Nik: Oh, it was actually quite good, really. I phoned... I mean, it’s all typical really, I phoned them up, and they asked me to do a couple of gigs with them, and I said I thought I was going to do all of the gigs. Then it turns out they want me to do two of the gigs, and then I phoned up the agent, and said oh, I’m only doing two of the gigs, and he said oh, we thought you’re doing the whole tour!
Dj Astro: Hahahah... OK...
Nik: ‘Cause he said we’re getting a really good reaction because you’re on the tour, and so we’re selling it on your name (or something stupid bullshit like that). . And then I found out I was actually only doing two dates. I didn’t mind, that’s all right. The last two dates that I played at the Colosseum in St. Hostel, which is in Cornwall, and the Tredfield Hall in Croydon, which is by London, and they were both very enjoyable gigs. And the people liked it as well, it was, you know, all very well accepted by people, and very good houses, packed houses.
Dj Astro: Yeah, that’s great.
Nik: People having a lot of fun. Yeah, that’s good.
Dj Astro: Harvey was also with you, and was Simon House also...?
Nik: Yeah, they were both on the London dates, they were not in Cornwall. But they had done some other dates on the tour as well.
Dj Astro: How are you and Dave getting along these days?
Nik: Well, we’re getting along really well, actually, you know. I don’t have a problem really, it’s all up to him really, and he was quite, you know, quite sociable and friendly and, you know, as he got quite well with it, so there’s no problem, really.
Dj Astro: Oh, that’s great.
Nik: I don’t really have a problem.
Dj Astro: You want some more?
Nik: No, I’ll have some in a minute. Thanks.
Dj Astro: Okay. Has anything been confirmed about the Hawks reunion tour/album this year? I mean, with Lemmy, or?
Nik: Yeah, well... I spoke to Doug Smith, he’s sort of involved in organising it, and I spoke to him, and he said they are trying to sort it out with the agency and the promoter, because they wanna get Motörhead as well to be playing the next day at same venue, I think. So, I think Hawkwind are playing one day, and then Motörhead the next, or the other way around, you know, Motörhead first and Hawkwind the next. And both of the gigs are done by the same agency, I think, and it’s just a question of sorting that out, and the promoters are doing that, so it’s definitely happening, as far as I know, in March. It’s just a question of when, and whence they’ve sorted out the legalities, and everybody is happy, really. I think that will be with Lemmy, and Dave and Simon House and myself and... I mean, maybe with everybody that’s ever been in the band, as well, you know. I think that probably then that will be the nucleus and maybe, I’m not really sure, ‘cause Richard Chadwick’s playing in the band in the moment. I mean, he could play drums, I guess, although I personally would prefer if Terry Ollis was playing drums, you know.
Dj Astro: Have you seen him lately?
Nik: I saw him in summer. No, I saw him not this summer, the summer before. I saw him at festival called the Green Gathering, and he was with girl who was singing, and she plays guitar. She’s got a really nice voice; she’s his girlfriend, now.
Dj Astro: Oh, yeah.
Nik: And he told me he’s been playing in bands. He’s been playing in a lot of different bands, and he plays in a blues band, and a jazz band, and lots of different things he’s been doing, and it all sound very good, really. He’s quite professional about it, and quite serious about playing, so that’s way I think he would be a good drummer, really. ‘Cause he’s the original drummer, and... And we’re trying to get everybody that’s ever been in the band on it as well, and...
Dj Astro: Except Bob...
Dj Astro: Except Bob!
Nik: Yeah, well, haha, except Bob... Yeah... He’ll be... I’m sure he’ll be there in spirit.
Dj Astro: Yeah.
Nik: But... But to try to get everyone that’s ever been in the band at the concert, and then to record it, and then, also maybe to make a new album as well, all studio material, a studio album
Dj Astro: That would be really great, I think. There’s only going to be one or two gigs or something like that?
Nik: I don’t know, it depends, yeah. It sort of looks good, I mean, I don’t see why we shouldn’t do a world tour, or something like that with it, really. Because, you know, potentially, well if there’s an audience for it, and if the band’s got a good credibility and we’ve got a good album, you know, then we’d got a lot going for it, really, I thought we should be going for it, really, to get a good album, and to have a really tight show, you know, so it’s really good and exciting and, you know, appealing to the...I mean, getting the concert together with everybody that’s ever been in the band is like the fan’s dream.
Dj Astro: Yeah, that’s right.
Nik: And it would be great if we could do that.
Dj Astro: I’ll have to be there!
Nik: Yeah, haha! That’s right! It would be great if we could do that, because then the follow up would be to actually do something creditable, you know, and produce a good album, and for the band to be, you know, really good.
Dj Astro: Yeah, I know what you mean.
Nik: Otherwise I just go on what I’m doing, you know. I think my own band is really good, and I’m quite happy with it, really. I’m not trying to make my band into Hawkwind, or Hawkwind into my band, but I’d like Hawkwind to be successful, so that everybody that’s been in it can benefit from it, really, you know, and me as well, of course!
Dj Astro: Yeah, of course. So, do you have any other space rock projects in the pipeline? Or is it just Hawkwind and...?
Nik: Well, it’s my own band, which is sort of developing into that direction a bit, really, you know. I’d like my band to be... we play space jazz! Hahaha! And maybe with Latin rhythms, and then we can be like all part of the story that I’ve been writing about, ahm, about my band, the music that we play having come from another planet, where the gravity is so heavy that you risk sinking into the ground unless you jump up and down all the time!
Dj Astro: Haha...Okay, well, that explains it!
Nik: So, this is all the Latin rhythm, you know... So that people jumping up and down so they’re not sinking into the ground because of the heavy gravity.
Dj Astro: I see... Okay. So, this is your second trip to Finland, what do you think about our country so far?
Nik: I like it very much, you know, it’s interesting having come here in the summer, it was very beautiful and, you know, very lovely and lots of daylight, and coming again in the winter. I’d like to see more snow here.
Dj Astro: You will see.
Nik: I’m sure I will, and I’d like to do that, and, I mean, it’s a very beautiful place, and there’s so much space, you know, such a lot of wonderful terrain and countryside and, you know, not many people living there mostly, really, I mean, it’s lovely, really, just sort of all this, all this space.
Dj Astro: So you’re maybe willing to come back again?
Nik: Oh yeah, I’d love to, very much so. I’d like to go, I mean, I’d like to travel to the far north, if I could, and play somewhere there.
Dj Astro: Yeah. Yeah, that would be interesting.
Nik: In this sort of Lapland, or something like that.
Dj Astro: Maybe we could organise something with some original Lapland musicians or something.
Nik: That would be great, yeah. Fantastic! I’d be interested to hear Lapp music, really.
Dj Astro: I don’t have anything, sorry, but... I’ll have to... I’ll try to get something before you leave.
Nik: I’d be interested to hear it, because I’ve got no idea what kind of music they play.
Dj Astro: They’ve got this original singing style that they do. That’s quite archaic or something. Sounds ancient!
Nik: Yeah, I can imagine. I imagine it’s medieval, or even before that, you know, tribal sort of chanting, you know, spiritual chanting.
Dj Astro: Yeah, It’s even before that. I’ll have to get some.
Nik: Yeah, I’d like to hear some, that would be nice.
Dj Astro: You seem to be very interested in science fiction, who’s your favourite writer?
Nik: Favourite writer?
Dj Astro: Yeah, do you have any?
Nik: God, I haven’t really read a lot. I like Arthur C. Clark, and I like Isaac Asimov, I’ve read some. I like Michael Moorcock, but he sort of does some science fiction, and some fantasy, and some realism, and some sort of speculation, romantic fiction. So, a lot of that’s very interesting.
Dj Astro: Or can you name any good sci-fi movies, then?
Nik: Well, I liked Matrix. I thought it was really interesting, you know, I’ve seen it quite a few times. My Kids have seen it twenty times, I think, now that they’ve got a video of it.
Dj Astro: I still haven’t seen it!
Nik: They just watch it all the time. And, I like, I mean I saw, I see quite a lot of science fiction movies, you know. I saw... I mean, I really like this Terminator series, they’re really good, but I saw Armageddon I didn’t think that was very good, you know. I thought it was crap, really. There was a bit no point, you know. I thought it was stupid.
Dj Astro: I agree.
Nik: I saw Capricorn one, I thought it’s very good.
Dj Astro: Oh, I haven’t seen that.
Nik: It’s about a Mars rocket that’s under finance, and all the preparations are made for these astronauts to go to Mars, and just at the last moment, just about ten seconds before takeoff, they take all the guys off the rocket ship, and let it takeoff without them, and people think they still in it, and they take them all into this film studio in Nevada, and then they film them landing on Mars! Heheheh!
Dj Astro: Oh shit!
Nik: And I think it’s supposed to be a true story! That was quite interesting. And, I mean I see generally, I see most of the sci-fi movies that come out, ‘cause I take my kids to them, you know, it’s a good excuse!
Dj Astro: Hahaha, I see...
Nik: Taking the children to see, yeah, you know, Men in Black, and Mars Attacks, all that sort of thing., and Independence Day.
Dj Astro: How about some older movies, how about something from the sixties or seventies? Anything?
Nik: Well, I liked all those sort of a, Harry Ha..., what’s his name, Ray Harryhousen, sort of a animations he did, all these Jason and the Argonauts, and sort of lot of science fiction... Japanese sort of animated science fiction films, stuff like that. And, I like The Day The Earth Stood Still, I think that was a really good film, and I remember seeing a lot of science fiction when I was a teenager, things like When Worlds Collide...
