How we met: Matthew Wright & Dave Brock - 'They had their honeymoon at our festival; Matt and his wife stayed in a tepee'

 

Matthew Wright, 48

After working as a tabloid entertainment reporter and gossip columnist, Wright (left in picture) has hosted Channel Five chat-show 'The Wright Stuff' since 2000. He has also presented a number of radio shows on LBC and Radio 2. He lives in London with his wife

I got into Hawkwind in the 1970s, after a schoolfriend played me [their compilation album] Masters of the Universe. After that, I'd turn up to any London gig they were doing, and I went to three of their festivals at Stonehenge; they were counterculture revolutionaries, heroes – and I still think of Dave that way.

In 2001, LBC radio gave me a Saturday-morning radio show, a sort of "Matt meets old-school musical heroes". So I asked Dave to come on the show, to review various Hawkwind records with me. He and his now wife, Kris, came in early, before the show went live, and it was my first opportunity to actually meet the king of psychedelic rock. He arrived smelling strongly of marijuana, and I was impressed; I thought, this man still rocks! We played excerpts from his songs and I sang along and David was impressed. He said, "You know the words better than me; do you want to come on stage and sing with us at our next gig?" I thought maybe he'd blown a fuse.

A few weeks later, I was at the Astoria on Tottenham Court Road in front of 2,000 people, singing "Spirit of the Age". My singing voice is barely adequate, so it was the scariest moment of my career, but I got into it and felt like a rock star. At the after-party he discovered I was obsessed with British counterculture, the Stonehenge thing, and we connected.

I stay over at his farm in Devon three to four times a year and we also do the Levellers' festival together, where we camp together, talking about those days of sticking it to the man and his run-ins with the law.

We're quite different people, though. Dave is a hard man. Even at his age you'd be foolish to pick a fight with him; he runs a small farm, he's still chopping wood, and in his mid-seventies he has a far more impressive body than I have, as he never fails to remind me!

The saddest moment of our friendship was the death of Jason [Stuart], Hawkwind's keyboard player [from a brain haemorrhage, in 2008]. More than 1,000 people turned out for the funeral, and it was all very close to the bone for Dave. I remember standing next to him, this hard man trying to suppress tears.

I've been on tour with Dave and I have to say [being on the road] is challenging; I wouldn't want to swap places. There's a Spinal Tap bizarreness being with a band like Hawkwind. I remember hanging out in a hotel during one alcohol-sodden evening with the whole band, their wives, girlfriends and roadies; to say they don't look conventional is an understatement: you've got band members wearing black leather and metal piercings , another looking like an old-school traveller. It was madness, with people drinking, smoking funny cigarettes, singing, others in tears and it's Dave, who looks like a complete stoner, who is always in the middle of it all.

Dave Brock, 74

A founder member of space-rockers Hawkwind, the electric guitarist and songwriter is the only original member of the group still with the band. He lives on a farm in Devon with his wife

I met Matt after I was invited to come on his LBC show. I went to the studio and his first words were, "I'm a Hawkwind fan!" Now, lots of people say it, so I said, "I'm sure you are." And he said, "I really am, I was at Stonehenge in 1984." And I replied, "Well, in that case you must know the words to 'Spirit of the Age'" –and he did, and he recited it in full. That was it for me; I liked him.

I invited him to perform with us at a gig in the Astoria. On the day I noticed he was quite nervous. The performance itself was OK, though [fortunately] "Spirit of the Age" is like a rap – you don't sing it.

Matt is an admirer of Bob Calvert, our vocalist and poet in the band, and he has since told me he bases lot of the ideas for the poetry he writes on Calvert.

I'm much more cynical than he is. In this business you need to be streetwise, what with all the nonsense in the music industry, and it's made me quite suspicious over the years. Matthew is a lot more easy-going than me.

We love having great political conversations about how the world should be run; he's very knowledgeable and smart, though our discussions can descend into arguments. I do watch The Wright Stuff sometimes; he's sharp and connects well with people and I tell you, when he's not there and it's a stand-in, you notice the difference.

Music is what connects us most: we've been to a number of festivals together – in fact, I got married to my wife at our own [Hawkfest] festival, with Matthew up there on stage with us, taking questions from the audience and doing his Wright Stuff thing. Both of us went to Matt's wedding, too: I loved how at the reception each table was named after a different festival; we were on the top table and it was called Hawkfest, which was great. Their honeymoon was at our festival, too; Matt and Amelia stayed in a tepee.

Like any friends, we've shared good times and bad. Matthew was very close with our Jason [Stuart], so after he died, he came to the funeral, which meant a lot; we all miss him greatly now. Last summer, I was given a lifetime achievement award, which Matt came on stage to present. But instead of just presenting it, he had this whole speech prepared; he covered lot of things I've done and been involved in, then when my time came to respond, I couldn't say much: that was a jolly nice moment. Matt tells people I had tears in my eyes, but that's nonsense; I don't cry.

The Hawkeaster festival, in Seaton, Devon, runs from 19 to 20 April (hawkwind.com)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert