Strange Daze '98 is over and what a great festival
it was! Our thanks to all of the wonderful people who
joined us over the 3 day weekend. This was an opportunity
for the Hawk Tribe to come out...... and come out they
did! With advance sale tickets costing only $40 (children
under 12 free) for 3 days and 2 nights of swimming,
camping, and cooking out, along with the music of Hawkwind
and 12 other SpaceRock bands from around the country,
it was an attractive bargain and a good way for a family
to spend some quality time together. There was a supervised
area for children's activities called the Hawk`s Nest
and some folks were found to have come all the way from
Europe and the Middle East!! Truly, the beginnings of
a world class affair!
Nelson Ledges Quarry Park was a beautiful setting for
this event with a cool, clear lake for swimming. There
were many wooded campsites (which proved to be where
some of the wilder parties were that weekend) along
with some quieter campsites geared more for relaxing.
The lake was very refreshing and many people took advantage
of it, some jumping off of a 15 ft. cliff side into
the water, others just sitting on the small beach, after
some lazy afternoons spent watching great SpaceRock
bands play some incredible sets of music.
The gates opened early Friday to a perfect August day.
Warm, sunny, and one of the driest months of the year
in this part of Ohio. Great festival weather! People
started filing in early in the morning. This gave them
a chance to familiarize themselves with the campground
layout and enough time to find a good spot to set up
their campsites before it got crowded or too late in
The music was scheduled to begin at 5 pm Friday. After
a slight delay, the evening began with the dedication
of Strange Daze '98 to the memory of Robert Calvert
and All who have come before Us! For those of you who
don't know, Robert Calvert was a singer, poet, playwright,
and one of Hawkwind's few front men. With his vision,
fertile imagination and sci-fi lyrics, he had a tremendous
influence on the direction Hawkwind's music took in
the early days. Coincidentally, Strange Daze '98 would
begin on the 10th anniversary of his passing..
Master of Ceremonies was Thom the World Poet from Austin,
Texas. Thom is a bundle of positive energy who's traveled
around the world doing his unique "stream of consciousness"
poetry at many Poetry Slams. He has also performed his
word wizardry with such bands as The Space Brothers
and Gong. Here, there, everywhere was Thom, exhorting
people to open up their ears, minds, and selves! Say
"Yes, Thom!". Thom kept things moving, and
people thinking, between the acts throughout the festival.
The first band up was Kid from Cleveland (Craig Schultz:
guitar, keyboards, vocals - Curtis Schultz: drums, sound
effects - Gary O'Brian bass, bass peddles) .....from
Cleveland! Didn't see that coming... didja? Fronted
by the Schultz brothers, it is a family affair. Their
music is very heartfelt, with a heavy Pink Floyd influence
and a lot of jamming thrown in. They were well received
by the large, appreciative crowd that was eagerly waiting
for the music to begin.
Architectural Metaphor from Massachusetts were scheduled
next. Unfortunately, their car was broken into the night
before when they played a pre-fest gig in NYC. This
caused them to arrive at the park too late to take their
spot, so they were rescheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Filling in for them was Canis Minor from NYC (Thom
Karshish: chapman stick - Joe Silver: keyboards) Hearing
them earlier in the day as they jammed around their
campsite, they were the natural solution to ArcMets
unexpected absence. Ready and willing to play (Canis
Minor actually had wanted to play SD '98 but were told
there were no more slots left) they did excellent and
things worked out well for everyone. Featuring some
haunting poetry and whispers by guest vocalist Billy
Capozzi and accompanied by Thom Marianetti on a solitary
djembe drum, they were unusual, spacey, and dreamy.
Canis Minor was a pleasant surprise and they set the
proper mood for that night's headliner to appear.
Pressurehed from California (Tommy Grenas: guitar,
vocals - Len Del Rio: keys, synths, samples, 'tronics,
- Doran Shelley: guitar - Paul Fox: bass, vocals - Lack
Clontz: drums) were the final act for the night. You
have to see Pressurehed live to really appreciate their
brand of hard driving, blood boiling SpaceRock. These
boys can fly through space! They do a complete presentation,
choreographed to some fabulous film footage presented
by Rob Jacob's' Midnite Sun Lightshow. Using film, strobes,
and multiple projectors, Rob does a fast paced, yet
very cohesive image laden show. You go up, down, in,
out, and all around while scenes fly by you, one after
During the second song we witnessed, live on stage,
a mysterious man (Greg Stacko) dressed in a white robe
and wearing a crown of thorns as he "resurrects"
a Space Age Adam (Scott Kuti). Once animated, Adam rises
out of his eternal sleep and proceeds to glow with flowing
colorful light as he does a joyful dance to their music,
just happy to be alive! Later, he removes his mask like
breathing apparatus to reveal that HE HAS NO FACE!.
A blank, featureless man! He could be YOU... he could
be ME... he could have been any one of US!
Pressurehed also did an amazing cover of King Crimson's
"21st Century Schizoid Man" while a surprisingly
hip Alien plummets in a free fall! Pausing only long
enough to peer out at the audience, as if to see what's
happening out there, he gives us a knowing wink before
pushing off backwards to continue his tumbling, downward
journey. Definitely one of the highlights of their set
and the evening!
Deficiencies in the sound system became apparent during
Pressurehed's set and the sound proved to be a little
uneven throughout the festival. Though not as good as
it should have been, it wasn't terrible and everyone
seemed to enjoy themselves. The energy level was high
as people reluctantly left the stage area to make their
way back to their individual campsites, hooting and
hollering into the evening's inky blackness. They were
all pumped up for a night of partying around the campfire
with family & friends. Some to enjoy good smoke
and good conversation, others to Trip Out and dance
the night away in the silvery moonlight under a canopy
of stars!. A magical evening to be sure.
Saturday dawned and revealed many vendors whose colorful
tents popped up overnight like mushrooms (ummmmmm....
mushrooms!) dotting the side of the roadways. There
were many items offered! Custom silver jewelry, unique
colorful clothes, herbal stands with literature on naturally
healing herbs and spices, Native American crafts, etc.