Dj Astro: In the fifties...
Nik: Yeah, lots of... Some of them really good and some really crap, you know. Ex... Rocket ship...ohm.. Ex... Expedition Moon, or something like that, sort of heavy, European film with Evil Bartok, and people like that, really. Duff, really. And... And I remember another really brilliant science fiction movie, I thought, what was it exact... Oh, you realised Solaris! That’s great, really brilliant, and, well, Blade Runner, that’s really brilliant. And... I remember it was really good... there was this really good science... About a moon... about rocket ship going to another planet. I can’t remember what that was called. I’ve really seen all those, like Forbidden Planet, that’s really good, you know. They are... I just remember some from my teenage years, when I was sort of used to go a lot science fiction movies then as well. There’s one of them that was particularly good, I can’t remember what it was called. I think it was Expedition Moon.
Dj Astro: Yeah, that might be it.
Nik: It was in colour, so, I mean, I remember some of these older ones Rocket... Rockit... Rocket ship XM, I think it was this crappy, sort of black and white film, you know.
Dj Astro: That’s from the fifties?
Nik: Yeah, they are all from like the fifties, you know. I mean, I suppose a lot of them, maybe Ed Wood produced them, or something like that, you know, I’m not really that up on Ed Wood stuff, except what’s in Plan 9 From Outer Space I think is Ed Wood, isn’t it? Totally wacky, stupid sort of film, possibly the worst film ever made!
Dj Astro: Yeah, it’s funny in a way...
Nik: Yeah, it is quite interesting! Sort of expressionistic, really, a bit like Cabinet of Doctor Galigary. Weird.
Dj Astro: So, what other kinds of books do you read? I mean... Okay, you said you don’t read that much science fiction.
Nik: I’ve been reading... I read books about mythology, I read books about... I mean, for instance, I’ve read the book what is Celestial Prophesies, which is about enlightenment, really, you know, awareness. I’ve reading a book at the moment called Of Water And Spirit, I think it’s called, by this African guy Malidoma Some, who was brought up in a tribe ‘till he was four, and then he was kidnapped by the Jesuit priests, and taken to the monastery for fifteen years, and educated by them, and talked French, and he forgot his own language, and then he escaped, and he’s always in touch with his grandfather all the time who’s died when he was young. ‘Cause he was in touch... They say that small children are in touch with their...
Dj Astro: Forefathers.
Nik: Forefathers, yeah, ancestors, and so the old people, so the grandfather is in touch with the ancestors, and so was the small boy, so had this, he spent a lot of time with his grandfather, who told him lots of traditional stories and wisdom of that tribe. And when he escaped from the Jesuits and came back to his tribe, and he couldn’t speak their language anymore, and he could hardly recognise them, and he had to be initiated back in to the tribe. Stuff like that, that’s what I’m reading at the moment. That’s why I’m... I mean... The trouble is, I read about ten books at the same time, you know, I just read bits of them, and just pick one up, and I say: Oh, I’m reading that book! I’m reading two about... I’m reading science fiction story, that’s supposed to be really good, that somebody gave me at a festival. And I’m reading this another Malidoma, I’m still reading The Celestial Prophesies, which I’ve read already, but I’m reading it again. I’m reading an anthology of science fiction with stories like I, Robot, and, you know, stuff by Isaac Asimov and people like that in it. It’s supposed to be a classic, it’s got The Day of The Triffids and, you know, stuff like that. And, gossip, I’ve got a lot of books, I can’t remember what I’m reading. I just got these piles of books, really, all different subjects, you know. Some science fiction, some mythology, some spirituality, some sort of speculation, and then I like gangster novels, as well.
Dj Astro: Hahahaa... Okay....
Nik: Like Raymond Chandler.
Dj Astro: So, ahm, were you inspired by any groups or artists when you started playing sax and flute and...?
Nik: Well, I was inspired by, I mean, I was inspired by Charlie Parker, and Roland Kirk, you know, both... Well, Roland Kirk played flute a lot, and he’s very instrumental and very influential amongst modern flute players, ‘cause he had a very individual style. He’s blind, black guy. You know about Roland Kirk?
Dj Astro: No, I don’t think so.
Nik: Well, he’s fantastic gut. He’s sort of... I met him once, and I wanted him to go to a concert I was playing to, so he could come and play it, you know. It was when I put the Sphynx album out. I did a concert at the Roundhouse, I think, in London, and I asked him to come and play too, but he didn’t come.
Dj Astro: Oh, too bad.
Nik: Yeah. But he would play like, two saxophones at the same time, or three, and a flute in his nose, and stuff like that. And he played the flute, singing at the same time, you know, so he sort of playing the tubes, singing the tubes playing, you know, and he sort of developed this sort of style, you know. And he just played things in such a different way, and he was really influential which is why everybody copies him. And he played the circular breathing, you know, he played solo that lasted for ten minutes without breathing. He just sort of...you know, used circular breathing, really fast, you know, very technical, just mind blowing sort of stops in it as well, you know. Gosh, I wish I could do that! It sort of makes you work at it. And, I suppose some artists.... I suppose I’m into Picasso and, you know, sort of surrealism, and I was into lot of these things, you know, Pre-Raphaelites, and Art Nouveau, surrealism, expressionism, and German expressionists, pre-war German expressionists, and Franz Grass, and, I don’t know, lots of different people, and I used to go loads of art exhibitions as well. I never went into art, I never studied art, but I was very interested in it. My family is quite artistic, you know, they sort of do artistic things. My mother used to play the piano, and she did pottery, and my aunt was painter, and my uncle played the clarinet, and my brother played the trumpet, and you know, my another aunt is an actress, she’s in Royal Shakespeare company, you know, so we got theatre, and cinema, and all this sort of stuff in my family. My grandfather used to make movies. He used to get everybody in the family into films! Hahaha! And he used to do theatre shows, these sort of run-around theatre shows, and that sort of thing, you know, we had all this stuff going around. It’s all inspirational, really, because it sort of exposed me to a lot of different music, and ideas, I guess.
Dj Astro: So, how about during the seventies, when you were in Hawkwind, what bands did you like?
Nik: Well, I liked John Coltrane still, you know, then, but I used to listen to Jimi Hendrix, and Iron Butterfly, and quite a lot of electric...electronicy sort of American bands. Fifty Foot Hose...
Dj Astro: Oh yeah, I know!
Nik: ...And White Noise, which is an English...David... What his name is... Lots of different stuff like that. Pop, I says some pop music, sort of country type, you know, Steve Miller, and all this sort of San Francisco bands as well, you know. Quicksilver and Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead, and all those... All those sort of bands, and Electric Flag, Chicago Transit Authority. And, what’s that another band I liked then, Blood Sweat and Tears. You know, I mean, I like good rock music, really, but I tented to really like stuff with brass in it....
Dj Astro: Yeah, hahah, of course...
Nik: I’d get more into that, really. ‘Cause it sort of verges on jazz, really, and funk as well, and I like James Brown and stuff like that.
Dj Astro: Okay. So, how about now? You still dig the same music, or?
Nik: Yeah, well I sort of listen more to jazz and Latin music now, and funk, and... But at festivals, sort of Herbie Hancock and stuff like that, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Latin bands, Paquito D’Rivera, I don’t know, Arturo Sandoval is a trumpet player, who’s really brilliant, Cuban trumpet player. I listen to quite a lot Cuban, Latin, Jazz, African music as well. I play with African drummers, and I play also in a band with a Ghanaian keyboard player, xylophone player, percussionist, bass player, guitarist, and he sings! But I’m playing in a band with him, and I play saxophone, I’ve got my trumpet player, who I play with in my band, plays with us, and it’s a really good band, we play sort of Ghanaian reggae in that band, and I also play with in my own band with African drummers, quite a lot. I have an African guy who plays with me in my band, he’s playing percussions. He’s a well known drum teacher and, you know, he has his own band as well, and he’s pretty cool guy, really. That’s why I’m involved in all sorts of different types of music, I listen to lots of different types of music, and, I mean, I listen to classical, as well, sometimes. I like opera, like Pavarotti, hahaha, he’s got a great voice! Lots of different stuff. I suppose I’m just influenced by everything, really, lots of things coming on, and I listen to really sort of basic music as well, you know, I listen to Charlie Parker, and lot of, sort of people that are dead, you know, jazz musicians and stuff like that. Quite inspirational, really. Coleman Hawkins, that’s the... Guys like that.
Dj Astro: Ahm, yeah. So, if you weren’t a musician, how would you support yourself and your family? Any idea?
Nik: Well, I mean, I did study engineering, so I might’ve been doing that, although that’s not really what I’d like to be doing. I guess I’d probably might like to be designing musical instruments, that rather than sort of, you know, designing ships or machinery.
Dj Astro: Okay. So, you used to work in this circus before Hawkwind.
Nik: Yeah, I have been doing that.
Dj Astro: Would you like to tell something about it?
Nik: Well, it was a rock’ n ’roll circus, really, it was a sort of in 1967 in Holland. There was a great big marquee that holds about two or three thousand people, and we had... I mean I’ve got involved in it when I was living in Amsterdam, and some friends of mine were involved in running it, and they invited me to work on it, and I wasn’t playing music there, I was actually putting up the circus tent and working in the bar, and stuff like that. And, we were doing it every day, you know, we take the tent down at one o’clock in the morning and then we put in the lorry, and we drive to the next place, you know, and there’s about six of us did that. A huge tent, with nine poles in the middle of it, you know. It’s like a great big circus tent. And... So I did that for a summer, really. Living in a back of a truck, or, you know, living in caravans, you see.
