INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Mojo JUNE 2007 - by Ian Harrison
ROBERT CALVERT: CAPTAIN LOCKHEED AND THE STARFIGHTERS
1974's tragi-comic concept, with three extra cuts.
Ultra-vivid action poet Robert Calvert was forever gripped by mania, as this rock opera with jokes demonstrates. Recorded while he was an on-off member of Hawkwind, it tells of the West German air force's catastrophic dalliance with the US-built Lockeed F-104 Starfighter - nearly a third of their nine hundred and sixteen craft would crash. Made with musical and actorly contributions from Vivian Stanshall, Brian Eno, Lemmy and all of Hawkwind, it combines urgent space rock grind (see Aerospace Age Inferno and The Right Stuff) with spoken word tracks that touch nuttily on sacrifice, heroism and fate, with the Red Baron, Icarus, discreet military transvestitism and more thrown in. Despite the goose-steeping German accents, the closing Catch A Falling Starfighter's resurrected choir of dead pilots underlines how grievous this tale really is.
Calvert died of a heart attack in 1988, aged forty-three, but like much of what he left behind, this pulses with unbound imagination.