There was also a rib shack there (open till 4 am) and
other food and drink available. There was even a vendor
making some dynamite natural Fruit Smoothies. Delicious!
Many bands had their music for sale and there was an
abundance of Hawkwind's music and memorabilia being
offered. CD's, rare vinyl records and beautifully framed
posters. This was the place to be if you were a Hawkwind
collector, or in search of anything rare. Prices ranged
from cheap to expensive with most things falling somewhere
in the middle. You could get a full color festival T-shirt,
button, 4" sticker & color mini poster for
First up Saturday starting at 11 am was Quarkspace
(Chet Santia: Bass, Guitar, Vox - Jay Swanson: Keyboards
- Dave Wexler: Guitars - Paul Williams: Drums, Keyboards,
Loops) from Columbus, Ohio. The stage was now arrayed
with seven large, colorful tie-dyed cloths that arrived
too late to use Friday. Quarkspace proceeded to wake
everyone one up with an very energetic, yet smooth set.
Inviting the audience to "wake and bake" with
them these guys took off and got hotter as the sun rose!
Thom the Poet joined them for a bit in a very spacey
number and they did a few new tunes. I have been watching
these guys for a while now and they have just been getting
better and spacier all the time! A great performance
and a perfect start to the day.
ST37 (Mark Stone: rhythm guitar - Joel Crutcher: lead
guitar - Carlton Crutcher: synths, vocals - Scott Telles:
bass, vocals, tapes - Dave Cameron: drums) from Austin,
Texas was next. No small musicians here! Great, big,
beefy boys, from cattle country putting out a big, driving
spacey sound. Lots of sound effects, so essential to
SpaceRock, were abundant throughout their set. A lady
from the audience named Michelle, joined them on stage
to sing a song, some sort of social commentary about
the woes of a Native American woman who robs an armored
car. I didn't quite get all of it, but obviously ST37
is a band with a social conscience! Another guest, Doug
Pearson, joined in with some spirited sawing on his
Violin and Thom the World Poet also helped them out
with some excellent word smithing.
By the time ST37 ended, big fluffy clouds were floating
in the blue sky. A few, looking a bit ominous, proved
to just be passing by - giving sporadic shade to the
grateful folks in front of the stage. While there were
some trees positioned about 150-200 feet away from the
stage, the rest of the area was wide open, offering
no shelter from the hot sun.
Taking the stage in the rising afternoon heat was F/i
(Brian Wensing: guitar - Rick Hake: drums - Jeff Chase:
bass - Grant Richter: electronics from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Strongly influenced by Kraut Rock, this is a very strong,
mostly instrumental group. Allowing their music to wash
over you in waves, synths burping and farting into the
summer afternoon (must be all of that good cheese, beer
and bratwurst), it was easy to drift into deep space.
Good, solid guitar work and precision playing drives
you into space at warp speed. Many of the spacey sound
effects were not just made with keyboards, but with
other items as well. Mouth harp? Whistle? I'm not sure.
Lots of very good electronics in this band.
By the time Melting Euphoria (Anthony Who: bass - Zero:
synths - Michael Merrill: drums - Bob Clic: guitar)
from California took the stage, the worst of the afternoon's
sun was over although the heat remained. After driving
3 days in a van to get to the festival they were anxious
to play and it showed in their excellent performance!
Extremely trippy, they are another instrumental band
with pounding drums and plenty of melting guitar over
lush keyboards and sound effects, flavored much like
the Ozric's! At last year's festival, they were the
only band to be rained on, shortening their already
too short set. This year they tempted fate again by
playing THE RAIN SONG!! But, as I've said, this is the
driest month of the year for this area and our luck
held out! In addition to their own material, they treated
everyone to a cover of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar
You could feel the excitement growing as the night
went on, each band seemingly going faster and Faster
and FASTER until every bit of the space in front of
the stage was filled with music! Glorious, Trippy Music!
Psychedelia ruled tonight and minds were opened! Everybody
was giving their very best and it showed. The Spirit
was apparent tonight! Now it was nearing twilight time
and it started to cool off as Alien Planetscapes began
setting up the stage equipment.
Alien Planetscapes (Doug Walker aka Dr. Synth: keyboards,
electronic flute, effects - Matthew Block: drums, percussion
- Chris Altenhof: bass, tapes/loops, effects - Rob Alfonso:
guitars, devices, effects) from New York City were great!
Calling themselves Americas' oldest, hardest working
SpaceRock band, they set out to prove it. After dedicating
their set to Born to Go's keyboardist Louis Boone (aka
Dr. Electron) who couldn't make it to the festival because
he was sick and in the hospital, they launched into
some fast, hot and heavy SpaceRock! Accelerating at
an enormous rate, they climb fast into the stratosphere
before breaking out into space. Slowing down, rolling
over and floating for a while, relaxing before taking
you deeper still into the void....flute, scorching guitar,
relentless drumming and the ever present Dr. Synth,
his keyboards popping and percolating, the sound churning
around in mid air as if it were alive! Their music was
superbly crafted and whole. Everything was right where
it should be! Doug Walker is a musician's musician.
The good doctor runs a tight ship and they were in fine
form tonight. A very powerful set, helped by the fact
that they bring their own sound man with them. He knows
what they want and he gives it to them. Very, very,
good. Other bands should take heed and remember the
value of a good sound man who knows their material well.
After all, the medium is SOUND and you shouldn't ignore
it or leave it in the hands of some incompetent person
who doesn't know or care about your music.
You could feel the tension in the air building as the
stage was cleared and reset for the legendary Hawkwind.
Founding member Dave Brock had been conspicuously absent
the last two days, leading to some speculation about
what may be happening. Also missing was vocalist Ron
Tree, surely not a good sign in these Evil Times! What
follows is the sordid tale, the best it can be pieced
together from the different people who were involved...
