Sax-playing rock pioneer Nik Turner, 75-year-old co-founder of Hawkwind, brings his mind-warping cosmic grooves to Preston next Saturday night (October 10).
Turner, who now lives in Carmarthen and once wore a straight jacket on stage, recalled: “I was busking in Cardiff a few months ago, playing the sax and a tambourine on the end of my foot, and this guy said, ‘Hey. You’re Nik Turner from Hawkwind, what are you doing here?
“I said: ‘Well, I’m taking the music to the people and making a few quid.’
“People still tell me how much Hawkwind’s music meant to them.
“That happens all the time.
“I think the band was a life-changing experience.
People still tell me how much Hawkwind’s music meant to themNik Turner
“It was almost like you couldn’t have conjured up something like Hawkwind.”
The great Jimi Hendrix dedicated a song to Turner at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.
Turner joked: “That was my claim to fame.
“I’d painted myself silver for the weekend and Hendrix said, ‘Hey man... This is for the cat with the silver face’.
Turner learned to play his own individualistic sax style when he was 15, aeons before Masters of the Universe – Hawkwind – launched their silver machine into the far reaches of music’s outer limits.
“I once ran into a musician who told me I didn’t have to be technical to express myself.
“I thought, ‘That sounds good. And that’s what Hawkwind was for me.
“They were a working man’s version of Pink Floyd.”
He adds: “I only listen to music that I can learn from and I like music that’s a challenge.
“I’ve done some new material, based on my interests in mythology and I try to connect it with science fiction.
“I’ve been very interested in that all of my life.
“In fact, I recorded an album of music inside the Great Pyramid.
“It’s food for my imagination.”
Turner has remained hectically busy in the post-Hawkwind years – working with a variety of groups, including his own Nik Turner’s Space Gypsy Band, who touch down at Preston’s Continental venue this weekend.
So what can we expect to hear?
“We play awesome groovy space rock, intergalactic dance grooves, hot funk, for all you hipsters and finger-poppin’ Daddies and cool afro-cubano Latino licks for the ladies – and a collection of music from Hawkwind and Inner City Unit.
“Just ask and I’ll play it.”
He adds: “So put on your anti-grav, moon-dancing boots and prepare to be cool and groovy in my galaxy.”
Nik Turner’s Space Gypsy perform at Preston Continental on Saturday, October 10 (£10 on the door) call 01772 499425.