Don't quaestion everything…


Indiecator – Jun 1993


There is a famous saying which says 'Tourists go abroad with preconceived ideas of the country they are about to visit and come back disappointed, whilst travellers go with none and come back with a wealth of experience'.

'That's exactly the same with music' says Levitation bassist Laurence, the youngest looking rock star I've ever come across.

'Preconceptions are a bad idea. If you listen to a song with preconceived ideas about it, you're going to come away at least a little disappointed'.

Levitation. What does the name mean to you? To me it smacks of Hawkwind, Levitation being the title of one of their most triumphant albums. However, in actual fact Levitation are not a hippy/acid/space rock band. My preconceived ideas of the group were shattered this morning. The only members who look remotely like hippies are keyboard tinkler Bob and drummer Dave, although long hair and dreads are hardly tantamount to hippydom. Most people would run a mile rather than be associated with Hawkwind, so why the fuck do they call themselves Levitation?

'It was a kind of 13th Floor Elevators thing,' explains Terry Bickers. 'The idea of just doing it, and it doesn't matter if we go out on a limb'.

'We also didn't want a name with one syllable in it' cuts in Laurence.

'Yeah, we took that into deep consideration,' continues Terry. 'I guess there's a feeling of that tingle up the spine, that elevation you get from the music that you love that can really reach you, that in some ways can be really uplifting. We're in the business of moving air'.

'We're also in the business of consuming vast quantities of pot' Robert helpfully informs me.

'We also felt sorry for the letter 'L'. There aren't that many bands that begin with 'L', but 'Lunch' didn't work very well'.

'We have actually played with Hawkwind though' pipes up Laurence. 'It was at one of those 12 hour things. The casualty count was huge! Everyone was lying on the floor, it was like a battlefield'.

'It is interesting these days how it seems like modern day society, with all its ills, needs some kind of scapegoat' continues Terry. 'Travellers and festivals are being classed as the enemy within now. That's quite scary People are being singled out for their beliefs. It's like a latter-day witch hunt. It's got to be challenged head on.

'I think it's a spiritual power though, that's what they're actually afraid of, the spiritual will. The people who are involved in it are actually so directed. It's the opposite of that capital ideal that he who dies with the most toys wins. It goes against everything that we're brought up to believe. You know, you must buy this and buy that and acquire a car and a house and get married. It unsettles what they consider the right way to live'.

Sitting in the pub, the conversation quickly deteriorates into 'Do you remember?' territory. Once this nostalgia has been sweated out, I discover that some members of Levitation are secret Venom fans (we won't say who!) and they even listen to a bit of Slayer! Needless to say, this isn't a normal band. I was very surprised to find that they are not a bunch of crusties nor rock stars. Just a bunch of normal blokes in a band. There are a couple of them at the bar, more at the table next to me and you could be forgiven for considering them to be some lads who just dropped in for a drink. You just never know what to expect, and this is true of levitation in many ways. It's not 'hippy shit', nor are they an acid band, but even their records cannot prepare you for the force they become when they play live. I like that quality. Being able to surprise people nowadays is becoming harder and harder. Levitation deal with this in their own way, preferring to remove you preconceptions than to be more outrageous than those before them. Check 'em out, maybe you'll be surprised too.

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