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Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins Hardcover – Jul 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: SAF Publishing Ltd (July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0946719691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946719693
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 17.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,493,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Abrahams (born 1963) is a freelance journalist and biographer. His books include 'Hawkwind - Sonic Assassins', 'Strange Boat - Mike Scott & The Waterboys' and, with Bridget Wishart, 'Festivalized: Music, Politics & The Alternative Culture'. He's written for Record Collector, R2 Rock 'N' Reel, Vive Le Rock, Shindig!, The Guardian, The Independent, Bass Guitar and others. Ian lives in Cornwall where his household includes two retired greyhounds who've never been to a muddy festival, tied on the end of a string.

Product Description

Synopsis

A complete history of the wild, anarchic world of Hawkwind - space hippies, proto punks and musical cybernauts.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By My Mum's Got A Washing Machine on 31 July 2004
Format: Hardcover
Well it looks like Abrahams & SAF have put together a book that finally does justice to this legendary band. This ain't no fanzine or flimsy cutnpaste job. This is a well-researched and thorough history of the psychedelic warlords from Notting Hill, containing much material from what must be exclusive new interviews (well I've never seen the quotes before) mixed in with choice contemporary quotes and reviews. The book itself is a thumping great hardback tome printed on top quality paper. Incredibly, most of the photos are previously unseen, or at least I only recognised a few of them and I've been into Hawkwind for 20yrs. Some are from Dave Brock's own collection!
The writing covers a lot of ground, starting with Dave Brock playing banjo in jazz bands in the 50s and finishing with the recording of the new album due out this autumn. Each chapter takes care of a major phase in the saga, often rounded off with great one-liners to put the whole thing in perspective. Many of the 50 or so people who've played in Hawkwind since they started in 1969 get a chance to say their piece, and the articulate and often iconoclastic commentary from people like Adrian Shaw, Harvey Bainbridge, Richard Chadwick etc makes fascinating and sometimes controversial reading.
The analysis of the various other contributors, influences, connections and spin-offs makes reading the book an almost psychedelic experience in itself, you soon realise just what a huge (and often uncredited) influence on contemporary rock music Hawkwind have always been. Rock legends like Bolan and Clapton crop up in the story, and everyone from Jello Biafra to Jarvis Cocker seems to be a big Hawkwind fan!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Phil on 14 Aug 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you're expecting a salacious, muck-raking expose of sex and drugs and rock and roll on Hawkwind's 30 year legacy of ... well, sex and drugs and rock and roll then you're going to be sadly disappointed with this book. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a superbly-written rock biography on an interesting band who've been working away on the fringes of the mainstream of British popular music since the dawn of the 70s, then you're in for beautiful and often surpising ride.
Sonic Assassins tells the story of Hawkwind through the stories and memories of those who were there - not just the expected voice of Dave Brock, Nick Turner, the late Bob Calvert and Lemmy, but also less widely known, but in may ways more interesting, voices like keyboard player Steve Swindles, singer Ron Tree and drummer Richard Chadwick who all add their perceptive and fascinating observations to the mix.
Ian Abrahams's book is lovingly compiled and gorgeous to look at with dozens of previously unpublished photos. This is an absolutel gem of a book to read and is hugely recommended to all fans not only of Hawkwind and it's associated side-projects, but also of hard rock, the British underground scene of the late 60s and early 70s, trance and ambient techno and genuine British musical eccentrics.
Only one question remains unanswered - I was disappointed not to read anything about the background to Hawkwind's alleged contribution of music to a Doctor Who episode in the late 1980s. It was probably just a dodgy rumour but it would have been nice if the author had found any confirmation on whether it actually happened or not.
Still that's a very minor quibble over a genuinely major work.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By T. Pollard on 3 July 2005
Format: Hardcover
I imagine it's faintly churlish of me to rail against books that I've only browsed through in a bookshop this afternoon, but having briefly checked both of the Hawkwind biographies they had available ('Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins' and 'The Saga of Hawkwind') I found it very annoying that they are both factually incorrect in the one instance I was keen to check up on.
Both books suggest that as part of the 1985 'Chronicle of the Black Sword' tour stage show (the tour based on Michael Moorcock's 'Elric' stories) that 'Elric' (Tony Crerar) mock-fought against Danny Thompson who 'came out from behind the drums dressed as a Chinese warrior to hit him with a big club'. They have quotes and everything.
Point is, I know it wasn't Danny Thompson, because it was me. I toured with the band as part of that stage show for most of the '85 tour, and it was (and still is, on the live DVD) me you can see dressed in samurai armour and wearing gaudy face paint, a horned helmet and playing the part of Theleb Kaarna. So there.
I'd known the band before the tour and they'd asked me to join them in Nottingham onstage to 'fight' Tony, and after that I was with them up the end (including the Hammersmith Odeon shows where I had a riser out into the audience to ham up being 'evil' on - great fun), and at the end of the tour they presented me with the 'Stormbringer' sword prop (wooden, painted black with UV 'runes' on it) that Tony used throughout the tour - I still have it, along with a load of photos of us all together and other souvenirs.
So I thought I'd mention it here. I've now 'officially' been written out of Hawkwind's history (which is a shame, but not the end of the world I guess) - but what worries me is if both authors (and maybe the band themselves) got that bit wrong, what else is too?
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