2016 is the 40th year GAS has balanced on the tightrope between the physical, bees-knees world and the twinkling, shape-shifting concept known as Gong. All who have run GAS have done so more as an act of faith than anything else, responding to the soul-call that somehow unites the Gong family. This mission invariably takes huge amounts of energy on every level, not to mention a risk to one's sanity - however I am sure none of the past guardians would swap their time at the helm (although who is really steering this baby?) for anything else. Here I acknowledge them, holy fooles though I know each and every one of them to be.
Gong's Amigos of Sound… Golden Armadillo Sisterhood… Giggling Acid Survivors… Gaia's Ancient Soothsayers… Girls Against Sausages… Gurus Are Sus… Great Assembly of Spaceheads…pick your own interpretation, or make up one to suit your s'elf.
1658, from Dutch gas, probably from Greek khaos 'empty space'. The sound of Dutch 'g' is roughly equivalent to that of Greek 'kh.' First used by Flemish chemist J.B. van Helmont (1577-1644), probably influenced by Paracelsus, who used khaos in occult sense of 'proper elements of spirits' or 'ultra-rarified water,' which was van Helmont's definition of gas. Modern scientific sense began 1779, focused on 'combustible mix of vapors' (1794, originally coal gas); 'anesthetic' (1894, originally nitrous oxide - laughing gas). Meaning 'intestinal vapors' is from 1882. Slang sense of 'empty talk' is from 1847; slang meaning 'something exciting or excellent' first attested 1953, from earlier hepster slang gasser in the same sense (1944). Gas also meant 'fun, a joke' in Anglo-Irish and was used so by Joyce (1914). As short for gasoline (q.v.), it is Amer.Eng., first recorded 1905.
The GAS Rollcall of Honour
1976-77: Chyme, Grant Showbiz and Bella (GAS HQ, Brighton)
Chyme now works as an alternative therapy practitioner.
1977-79 : Harry Williamson and Gilli Smyth (GAS HQ, North Devon)
Harry, for so many years the musical centre of Mother Gong, now lives and works in Melbourne, Australia running his own successful recording studio and of course is always making music. Gilli is at the heart of Gong to this day.
1979-82 : Ark Redwood (GAS HQ, North Devon)
Aardvark (as he was then known) ran GAS from Oxford Cross, Harry's house in North Devon, until Harry and Gilli left for Australia. He is now the head gardener at the sacred Chalice Well Gardens at the foot of the Tor in Glastonbury.
1982-85 : Brian Zero (GAS HQ, deepest Devon)
Brian plays guitar with the UK Invisible Opera Co. of Tibet, Riven (with Nigel Shaw and Carolyn Hillier) and his own band, Vamp, with partner Jackie Juno. He released his first solo CD, Tara, in 2004. He still lives in Devon.
1985 : Pete Barnes and Jake (GAS HQ, Devon)
Sadly, Pete and Jake have both gone before.
1986-88 : Brian Zero (GAS HQ, even deeper Devon)
Sweet mother of God he came back for more! (Brian rescued it, actually.)
1988-89 : Rob Ayling and Barbara Kirk (GAS HQ, Yorkshire)
Rob Ayling ran the Voiceprint/Zeit Distribution empire from the northeast of England, and believed in the music business… which then ate him. Babs lives in W.Yorkshire, very happily I hope.
1989-91 : Harry Williamson and Jonny Greene (GAS HQ, Street)
A bit of another rescue job. Oh how we wobble along.
1991 to date… Jonny Greene (GAS HQ - Glastonbury)
An Avenue of Bowing Gnomes,
A Mighty Ringing of Gongs, and
The Order of the Sacred Golden Banana
To each every one of You!
May your camel never stumble.