COMPUTERS ARE ABUSED.....
Behind the scenes there was a deep concern about Dave
Brock appearing at the festival. He had been told on
the Monday before the festival that the waiver he needed
for his US Work Visa was "in the mail". The
waiver is an extra procedure he must go through because
of an old conviction involving a pot plant many years
ago, long, long forgotten by everybody.
Well... almost everybody!
SCHOOL RECORDS ARE FED....
This is the day and age of the hypocritical "Zero
Tolerance Policy" by the US Government. They appear
to be intolerant of everything except their petroleum,
medical, pharmaceutical, booze, gambling, tobacco, and
mind control industries. Evidently, they can just hang
a label on anyone who ever had a minor felony drug offense,
using it to limit their legal rights under the law and
justify hassling them about such silly things as their
admittance into the US to perform at a common music
POLICE ARE CHECKING ON WHAT YOU SAID!
Knowing that the mail can go from one end of England
to another in a matter of 2 days, Dave Brock felt that
things would work out in time and continued on with
his plan to catch a flight to Toronto, Canada on Wednesday
the 12th. However, when the time came to catch that
flight the waiver had not arrived in Dave's post box.
Not knowing what to do, he opted to take the flight
and have someone check his post box daily for the waiver.
When it arrives, he reasoned, they would be able to
take it to the airport and have it couriered to Dave
in Toronto. Still being the middle of the week, that
appeared workable. If nothing else, he felt he could
always just enter the country as a tourist until they
straightened out the work waiver. After all, they haven't
said he couldn't do that. So he got on the plane with
the rest of the band, hoping for the best.
THE NUMBER OF YOUR CARD IS......
Arriving in Toronto, Baron Brock and his crew (Kris
Tait, Richard Chadwick, Ron Tree, Jerry Richards, and
Capt. Rizz) disembarked and went to find their luggage.
Soon they were in customs, trying to clear the gate
and catch their connecting flight to Cleveland, Ohio.
They were to meet up with their rented equipment there
and run through a rehearsal Thursday night just to make
sure everything was working all right.
As they went through customs, everything seemed to
be going fine. Dave had no problem going through the
line and was soon walking down the hall towards his
designated gate. Suddenly a man from customs comes running
up to Dave, saying there's a problem with his visa and
he would have to come with him to answer some questions.
So Dave & Kris Tait go with him.
FED INTO A BOX.....
Dave & Kris follow the man into a room. As the
door shuts behind them, he looks out of the little cell
like window and sees the rest of the band being led
in different directions. Ron Tree in one, and Richard
Chadwick, Jerry Richards, and Capt. Rizz in another.
This is the last he sees of them! After being asked
some questions, Richard, Jerry, and Rizz are allowed
to enter the US and they catch a later flight to Cleveland.
Ron was another story. As everyone knows, Ron is an
original and hardly looks like your run-of-the-mill
British tourist. He may have long, green hair and his
eyebrows could have reptilian green stripes alternating
with his natural hair color. Oh well, we love him any
ways! Customs, on the other hand, must not have been
too pleased with they way he looked, however it was!
They informed him that he also needed a waiver (which
wasn't even applied for in his case) and not having
that waiver he would not be allowed into the US. Dave
and Kris were told the same thing about Dave's waiver.
Even though his HAD been approved and was supposedly
on it's way to his post box, there was no way to confirm
this and he would have to have it in his possession
to enter the country. In this era of satellite communications
and the world wide web, it's really just the same old
World War II mantra.... Your Papers, pleeeze!
YOUR JOURNEY'S BEING CHECKED.....
After checking into a hotel near the airport, Dave
calls Cleveland to say that they will not be on their
scheduled flight, and explains what is going on. Asked
about the rest of the band, he says he hasn't seen them
and has no idea where they are at the moment. Nothing
else to do he can only sit tight, waiting for his waiver
to be brought over when it arrives. Suggesting that
the rest of the band may very well be on the next scheduled
flight to Cleveland, he expresses hope that things will
be cleared up in the next day or two (it's still only
Wednesday), then hangs up to get some much needed rest.
Going to the airport we discover that the band did manage
to catch the next flight and were pleased to meet up
with Richard, Jerry and Capt. Rizz. Discussing the situation,
it is decided that the best thing to do is to just keep
our fingers crossed and proceed as planned. It wasn't
until right before the rehearsal on Thursday night that
we find out Ron Tree spoke to Dave and they decided
it would be best for Ron to return home on the next
flight back. None of Ron's vocals! It's a major bummer
for us, but we carry on.
IT'S A PARADOX!
As everyone gets the equipment together Thursday, we
begin to think the unthinkable. What if Brock can't
get in? What were we going to do? Scrambling into action,
we start to formulate an alternate plan. Luckily for
us there are a few hard core Hawkfans in Cleveland who
are also good musicians. One is Steve Taylor, a guitarist
who guested with Nik Turner when Nik toured Cleveland
with the boys from Pressurehed. The other one is Steve
Hayes, Hawkwind's stage manager on their '97 US tour,a
keyboardist and a recording engineer. His Salad Farm
Studios recorded last year's Strange Daze '97. They
were together in the short lived Cleveland band named
Sun Machine. Both are good men, tried and true. They
offered their services to help in any way they can and
Richard, Jerry and Capt. Rizz readily accepted. Because
of the absence of Ron (and possibly Dave) a new set
list had to be devised. Most of the new material Hawkwind
had planned to play at the festival would have to be
back shelved for the time being. It was time to bring
out some old favorites and possibly even come up with
something new for the occasion!
While hoping that we wouldn't have to actually use
plan "B", we felt much better knowing that
we wouldn't be caught off guard if things took a turn
for the worst.
DUPLICATE FORMS AND I.D.CARDS.....
