Nik Turner, who helped start the British space-rock band Hawkwind and played a lot of different instruments, has died. A representative for the musician wrote on Facebook earlier today (November 11) that he had died and that memorial plans were still being made.
The statement said, “We are deeply saddened to tell you that Nik Turner—The Mighty Thunder Rider—passed away peacefully at home on Thursday evening.” He was 82 years old. His family, friends, and fans helped him move on to the next part of his cosmic journey.
Nicholas Robert Turner was born in Oxford, England, on August 26, 1940. When Nik was 13, his family moved to the town of Margate, Kent. This is where he first heard rock music. After a short time in the Merchant Navy, he left to see Europe, where he worked odd jobs to pay for his love of music.
Turner learned to play the saxophone when he was in his early twenties, but he didn’t think about playing free jazz until he was on a trip to Berlin. He told Mojo in 1999, “These free jazz musicians showed me that you didn’t have to be technical to express yourself.” “I decided that I wanted to be in a rock band and play free jazz. What I tried to do with Hawkwind, in a nutshell.”
Turner was an old friend of Dave Brock. Soon after Brock formed Hawkwind with Mick Slattery, John Harrison, and Terry Ollis, Turner offered to work as a roadie for the band, which he eventually did. Turner’s skills as a flutist and saxophonist got him more and more involved with the band. He co-wrote songs like “Brainstorm” and “Master of the Universe” with the band.
He was kicked out of the band in 1976, but he came back in 1982 and stayed for two years before leaving again. During his time with Hawkwind, he worked with Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, who joined the band in 1971 and left in 1975 to start Motorhead.
Turner went to Egypt after he first left the group. There, he was inspired to record flute music inside the Pyramids. The recordings became the basis for Sphynx, a new project featuring Alan Powell, Mike Howlett, Tim Blake, and Harry Williamson.
In 1978, the group’s first album, Xitintoday, came out. Turner also made music such as Inner City Unit, Nik Turner’s Fantastic All Stars, and Space Ritual. Space Ritual’s second studio album, Otherworld, came out in 2007.
In 2013, he told the Quietus, “I don’t take any of this too seriously. To me, it’s just fun.” “But, really, entertainment with a point. To do things like spread happiness and love. I mean, I worry about being too overtly hippy, but peace and love are not fashionable sentiments in some quarters and I think they should be.”
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