Nik Turner Obituary, Death – Nicholas Robert “Nik” Turner, a former Hawkwind member, was born on August 26, 1940, and died on November 11, 2022. Turner sings, saxophones, flutes, and composes. Turner was noted for his bizarre stage presence and experimental free jazz with Hawkwind. He often wore Ancient Egyptian-style cosmetics and clothing. Despite his father’s munitions manufacturing job, Turner was born in Oxford to a theatrical family in August 1940. His family moved to Margate, a seaside town in Kent when he was 13. He worked at the community funfair during summer vacation and made friends with Robert Calvert, another seasonal worker.
His early influences were rock & roll and James Dean movies. After finishing engineering, he joined the Merchant Navy for one voyage. He then worked odd jobs while traveling Europe and met Dave Brock in Haarlem, the Netherlands, in 1967 while working as a roustabout in a musical circus. He took clarinet and saxophone lessons for two years in the 1960s but never thought he was good enough. While traveling Europe, he met some Berlin free jazz players who taught him that expression is more important than technique.
Turner decided he “wanted to do was perform free jazz in a rock band” and offered to work as a roadie for Hawkwind because he owned a van. After learning about his passion for the saxophone and how it would fit their unusual sound, he was invited to join. “We’re more concerned in the music’s overall vibe than in its component pieces. I don’t deceive myself into believing I’m technical,” Turner said of his performance. He recruited Dik Mik, Calvert, and Barney Bubbles as vocal and active members.
He also got the group interested in humanitarian and community work, often to the displeasure of the others. On October 21, 2000, the Brixton Academy hosted a “Hawkestra” concert featuring nearly all Hawkwind alumni. Turner hosted “The Greasy Truckers Party starring members of the Hawkestra” at the London Astoria on October 21, 2001, which led to the formation of xhawkwind.com, a loose group that played more shows. Brock was so furious that he sued Turner to prevent him from utilizing Hawkwind after a 2002 Guilfest misunderstanding. Turner lost the case.
Space Ritual is still going strong after choosing it. In 2003, Nik unexpectedly joined the Goldmaster Allstars and Jamaican singer Alton Ellis at the inaugural Reggae Festival of Wales. Nik Turner (ex-Hawkwind) performed at Rebels Honky Tonk bar at the 2013 SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, playing Space Ritual songs. The Soft Moon performed at Hotel Vegas the night before. Nik played sax and narrated Brainstorm on the new Warfare album.
Damo Suzuki and his all-star Sound Carriers, including New Order drummer Stephen Morris and Euros Childs, performed at the Fountain Inn during the 2019 Laugharne Weekend. After their set, Nik Turner joined. “It is with great sadness that we inform you of Nik Turner’s passing. The Mighty Thunder Rider passed away peacefully on Thursday night at home. Thanks to the support of his loved ones, friends, and followers, he has advanced to the next stage of his cosmic journey. Keep an eye on this space for his plans,” Hawkwind Fans Worldwide wrote on Facebook.