Friday morning dawns! The first day of the festival
and we prepare to leave for the campground. Calling
Dave in Toronto we discover he was informed that the
visa waiver was not in that days mail back home. We
tell him about plan "B" and he agrees that
there really is nothing else to do. There was a slight
possibility that the waiver could arrive in Dave's postal
box on Saturday morning and, thanks to the time difference
with England, if rushed to Dave immediately there may
be time for him to drive by car to the Niagara Falls/Buffalo
border. Crossing there, he could drop down into Ohio
(about 4 hours away) and arrive at the campground just
in time to play Saturday night. It was truly a slight
chance, but it WAS possible! With nothing else to do,
we leave for the festival knowing that whatever was
going to happen, we wouldn't know for sure until Saturday.
ARE NEXT IN LINE TO DISREGARD.....
Come Saturday afternoon we discover that Dave will
not be there. His waiver didn't arrive on that mornings
flight from London and our last slim thread of hope
was severed. We now know what must be done. The Spaceship
will have to lift off without Dave Brock and Ron Tree!
More determined than ever, we press on with our preparations.
It's decided that nothing is to be gained by announcing
it any earlier than necessary, so nothing is said to
the festival goer's who were enjoying themselves blissfully
unaware of the problems. "StrangeWind" (my
personal favorite out of Hawk Sun, Wind Machine, etc.)
was about to be born! With the Sun going down and The
Solar Fire Lightshow busily setting up for Hawkwinds
set, anticipation and tension was running high!
Electricity was building in the air and the already
large crowd was swelling as people from all over the
campground gathered around the stage. Families and friends,
communing with the Spirit and with each other, were
sitting peacefully in lawn chairs with coolers by their
sides while others walked around mingling! A few people
were hollering and whistling for the show to start.
It was a beautiful night!
FUTURE GENERATIONS ARE RELYING ON US!
The time had finally come and a StrangeWind (Richard
Chadwick: drums, percussion - Jerry Richards: lead guitar,
synths, vocals - Capt. Rizz: noisemaker, vocals - Steve
Taylor: bass - Steve Hayes: keyboards) began to pick
up, growing stronger as the Spaceship was ready to lift
off! Lights dim and moiré patterns gently pulsate
onto the stage and white canvas backdrop while Capt.
Rizz advises everyone to "control your own minds...
if you can! Or shall we control it for you? We really
don't mind! One Tribe, one Spirit!". In a firm
voice Richard Chadwick announces that he has a message
for all who have come here tonight in memory of Robert
Calvert."Dave Brock and Ron Tree cannot be here
tonight. They were stopped at the border!". Momentary
disbelief and stunned silence from the crowd of Hawkfans
as the words sink in. "We are the Ones who are
Left" roars Richard, real savage like, as the crowd
goes crazy cheering their approval, fists held high
in the air! Rizz tells them "YOU will come with
US..... they will not be able to stop it. WE'RE IN CONTROL!
Customs? Ha ha hahahaha! Well? We're still here....and
you're still here, so they didn't stop it, did they?
IT'S A WORLD WE'VE MADE....INCUBUS!
After promising that Dave and Ron will be back next
year, they urge everybody to do what they would have
us do. Yelling "Let's Party!" they launch
into "Wheels" off of their "Distant Horizons"
CD. A classic sounding Hawkwind song about modern society's
dependence on oil, the pollution it causes, and the
apparent dead end road the Human Race is treading. A
real cruncher as Richard urges the rest of the band
to keep up with him. "Come on!" he yells as
the nuclear drive revs up and the Spaceship starts to
lift off. "How long?" Rizz intones.. "how
long do YOU think the wheels will keep on turning? Nuclear
radiation leaks through your lands. Your rivers are
gone. Your ozone is gone and the Sun just burns! And
it's like you don't..... really ...care!" he accuses.
"DO you really care? It's your world people, come
The Solar Fire Lightshow (Scott Kuti, Jim Lascko, John
Merk and Greg Stacko) comes alive with strobes flashing
like lightning and swirling moiré effects washing
over the stage layered one over the other in constantly
moving, throbbing patterns. Looking at all of their
equipment earlier while they were setting it up, I was
reminded of the Great and Powerful Oz's words - it was
indeed "a clinking, clanking, clattering collection
of collagenous junk!" How wonderful! No common,
off-the-shelf, expensive, high tech wizardry here. No
way! They are adept at using something that most lightshows
seem to lack. Their IMAGINATION!
With film loops, slides, strobes, smoke, and 6 overhead
projectors, they were a study in organized CHAOS and
made for some very heavy COSMIC PSYCHEDELIA! Space scenes,
solar flares, swirling stars, distorted checkerboard
patterns, moon flower effects and kaleidoscopic colors
made for a sensory overload.... it was a very lush,
3D, psychedelic feast for the eyes. A very unique and
one-of-a-kind lightshow. Who else does something like
this, utilizing so many different elements?
After a mostly spoken "Warrior on the Edge of
Time" they continue onward into "Assault &
Battery", complete with film projected solar flares
rising up and engulfing the back of the stage as they
slide into space, riding on the edge of time. As Jerry's
guitar rises in the mix, we find ourselves gliding weightless
through space for a moment, before dropping gently back
to Earth. The song fades away and you can hear the distinctive
beginning of "Spirit of the Age" grow louder
and louder.. "I wish you could have been deep frozen,
too" laments our intrepid space traveler for his
long, lost love, "and waiting still as fresh in
your flesh for my return to Earth!". It seems that
even more complicated relationships await us in the
After this classic Hawkwind song, Richard says they
are going to do a new composition they wrote about "this
place" called "Starfire Mountain Dreaming".
"Nice people here, nice place!" compliments
Rizz. "It's in your mind, in your heart and in
your souls. Starfire Mountain!" Steady bass, droning
guitar as the drums pound it out, high hat ringing.
"It's YOU! It's all because of you. It's for you....
you're the reason. You made it all possible. Let's all
dance for joy!"
The lights and projections became a spinning whirlpool.