Dj Astro: Was... Dave was playing there, wasn’t he?
Nik: Well, they had lots of bands playing there, they get bands from Amsterdam, ‘cause we go around all these sort of provincial towns, but they’d have bands from Amsterdam coming out to play, and Dave’s band was one of the bands that were playing in it, you know, The Famous Cure.
Dj Astro: Did you know him earlier?
Nik: No, I didn’t know him. That’s where I met Dave, really. We met in there, and we sort of kept in touch. When he went back to England, I stayed in Holland, and then I went to, I think I went to Berlin after that, or the next year, or something like that, and spent the winter in Berlin. I met all these sort of free jazz musicians.
Dj Astro: You were playing with them already, or...? Were you playing in Berlin?
Nik: I didn’t play with them, no. I did play the saxophone, but I didn’t play with them, I just met them, and hung out with them a lot, and used to go to jazz clubs with them, and we used to get stoned together, and, you know, used to go to... It was all psychedelia then, you know, so... I met the Tangerine Dream, you know, Edgar Froese. I used to go to this night club, I mean I suppose I used to sort of go, I would go to a night club, and then I would meet the people who ran it, and, I mean they sort of thought I was pretty groovy, I guess, and they sort of take me to some other place that they were going to, and met with all these musicians and stuff like that, you know.
Dj Astro: Yeah, I see.
Nik: So, I was sort of hanging out with these guys from the Tangerine Dream just to do that association, and then I met Amon Düül as well, those people, just to going to a gig in a squat, Karl Untz I think they called it. This was sort of a number one squat in Berlin, or something, at the time. And I met all these different musicians, and sort of underground people, you know, taking LSD and, I wasn’t taking LSD particularly, I was sort of around, but it was quite nice because they sort of, you know, were really sociable towards me, and if they were going somewhere, they invited me to go with them, so I’d go to a party, or something like that. And I used to go to sort of jazz... They had the Blue Note, jazz club, in Berlin, which is where Eric Dolphy used to play, and stuff like that. And I used to go hang out there with them, and they always used to play all this really wild, weird, wacky music, hahahahaha! So, that was quite an inspiration for me...
Dj Astro: Yeah, it must have been!
Nik: So, from as a result of that, and, you know, meeting...having keep in touch with Dave, and then he was getting his other band together, and I was sort of involved with that, and I’d been inspired by this sort of free jazz thing, I thought I would like to play free jazz in a rock band, you know. That was what Hawkwind was for me, really. I had the opportunity to do that.
Dj Astro: Okay. So, what else have you been doing for living, except playing and the circus thing and...
Nik: Well, I did ...I worked as an engineer for a short time. I went on a ship into Australia and back, one trip, and I was an engineer on a big passenger ship, and it was quite good, but there was so much drinking, and I really loathe that, you know, people were drunk all the time, and I just got bored with it, you know. It was all right for a couple of weeks, but after that, they were still going on, all the time, and I got bored with that. And I also worked for London transport, that’s the bus company in London, and in the development office, and was sort of, just testing busses, really, that’s sort of what it was. Other than that, I’ve worked for myself. I used to live in a seaside town, by the sea, and I used to work there, have a business selling buckets and spades and some hats and some glasses. But I used to... same time I was selling psychedelic posters as well, and sort of incense, and all sorts of psychedelic things, as well. You know, ‘cause that was at that time, the same period of time. I’ve just done a lot of crappy jobs as well, you know, labouring, and working as a car park attendant, hahaha. Working on the beach selling deckchairs, and lots of, sort of, you know, crap jobs like that, and... Then working for myself a lot, really. I suppose I’ve been sort of self employed, mostly.
Dj Astro: Yeah, you had your own record company in the eighties.
Nik: Yeah, well I was running a record label, and managing the band, and playing in the band, and driving the van for the band, and mostly equipment was mine, and I was getting the gigs for the band, because I had built a name, so, you know, it was a foot in the door, or something like that, for the band, so, that was quite real good. And I also worked... I was musical director for a circus, as well, for a bit, for a season. You know, a big, proper circus in London, in the park.
Dj Astro: When was that?
Nik: It was probably about 1984 or 5, or 83. Something around that time. That was interesting. It was interesting learning other sorts of music, really, you know. Playing circus music, you know. Daadadadaadadadadadadadadada daddadadadadadaddadaadaa daddadadadadadaddadaadaa, all that, you know, it’s great fun, really! Other things I’ve...yeah, music, really, is mostly what I’ve done. I haven’t really done much else, you know.
Dj Astro: In the beginning, I mean with Hawkwind, were you really high on acid all the time, in the beginning?
Nik: Well, yeah, I think so, yeah. Probably.
Dj Astro: It must have been quite chaotic!
Nik: Yeah, well, in a way it could’ve be seem to be, but I don’t think it was, really. You know, I’m one of these people... ohm...pardon me... I don’t let drugs get in the way of taking care of business, really, if you know what I mean?
Dj Astro: I see, yeah...
Nik: I’d rather make sure that everything is covered, and proper, and in its place, and together, before I relax. And, you know, I mean I don’t really sort of ever taking lots of drugs. Drugs represent relaxation to me, they don’t represent an occupation, or... Do you know what I mean?
Dj Astro: Mmm, I see.
Nik: I don’t... I’ve never had any problem about them, really, myself, in that respect. I’ve never been involved in drugs, or felt the need to become involved in drugs, or dealt them, or had any involvement with them other than very superficial. And I’ve never... I mean friends of mine have become very involved in drugs, and a lot of them had died, and I think they missed the point, really, you know. The drugs are something like, they are spin-off from being musically creative, and achieving some sort of creative kind of satisfaction. They shouldn’t be a distraction from all that. So, I don’t see drugs as being anything else than, you know, recreational thing, which you don’t get involved in, you know. You might participate in it, but you don’t become a slave to the drugs. That’s what a lot of people do.
Dj Astro: Yeah, I know, I know.
Nik: To the detriment, you know, I just think... I mean I like to be healthy, and then I like fresh air, and clean water, and good, healthy food, and a healthy living style, you know I like to go swimming, and I like to do, you know, healthy outdoor things. You know, I don’t like sitting in the cold, damp basement, you know, high on drugs. I don’t find it attractive at all! I find it rather sad, actually.
Dj Astro: So, how important were drugs to the music of Hawkwind?
Nik: Well, I think maybe drugs were a sort of a theatrical direction, or something that the audience were able to identify with.
Dj Astro: Because they were high!
Nik: Yeah, we were playing to an audience that were, you know, probably, I mean there was like of alternative audience of people, plus they were taking drugs, I guess. You know, and so in a way, I mean, if you take away the drugs, you wouldn’t make that much difference, really. It’s just that in a way it gave everybody a sort of common, sort of thing they were into. I mean, people weren’t all into taking heroin, or cocaine, or anything else, they were all taking LSD. I’d say everybody was taking LSD, some people were taking speed, but they were on sort of another trip. And I think the people were taking LSD at a time when there was no evidence that there was any danger about taking LSD, and it wasn’t sort of something... I mean, it was almost something that was illegal, because the government wanted to control it, not because they thought it was harmful, particularly. It was just, you know, antisocial, really. There was so many people taking LSD, and they’re saying: Oh, I don’t wanna join the army. No, I don’t wanna pay taxes. Why should I pay for this government, they’re shitting on me, you know. And they make aware in that respect, so in way, sort of, you know, people would, this all alternative society was taking LSD, and it was almost like opening their eyes to sort of realities they weren’t aware of. And I suppose if you have a whole group of people doing it, just like the Grateful Dead would in America, you know, they’d have The Electric Coolaid Acid Test, you know, when everybody got high on acid, and the band would as well, and they’d all sort of... It’s like a sort of spiritual communion, really. You know, everybody’s sort of on the same trip, and have, you know, getting high together. There’s no sort of negative aspects to it. It’s all sort of very positive and progressive.
Dj Astro: Yeah, it’s also quite religious, maybe, also.
Nik: Yeah, I think so. I mean, you know, you may look upon it as people getting kicks, but on the other hand, it’s a bit deeper than getting kicks.
Dj Astro: Yeah, I think so, too, yeah.
