FRIARS Aylesbury makes a triumphant return later this month with a special gig by iconic space rockers Hawkwind.
The psychedelic group, best known for hit songs Silver Machine and Master Of The Universe, will become the only band to have played Friars in its four different incarnations, although guitarist Dave Brock’s memories of their original gigs way back in the 1970s are somewhat hazy.
“I can’t remember them at all,” he said. “We’ve played so many gigs around the world, you can’t remember a lot of them to be honest. But the new Friars venue looks great – when you play theatres it’s a funny feeling as you think: ‘Laurence Olivier was on stage here last week.’ Theatres contain such fantastic memories.”
But despite Dave’s foggy recollection of gigs gone by, one Hawkwind performance sticks firmly in his memory.
“We played Glastonbury in 1981 and caused a riot,” he said. “All the music had to stop at midnight and we were running late, so Michael Eavis came on stage with the police chief and asked us to play two more numbers then wrap it up. I told the crowd and everyone freaked out and smashed up the stage.
“Eavis banned us from playing there again.”
It’s not surprising that Dave can’t remember his Aylesbury gigs, as back in the 1970s rock bands toured extensively to bring their music to the masses.
Friars Aylesbury famously attracted major names such as Blondie, The Clash and U2.
The Hawkwind stalwart says fans lose out now musicians are less willing to travel.
“It’s a shame that bands don’t tour to smaller venues any more. We had a great time on tour and always put on a great show for fans – we still do, in fact.
“We’ve got a great light show and a couple of dancers – we try to make it visual show. We’re more artistic now than in the old days – our dancers don’t take their clothes off any more!”
Hawkwind may have calmed down a bit since their heyday, but they have big plans for the next two years, including festival slots in Sweden and France.
“William Shatner is recording a cover of Silver Machine and we are touring the USA next year so he might come and perform it with us,” Dave reveals.
“Eric Clapton got in contact with us as well after a recent gig, so there’s a chance we’ll be doing something with him and Lemmy next year as well. These days I’ll do anything as long as it’s fun.”
Dave also turns 70 this year, but said it won’t be cause for celebration.
“At my age you tend to ignore birthdays, but last year we were at this medieval festival in France and everyone started singing me happy birthday dressed as the Knights Templar.
“I didn’t notice but they were getting nearer and nearer with this giant cake. It was quite funny.”
For most people having the Knights Templar sing you happy birthday at a medieval rock festival would be more than quite funny, but after talking to Dave you realise for him it was a fairly low key event.
Hawkwind play the Waterside Theatre on Saturday, May 28. For tickets got to www.ambassadortickets.com