Hawkwind alumnus Alan Davey isn’t the first artist who comes to mind when you think of covering a Post Malone song. But when he heard “Circles” (which just topped the Billboard Hot 100), the veteran prog rocker immediately thought he could do something with it — an instrumental version for his collective Hawkestrel, with guests Todd Rundgren on guitar and L. Shankar (Peter Gabriel, Frank Zappa, Shakti) on violin, whose sci-fi themed video is premiering exclusively below.
“When I heard (‘Circles’) it reminded me of a piece of music I wrote in ’85 called ‘Cosmic Doll’ — before Post Malone was even born, which made me feel old,” Davey tells Billboard with a laugh. “I started playing it in the house and started to hear, ‘Oh, I can do this with it and that with it….’ Before I knew it I was recording it; Three hours goes by and all of a sudden you’ve written this piece of music for no reason. Then I approached Cleopatra (Records) with it and they were like, ‘Wow, this sounds like Post Malone meets (Hawkwind’s 1975 album) Warrior on the Edge of Time!’ — which is kind of relevant because I’m making music with all these old Hawkwind members. Everything goes around in circles, I guess.”
Rundgren was Davey’s first choice to play guitar on the track, and while he originally planned to put vocals on the track, too, the video plan led him to decide that “an instrumental would be better” and save the vocal version for a subsequent release. The clip was directed and edited by Jared Cohn, using footage from his 2017 modern day thriller King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
“I think Cleopatra had some contact with the director, and what he did seemed to fit (the song) really well, so I said, ‘Sure, let’s go for it,'” says Davey, who doesn’t know if Malone has heard his version of “Circles” or not. “But I’d be interested to hear what he thinks about it, I really would,” Davey says.
“Circles” provides something of a bridge between projects for Davey and his Hawkestrel. The group’s first album, The Future Is Us, came out during August featuring contributions from nine former Hawkwind members — including the late Lemmy Kilmister and Ginger Baker — and William Shatner on the spoken-word “Sonic Attack.” Davey is also “about 70 percent done with a sophomore album for 2020, which will again feature Baker as well as Carmine Appice, Rolling Stones alumnus Mick Taylor, Arthur Brown and Shatner on the Hawkwind classic “Silver Machine.”
“This whole concept of playing with the old Hawkwind members, or their tracks, is really taking off,” Davey says. “I’m really enjoying it. It’s a real challenge to envision something and then make it work; You’ve got to hear it in your head first and then sort of pull it all together. But it’s going great.”