A giant doomsday meteorite is tumbling through space
towards you as planets and stars go by carrying you
ever forward into the future..... into space! Eleven
minutes (or eons) later it's over as they announce it's
"Time We Left This World Today!" They proceed
to play that old favorite, following it up with a strange,
reggae tinged "Space is Deep". Rizz delivers
the lyrics in a singsong fashion as galaxies explode
in the swirling background.
Then off into "Brainstorm" and a unique "Camera
that Could Lie" where Rizz admonishes us, "Don't
let technology rule your life! You can rule your own
selves, you can rule your own minds! I hope you're all
ready to fly 'cause we're on the runway and we're waiting
for take off..... and you don't want to be left behind!
Are you ready? Let's fly, let's fly! We're all going
to fly with the Hawklords!" As the song builds
to a crescendo they advise everyone to: "Leave
technology behind. Leave it! Leave your computers! Fly
with the Hawklords!" and then back again to the
familiar chorus of "Brainstorm". As the song
ends on a high note, they express their regrets to anyone
who may have missed the flight. "Bye-bye! See you
later! Sorry for the ones who were left behind but you're
too late...... we're gone!"
Almost 75 minutes long, it seemed like only a moment!
You could hear Rizz's noisemaker humming dissonantly,
sounding wounded as they make their way off the stage.
The hard work paid off! A great show, all things considered.
Captain Brock was surely missed, of course, but with
Richard in the drivers seat the ship was able to lift
The vocals were spread thin with Jerry and Rizz singing
unfamiliar parts (and twice as much as normal) while
covering for Ron and Dave. Steve Taylor's' bass and
Steve Haye's' keyboards were both played on the safe
side with a few bright spots from each. Nothing fancy,
but solid!They filled in just fine for having to perform
on such short notice.
The crowd was chanting for more. "One more"
they plead... "just one!". Unfortunately,
there will be no more that evening. Thom the Poet explains
the sticky situation with the neighbors of the campground
who had complained to the authorities the night before.
"You as enlightened creatures of the future want
to come back next year, don't you?" asks Thom.
"These are the Strangest Days we have ever lived
in and you will be back and we hope ALL of Hawkwind
will be with you next year.... not stopped at the border!".
With that the people gave one last round of cheers and
applause and then left the stage area for a night of
The next morning everyone gets up looking a bit ragged
out. Going into the third day it's starting to show
around the edges. Drumplay (Joe Tomino: drum kit - Warren
Levert: congas - James Onysko: xylo-marimba) get the
day moving with some robust percussion. Recalling the
"ancient way" when drums were used for communication
and healing they remind us of the power of the drum
and the importance of it in the music. They are ever
changing, as they love having different musicians sit
in on gigs with them. Today they were joined by Christopher
Burge on saxophone, and Chet Santia on shakere while
Thom the Poet added his stream poetry to this improvisational
quintet as only Thom can do. I started feeling rejuvenated
and I swear I could hear the new buds popping out on
tree branches all around the park. Talk about drum magic!
It was ANOTHER beautiful, sunny day and the temperature
begins to climb again as Architectural Metaphor (Greg
Kozlowski: guitar - Paul Eggleston: keyboards - Deb
Young: drums) set up their equipment. "I don't
know about you all but I'm feeling pretty gnarly around
the edges" says drummer Deb Young.... "why
don't we go with that feeling!". That being said
they took off! Great guitar effects layered over some
very spacey keyboards with Deb's unique drumming and
vocal style added to the mix. After a rough weekend
of traveling, a rip off and more traveling they were
determined to play! The set may have been shortened
a little, but it was still very good in spite of the
bad vibes they had experienced from what happened to
them. Real SpaceRock troopers!
Next up were Born to Go (Marc Power: bass, vocals -
Mark McClemens: drums, percussion - Greg "Fingers"
Florko: guitar - Carl "Nomuzic" Howard: synths
& audio generators). Sitting in with them was Doug
"Dr. Synth" Walker, on the ARP Odyssey synth
filling in for their previously mentioned hospitalized
keyboardist Louis Boone. This band has to be one of
the fastest growing SpaceRock bands we have in the US.
Classic in their approach they lift off like the space
shuttle fusing their music with great lyrics and very
appropriate sci-fi themes such as navigating through
space, an android falling in love with a human being
which causes it's temperature control to run amok, or
the rise of the robo-sapiens who are now starting to
populate the earth.
During their cover of Hawkwind's "Orgone Accumulator"
they remind us of the story of Wilhelm Reich, inventor
of the Orgone Accumulator. With his inventions confiscated
and his published works banned by the US Government,
he was arrested and thrown into jail where he took sick
and DIED! Just another horror story that mirrors what
is happening now to people all over this country who
dare to disagree with or oppose our most benevolent
"democratic government"! Computer's are abused!!
Marc Power has a very good rapport with the audience
as he introduces the different songs. This is something
that the other bands can learn from. Many times there
are awkward silences on stage while the bands fumble
with settings or something else that needs attention.
I come from the days when bands would come out and play
a seamless set with rest for different members built
into the show so that the momentum doesn't flag. And
what's wrong with working a little solo performance
into the context of the whole set while the others take
a little breather?
It was a nice moment when Marc's young daughter Arianna
bravely joined him on stage to do back-up vocals on
the song "Radio Calvert", a musical nod to
the influence of Hawkwind's legendary front man/songwriter.
This reminds us that the Strange Daze Festival and SpaceRock
in general IS a family affair. We believe in family
and all are welcome at all events. It's becoming increasingly
rare to see one that hasn't been torn apart by the anti-family
propaganda so inherent in our decaying society.
The closing act of the festival was Nucleon (Paul Resnik:
space bass, keys, lead vocals - Rich Troha: guitar -
M.L.: drums). They are a hard working Cleveland favorite.
On the rockier side with plenty of space mixed in they
pounded out a high energy fast moving set. Paul Resnik
was busily adjusting his knobs while furiously singing
and playing a keyboard slung over his shoulder like
a guitar. Their song "Green Acid" was an apparent
crowd pleaser, getting a good reaction from the already
SpaceRock saturated crowd. As they had promised earlier...
we were destroyed! A perfect closer for a great weekend
Well, that's about it. Everyone who stayed to the end
began to pack away their last few things. After saying
farewell to friends they may not see again for another
year they began their journey home, tired but happy!
