I haven't the foggiest clue if it's cool to be into Hawkwind right now, or if it ever was or wasn't, but I can say with a certain sense of conclusiveness that ten years ago, while working in a record store I spotted my first Hawkwind album cover and I decided then and there it was dumb and didn't think twice about it.
A couple years later I found myself in the back of the Someday I tour van with the band and a few guys from Shiner. Hawkwind was mentioned as being awesome, I was confused, agreed with them and didn't speak of it again.
Now, in 2010, after owning Hall of the Mountain Grill (which I bought promptly after my heroes recommended it and immediately forgot about) for a few years I've finally decided to listen to it.
Boy do I feel like a raging jackass because this album is, without fail, incredible.
Released in 1974 Hall of the Mountain Grill caters its sound best to fans of Marvel Comics, camp futurism and pulp science-fiction, which is what makes it as marvelous as it is. Dorky and fodder for a few beatings, Hawkwind is counterculture and outlaw loner music wrapped in a hard rocking and electronic pillow of sound. Listening to it now it seems tame, but the keyboards, when utilized well, cut through the crunchy power chords to reveal a band truly interested in some type of crazy astronomical mysticism nearly non-existent in this day in age.
I don't know if it's this mysticism that turned me off originally or if it was the campy album covers. It's not that I have anything against celestial mathematics or anything, but ten years ago, I wasn't able to wrap my mind around being into something without it being a part of me. I couldn't appreciate this. Hell, you could have thrown me Bruce Haack's excellent Electric Lucifer, and I would have said the same thing - creepy mysticism.
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Now? Absolutely amazing.
What's changed in my belief and understanding of the universe? Not much really, except the fact I'm totally all right with songs called "Psychedelic Warlords" now. I'm not going to lie and say that I don't feel stupid for not liking Hawkwind sooner.
But that's the purpose of this deferred hat-tip. It's recognition to albums that slipped through the cracks while I was actively hunting down new music. It's a hope that perhaps someone else will give the band with the derelict spaceship on its album cover a reasonable chance, because albums like Hall of the Mountain Grill are well worth more than a casual listen.