Nik: Because it does affect people in a much more spiritual way than just sort of, you know, getting high, or up on speed, or something like that. And it wasn’t that it did people harm, I don’t think, honestly, you know, I mean... Well, can you say what does people harm? You look around, in sort of Britain, you see like a lot of captains of industry, are all people that used to take LSD, you know. It’s like in America, you know. It’s sort of these film directors... I was reading... I’ve got this book that Mika has lent me, it’s about Easy Riders and something rather. It’s about the film directors in Hollywood, you know, because the Hollywood film industry had reached a bit of a slump. These guys made Easy Rider, which was like a really success, and made the people in Hollywood realise, that there was a lot really young, creative directors around. I mean, all those young creative directors were being taking LSD! ‘Cause that’s what everybody took, you know. That’s what they were all about, really. So, I suppose, I mean in a way, LSD probably had a very...probably had an effect on creative people, in as much as it took them in a direction. You know, I’m not saying these people wouldn’t have been creative without LSD, they were creative, anyway, but they may’ve not all gone it that direction, they might have all gone, you know, in various directions, or... You Know, it was a movement, really, as such, you know, but I don’t think it actually had, I mean, it had some permanent, probably negative effect upon certain people who had a real problem themselves anyway. You know, in their own psyche, they already had problems, and I think the LSD enhances those problems, perhaps, in a negative way, because I’ve...you know, to experience paranoia is not very pleasant, and some people experienced, you know, psychosis and paranoia as a result of taking LSD. Those, I mean, I wouldn’t say a lot of people, but only a few, who actually have had that experience and have had to have some sort of psychiatric treatment as a result of it, but I would say, that those people already had psychiatric problems. It’s just that the LSD magnified it, and sort of, probably took them to a place where they had a real problem getting back, and you know, feeling normal. So, it’s a bit of a mood point, really, isn’t it? This is sort of, you know, drugs, just because they’re illegal, doesn’t mean that they’re harmful, and you know, it’s like cannabis, you know, they are making it more or less legal in many places, and, I mean if you compare the affects of cannabis and the affects of alcohol, I mean alcohol is absolutely an antisocial, dangerous drug, and yet it’s socially accepted, you know, while cannabis is probably a very sociable, very calming, and probably quite therapeutic drug, for people to take, and yet it’s illegal! Hahahahahahah...
Dj Astro: Yeah, it’s sick.
Nik: Yeah, it’s crazy, you know, the sort of parameters and the sort of criteria that governments actually are guided by, or controlled by, or... It’s all about money, in the end, isn’t it?
Dj Astro: Yeah. So, do you have any idea, what would the music of Hawkwind be like without, let’s say, acid, or any drugs?
Nik: Well, it’s quite interesting that you say that, because, I mean I read this article in Mojo magazine, in which Lemmy said: Oh, Hawkwind was not a, we were not a peace and love band, we were always on speed. Lemmy was on speed, DikMik was on speed, and I don’t know who else he said was on what, but he obviously had a very different view from the band that I had! Because I thought Hawkwind were very much a sort of a peace and love band. That was what I would... That was my view of it, and as far as I was concerned, that was also the view of quite a lot of people that were involved with the band, and they were involved with the band, because it was like that. You know, they weren’t involved with the band because it was a bunch of speed freaks, well that was obviously what Lemmy saw it has, because he and DikMik were speed freaks, but people like Barney Bubbles, who was a creative director of the band, who created a lot of the imagery, an a presentation, stage presentation, and the public image of the band, I mean, he was very spiritual guy, who saw the band as, you know, a peace and love band. He even did a peace and love poster, you know, with was like... You know, so I just find it a bit difficult to see, what Lemmy means, really, because he got into the band because of the band was like it was, he didn’t make the band into something that he wanted it to be. He was actually only in the band about two years, so it’s a very different, you know, how he sees it, it’s obviously a very different band to the way that I saw it, or how Dave saw it, or probably many of the people that came to the band...to see the band, and probably most of the people that made the band successful, sort of, you know what I mean? I thought it was a bit weird, really, isn’t it? How people see things like that. Because...what was your question?
Dj Astro: Oh, where was I? What kind of music would you been doing without drugs?
Nik: Oh, probably very similar music, because, I mean I think I got involved in listening to people like Stockhousen, and very interested in electronic, accessible electronic music, I mean, I did listen to sort of John Gage, and stuff like that, as well, Philip Glass, I think. But I found a lot of that music really hard to take, really, I mean, I knew people that played that sort of music, sort of we called it squeaky doh, or squeaky gate music, I think, in school, in classical circles, there is all that sort of expressionist sort of music. I find a lot a bit hard to take, really, but I do find a lot of it, in a music concrete very interesting. The ideas are very interesting, but I like dance music very much, so.... So, what I would say, is, you know, that the band would probably be, or would probably have been very similar without drugs, I mean it might not have stayed together for so long, but I think that perhaps it wouldn’t have been successful, as well, on a commercial level, ‘cause I think Hawkwind’s success was created, because the band had a very strong grassroots following, of the people that, you know, lived on the street, that were, you know, underground, or whatever you might call them. I suppose, you know, people that were in the underground, identified with Hawkwind, because Hawkwind was a bit like them. That sort of thing, and playing music, that they felt they could play. It was very accessible music, you know, it was very simple, but quite effective. Very sort of, lot of very trancey sort of music. And I think without drugs, I think the band would still have had a lot of appeal, because they have...because there was quite a imaginative, you know, side from the drugs, it was sort of quite introspective, and spiritual, and sort of spacey as well, you know, sort of science fictional overtones.
(side A of tape ends)
Nik: Yeah, it was sort of...
Dj Astro: Bob was old friend of yours, or...?
Nik: Robert Calvert, yeah, was a friend, an old friend of mine, and I think his involvement with the band just by virtue of what he was into. You know, you can’t say...it’s difficult to say, well, would Robert Calvert have been to science fiction, if he hadn’t taken LSD, or if he hadn’t taken speed, or morphine or whatever else he might have taken, I mean it’s all very speculative, that sort of thing, but he was involved with the band because he was a friend of mine, and he became involved because I was in the band, and he thought that would be great to become involved in it, and he had a lot of crazy ideas, so in a way, he sort of gave the band the sort of science fictional direction, as did Michael Moorcock. He would give it a sort of sword and sorcery direction, as well. So, you could say that we would still have had all these influences, and there’s no reason then, why it shouldn’t have been just as successful, because there still was all these people that were into that sort of things. I mean, you’ve got lots of science fiction enthusiasts who’ve never taken drugs in their lives, you know, just purely imaginative people, who sort of...
Dj Astro: And also space rock fans!
Nik: Well, that right, yeah. Yeah. So, sort of... Yeah, I think the band could, would, could quite likely have been as successful, if you’d still have this underground of people that were like the band, which they did, you know.
Dj Astro: So, you think that was the whole point? I mean...
Nik: I think that was the logic, point of the logic stand. It was the accessibility of the band. The fact that we’d do a gig in London, and I’d, you know, if I went down Portobello Road the day before the gig, I’d have everybody there would wanted to come to the gig, and I would say yes, so I ended up with a guest list of about three hundred people, and then if we’re doing a gig, and the promoter would say: well, you can’t have this guest list, and I’d say: well, I’m not going on stage unless you let them all in. And that was what sort of happened. So, the band had a really good credibility with the people.
Dj Astro: And you wouldn’t get any money for the gigs?
Nik: Well, we still get paid, you know. But it made the band very attractive to people, as well, because we were so accessible, and open, and available. And... You know, I think they created this sort of accessibility of the band, that, you know, we weren’t pop stars, we could be, we were just like the people that came to the shows, which people liked, I think. They could identify with that, you know, that we were just like them, and we were available to them, if they wanna come and talk to us, we would talk to them, and if, you know, we would see them we’d talk to them, you know, hahaha!
Dj Astro: Yeah, that’s great.
Nik: I think that Hawkwind’s success was actually primarily based on upon it’s grassroots following of having done lots of concerts, playing lots of benefits, playing anywhere for nothing quite lot of a time, for any worthwhile course, and...and generally being seen to be genuine, really, you know.
Dj Astro: I see. So, you have met some very interesting people during the years. Anybody special, that would come to mind? I mean...
Nik: Interesting people?
Dj Astro: Yeah.
Nik: Well, I’ve met a few people. I met.. I mean, I was a very good friend of Michael Moorcock, which I still am. He’s actually very interesting guy. But in the sort of seventies, when I was in America, I met Timothy Leary. I visited him in Vacaville psychiatric prison where he was being held by the American government on all really about basically about his views on LSD, really. But they arrested him on spurious charges of being part of the Black, the White Panthers, or the Black Panthers. Black Panthers, was it?
Dj Astro: Yeah.
Nik: I don’t know. And they arrested him on, sort of, for possession of two seeds of marijuana, I think, somewhere, you know, and put him in a psychiatric prison of an unlimited, sort of section, sort of thing, so he was in... When I visited him, he had his hands chained to his waist, you know, just to inconvenience him, really, but making out they did it so he didn’t hurt himself, which was all total bullshit.
Dj Astro: So, he wasn’t mentally ill?
Nik: No, not at all. No, no, he was very sane guy. I sort of had quite long conversation with him about the elements, really. About elemental... Atomic numbers and stuff like this, you know, so...
Dj Astro: Sounds interesting...
Nik: Chemistry, you know. ‘Cause he likened the human race to sort of, you know, particles of chemistry. Chemical particles, each one with a different... Everyone was presented by a different element, you know, a chemical element with a different atomic number, and sorting different numbers, molecules, hahahaha... So, it was a bit like DNA sort of thing, really, because I’ve read a book about DNA which he’d written. That is quite interesting. But yeah, people, who else did I meet? I mean, I met people like the Jefferson Airplane band, you know, went around to their house, and had tea with them, you know, when they were rehearsing, and I met Jerry Garcia, I met the guys from the Grateful Dead, I mean I met sort of bands, you know, lots of different bands, I suppose, you know. You do sort of come into contact with them. Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, Doctor John, I don’t know, Randy California from Spirit. Lots of bands, I guess, you know, that I played with or did tours with, or... Who do you think are important, really... Yeah, but people that I felt were important, yeah, you know, I mean there’s a painter called Felix Topolski that I thought was quite an interesting guy, he’s not alive now, but he’s like grandmaster painter, you know, in Britain, he’s a Polish guy. He’s got all sort of paintings on the walls of Buckingham Palace, and stuff like this. People like him. I don’t know, I missed out on meeting quite a lot of people, hahahahaha! I just missed Jimi Hendrix, he died the next day, I think, or something like that. Oh, I can’t remember.