Many, many thanks to Hawkwind and all of the fine SpaceRock
Bands who participated, Steve Hayes and Steve Taylor
for coming through when needed, The Solar Fire Lightshow
(Scott Kuti, Greg Stacko, John Merk, Jim Lascko), Rob
Jacobs and his Midnite Sun Lightshow, Jan, Elizabeth
and Lisa Lascko, Jerry, Maryann and Jerry Lascko Jr.,
Brian Feather, Jim Onysko, John & Lisa Moroso, Ian
Souther, Chris & Mary Bruce, Chef Jeff and his Merry
Band, Vicky Blubaugh, Stewy, John Lascko, Jim &
Carol Collins, Thom Marianetti, Dave Hess, Evan Kelly
and Nelson Ledges Park, all who labor unknown and everyone
who came. We couldn't have done it without YOU!
A special thanks to all of our wives, families and
friends for putting up with us. Remember..... Future
Generations are Relying on Us!
Everlasting thanks to the Eternal One who sits upon
the Throne and shows us The Way to Life!
Strange Daze 1998 Review as
reported by Strider News
I had the highest expectations for this festival that
I perhaps ever had for a music event in my life. I planned
on attending for almost a year and remember talking
about wanting to go on the ride home from last years
Strange Daze. I thought about carrying around a pad
and pen writing detailed notes and thoughts while the
show was going on, etc. but as this was a three-day
festival I really wanted to relax and enjoy myself.
Laying back in the shade and just listening to the music,
that is really what this is all about. So you will not
read a blow by blow description of the proceedings.
Rather these are my recollections of Strange Daze '98.
We arrived in the late afternoon of Friday August 14th.
I was happy to see that so many people had already arrived.
After shaking some hands and dropping the last edition
of StriderNews on some of the vendor's tables, I watched
a portion of the trio Kid From Cleveland's set, I can't
say I was overly impressed, but I think with some more
practice they will be ready for Strange Daze '99! The
group is comprised of Craig Schultz, guitar, keyboard,
vocals; Curt Schultz, drums; Gary O'Brien, bass guitar.
Many SpaceRock elements are incorporated into their
sound. Though I could do without the Joe Satriani influence.
Originally, Architectural Metaphor was slated to play
next, but a change of lineup occurred, and the east
coast's Canis Minor, an offshoot of Finally Balanced,
was given Arc Met's original slot. Those of you that
remember our review of Hawkwind's performance at Coney
Island High will recall Finally Balanced was not a group
that thrilled me. At that performance I remember there
being like eight members in the group. Canis Minor is
a duo involving Thom "Sasquatch" Karshish
on Chapman Stick and Joe Silver on keyboards. For this
performance, fellow Finally Balanced member Billy "Capt.
America" Capozzi joined them on vocals and spoken
portions. I believe two other members also joined them
for this performance. I found this to be much improved
from the show I saw a year earlier. I really enjoy Sasquatch's
use of the Chapman stick. I still feel they restrain
themselves unnecessarily and I am much more satisfied
when they stretch out on improvisations. They have avery
thorough web site which includes a wealth of sound clips.
The first night's headliner was Pressurehed. I am very
much a newbie to this group. I did buy a copy of their
most recent release, Explaining the Unexplained, and
chatted with Tommy Grenas briefly. I still prefer the
group's recorded output as opposed to the live experience;
something that surprises me. Mainly this is due to the
muddied vocals. I feel it really detracts from the band's
sound, on the aforementioned Pressurehed CD the vocals
are much clearer and I have been quite pleased with
this album. Another CD I will mention comes from one
of many offshoots, Anubian Lights. This group gets me
going, no problem at all with the vocals; they are virtually
all instrumental. The newest release, Let Not The Flame
Die Out (Cleopatra) is of the same high caliber as the
two previous releases. I personally feel that Anubian
Lights has succeeded at what Hawkwind has been attempting
for most of the nineties, via their forays into a more
techno/ambient sound. For further info on Pressurehed
and Anubian Lights check 'em out the web site.
Pressurehed did however, have a fantastic light show.
I love a good light show and that was the best part
of Pressurehed's performance, and a highlight of the
entire festival. In fact, I can say this was hands down
the best light show I have ever witnessed! On top of
the stage roof a screen was set up that had a variety
of moving images projected on it. Behind the group was
another screen with more moving images. It really made
this performance for me, and I would recommend the live
performance for the light show alone. I wish that more
of the bands had access to these lights. I love the
festival atmosphere and having such a wonderful opportunity
to mingle with the performers and audience cannot be
equaled. However, I do think that the next Strange Daze
should take place indoors. Pressurehed and Hawkwind
were the only groups that performed in darkness, and
I think the other groups would have benefited greatly
from a light show. A possibility would be to have the
music continue later into the night, but there are all
those pesky curfew ordinances. An interesting indoor
event that took place last year, the Orion Space-Rock
festival was helped enormously by the light show. This
event is scheduled for October 3rd, our review appears
in this issue.
That was the end of the musical festivities for the
first night, and anticipations for Saturday were very
high. I spent some time wandering the campgrounds and
carousing with the other attendees. This again is what
these festivals are about, and my above statements concerning
indoor venues, etc. would not provide this atmosphere.
I estimate that there were almost twice as many people
present compared to last year's fest, perhaps more.
I received a transmission from coordinator Jim Lascko
stating the figures at 850 paying attendees and 150
or so band and staff members.
Saturday was a rather hot day and began for me with
the arrival of my twenty-sixth year on earth. I could
not think of a better way to spend it. The musical activities
began with Quarkspace. This is a group I have been really
absorbed in, and live this group turns up the throttle.
Quarkspace's most recent release, Live Orion, a much-welcomed
live album, is much more consistent and gets a StriderNews
stamp of approval.
