It’s time to play the music It’s time to light the lights
It’s time to reveal the story list for
After an exhaustive search, here is the final list of the 19 short stories that will be included in Rayguns Over Texas. All but two of them are originals. The completed book will also include a history of Texas science fiction and a guide to Texas sf writers.
“Pet Rock” by Sanford Allen
“Defenders of Beeman County” by Aaron Allston
“TimeOut” by Neal Barret, Jr.
“Babylon Moon” by Matthew Bey
“Sovereign Wealth” by Chris N. Brown
“La Bamba Boulevard” by Bradley Denton
“The Atmosphere Man” by Nicky Drayden
“Operators Are Standing By” by Rhonda Eudaly
“Take a Left at the Cretaceous” by Mark Finn
“Grey Goo and You” by Derek Austin Johnson
“Rex” by Joe R. Lansdale
“Texas Died for Somebody’s Sins But Not Mine” by Stina Leicht
“Jump the Black” by Marshall Ryan Maresca
“An Afternoon’s Nap, or; Five Hundred Years Ahead” by Aurelia Hadley Mohl
“The Nostalgia Differential” by Michael Moorcock
“Novel Properties of Certain Complex Alkaloids” by Lawrence Person
“The Chambered Eye” by Jessica Reisman
“Avoiding the Cold War” by Josh Rountree
“The Art of Absence” by Don Webb
Rayguns Over Texas, an anthology of original science fiction by TX authors, is scheduled for release at LoneStarCon 3 (aka the 2013 Science Fiction Worldcon in San Antonio, TX).
The Winds of Limbo Roar:
The Musical Career of Michael Moorcock
THERE SEEMS TO be quite literally nothing that Michael Moorcock cannot write. He has produced novels, non-fiction, comics, screenplays and music. Yes even music. Go back and watch Heavy Metal. The Blue Oyster Cult song that’s blaring while the steam shovel removes the orb from the ground is a Moorcock-penned song. “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” is perhaps my favorite Blue Oyster Cult song. Maybe the lyrics struck a chord in this pubescent mind.
You see me now, a veteran
Of a thousand psychic wars
I’ve been living on the edge so long
Where the winds of limbo roar
And I’m young enough to look at
And far too old to see
All the scars are on the inside
And I’m not sure if there is anything
left of me…
The road to rock ‘n roll started for Michael Moorcock at the tender age of fourteen when he bought his first drum kit. The drums gave way to the banjo and then guitar. Moorcock got his first guitar at fifteen. He traded a huge collection of nearly priceless lead soldiers for them. Although the swap is one that Moorcock still regrets, that guitar lead him on the path to music.
In the mid-1950s the music scene divided between two major UK cities. Liverpool preferred Elvis-type rock and roll while London favored black R&B and blues. Out of Liverpool would come the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and a host of others. From London would come the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and later Hendrix and The Who. At Soho’s Gyre and Gimble in the fifties Moorcock could play beside Charlie Watts who in turn might be drumming for early cockney-rocker Tommy Steele, while Mick Jagger might dream one day to be as successful as Long John Baldry whose boogy-woogy piano player was Reg Dwight (now Sir Elton John). MM claims that Senator Joe McCarthy and his witch-hunting Committee were responsible for the rise of Britrock. In the fifties Joe drove so many good US musicians to England that the British folk and rock explosions were inevitable – “it was a magic creative mix,” says Moorcock. Black musicians got an admiring welcome in England. Moorcock corresponded regularly with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. He knew Alan Lomax, whose father had recorded Leadbelly. He learned licks direct from “Rambling” Jack Elliott who in turn had learned them from Guthrie, watched Muddy Waters and Memphis Slim and a dozen other blues masters and sometimes was allowed to play along. He knew Alexis Korner, Graham Bond and many of the other famous seminal figures on the UK rock scene. Moorcock sat in with the Vipers, who would become Jet Harris and the Shadows, and rubbed shoulders with early legendary rockers like Wee Willie Harris. He hung out with Peter Green, later of Fleetwood Mac and knew people who’d played with Big Mamma Thornton. As Moorcock says, in those days unless you showed some minor proficiency on an instrument and could sing a few verses of a twelve-bar blues you felt under-educated.