Dj Astro: Okay. So, how was it like to tour over UK and Europe and US in the seventies?
Nik: It was very exciting, and I enjoyed it. I found it a bit of a strain in some respects, I was sort of doing a lot of meditation and stuff like that at the time, you know, to keep myself straight. And I was drinking quite a lot as well, at the time, and I just found that a bit boring, really, drinking. I was glad when I stopped doing it. Yeah, very exciting, meeting excited people, meeting quite a lot of creative people. I mean it’s like when I was in America, I think the last tour I did in America was in Eugene, and I met this guy from the band called The Seeds, Sky Saxon, you know, he was a total trip, he’s sort of terrible character, sort of junkie, sort of casualty, really, and his awful girlfriend. But also at the gig was this guitarist from Canned Heat, whose name is Henry Fasten, I think he’s dead now, actually. He died recently. He was a really great guy, I really enjoyed him. And then, also at the gig was this writer, who’d written the script for this television, science fictional television series called Space Precinct. You know that?
Dj Astro: No, I don’t know it.
Nik: Well, it was shown in England. It’s an American series. That was quite interesting, and, I mean, he thought my show was wonderful. He gave me a copy of his book, and he said it’s the best band he’s ever seen! Hahahah, wow!
Dj Astro: Great!
Nik: Yeah, it’s quite nice, really. Sort of quite flattering, ‘cause I think people like that must see so much. There’s so much coming around all the time, you know. Well, maybe he doesn’t see every band that comes through, but I was quite flattered that he came to see my band, and then he enjoyed it so much, you know, he thought it was wonderful. It’s good when you have people like that, creative people, it’s like Michael Moorcock, you know, he’ll come to my gigs, and he’ll get on stage with me and do some poetry reading. And it’s nice that people that you respect enjoy what you do. You know what I mean?
Dj Astro: Yeah, I know.
Nik: It’s not people just flattering you, or being psycho fanatic, you know, ‘cause you’re famous and they’re not, and they want to be seen with you, you know, or have their picture taken with you, or something like that, which you get a bit as well. I mean I tend not to get too much of that, I tend to be, I try to be real with people, and talk to people on a real level, rather than... You know, it’s difficult, really, you know, when you’re a sort of a fan of somebody, and you like their music, say, you know, you say: Wow, I really like your album, I really like your music, and, oh, thanks, that’s nice. What do you say then? Hahahahah! You got any drugs?! Hahahhaha.. I don’t know, really. You know, it’s like I’m A fan of Miles Davis, you know, and if I went to see him, I’d say: Wow, I really like your trumpet playing, Miles, you know, it’s great. I really like your albums, you know, kind of blue, or something like this, you know. I mean, at the end of the day, I mean it’s probably just enough that you like what they do, ‘cause they’re probably happy that people genuinely do like it, you know. That’s how I feel about it, really. I don’t expect great intellectual conversations from people who sort of like my music, you know. They probably do other things, really, they like other things as well, so my music’s not the only thing they like! So yeah, it’s very interesting.
Dj Astro: How about now, is it any different? Okay, you haven’t been touring, not any massive tours over USA, but some gigs, anyway, in the Europe with the Moor, and...
Nik: That’s right.
Dj Astro: Is it any different today, than in the seventies?
Nik: Oh, well, I mean, what I was doing in the seventies with Hawkwind, was very much more high profile. We had a lot of publicity, we had a record company that was probably sponsoring us to do certain things, and we’re getting lots of press for the band, and we would get quite a lot audiences. But doing tours with the Moor, where you’re working with agents that aren’t very powerful, probably, haven’t got a lot of cloud, and haven’t got very much money, big budget or something like that, everything’s very much more low key, so we do a gig in a club that holds a hundred people, or something like that, and there might be fifty people there, or something, you know. I mean, I just enjoy it. I still enjoy it, you know, even if it’s not huge crowd, it’s not particularly the huge crowds I enjoy. You know, what you, what I find, anyway, is that I enjoy the fact that there’s a huge crowd, because it means that I’m successful, and I can afford to do it, whilst, you know, if you have small crowds, it still is enjoyable, but you don’t have the fact that you’ll get financial reward, and you can afford to do it again, you know, and that is a problem in certain respects. It’s not free to tour, you know, it costs money to tour, so you need some sort of financial success in order to be able to afford to do it. So there’s that sort of thing about it, but then, having said that, it doesn’t bother me that I’m not staying in big hotels, or anything else like that, you know, I don’t care. I’m not, hahaha, I’m not that bothered about that sort of thing. I like things to be much more real and much more sort of communicative level, really.
Dj Astro: Okay. So, you used to have this punk, or whatever, band, this Inner City Unit, in the eighties. Would you say it was your band, or were you just like one of the other members?
Nik: No, it was my band, really. It’s my... It was a sort of a result of the Sphynx band, which I had, which was another of my bands, I suppose, ‘cause it was my name, and my ideas, and my, I wrote most of the songs. But the Inner City Unit band was a sort of spin-off from that. It was basically formed with some of the musicians that I was working with in Sphynx. And then we got together, and wrote a lot of songs. On a creative level it was a whole band, really, although I wrote quite a lot of the songs myself, but it was pretty open to everyone to contribute material that they wanted to, and it would be, we played it. It’s just as well as all the other songs, I mean, we played a couple of Hawkwind songs, as well. But, yeah, I suppose that was my band, really, in a way. I suppose the band, I mean now, is my band, because, the thing is, about, you know, the music business, is such as, because I was in Hawkwind, then people know me from that, so I’ve got, you know, if Nik Turner is playing a gig, it’s Nik Turner from Hawkwind, who’s playing a gig in some other band, or something. It’s still my band, it’s not all the guys in the band you’ve never heard of, because if it was that, then probably because nobody heard from them, they wouldn’t come to see the band, so and to sort of, you know, you have to content with the music business aspect of the fact that I’ve got a name, in the music business, or...
Dj Astro: Does it bother you, I mean... You don’t get tired of being Nik Turner’s Fantastic Allstars?
Nik: No. No, not really. Because I enjoy the music, really.
Dj Astro: Yeah, and that’s the most important thing.
Nik: I don’t even... It doesn’t even bug me if I go busking, you know, just me on my own, you know, I don’t mind. I play, I like to play music, really. I like to play music that I enjoy, and that people enjoy. I’m not trying just to play music that people enjoy, although there is certain satisfaction in that, if you just produce music that people enjoy. I’ve got to like it myself, as well!
Dj Astro: So, how successful, do you think, was Inner City Unit?
Nik: I think it was actually very successful. It could have been a lot more successful, if the band had stayed together, but, I mean, the problem with it was, because it was my band, I was doing all the work, I was getting gigs, it was me who was getting the gigs, because if I phoned up a promoter and said: Hello, this is Nik Turner, he’d say: Oh yeah, great, when do you want the gig? Whilst if the band, somebody in the band phoned up, and said: Hello, this is Fred Blocks, I’m playing in Nik Turner’s band, well, they would still get some gigs, but weren’t doing it, you know, they were letting me do all the work, and then they were complaining I wasn’t getting enough gigs! You know, well I think, they ought to be getting some gigs, as well, but they weren’t, you know. They just liked to complain about me, not getting enough of them, for them! Too much, like I was their slave, you know, and that’s what happened, really, in the band, you know. They complained about not having enough gigs, and they all left.
Dj Astro: Oh, so that was the reason.
Nik: Yeah. Mmmm. At the time, the bass player, Fred, was sort of having nervous breakdown, so I said to him: look, you know, you’d leave the band now, if you want to, and have a rest, and come back later. And he said: all right, I’ll do that. So he said I’m leaving, and then the guitarist and the drummer said: oh, if he’s leaving, so are we! So they went off and formed another band with Bob Calvert, hahahaha!
Dj Astro: Oh yeah. Was that The Starfighters?
Nik: Yeah. Well, it was The Maximum Effect.
Dj Astro: The Maximum Effect, okay.
Nik: Yeah, they did a couple of gigs with him, so.
Dj Astro: That was only a short period of time?
Nik: Mmm. Yeah. The Starfighters was another band that Robert got together from people that lived in the town he was living in, which was in Ramsgate, Kent. It was just people that lived around there. But they never really got that far. I think the people he was, he had in his band were a bit too wild, and drug oriented sort of thing, you know. They did skatty and taking lot of speed, and sort of, you know, not being where they should be, and, I don’t know really. It sort of seems a bit like that, to me.
Dj Astro: So, was it more fun in Inner City Unit than in Hawkwind? I mean, did you enjoy it as much or more, or…?
Nik: I think I did, yeah. I think I try do enjoy everything I do, really. You know, I don’t do sort of thing: oh, this isn’t, you know, this isn’t very interesting. If it’s not interesting I try to make it interesting, you know, one way or another, you know. Doing crazy things, or you know, making the music more exciting, or something.
Dj Astro: Okay, you returned to Hawkwind in the eighties for a couple of years. Was it any different than before, in the seventies? Had something changed?