I don't think readers will be surprised to hear me
say that I enjoy when a group adds less predictable
elements, and I was more then a little stunned to hear
them sample the intro of Funkadelic's "Free Your
Mind." Still I wish there were a more organic drum.
Paul Willams, a talented and skillful drummer, plays
an electronic percussion kit and utilizes a wealth of
electronic doohickeys. Mostly this provides a distinct
sound, but ultimately I would prefer to hear Paul on
a more traditional kit or at least employ a real bass
drum. I don't doubt that electronic percussion kits
will continue to make their presence felt in the upcoming
years and I am interested to find out how much customizing
Paul does on his kit. Another very important release
comes from a Quarkspace side project, National Steam.
The self-titled CD by National Steam (our review appears
in this issue) is something that I also have been enjoying
since Strange Daze. This outgrowth of Quarkspace is
composed of Paul Williams and guitarist Dave Wexler.
It is much more free-form music and less structured
compared to Quarkspace and worth investigating.
There were many groups I had high anticipations for,
but F/i was the biggest. I am frantically looking for
the bands back catalog, as everything I have heard is
surprisingly intriguing. Unfortunately this is far from
easy. A live performance from F/i is a rarity and so
I won't be moving to Milwaukee anytime soon, but I was
amazed that their set comprised a rather diverse offering
of their material. A couple tracks off last year's Helioscopium
release, the title track from their recent 7" release,
and some past nuggets. We have spent a lot space praising
this group to the heavens, and personally they are one
of my favorite American SpaceRock bands. Further info
on the group can be found at their web site.
The second group I had the highest expectations for
was ST 37. They also delivered a pounding set that surprised
me too. Anytime a group puts out a new album you would
expect to hear mainly songs from it. I believe less
than half of the set was material from the groups latest
release, Spaceage, and many of the songs were unfamiliar
to me. I recently purchased the split album Derobe (one
side is F/i co-founder Richard Franecki's Vocokesh the
other ST 37). This is a captivating release and much
different form what I expected. Sounding much more like
Vocokesh or F/i, I even thought I had put the wrong
side on at first. It contains an interesting use of
electric guitars and synths. It has caused me to start
looking at getting my hands on the earlier releases.
ST 37 performed some wonderful versions of "Heather
Catherine Tallchief" and "Concrete Island."
I think the crowd received them well too.
Next up was a late entry to the fest, Melting Euphoria.
Ii could only listen to a portion of their set as the
heat was beginning to take its toll. Even in the quarry
while swimming the sound was quite good. Also, I really
needed some time away from the music to soak in what
had already transpired. I have heard and enjoyed their
material on the King Crimson tribute and various other
Cleopatra compilations. I especially enjoy "In
Aquarian Dream" from the Space Box release.
The day was off to a magnificent start and one of my
principle tenets of SpaceRock had been met: diversity.
Quarkspace with a more subdued subtle approach, F/i
with it's industrial electronic massive experimentation,
then ST 37 utilizing a harder edged style, and then
Melting Euphoria exploring a more psych filled area.
The only reason I wasn't as eager for Alien Planetscapes
stems from my living in New York City. I have access
to this group and have heard a fair portion of the groups'
material. Having seen them perform a half-dozen times
since last years Strange Daze festival, I already know
they're gonna knock me out. I missed their New York
City show two days earlier due to my not wanting to
miss the first day of Strange Daze. I think I have expressed
my fondness for this group almost to the point of exhaustion
in our past issues but I still cannot restrain myself.
I feel that currently this is the greatest of the American
SpaceRock groups. They combine such a wide array of
styles and sounds and perform with such an admirable
musicianship that they make this assertion an understatement.
As all of the groups on the bill are underground, groups
that tend to have a tough time getting gigs, it was
a joy to hear this group stretch out longer than normal.
Extending well beyond the standard forty-five minute
set, imposed by most of the moron club owners of New
York (bastards, cast your heads down in shame). I have
said before that every version of their songs sounds
new and fresh, but producing (I believe) three new songs
shocked me. I personally feel they were the best group
that performed at this year's fest. My only complaint
is that a new CD has not been released. Hopefully by
the end of the year. Also I should mention that their
set closed with my favorite song "Gravel"
and I could've sat next to the speakers for an eternity.
I usually steer clear of picking a favorite moment
but then the following was so perfect it was obvious.
The actual greatest moment of the festival came for
me on Sunday morning. I was just waking up in the tent
and could not believe my ears. I was hearing Alien Planetscapes
play "Gravel." This had to be a dream. I did
not move for fear I would awaken from my slumber before
the end of the song. It closed and then I heard Dr.
Synth thanking the audience. It was a tape of the previous
day's performance. This is undoubtedly how all my days
Now in its second year, this event again exceeded my
expectations, I have tried not to compare the two festivals
as they had a much different feeling and I don't really
think that trying to figure out which event was better
really matters. First though, I must address the Hawkwind
issue. Original member Dave Brock and bassist and vocalist
Ron Tree were not admitted into the country. I do not
feel the need to go into lengthy explanations as to
why this occurred, as I personally feel many questions
remain unanswered, and ultimately there is really no
one to blame. Suffice it to say that if Hawkwind were
not the underground band it is and had a major label
supporting them there would be no problem getting into
the country and performing for their fans. I do think
that in the aftermath some people have expressed a justified
sadness that the event's headliner was not truly present.
I really don't have any suggestions, and just wish that
there were more the fans could do to help. I personally
feel Hawkwind would have an easier time of these things
if they exploited the die-hard fans. That's right! We
want to be exploited! Offer us merchandise we will buy
it, sell inexpensive tapes of past concerts and videos
we will buy it, tell us what needs to be done to get
you guys in the country and we will do it. I do not
want to even think about the possibility that Hawkwind
will not perform in this county ever again. At last
year's festival the greatest and most inspiring moment
for me was Nik Turner telling the crowd that "We
all are Hawkwind and that he is a big fan too."
