Hawkwind founder and guitarist Mick Slattery dies aged 77

Mick Slattery performing with Space Ritual in 2009
(Image credit: HarryofC / YouTube)

Hawkwind’s founding guitarist Mick Slattery has passed away “peacefully at home,” aged 77.

Slattery co-founded the UK space-rock outfit alongside Dave Brock in 1969 after the breakup of their previous group, The Famous Cure. Brock has led the band ever since, but Slattery left before they recorded their debut album.

Brock announced Slattery’s death with a post on the band’s social media accounts.

“We are sorry to share the sad news that our old friend, and Hawkwind founder member, Mick Slattery passed away peacefully at home yesterday, St Patrick's Day, 17th March 2023, aged 77, after a short illness,” wrote Brock.

“Me and Mick played together in a band called Famous Cure in 1967, touring Holland before going on to form Hawkwind in 1969.”

While Slattery’s stint in Hawkwind was short, he featured on the band’s first demo acetate, most notably on an early version of Hurry On Sundown. He also played the group’s first shows at the All Saints Hall in Notting Hill.

“There was this Saturday night freak-out night down there where everybody used to take acid and jump around,” recalled Brock, when he spoke to Guitarist in 2022.

“We went and played down there for about 20 minutes and that’s how we got signed up. That’s how we managed to get our first record deal.”

In his post announcing Slattery’s passing, Brock recalled the good times he had with his former bandmate.

“I have lots of fond memories from our younger days,” wrote Brock. “Playing together in Holland and hanging out in Richmond [in London] at the L'Auberge Cafe and Eel Pie Island [an island in the river Thames that played host to many of the 1960s British blues rock bands].

“In the late ’60s, we used to rehearse in my upstairs flat in Putney and also in the basement of Bob Kerr's music shop in Gwalior Road, playing loud music, much to the annoyance of our neighbours.”

Slattery left the group the same year that he joined – in 1969 – and was replaced by lead guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton. 

In recent years, Slattery returned to play stints in various other Hawkwind-associated groups, including Space Ritual and Hawkestrel. You can see Slattery performing live with Space Ritual (featuring Nik Turner) in the clip above.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.