Nik: Yeah, I think so. I think probably because Dave was controlling it more, really. I think in the seventies Dave wasn’t really controlling it to that degree. I think that in the seventies the band was a lot of quite creative people, who came together in this band, you know. We were playing our music, really, which was like a product of the musicians, I felt. I also felt that in the eighties it was more, Dave was controlling who was in the band, and there were a lot of people in the band that weren’t really allowed to be creative, perhaps, I don’t know, really. Who was in the band? Alan Davey, Harvey was playing keyboards then, Danny Thompson was playing drums, Huw Langton was playing guitar, and…
Dj Astro: That’s it!
Nik: And that was it, yeah, and… I mean, Huw’s a very nice guy, but he’s an alcoholic as well, you know, and he’s a sort of a Jehovah’s Witness as well, you know. There’s a lot of, you know, weird, a bit weird, little things, touchy things, you know, involved in the situation.
Dj Astro: Did you take as much dope as in the seventies?
Nik: Well, I didn’t take acid or something like that, you know, I gave that up, really. I wasn’t really that much into drugs. I smoked a bit of pot, I suppose, that’s all. I didn’t really do anything else. And I think I drunk a bit at the time, but not much. I didn’t really, I mean, you know, nothing terribly exciting or dangerous!
Dj Astro: Okay! So, why did you leave, or…
Nik: ‘Cause I’ve got the sack. I was sacked from the band again, you know.
Dj Astro: Why was that?
Nik: Well, I would say it was a sort of a conspiracy, really, you know, which Dave initiated. Because we were working on the Black Sword tour at the time, and I’d read all of Michael Moorcock’s books, ‘cause I was writing lyrics based on the books, you know, and I said to Dave: oh, you’ve read the books? And he said: no, I think they’re really boring. And I said the same thing to him, he said: oh, I’ve read one of them, I can’t be bothered to read the others. And I spoke to Huw Lloyd-Langton, I’ve said: have you read these books? And he said: oh, I can’t. They are really boring, I can’t be bothered to read them, and I’d read all of them, you know? I was writing songs about them. Well, I think that, you know, I think, probably, that Dave saw that I was going to be writing a lot of songs, and didn’t like that, probably, you know, he had all these other old songs that he wanted to use that he had written, that sort of thing. This is what happens in a band, you know, when people become a bit more aware what’s going on in the band, they see that if they can write all the songs, then they get all the royalties from the publishing, you know, for the record. And then, all are faking to get somebody in to play, to be paid a session fee, then they don’t have to pay royalty to them, when they, you know, when they’re on the record, and these sort of things start coming up. So I think, that really, probably the reason that Dave, sort of manipulated the situation was that he didn’t want me to be writing a lot of material.
Dj Astro: Oh, that’s too bad.
Nik: Because I was writing songs that were actually about the books, whilst they ended up using some stuff like Needle Gun, which has like nothing to do with the Elric. It might be Jerry Cornelius, but it has nothing to do with Elric, and there were a lot of other songs that weren’t anything to do with Elric. Dave would say: oh, I’ve got this song, that I’ve wrote, that I haven’t used, this will do. You know, there was that sort of attitude about it, and I didn’t really think that was very good. I thought these stories, these songs ought to be about the book, you know. I’d read the book, so I was writing songs.
Dj Astro: Have you used the material, later on?
Nik: No, I didn’t use it. I’ve written… The only thing I’ve done with it was a… Michael Moorcock’s sixtieth birthday was last month, and his agent wrote to me saying that they are going to put together a book of well-wishing information from all Mike’s friends for his birthday, you know. So they’re gonna publish it hardback in limited edition, and so they wanted everybody to write a few words, you know, saying…talking about Michael, or taking to him, or wishing him well, or whatever, so…
Dj Astro: So, you used some of those lyrics?
Nik: I used those lyrics, yeah. I gave, I said here’s some lyrics that are inspired by Mike, and I’ll never use them, so, you know, I’d like him to have them, have a copy of them. So I put them in…I gave them into those, and they are in this book, I think they’re gonna put out some paperback versions, which they’re going to give to them people as well.
Dj Astro: Are they going to sell it?
Dj Astro: Are they going to sell that book?
Nik: I don’t know, actually, what they’re going to do. Maybe they will, I don’t know. If it’s interesting enough, I guess. If they see there’s commercial, maybe they will sell it. So…
Dj Astro: I think Michael, he sells quite a lot of books, anyway.
Nik: Yeah, I think so. So, that’s why I thought about… But then, so I was writing all these songs, and then I went away, went home, and then I had heard that there was a meeting happening. Well it was a meeting with the management, which I think I wasn’t invited to, or something, you know. It was all starting then, you know. And then I was told I’ve been sacked. So, and I said oh, what’s happening. I said to Dave: oh, what’s happening? He said: the band has decided to sack you. I said: oh, really? I said: oh, I’d like to talk to them about it, you know. So I went there, and they all had different stories about, you know, Harvey was saying, well, you know. Basically what they were saying, was what Dave’d told them to say! ‘Cause the drummer said to me: well, I don’t mind if you’re in the band. He said: Dave phoned me up and told me that I ought to say that I didn’t think you ought to be in the band, but I don’t mind you being in the band, I get on very well with you, we have a good time together! So I’ve got it from they, you know, and they all said different things about me. Huw Langton said he thought I was trying to turn the band into a punk band. Alan Davey said that his mates didn’t think I ought to be in the band, hahahahaha...
Dj Astro: Oh, that’s interesting!
Nik: It’s crazy, isn’t it? And Harvey said, well he didn’t mind if I was in the band. It was not a problem to him. He did actually tell me that Dave had phoned him up and told him to say that he didn’t think I’d been taking enough interest in the band, ‘cause I had missed a lot of rehearsals. Well, I was writing songs, and I thought: well, I don’t need to rehearse two chords, particularly.
Dj Astro: Yes, I know what you mean.
Nik: So, it was sort of bit like that, really. The management had sort of instigated it as well, you know. It’s crazy business that the management company that I’d set a deal up for the band with. I had negotiated the deal for the band with this management company, and they would have been managing the band, and as soon as they began the managers, I think they probably saw me as a trouble maker, really, you know, ‘cause I didn’t really want to sort of lick their asses and go along with their bullshit. So I left the band then. And I concentrated then on... Oh, I don’t know, well I did put back on Inner City Unit, for a bit, with a new band, with slightly different line up. And we did another three albums, I think, or three or four albums. And we had, the band was really successful, then. We did gigging in London; we’re just packed anywhere we played.
Dj Astro: Oh really? I didn’t know.
Nik: Yeah, we had really good audiences, really big audiences everywhere we went. Playing loads of sort of colleges, we had agency that would be getting us work, we had quite a lot going for us, really. It was a bit sad that the band should all leave. I suppose I could’ve carried on, but at the time I was living in country, and Inner City Unit was a London-based band, the whole idea of it, and the whole, you know, feel of it was London-based. We were living in London, I was living in Belsize Park, I knew all these people that were living in squats. If anybody was going to break into a squat, and start a squat, we’d going to play there. You know, these people would come around to me and say: oh, we’re gonna, starting a squat down the road, would you come and play? And we would say: all right. And we just go and play, you know. So we would do that, we did a lots of things like that, we’re just really accessible to people. We did benefits. We did all the things that Hawkwind used to do, you know. Because we were available to do them, and people knew where I lived, and where I was, and you know, that we would do these gigs, if they wanted us to. So we played loads of stuff like that, we played squats, we played protest gigs, you know, on a back of a lorry, at a huge CND rally, you know, driving down White Hall, you know, amongst all the police, you know, playing the Death March, you know, the huge crowd of people behind us, you know, huge protest sort of things we were doing, you know. With this plastic barbed wire draped around the lorries, so it looked like barbed wire, you know. And the police freaking out at us, you know. That we would best join the main procession, and they said: oh, you have to leave the procession; we don’t want any bands or vehicles on it. So we drove down Nights Bridge in the rush hour, in the Saturday afternoon shopping, with this great big PA on the lorry, and we all dressed up as brain surgeons, and playing the Death March, you know, the huge crowd of people is going: daadaadadaadaadadaadaadaadaadaa, Oi! Daadaadadaadaadadaadaadaadaadaa, Oi!
Dj Astro: Hahahahahahahahahah!!!
Nik: The huge crowd of people behind us, you know, driving slowly along the road on the shopping area, in the extremely high class shopping area!!! Stuff like that we did, so, you know we were (coughing).
Dj Astro: Were you arrested then?
Nik: No, not quite. They stopped us, and the police pulled us off the lorry and threatened to arrest us, but we sort of said, oh well, you know, we’re part of this protest gig, you know! What was a protest gig if you’re not gonna protest?
Dj Astro: Hahahahaha, I see!
Nik: About something!
Dj Astro: You were organising some free festivals at Stonehenge at some point?
Nik: Yeah, I was involved in that, yeah. I used to set up my stage there. I had this pyramid stage that I had built when I was doing the Sphynx show, which I had constructed to go around all the festivals. And then, so I used to take that to Stonehenge every year, and put it up. A bit like the main stage, a big pyramid!
Dj Astro: What was it made of?
Nik: That’s aluminium, and canvas on the top of it, with a little scaffolding, really. It was all designed it particular dimensions, exactly the same dimensions as the Great Pyramid.
Dj Astro: Do you still have it?
