Hawkwind: Days Of The Underground
Radical Escapism in the Age Of Paranoia
528 pp., 6 x 9 in, 150 color photos, 50 b&w illus.
- Published: October 13, 2020
An account of the English rock band Hawkwind shows them to be one of the most innovative and culturally significant bands of the 1970s.
Fifty years on from when it first formed, the English rock band Hawkwind continues to inspire devotion from fans around the world. Its influence reaches across the spectrum of alternative music, from psychedelia, prog, and punk, through industrial, electronica, and stoner rock. Hawkwind has been variously, if erroneously, positioned as the heir to both Pink Floyd and the Velvet Underground, and as Britain's answer to the Grateful Dead and Krautrock. It has defined a genre—space rock—while operating on a frequency that's uniquely its own.
Hawkwind offered a form of radical escapism and an alternative account of a strange new world for a generation of young people growing up on a planet that seemed to be teetering on the brink of destruction, under threat from economic meltdown, industrial unrest, and political polarization. While other commentators confidently asserted that the countercultural experiment of the 1960s was over, Hawkwind took the underground to the provinces and beyond.
In Days of the Underground, Joe Banks repositions Hawkwind as one of the most innovative and culturally significant bands of the 1970s. It's not an easy task. As with many bands of this era, a lazy narrative has built up around Hawkwind that doesn't do justice to the breadth of its ambition and achievements. Banks gives the lie to the popular perception of Hawkwind as one long lysergic soap opera; with Days of the Underground, he shows us just how revolutionary Hawkwind was.
[A] meticulously researched, entirely engrossing history of the pioneering space-rock behemoth from their inception in 1969 through to the turn of the 1980s.
Rounded out with countless photographs, flyers and poster, this is thoroughly researched and expertly written, Banks having deeply trawled through the archives in research (the footnotes themselves deserve their own book).