In 1956 the sixteen-year-old Moorcock played his first gig in Bromley, Kent, as part of a band called The Greenhorns. Though presenting themselves as a country band complete with jackets, grey stetsons and string ties, they played an assortment of blues and Woody Guthrie “protest” songs. This didn’t go over well with audiences expecting country music. During this time Moorcock first performed one of his own compositions. “Ache in My Toe Rock,” is, Moorcock admits, an awful song, recorded as a demo in 1957 at EMI. It never made it past the acetate stage.
For the next few years Moorcock performed mostly as a solo blues act in clubs and coffee bars. He also began to write about the music he liked, producing fanzines like The Rambler. By the late fifties, when US paperbacks could not be imported into England, he’d go to Paris to find the American fiction he liked. Here, too, he met writers like Ginsberg and Kerouac and others associated with the infamous Olympia Press. The little cabarets of Montmartre were happy to employ him, giving him the money he needed to buy his books and return to London.
In the early sixties Moorcock traveled through Scandinavia and Northern Europe earning money from his music. In Liverpool, on a visit to his good friend Bill Harry, another keen fanzine producer, Moorcock vigorously resisted Harry’s entreaties that they go around the corner to the Cavern to hear some of his friends play. Moorcock hadn’t thought much of Bill’s earlier enthusiasms and refused to budge from the pub. The band, of course, was The Beatles.
The Flamingo in London was then the core of organ-based R&B, with regulars including Georgie Fame, Alan Price, the Brian Auger Trinity and other influential bands whose members would make up the supergroups of the seventies. Moorcock was a regular attendee. The musician he most admired was the legendary Zoot Money who’d “appear” in Moorcock’s 1967 Jerry Cornelius novel The Final Programme.
By now Moorcock’s literary reputation was growing and he had a young family to support. After rehearsing a new band for a couple of months, he decided to give up music for the more certain income now deriving from his fiction. For the 1965 World SF Convention in London, he made a novelty album with some of the New Worlds editorial team — Suddenly It’s The Bellyflops! — but Moorcock wasn’t satisfied with it and it was never released.
Moorcock’s music career took the back burner until 1970 when he’d encounter Hawkwind and begin a relationship which would span twenty years.
Hawkwind for lack of a better term is a space rock band. They’re an interesting mix of heavy metal, acid rock, poetry, urban angst, experiment and just general strangeness.
By the early sixties Moorcock had settled in London’s Ladbroke Grove, epicenter of the sixties international cultural earthquake. He and the radically vital New Worlds crew fit right in. Moorcock bought his groceries from Annie Lennox, was chased down Portobello Road by Marc (T.Rex) Bolan and was a near neighbor of Jimi Hendrix. Out of this world came his own skeptical gun-toting, guitar-wielding anti-hero, Jerry Cornelius.
It was inevitable that Moorcock should meet Hawkwind, still considered by many to be the quintessential ‘underground’ band. He got together with them at the insistence of Jon Trux and Robert Calvert, then writing for Frendz, a UK Rolling Stone spinoff. Moorcock would eventually write a Hawkwind comic for one issue of the magazine. The band had named themselves, they said, after Moorcock’s character Hawkmoon. Good feelings were mutual. Soon Moorcock was producing lyrics for the band.
The first Moorcock song Hawkwind performed was “Sonic Attack.” Robert Calvert had become the band’s resident poet. In Summer 197l he committed himself for psychiatric care. The band needed material and someone to perform it. Dave Brock, Hawkwind’s main man, approached Moorcock. So at a free concert, where Moorcock had already appeared with the likes of Arthur Brown and Paul Kossoff, he gave the first performance of his most famous number.
The 1972 Hawkwind album Doremi Fasol Latido clearly owed a lot to Moorcock’s Black Corridor as did the subsequent tour, when Calvert read a long extract from the book. It was released as a live double album in 1973 as Space Ritual.