Nik: ...But a lot smaller. Ah, I actually haven’t got it, but a friend of mine borrowed it some time ago, and hasn’t given it back to me, so I’ll have to try and retrieve it, and I’m sort of getting on that pace. But I used to put the stage up there, and I used to manage the stage quite a lot. Just the sort of, you know, make sure bands went on and off and stuff like this, and I was involved in that side of it, and playing there with quite a lot of bands, on that stage, and in other places around Stonehenge, and lots of other places to play. Lots of bands playing all over the place in different stages they made, and stuff, you know.
Dj Astro: What does Stonehenge mean to you?
Nik: Well, it means quite a lot, really. It’s a very spiritual place, and it’s a very ancient place, and nobody knows how it was built. It was sort of built out of these megalithic stones, these monoliths. And they all came from a long way away, so nobody knows how they got there, either, you know. It’s a bit like the Great Pyramids, or that sort of thing. But at the end, it’s actually a very spiritual gathering place, and they used to have these wild orgies and festivals there, in sort of ancient times. And it’s also possibly a solar calendar, a temple, and there’s a lot of very symbolic sort of stuff around Stonehenge, which is sort of zodiacs, and stuff like this, you know, the signs of the zodiac in the ground, you know, in the very large area, you know, this sign is five miles long sort of thing, you know. And there’s a lot of stuff like that all around Stonehenge. So they used to, sort of, have these very wild orgies, and I think that’s what, it was, the gathering of all the tribes, and that what it was when we were there, as well, as having been there, you know, two thousand, three thousand years ago. So, it’s a sort of quite... Yeah, it’s quite a spiritual and powerful place, really.
Dj Astro: How large crowds were there at the festival?
Nik: At Stonehenge? By the festival?
Dj Astro: I mean in the seventies, or eighties.
Nik: Probably, gosh, I don’t know. Probably about twenty thousand, thirty thousand people, something like that.
Dj Astro: Oh, that much!
Nik: Yeah, a lot of people, really. All living in cardboard houses, and canvas houses and... Yeah, a lot of people. Really lot of people, and it was big, it was very big. Not as big as Glastonbury, but much more fun, really.
Dj Astro: Yeah, Okay. So, you’re obviously fascinated by Egyptian mythology. Why’s that?
Nik: Ahm, I just find it quite mysterious and magical, really, I think. You know I think it’s mysterious, it’s unknown and it’s unexplained, and there’s a lot of very powerful symbolism and mythology, and very archetypical mythologies about the Gods, the Egyptian Gods. I mean, I’m very interested in mythologies, really, I guess, and religions, you know, world religions and mythologies, and how similar mythologies are in different, from different races. How you have similarities in many of them. You can see it’s the same story in all of them, but just, you know, different aspects of that same story with a lot of the same imagery and same sort of situations that happen, that you can hear in other mythologies and, you know, like Hinduism and Islamic and Buddhist and all different religions, as well, really.
Dj Astro: So, it’s not only Egyptian mythology that you’re into?
Nik: No. It’s not only Egyptian, yeah. I’m into all mythologies, really. Maybe because I’m interested in the origins of Man, I guess, you know, and that sort of thing. I find it quite fascinating, and I suppose it’s just, you know, it’s all probably about the quest of wanting to know why we are here, really. To understand, you know, what the, what we are here for, and possibly what human potential is, what we can do.
Dj Astro: And where’re we going.
Nik: Yeah, that’s right. I mean there’s a lot of things that are going that you can see that are related to this, and you know, it’s like movies and all sorts of things and creative things, that had to do with similar sort of ideas. I mean, like movies are sort of, you know, going in the same direction, in this sort of metaphysical, and mythological, and science fictional and, do you know what I mean? Sort of thing. Suddenly sort of trying to see all in, you know, as being part of the whole, and all being into locked and ought together and to do with each other, you know, magic, and mythology, and spirituality, and science fiction, and sort of speculative ideas of why we’re here, and what we should be doing. Or what we could be doing, or where we come from, or where we’re going, hahaha...
Dj Astro: Yeah, I see.
Nik: The mysteries!
Dj Astro: So, do you really believe in UFOs?
Dj Astro: Okay. Have you ever seen them?
Nik: Well, not really, I wouldn’t say conclusively that I’ve seen UFO...
Dj Astro: Or experienced...
Nik: ...Or I’ve experienced abduction.
Dj Astro: Have you experienced anything surely out of this world?
Nik: Well, it’s difficult to say, really, you know, you sort of... It’s very easy to say: oh, have you experienced something out of this world, and then sort of see something as, well, when I was out walking one day, I had a mystical experience, I mean...
Dj Astro: What was it like?
Nik: If you sort of say this, then, I mean, one has these experiences all the time. Do you know what I mean? You don’t say: oh, I just had a mystical experience. You know, I suddenly felt I was somewhere else, I mean... It’s the sort of thing that happens all the time, and you just think, well, is this real? You know, I’ve been walking down the street, and I looked at somebody, and I know exactly what the person is thinking. And then I sort of think I don’t really want know what they are thinking, you know, it’s not an interest to me, really! Hahaha, you know. And you sort of feel, you can actually touch their minds, and so you start to think is that real or not, or is this something we can all do, or you know, is it quite a normal thing. And I sort of look at people, and I think: well I know what they do, and I know what they’re thinking, and I’m thinking, well I don’t really want to know what they’re thinking, you know. So one has this power to do certain things, and you just think, well, I’d rather be using it for something else, you know. So, I wouldn’t say I’ve had sort of... I mean I’ve had dreams, that sort of seem to me like mystical experiences or extraterrestrial experiences, or things like that, you know, but I haven’t had sort of experience walking down the street and seeing bright light in the sky, and then suddenly it sort of, you know, seeing blinding flash, or something like that, you know. It’s a bit like, I mean, it’s like that film, you know, I saw this film about the X-files last night, and I can’t remember, it’s called the Abduction, I think. And I just thought: I don’t like that sort of presentation of alien intelligence. You know, these aliens come to earth and see man as sort of some species that’s gonna, you know they come down here and: oh, that must be he’s brain, let’s take a part and see how it works, you know, and suddenly this drill comes down and pours holes in his teeth, and this other drill comes down and drills into his stomach, and... You know, and he sort of thinks, and he’s sort of screaming all the time, and you think, well, I don’t really think that’s what alien abduction is like, really. I just tend to think that any alien that comes to this planet is an enlightened being, who’s not coming here to experiment on us, because they think we’re a lower form of life. I think they come here to help us, and to get our help, or you know, to be positive really, rather than what these alien abductee sort of characters are represented as in these sort of things as the X-files. As if alien intelligence is...
Dj Astro: Something negative.
Nik: Yeah, something very negative.
Dj Astro: Something to be afraid of.
Nik: Yeah, that’s right, and I don’t like that.
Dj Astro: Yeah, me neither.
Nik: I think it’s a very negative sort of representation. I want it to be, I want these people to be really intelligent, and show us the way of travelling the speed of light, you know, in a nice way. Not everything’s, you know, dirty, and somebody trying to make some money out of it, and commercial and crash, and sort of materialistic, you know, ‘cause I don’t think that’s what it’s like. I don’t think that people that’ve travelled a million light years, are gonna be like that, they are not gonna be like us! You know, that’s making everybody seem like us, you know.
Dj Astro: Yeah...
Nik: You know, the Star Trek, you know. Find a new planet and conquer it, and I don’t like that, I think it’s crap.
Dj Astro: So, do you believe in life after death?
Dj Astro: Yeah.
Nik: Well, I believe in reincarnation, really, I think. You know, I don’t have any reason not to believe it, if you know what I mean. Apart from, perhaps, not experiencing it, hahahahah! If I felt I hadn’t experienced it, then I wouldn’t believe it, perhaps, but I think, you know, we do experience it. Everything points towards it.
Dj Astro: Do you remember something from your past lives, then?
Nik: Well, not particularly, I mean I, you know I...
Dj Astro: Some flashes, maybe?
Nik: Well I think, possibly, yeah. I mean it’s difficult to know. I was interviewed by this guy who’s writing for one of the most popular English newspaper, that’s called The Sun.
Dj Astro: Yeah, I know.
Nik: About reincarnation. And he was interviewing different people, and I was one of the people he interviewed. He interviewed this other very famous judge, his name is Chris Mashumbrey, I think, who’s an intellectual sort of person who believes in reincarnation. He interviewed all these sort of really wacky people, or actually quite creditable people that actually believed in reincarnation. And it’s quite an interesting article, and he interviewed me, as well. And my attitude was that I did what I did, because I felt like it, not because I thought: oh, I’ve had experiences in the past life, or I’m drawn to this because I’m conscious that I was here before. I mean, I think I was drawn to this, well probably that I was there before, but it’s not something that’s saying to me: oh, I remember, you know, I’m going there because I’ve been there, because I believe I’ve been there before, I didn’t go there for that reason. I went to... About a curiosity, really, you know, because I was interested in the subject, and interested in the culture. Interested in the mystery. You know, and that’s what I felt, really. You know, well I might have been living in Egypt in, you know, tenth dynasty, or something like that, but I don’t sort of consciously think: oh, that’s where I was living, you know. I think well, maybe I was. I don’t say I wasn’t, but I, you know, I’m not saying I was, but I’m quite open to having been, you know, so... I’m rather optimistic about things, rather than a pessimist.
Dj Astro: Okay. Do you consider yourself as a successful musician?