So for the first tme in I believe seven years, Hawkwind
played without Dave Brock. Two members of a Hawkwind
cover group, Sun Machine with Steve Taylor on bass and
Steve Hayes on keyboards, were added to the lineup.
Jerry Richards and Captain Rizz would basically be the
group's frontmen and from behind one of rock music's
larger drum kits Hawk veteran Richard Chadwick led the
group through the set. While I will say this was not
up to the caliber of other Hawkwind performances, I
have heard and seen, it very much retained the feeling
of Hawkwind. For me the highlight of the set was theversion
of "Spirit of the Age." This song was a big
unexpected surprise and being a personal favorite, I
was smiling ear to ear.
In the past performances I have heard, Hawkwind presented
a well thought-out, well-rehearsed detailed set. Obviously
this could not be accomplished, and I understand that
the set was put together only several hours before the
show. In hindsight I really wish some of the festival's
other players had hopped up on stage or rather been
approached with a possible jam concept. This would have
been a great solution to the problem of not being able
to plan out a real formulated set. Furthermore, when
was the last time this many musicians were assembled
and so well versed with Hawkwind material. Just speculating
at combo possibilities for a super jam makes me salivate.
Nonetheless, Jerry Richards really exhibited some formidable
musicianship. Captain Rizz is still not my favorite
Hawkwind member but he certainly does not lack enthusiasm
or an energy level in his performance. Ultimately the
most disappointing thing about Hawkwind set was that
it did not last longer, an unavoidable problem due to
the imposed 11pm curfew. I mean no offense by this statement
but Hawkwind is much bigger than any one musician. It
is bigger than any specific band lineup. It is as large
as we make it!
This was a wonderful day of music that surpassed my
high expectations. Seeing how much these groups have
improved over a year was a delight. Most of the people
that I spoke with who had attended solely for Hawkwind's
set expressed virtually no disappointment. Many people
were emphatic about being amazed by the variety of the
groups, and that is what this festival is about.
Sunday began with my above-mentioned favorite moment
of the fest. Also, Sunday contained the biggest surprise
group in Drumplay. In the past I have found that three
to five hours is about the most I can consume of live
music in one sitting. Wandering down to the stage early
on Sunday after hearing a portion of the set from the
quarry I was more than somewhat intrigued. The only
group that did not have an electric guitar player and
also featured a horn player, they were definitely the
most different from any of the other groups. Rounding
out the group was a conga player, a drummer on a kit,
a vibe and marimba player, and a bassist. Chet Santia
of Quarkspace played on a portion of the group's set
and even Master of Ceremonies Thom "The World Poet"
got into the act. The audience in front of the stage
was rather small but received the group with sheer delight.
Architectural Metaphor was up next, but as the heat
had fully taken its toll on me I retreated to a shady
environment and heard very little of the set. I was
also watchful of BØRN to GØ warming up.
The group's synth player Louis Boone had not been able
to attend due to ailment. Thankfully I can report he
is in much better shape and performed with them at the
Orion Space-Rock gig. BØRN to GØ took
the stage and more than flattered me with a birthday
My favorite thing about BØRN to GØ; had
to be the opportunity to witness No Muzic a.k.a. Carl
Howard, perform with Doug Walker. I have already expressed
a fondness for this duo's recording, The Greenhouse
Effect, but to hear them play in a much more solid rock
based format was a thrill, and Carl Howard was certainly
one of the more animated performers at Strange Daze.
Last year one of the more memorable and charming moments
of the festival occurred with Marc Power bringing daughter
Arianna on stage for a rendition of their ode to Calvert
opus "Radio Calvert." I feel that BØRN
to GØ posses the most thoughtful and caring attitude
toward the crowd of any of the groups. Indulging in
several Hawkwind covers, something they have mainly
dropped from their set, to satisfy the appetites of
the crowd, was a very nice gesture. Though I maintain
that no band should ever cover a song of the headlining
act, it did seem rather appropriate. Check out the web
site and be sure to inquire about the free video Robots
On The Rise.
The heat did not effect me much on the first day and
I didn't really feel it on Saturday either, however
by Sunday I felt a need for constant shade and wondered
if I should have purchased a mobile air conditioner.
The last band of the festival was Nucleon. I really
wanted to hear their set but even if I had stayed I
was beyond the point of consumption. I understand that
most people had left by this point, but the ones that
remained have expressed a real enjoyment of the group's
set. Some even saying that they were their favorite.
I obtained a video of Nucleon's set and will engage
in some armchair remarks. Taking the stage and stating
"We are Nucleon. You will be destroyed," the
group casts forth a hard rock sound that is analogous
to none of the other Strange Daze performers. When I
say heavy I mean it. The group that first sprang to
mind was Metallica. This is first heard via the lead
vocals, but is more apparent in the intriguing rhythms
the group develops. Perhaps a lysergic Metallica will
Paul Resnick leads Nucleon manning a strap-on keyboard
and delivers the vocals along with some added synths.
Completing the power trio of American SpaceRock are
impressive guitar lacerations and some trebuchet drumming
talents. Nucleon, should prove most acceptable to any
that enjoy a dose of metal. I have high hopes and expectations
for an upcoming release. This group was fantastic live
and I think the recording studio will be to their liking
as well, especially if Resnick uses some multi-tracking
so concentration can be focused on one instrument at
So without a doubt, a splendid time was had, and all
prospects were exceeded. Which is not an easy thing,
as I expected theworld and instead got the universe.
I am fairly positive this event will continue next year,
and you all should consider attending. My hope is this
event will occur two or three times a year, possibly
in different cities or maybe several bands doing mini
tours together. I think all the groups really showed
an awareness and professional demeanor. I am very interested
to see how many people were turned on to new groups.
The community is growing, and hopefully SpaceRock will
continue to gain acceptance and recognition. I wish
to express our ardent love and devotion to Strange Trips
and the Lascko family for making such a wonderful event