Soon Moorcock was a frequent performer at Hawkwind concerts. Inevitably he returned to the recording studio for the second associated album. Based on his Eternal Champion book Warrior on the Edge of Time (1975) contained three Moorcock spoken pieces, two of which he performed himself.
1975 was a busy musical year for Moorcock. He provided banjo and backing vocals for the Calvert/Brian Eno Lucky Leif and the Longships, appeared with Hawkwind and released his own near classic album The New Worlds Fair.
New Worlds Fair featured Moorcock’s band Deep Fix, including musicians Snowy White, Kumo, Pete Pavli and Simon House, who had appeared with the likes of Pink Floyd and David Bowie. Ambitious in scope, it centers on a huge fairground operating as though everything’s normal while outside the entire world falls apart. A fascinating, well-executed concept. Until its re-release on Griffin (US) and Castle (UK) it was hard to find in good condition. The new version includes recently discovered demos and deletions. Fresh from the artistic success of NWF, Moorcock jumped into a new musical project, The Entropy Tango. Originally planned for release in 1977, it was supposed to tie in with a new Jerry Cornelius novel to be lavishly illustrated by French artist Romain Slocombe. Production problems followed and eventually Moorcock abandoned the idea, publishing the black and white illustrated book on its own in 1981. A bootleg with some of the demos was given away with Moorcock’s permission at a Dragoncon, Atlanta, 1990 where Moorcock also performed with Eric Bloom, who had originally approached him in 1977 to write for Blue Oyster Cult, subsequently recording “The Great Sun Jester”, “Veteran” and “Black Blade”, an Elric song.
In the late seventies Moorcock began work on Gloriana, based on his novel of the same name. The BBC was interested but the music project became too time-consuming and Moorcock abandoned it. He thinks that music remains some of his and Pete Pavli’s best.
Moorcock had friends amongst the pre-punk bands and was a welcome guest at early punk gigs at the Marquis. He also made friends with Goth bands like The Damned. In 1980 Virgin asked him to write the tie-in for the Sex Pistols movie Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, which was given away as a newspaper at gigs. Moorcock subsequently made a documentary on “new” punk for UK TV, featuring Siouxsie Sue and others. A music project, based on his novel The Brothel in Rosenstrasse, was abandoned in 1981. Parts of the album were later released in 1982 and 1992 and appear on various Hawkwind associated releases. Somewhere in 1981, at Dave Edmunds’ Rockfield studio, Moorcock also found time to record the songs Coded Messages and Running Through The Back Brain which appeared on their 1983 album Zones. He also played 12-string Rickenbacker on Robert Calvert’s1981 album Hype and worked on the Hawkwind album Sonic Attack.
Through the early eighties Moorcock was a frequent performer at Hawkwind gigs. The culmination of their alliance came in 1985 with the release of The Chronicle of the Black Sword. The entire album was the Elric story and included lights, graphics, mime and dance, as well as the songs. Moorcock appeared on the tour as often as he could. This album, together with the double album Live Chronicles and the video which features Moorcock, are probably the most interesting to Elric fans.
To date that’s the last Moorcock musical work. There are several Hawkwind albums with Moorcock contributions, but after his relocation to the States in the mid-nineties he has played only one live show. That was with Nik Turner in Austin, TX in 1995. His performance can be found on the live album Past or Future.
I’m sure that like all Moorcock’s endeavors and interests this is not the final chapter of his musical career. Already he’s talking of entirely re-recording New Worlds Fair. He’ll wake up one day soon and feel the bug. He’ll write a lyric, perform a gig, sing a song. Music is in his blood and soul. Maybe Moorcock’s musical career is like the Veteran of the Psychic Wars? He’s waiting for the winds of limbo to roar again!
(For more information on Michael Moorcock’s music check out Dude’s Dream by Brian Tawn, Hawkfan Publication, 1997. Without Tawn’s informative book this article would have been impossible.)