Nik: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I mean, only in as much as I had some... I think I had creative satisfaction for what I do. I don’t really consider myself particularly materialistically successful, ‘cause I’m still hard up, you know, I haven’t got a lot of money. I’m still driving a car that’s a wreck, and still, you know, going busking ‘cause I need to pay my phone bill, you know, and things like that. But then if I can go busking, and say Cardiff, I went busking when they had the rugby world championship finals on with France and Australia, and I was there busking, and I could have like fifty people all dancing to what I was playing, with a saxophone and a tambourine, and I can earn 450 pounds in a day, just playing my saxophone. Well, on one level, that’s quite a lot of success! Hahahahah...
Dj Astro: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Nik: That’s sort of successful in a creative way, that you can actually do this, and you are capable of , you know, being able to produce something that people will give you money to hear. To me that is success, really.
Dj Astro: Yeah, that’s right.
Nik: But it’s just that to me it’s also success that people are happy with what I’m doing, apart from the money, I mean, the money is quite a, sort of, quite pleasant by product, of creating music successfully, really.
Dj Astro: Have your music ever brought you a lot of cash?
Nik: Has it ever brought me a lot of cash? Well that’s one... I mean, music hasn’t really ever brought me very much cash. I suppose when we... When I was in Hawkwind in the seventies, and we were sort of successful with Silver Machine, I was probably doing all right. I was probably getting two hundred pounds a week, you know, that’s what I was getting, regularly, rather than a big lump of money, and then maybe I was getting a record royalty of, you know, a thousand or two thousand pounds every six months, you know, which was from record sales. So, I suppose the money I was getting, two hundred pounds a week, was the fact that we were doing tours, where we were earning loads of money, and then we were using that, we were getting paid that money, when we weren’t working, so we were being paid all the time.
Dj Astro: That maybe was a wise move!
Nik: Yeah, I think so. So, that was probably the most successful... most money I made, I took record, out of music, really.
Dj Astro: So, what’s the best thing about being a musician?
Nik: Well, I think the creative satisfaction you get from communicating enjoyment to people, and getting a positive reaction from people, and... Playing dance music is quite good, because you get positive reaction from people, and people are enjoying themselves, and you are helping them to enjoy themselves. So I find that the most satisfying thing, really. You know, communication with people. And I think because music is, I think it’s a very spiritual thing. I think it’s a healing force, really. I think music is a healing medium, and I think it has to be enjoyable, you know, has to be fun. Then it’s enjoyable and it’s satisfying, and it’s not hard work, and you sort of enjoy doing it, and you sort of feel it’s worthwhile.
Dj Astro: So, how about the worst thing. I mean, any negative sides to being a musician?
Nik: Well, the music business is a pretty negative thing, and some of the sort of attitudes that musicians have are pretty negative, as well. I find, I mean there’s a sort of... There’s a sort of... One thing I don’t like about the music scene is like if you’re in a band, I mean I suppose that the sort of concept of being in the band is a bit of a, a sort of, I don’t know, it’s not probably very practical sort of thing. But if you’re in a band, you can be in a band, and then suddenly you’re not in it anymore, ‘cause somebody says: oh, you’re sacked! You know, well, that’s not really right, I don’t think, you know. I think that people, I mean I think for one thing that people should have respect for each other, but you’ve got a situation perhaps where people are taking too many drugs or drinking too much or things like that, where they obviously have not really got the respect that they ought to have for the other musicians, because I think if you’re in a band, you actually, you own it to the other musicians to actually do your best in a creative situation, because, you know, we’re all working together, and the thing is only as strong as its weakest link. So, you know, I think that there’s sort of some of the bad aspects. Sort of disloyalty of the situation, where you can be dismissed from the band at a moment’s notice. And probably, the sort of influence of drugs, as well, on people, the negative influence of drugs on people that perhaps haven’t got a very strong will power, and are not really strong in themselves, and not really very confident in what they’re doing musically, which is another thing about music, really. You’ve got to feel confident in what you’re doing. Otherwise it’s a very, sort of, nebulous thing, and very fragile thing.
Dj Astro: There’s a lot of stress, and...
Nik: Yeah, that’s right, worrying about it. I mean, but I just think, well, I just play as well as I can, you know, I’ve practised to do that, and I won’t sort of just got out of my head on drugs and do nothing, but, you know, waste myself. I’d rather, you know, present music as... (tape cuts)
Nik: What was the question?
Dj Astro: I think we dealt with that already. Well...what’s...some of the negative points of...
Nik: Negative points of the music business, yeah. Well, the drugs that people take, and the fact that music business being such a tenuous and fragile sort of thing for the creative musician. People can be not that confident in what they’re doing, and perhaps not even that good, and take loads of drugs, and be real victims and die, and still be exploited by the music business. Probably the music business prefer a few people to die, ‘cause they can sell their records, and they can sort of make them, you know, make loads of money out of it. Thinking about Bob Marley, you know, the record company’s laughing all the way to the bank, and Jimi Hendrix, you know. These people they just... They just become very exploited, and by the business that doesn’t really give a fuck, basically, I mean the music business is controlled by accountants, really. They know what sold last week, and they, you know, put money on something that sounds like it this week. They don’t take risks. So, yeah, those are the sort of bad aspects of music business. The fact, the lack of sort of loyalty amongst musicians. (phone rings)
Dj Astro: Sorry...
Nik: Yeah, I think those are the bad aspects, but then that’s always been the bad aspect of the music business, really. It’s like, you know, a lot of people like Charlie Parker, you know, was a junkie, people are allowed to be junkies. People are allowed... I mean, there was a time, when, with Hawkwind, if you wanted an article in the NME, the New Musical Express, the press office said: well, all you got to do is to give the journalist a bag of heroin, and he’ll write an article, and we’ll print it. And I think that was going on quite a lot in the music business.
Dj Astro: In the seventies.
Nik: Yeah, that sort of thing has happened a lot, you know. I just think those are the sort of sad aspects. And then also the fact that there are a lot of really good musicians around, who are not at all successful, whilst there are a lot of really bad musicians, who are extremely successful!
Dj Astro: Yeah, I know what you mean...
Nik: It’s all a bit out of balance, really, anyway.
Dj Astro: So, how long do you think you’ll keep on rocking and continuing your career as a musician?
Nik: I don’t know, really, I think, probably, I don’t know what else to do, hahahaha, so, so I can’t really put a time limit on it! I suppose it depends on how long I’ll live, really, or how, you know, if I had a terrible accident, I suppose I’d stop playing the saxophone perhaps, if I wasn’t no longer capable of doing it. But, you know, at the end of the day, I’ve been involved in the music business for quite a lot of time. I’d like to remain involved in the music business, but in a nice way, really, you know. I’d like to be one of the nice guys! I don’t wanna be one of the assholes, you know! So I’d like to help musicians, and maybe to do production as well, and carry on playing as much as I can, really. I don’t see any reason to stop. I could probably get a proper job! Hahahahhah!
Dj Astro: So, you live on a farm in Wales, would you mind telling something about it, and your normal, everyday life?
Nik: My normal everyday life?
Dj Astro: Well, it’s music, of course...
Nik: Well, yeah, it’s music, but probably...
Dj Astro: ...But something about the farm?
Nik: ...Probably, I mean we have these festivals there, sometimes. My girlfriend has sort of African, Celtic festivals there in the summertime. We’ve got a bit of land, so we can have a big marquee and a few people camping there, and stuff like that. We have these African/Celtic things, we have people doing workshops in African culture, dancing, drumming, singing, and the same in Celtic things, you know. And, that’s what happens there, that’s the only thing we do there. I mean, I’ve got a few caravans that people rent from me, and we’ve got kids there, I take kids to school in the morning, pick them up at night, half the time, not always, sometimes. So I get up at seven o’clock every morning, usually, I have a routine, you know, hahahaha... All that sort of thing, I do some rehearsal, perhaps. I’ve got a studio there, do a bit of recordings sometimes. Yeah, that’s more or less what I do, really. I don’t go out a lot, I go to parties, and if I’m playing, I’ll go to a party, otherwise I won’t go to a party, ‘cause there’s no live music I won’t go much to see, you know. I’ll go to a live music parties and I play. Well, I don’t drink, so I get bored hanging around parties where everybody’s trying to get drunk, you know, so...
Dj Astro: Yeah, I see.
Nik: I’d just sort of rather be doing something else, you know. Yes, sort of quite exciting, quite interesting. I have wild raves there, sometimes, you know!
Dj Astro: Yeah. You’ve got a lot of friends in that area?
Nik: No, not a lot. I mean I know loads of people. I mean I suppose I know thousands, millions of people, hahaha, you know, but there are a few people that I have quite close association with, and I spend time with. But I don’t go to the pub, or do things that like that, so, I mean, most of my social life is tied around playing music, you know, musicians I work with, and all my friends are musicians, really. Because I don’t go to the pub, so I don’t really have much in common with a lot of people that go to the pub, so I tend to, you know, be with people that are at my house, and, or at somebody in my band’s house, or, you know, I tend to be involved with musicians, and that’s all, really, mostly.
Dj Astro: Okay. Is there anything you would like to say to the Finnish fans, or the fans in general?
Nik: Yeah, buy my records! Hahahaha! Learn to play a musical instrument, get a band together, spread the spiritual, healing force of music.
Dj Astro: Okay. Okay, maybe that was it.
|Nik Turner w/ Dark Sun in Hamburg Hawkfan Meeting in 1997.|
Nik has been musically active ever since and even released a couple of excellent solo albums on US based Cleopatra Records lately. Check out his latest adventures on his web page at: