Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Sonic Assassins - Digital Publication Day!

It’s digital publication day for Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins! (Why do I choose 23rd November… just like I did for Festivalized last year? Hmm… let me think… answers in the comments section please). The book is now circa 150,000 words, revised top-to-bottom, updated to 2016’s excellent The Machine Stops album and has new interviews and research. 

Q: OK, so where’s the physical edition?

A: Coming, honest! The thing is, this update has been on the cards and being picked at for a long time, and without a mainstream publisher handling it, there’s never been a deadline to get it finished, and writers will tell you, nothing concentrates our minds like a deadline. So, to give myself a deadline I decided to do the eBook version first, since I could pre-list with Amazon and Smashwords and create myself a deadline to finish by. Next, I’ll turn my attention to the paperback edition.

Q: I’m a reviewer / blogger /podcaster / radio host and would like to chat about the book or receive a promo copy. How do I contact you?

A: I want to hear from you! Email me through my Profile page here, tweet me at Abrahams_Ian, or contact me on my FB:

Q: What’s new?

A: There’s a lot of stuff through the text which is new. Since the book originally appeared in 2004 I’ve had the chance to interview various people who could add their bits and pieces to the story, such as Mick Farren, who I talked to for Festivalized about eighteen months before he died, and who told me, among other things, about writing ‘Lost Johnny’ with Lemmy for Hall of the Mountain Grill, or Dave Robinson (of Stiff Records fame) who worked at the legendary Roundhouse gig in 1972 where ‘Silver Machine’ was culled as a single from. There’s little bits from Crisipian Mills of Kula Shaker, and Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson from interviews for other things where I tacked-on a Hawkwind question at the end. I got to chat to Jerry Richards, absent from the original book, and, as part of updating the story, to Mr Dibs, Niall Hone, and Matthew Wright. And I was able to chat through different elements of the original book with Dave Brock and gain additional insights and reflections from him, as well as talking about the wonderful legacy of his band.

Q: Does the digital version contain pictures?

A: Indeed it does! Many of the illustrations from the original edition – though not all – are contained within the text of the eBook. And there are new photographs both archive and up-to-date. Had a big internal debate as to what to do, whether to go for text only, include a photographic section at the end of the book, or to scatter them through the text and, as with Festivalized last year, I’ve gone for spreading them across the story. Huge thanks to everyone who helped with this… and I couldn’t resist the caption for P!KN!K’s great shot of the band on-stage at Crystal Palace in 1985…

Great 'Peace' Sign!
Your Author, with the writer of 'Shot Down In The Night'!!!
Steve Swindells (L), Ian Abrahams(R)

Q: What’s happened to the ‘Tracks and References’ appendices from the original?

A: Didn’t do the same thing this time around but subsumed most of the information  into the main text. Someone on Amazon wrote that the original didn’t seem to comment much on the lyrics, but that was largely in the appendices, so this time it’s part of the narrative instead. But those appendices were fun and frustrating to do, very much influenced by the TV programme guides of the 80s/90s by my friends Keith Topping, Martin Day, and Paul Cornell, so I’m tweaking them and blogging them and will get around to the albums released since 2004 as part of that.

Q: Typos! They get everywhere…

A: There will be a digital reload, with an erratum listing any corrections made. Thing is, no matter how much you proof and re-proof, they slip through. I mention a gig in Swindon a couple of months after the events of 9/11 and describe the gig as being in November 2011… I meant 2001 of course! 

Q: Favourite Hawkwind album?

A: Just like Matthew Wright in the book, it’s probably Astounding Sounds or Quark Strangeness & Charm. But it could be Live Seventy-Nine (because that’s when I first properly heard the band, travelling with my cousin to gigs at St Austell Cornwall Coliseum) or Electric Tepee, or Hall of the Mountain Grill. Depends on the day!

Q: Are you going to shut-up about Hawkwind now this is done?

A: Nope. Sorry!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins (New eBook Edition)

Highly-regarded when it first appeared, in 2004, Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins relates the long and twisting history of one of the most iconic British rock bands. From founder and ever present leader Dave Brock’s early days busking the streets of London and mixing with the movers and shakers of the embryonic blues rock scene of the 1960s, through his conversion to psychedelic soundscapes and the establishment of a band that would come to define its own spacerock genre, this is the story of Hawkwind as told by the multitude of musicians who have moved through the many line-ups, adding, as Dave Brock himself would say, “their own bits and pieces.”

Rewritten, expanded and updated, with new research and fresh interviews, this new edition of Ian Abrahams’s Hawkwind biography has been eagerly awaited by the band’s legion of fans. 

Praise for the first edition of Hawkwind: Sonic Assassins

The definitive book on the band. A fitting Tribute. Rockahead

Recommended reading to all fans, as well as anyone interested in the history of the rock music underground. Aural Innovations

Ian Abrahams’s research is beyond meticulous. Classic Rock

Festivalized: Music, Politics, Alternative Culture

Gonzo Multimedia (Paperback) / Lumoni Press (Digital)
Publication Date: January 2016

Singer/Songwriter/Performance Artist Bridget Wishart (Hawkwind, Hippy Slags, Demented Stoats, Spirits Burning) and Music Journalist Ian Abrahams (Hawkwind – Sonic Assassins, Strange Boat – Mike Scott & The Waterboys, Record Collector, R2, Vive Le Rock) announce the publication of their ‘talking heads’ book on the British free festival scene of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, Festivalized.

Published in paperback by Gonzo Multimedia and through digital/eBook formats by Lumoni Press, Festivalized surveys the history of the free festivals through the stories and viewpoints of those who were there. Musicians, Stage Organisers, Writers, Band Managers, Attendees, Travellers, and Landowners all bring their eye-witness accounts and first-hand experiences to this vivid documentation of the alternative culture at play. Researched through over 50 interviews, including members of notable festival bands such as Hawkwind, Magic Mushroom Band, Ozric Tentacles, The Levellers, Here & Now, Magic Muscle, Mandragora, Zounds, Smartpils, Culture Shock, and 2000DS, and respected counterculture commentators such as Mick Farren and Penny Rimbaud, Festivalized relates the highs and lows, the conflicts and the achievements of the festival scene from the festivals at  Glastonbury, Windsor Great Park and Stonehenge to the travelling Convoy park ups and the myriad 80s gatherings and on to the last great free festival at Castlemorton in 1992.

Covering the musical, social and political aspects of the free festivals, here is an even-handed and comprehensive account of their development out of the 60s counterculture, their peak at Stonehenge in 1984 when a reputed 80,000 revellers gathered on Salisbury Plain, and their decline into hard drugs and brew that saw bands attacked on stage, violent confrontations with police and the Thatcher government, and alleged infiltration by the security services. Never sentimental, always objective, Festivalized is a valuable and engaging oral history of a scene now removed, some would argue expelled, from the British countryside.

[Festivalized] vividly portrays the highs, lows, conflicts and achievements of this unique countercultural movement. An honest, unflinching portrait of this key period of social history. (Shindig!) ***** 

A highly enlightening read that evokes wistful memories of more carefree times. You can almost smell the wood smoke as the chillum’s passed round the campfire. (Vive Le Rock) 8/10

A measured, superbly put together, moving, funny, serious, thought-provoking account of a wonderful time in the alternative culture of our country. It deserves to be recognised as a historical document. (Terrascope)

Festivalized is an exceptionally well documented research about the almost forgotten way of life and its social and cultural impact on today’s society. (It’s Psychedelic Baby)

Strange Boat: Mike Scott & The Waterboys

“To me there’s no difference between Mike Scott and The Waterboys; they both mean the same thing. They mean myself and whoever are my current travelling musical companions.” Mike Scott

Strange Boat charts the twisting and meandering journey of Mike Scott, describing the literary and spiritual references that inform his songwriting and exploring the multitude of locations and cultures in which The Waterboys have assembled and reflected in their recordings.

From his early forays into the music scene in Scotland at the end of the 1970s, to his creation of a ‘Big Music’ that peaked with the hit single ‘The Whole of the Moon’ and onto the Irish adventure which spawned the classic Fisherman’s Blues, his constantly restless creativity has led him through a myriad of changes.

With his revolving cast of troubadours at his side, he’s created some of the most era-defining records of the 1980s, reeled and jigged across the Celtic heartlands, reinvented himself as an electric rocker in New York, and sought-out personal renewal in the spiritual calm of Findhorn’s Scottish highland retreat. Mike Scott’s life has been a tale of continual musical exploration entwined with an ever-evolving spirituality.

“An intriguing portrait of a modern musician” (Record Collector).

A particularly well assembled biography of a fascinating musician. No fan of Mike Scott or the Waterboys, of ‘eighties music, or of the many strands of Celtic music will want to miss this entertaining book. Definitely recommended. (Terrascope)

Gonzo Multimedia: Print
Lumoni Press: eBook