Lemmy And Simon King replaced Dave Anderson and Terry Ollis on bass and drums respectively for Hawkwind’s driving, edgy, Space Rock masterpiece, DOREMI FASOL LATIDO. Although it sounds like it was recorded in a caravan, it also has a mass of improvisational energy. It’s hard to determine what instrumentation was added later because the core of it was recorded live. Sax, synth swirls and underwater bubble sounds, additional guitars, who knows? What I do know is that it’s a Welsh freak out recorded at Rockfield studios in Monouthshire in Wales with the band stoned, speeding and tripping. I only went to Rockfield studios once and that was when I was playing with All About Eve. We had our own country retreat near Leominster, Herefordshire on the Welsh borders. One day we ran out of tape and Rockfield was the nearest place that had any spare. So we drove there, bought some and they showed us around. It’s completely isolated, nothing much to do except what Hawkwind did in 1972 – take drugs and jam.
Allegedly when Lemmy joined the band he thought we was replacing Huw Lloyd-Langton on guitar but with Dave Anderson leaving and Dave Brock deciding he wanted to be the only guitar player, Lemmy was thrown in as the bass player instead, apparently learning the instrument and the songs on stage – Ha Ha perfect trial by fire. Lemmy’s bass playing on this album is unorthodox, exciting and original, playing all kinds of memorable lines.
The album opens with Nik Turner’s Brainstorm – it sounds like it starts in the middle, maybe they edited it that way, drum rolls in strange places, fluctuating tempo and moving between sections by the nod of a head, driving over the edge of the universe, falling into the blackness, wah wah guitar solos and fluid bass lines, bass chords, incessant bass, all different kinds of bass – it’s like the whole band is running over the cliff simultaneously. Electronic noises, chants, alien vocals, it’s like an extraterrestrial drug party, jam session, out of control careering towards the sun – please don’t ever let it stop – at 11.33 it’s too short. It finishes in a hail of bass and guitar effects and electronics and you can hear them about to start up again…the original recording probably went on for hours.
Fading in out of Brainstorm is Space Is Deep, classic Space Folk, eerie, melodic, acid drenched and when I hear that arpeggio I realize that’s where i started to form my ideas about how to play the guitar with Dave Brock executing a quick arpeggio on a 12 string acoustic, spacey sounds about him. It’s like a Donovan song, a catchy paean to space, ooh the mystery of it all, simple building from three minutes, then comes the bass and then the drums, those Simon King drum rolls, like waves from electronics seas, finally receding and falling back into acoustic guitar, bass and sirens.
Del Dettmar’s One Change could be an early one minute Eno interlude that leads into Lord Of Light and if I had any aspirations to play bass it came from here, Lemmy’s classic line along with the Pink Fairies I Wish I Was A Girl, was one of the first bass lines that I learnt to play. A crystal clear vocal from Brock and bass from Lemmy that sounds like the cogs and the chains, the wheels and the washers of a great machine winding through its brass clockwork intricacies, pumping and whirring and that Rickenbacker middle tone cutting through the swamp of the band. The song fades into Down Through The Night another melodic Space Folk 12 string acoustic song with spacey electronics in the background.
Time We left has the lads boarding a silver spaceship and heading out to the stars to start life afresh with some reasonable aliens – you know non-racist, non homophobic, non-sexist aliens, pacifist aliens, non-polluting aliens, that respect the environment and place artists high up their social scale as they strive for equality in their solar system. The song is a plea, another chant, jamming in drones, marching through the purple trees to freedom, hand in hand with multi-coloured, multi-armed benign creatures from space. It’s a beautiful, philosophical cacophony. It’s Hare Krishna in loon pants, musical chemistry surging through the alien landscape. Fuzz bass spars with multi-effected guitar, odd wind instruments and the sounds of screaming robots.
Finally, the mellow, mildly voyeuristic alien you love the most, closes the album with his muted fuzz bass and acoustic guitar. Lemmy rerecorded this song later in electric Mötorhead mode but this is the Lemmy I love. His first Hawkwind composition and lead vocal is in perfect mood, fitting in with the album like a dream – a dream of space voyage, another alternative, a drug induced wonderland that lifts you up and transfers you to Utopia in the galaxy beyond.