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ALAN DAVEY


Alan Davey - Back To Earth
Interview By Dark Starr

 As the man who filled Hawkwind’s bass duties longer than any other, Alan Davey is a true legend of space rock. Not one to be content with that one role, though, Davey is also a member of Meads of Asphodel and has done solo material. His latest solo disc, Human on the Outside, was just released in 2007. I had the chance to ask him about that disc, his time with Hawkwind, what caused him to leave and much more. The entire interview is presented here for your reading perusal.


WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: You've had quite an interesting music career thus far. Hawkwind, Meads of Asphodel, solo works - can you catch the readers up a bit on the history of Alan Davey?


Alan Davey: My first ever band before I joined Hawkwind was called "Gunslinger" (1979-1982). This was a great band...we did some local gigs and were banned from playing them again immediately! The police even called us a traffic hazard once as the volume was so great car drivers could hear it as they drove past! This was with my cousin Nigel Potter and we are recording these old supercharged rock songs at the moment for an album and planning to do gigs again! Then I did Hawkwind from 1984 to 2007. I'm still in the Meads of Asphodel, we're planning a new album too at the moment. This is a fun band to work with they're really good songwriters! It's great to play bass with 'em! I'm doing an album with Simon House (ex Hawkwind and David Bowie), too. This is sounding really good. It's got a 74-75 Hawkwind sound to it mixed with Simon's gothic style mellotron playing and Louise Bialik from California is doing some vocals on it for us. She has got a great voice! I'm doing an Arabic EP with Bridget Wishart (ex Hawkwind) too, so its all go in my world!

WC: You've just released a new solo disc. What do solo works allow you to do that you can't do within the confines of the band?

AD: It allows you to do what you want, in your own time, so you can really experiment!

WC: What can you tell me about the musicians who join you on the disc?

AD: Danny Faulkner is in Pre-Med, which is another band I'm in and he does a Moorcock style poem on one track called "The Unseen." He's a drummer who I've known for some years but he also plays guitar and a bit of keys. He's the singer in Pre-Med too.

Isobel Morris sang on two tracks. She's got a voice that I think is a cross between Marianne Faithful and Chrissie Hinde! I liked her voice the moment I heard it and I was looking for a female vocalist and she was perfect. She's got her own band called "Bruise", they're a very good band! Check out their myspace site!

Metatron from the Meads sings on "Glass Wolves." He wrote the lyrics too. This guy's lyrics are fantastic, he really does his research - a true pro!

WC: The disc shares a lot of musical ground with Hawkwind, but you also stretched out from that texture, too. What parts of Hawkwind do you think you have brought with you?

AD: Mainly Simon House`s mellotron style of playing and Lemmy's bassing (of course)!

WC: Are there things that are considered by most to be Hawkwind sounds that really originated with Alan Davey?

AD: The atmospheric synth pieces like "Blue Shift," "Wave Upon Wave," "Dogstar," "Realms" and "Out Here We Are," etc. is my niche. No one else did this in Hawkwind before. The more heavy rock side of it too, like "War I Survived," "Sword of the East," "Sputnik Stan" and "Greenback Massacre" I'd say were my style, not Hawkwind. These are very popular with Hawkwind fans. They like hard rock too!

WC: What about the other sounds? Who would you consider to be your musical influences?

AD: My main influences are, Motorhead, Stanley Clarke, Charlie Parker, Arabic music and good film scores! I always mix in filmic atmospheres in the rock I do to give it a mood rather than just doing a rock song, so I add some texture to the rock sound.

WC: You aren't in Hawkwind any more. How did that come about? If I'm not mistaken ,you had the bass duties in that band longer than anyone else - quite a legacy?

AD: Well, Dave Brock told me I'm the best bassist the band ever had and 23 years is a long time! One reason I left is because Hawkwind is a boring band to be in now. There's no jamming and songs like "Orgone Accumulator" that should be 10-minutes long are about 5 minutes. That's a big let down for the fans - they tell me so! Most songs are played along with a PC which means it's the same every night. This isn't Hawkwind! I've tried to get rid of this PC for 2 years but to no avail! Even Richard (Chadwick - Hawkwind's drummer) calls Hawkwind a karaoke band now. It's become a tribute band of itself, and I've had plenty of messages from long time fans who say the same thing! This is just one of the reasons why I left. There's many more reasons but not here and now!

WC: How do you see the music business and music in general having changed over the years since you started?

AD: The music business hasn't really changed much, musicians are still taken advantage of but the net has allowed us to be our own boss/record company, etc. But illegal downloading has killed royalty payments by about 75% I'd say. That's a lot! But if you sell you own music direct to the loyal fans you got (and I love 'em for it!) you don't need royalties, anyway so it's swings n' roundabouts! All this has allowed bands that would never get a chance to release a CD to do so, so it's great for that. There's some good music out there. I pay no attention to the charts. It's all hard sell. You don't trust hard sell anywhere else so why in music? Best to check out as much as you can and see what you find! I recently found a band from Texas called "Valles Flying Machine" I really like it, but I'd never have heard them if it wasn't for the net!

WC: Are there some interesting tidbits(especially special moments and such) that you can share from your long career - anything that really stands out in your mind?

AD: Playing on stage with Lemmy is always a special moment, that makes a huge noise. Bass in you face or what! The first time I played with Simon House that was really special. What a musician and a very nice guy too! We still love to make music together and it shows in the results, which will be released next year under the name of "Artists United." My first tour in the USA, that was a special moment too. I really had fun doing that, and meeting people like you is always cool.

WC: Are there musicians you'd like to play with in the future?

AD: Dave Gilmour comes to mind first. I saw him on the Division Bell tour in Phoenix, Arizona and was very impressed. Fast Eddie Clarke, Stanley Clarke and Bootsy Collins would all be fun to jam with.

WC: Do you think that downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales - would you agree?

AD: The big labels are moaning because they could go out of business, but some of them have put musicians out of business and worse by not giving musicians a fair share! If musicians can make a living without a label, good! You could say labels have been a parasite on musicians; maybe the time has come when musicians can get a bigger percentage of their music rather than an insulting 5%. After all we write it,and without that labels have (and are) nothing!

WC: In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?


AD: I've got no problem with fans recording shows and trading them, but selling them could damage a bands income and existence! This rarely happens, as fans know this and are cool, so carry on!

WC: What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?

AD: The last CD I bought was an Elvis compilation. Who doesn't like Elvis? Been listening to Stanley Clarke "I Wanna Play for You" (which has the hottest bass solo ever on a track called "School Days") and Motorhead "Overkill" (this is a great sounding CD - top notch production) and "Charlie Parker Live at St. Nicks". He's my favourite musician of all. Blow, Bird, blow!

WC: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

AD: Pink Floyd in Phoenix on the Division Bell tour - that's ages ago, eh!

WC: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

AD: The last two years of being in Hawkwind was entirely Spinal Tap! Ha!

WC: Finally, are there any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?

AD: Try to make music that's different from convention - experiment, and don't be afraid if it's not commercial. If you're different, you'll get noticed! Be yourself and be down to earth no matter how big and famous you might become!

You can buy CD's at my website. Also, check me out on myspace. All the best to you all.


Alan Davey's MySpace Site