Nik Turner: Bringing the Music to the People
I listened to a lot of Gerry Mulliganand then my brother turned me on to Miles Davis with Milestones (Columbia, 1958). I bought a Julian "Cannonball" Adderley record, Something Else (Blue Note, 1958)," and I thought I really was into jazz. I read a lot about it and listened to it a lot, and I really found it very exciting but quite difficult to play.
While I was in Holland I was road managing for a black guy who did a James Brownlook-alike actor sound-alike or stage act. I was his road manager and we used to hang out all night in bars in Amsterdam with all of these black guys on the run from the Army [laughter] listening to all this old jazz. He turned me on to John Coltrane's Olé Coltrane (Atlantic, 1961). He was writing a book about black hip-speak at that time.
This was probably about 1967. Psychedelia was happening and everybody was taking LSD and stuff like that. I later discovered John Coltrane took LSD as well. And then I got involved with these free jazz people in Berlin in 1968, I think it was. I listened to Jimi Hendrix when I was in Amsterdam and I thought that was really cool music. I think it was quite influential to me. Miles Davis playing his wah-wah, as well.
I got quite influenced by those things and got involved in this band Hawkwind. The guys in the band were all friends of mine, I had met them in Amsterdam. They had played in a bandI was working on a rock and roll circus as a roustabout and a barman. I wasn't playing music at the time but these guys played in one of the bands that featured there. I eventually got this band together with them, a guy called Dave Brock and another one called Mick Slattery. Incidentally, I work with Mick Slattery still today.
We got this band together, I was going to be their road manager. I happened to have my saxophone in my van, in my car, and brought it into rehearsal and banged away at it playing all of this sort of expressionist music that I learned about in Berlin, and then I was invited to be involved in the band.
They didn't have a name at the time, but we later called ourselves Hawkwind as a result of my hawkingclearing my nasal passages, and my windmy sort of volume of flatulence [laughs], you might call it. So, we were Hawkwind, then, and I was playing free jazz in a rock band. Then my friend Robert Calvert got involved in the band and we turned into a space rock band. He was a poet, a space poet.