planet gong news

news archive : 2003

Gong Web Wanderings

Damo Suzuki in all his splendor.

Fabulous University of Errors photographs found by Arnold from Poland.

Mad Stof's Quicktime Psyquest showcase


A certain Mr D. Bowie, formerly of Bromley, England, was asked to choose his top 25 albums from is record collection in this month's Vanity Fair (apparently a special music issue of this high fluting fashion magazine). Among his selection was Daveid's 1971 Bananamoon album, which he thought had a wiff of the beginnings of Glam rock about it. Like I was saying to the cat only this morning - Strange times.


I believe that that the forthcoming Acidmothersgong gig in the Royal Festival Hall on Tuesday 21st (only one week away!) is one of the most important Gong gigs in years. It is up there in importance with maybe 4 or 5 other gigs during my entire tenure at the helm of GAS (or is that clapped in irons in the bilges of GAS?). Gigs such as the 25th Birthday Party in '94 or daevid's Invisible Opera Tabernacle gig in '88. It is simply a seminal concert. One which in the future will be seen as where a line was drawn under the past and a new direction embarked upon. That point of change in fact has already been passed, but the Royal Festival Hall is the first high profile public manifestation and celebration of that change - or it might be a complete sausage!

Exclusive System 7 CD

I'm hugely excited about the limited release live CD at present only available in the GAS bazaar System 7 - Live Transmissions. The gig was recorded at the Tokiodrome, Liquid Room in Tokyo on August 17th 2002 and it's a stunner. It flows and grooves as classic System 7 themes expand and flower in new and unexpected ways. Steve and Miquette are clearly enjoying the whole affair, as I'm sure you will as well. Have a look: photos of the Liquid Room gig on the System 7 website.

A Recording Moon?

This weekend Here & Now laid down tracks for their first studio album since 1995's 'UFOasis'. Steffe, Keith Missile, Steve Cassidy, with Eat Static's Joie Hinton worked through the weekend at the Glastonbury studios and have so far launched 5 or 6 tracks. There is still of course a long road to be travelled but a Spring birth is hoped for. All the news here as it unfolds.

And at almost the same time daevid and the University of Errors were in the studio on the other side of the planet in San Francisco after their Saturday gig in Berkeley starting to record their 'Soft Machine' album. They plan to give the UofE de-construction/re-construction job to those old Soft Machine demo tracks that have been sold to us so many times. Perhaps an energetic reclamation of that material after all the years of re-packaged, no-pay, nonsense.

Add to those two juicy things to look forward to Gilli and Gong Matrice, who were finishing off an album in SF in the past week and Daveid's radical Acidmothersgong mixing and editing in Australia before his US trip and I think you could safely call this a Recording Moon.

The Fawcett Effect! I don't know what your relationship with bars and pubs is like, mine is ambiguous at best. However, having finally made it to one of landlord Rob Wicked's free musical events at the Fawcett Inn in Southsea (daevid, Mark, Jerry and Zorch's Basil last month) I have decided that this esteemed establishment just has to be named the official GAS watering hole.

It's a true community aware psychedelic pub decorated with day-glo pixies and fairies (and that's only the staff!). Great attitude, minimal lurking gremlins, friendly staff. If only there were one in every town - but then that might make the Fawcett Effect not as special as it is.

The next Free Gong visitation is Sunday 3th August (not Tues 5th as previously posted) when daevid and Nicolletta will Gliss and Theremin the evening away.

We Need to Talk

Like bright birds bickering
We make nests of comfort zones
No more the murderer judging murders
Crows outside with black gun glasses
Inside, civilians chirp and chirrup
temporary autonomous zones-
a civil dialogue-in trust of choice
Of course-some choose cancer
Some cirrhosis of the liver
Some choose oblivion/destitution/
(Every murder is a suicide-
every judge a hanged man)
Daub these walls with art
some still call it graffitti
Sing these songs too loud-
Here comes the Noise Police!
Either we have our destiny in our own hands
or we are puppets and ventriloquist dummies
Sleeping sickness spells are cobweb broken
Eyes are open. Drop your weapons.
Pick up your sharp tongued pen again
and draw alternatives to prison poems
A room in which we all can live
Without walls or borders defining-
an openness of skies and seas and lands
a conference of birdsongs-
a gathering of wings.
Thom - July 18, 2003

Was It Sussex? Or Surrey?

Never mind-it was still Winnie The Pooh's wood
Where A.A Milne wrote about pots of hunney
and the green woods ringed with a song of joy.
Entering what is left of Sherwood Forest
reminded that it used to cover half of England
and that the mighty oaks were source
of Henry the VIII's wooden ships
so decimated by demands of Empires
like Sahara-once treed-decimated by Romans
and Sacred Trees, on Sacred Hills
and woods and waters near wells and rivers
with rags of wishes tied to bushes
and coins of supplicants seen shining in waters
and everything primal - asking of elements
their protection and understanding of trespass
We came to the forest for shelter
we camped within her - lit fires
We hunted and chopped and cleared
made houses out of her timbers
stole penicillins from her moss
We still clear fell and log her
We still steal her ancient powers
Now she is burning in Amazon basins
Indonesia, Mexico and Sumatra
Soon we will have no real trees left
No wild multispecied diversities
Just soldiers of pine plantations
Made for matches and houses
No bird will sing within them
We have killed the wild within us
Trees pay for loss of our wilderness
Can't see the woods - for the forest.
Thom - July 17, 2003

Planet Gong Solstice / University of Errors photos

Basil has posted some nice photographs of the Planet Gong Solstice Gig on the Isle or Wight on the Zorch website. Which looks as if it could turn out to be the one and only Gong gig of the entire year as much discussion is now in progress about the proposed autumn Gong tour - it may turn into a Spring 2004 tour. I'll keep you posted.

Jorge Pinchevsky

I just received this email from Max in Argentina:

"the violin player Jorge Pinchevsky died yesterday because of an absurd accident with a bike…He was 59… All Argentinian music lovers are truly affected by his death…LONG LIVE "PIN" (1943-2003)

The sound of Jorge's violin was an integral part of the Gong album Shamal and he toured as a member of the band in 1976 before suffering the same fate as daevid in 1967, when he was refused re-entry into the UK. Sympathy to his nearest and dearest.

These Spanish language sites have more general information on Jorge although the first two have not yet been updated to include news of his death, but the last one is a news site with an article entitled 'The March of the Lonely Violin' somewhere on it, which does. Rock AR | Clarin AR

daevid allen's Invisible Jukebox

daevid features in the new issue (July) of the UK music magazine 'The Wire'. He was the subject of their regular 'Invisible Jukebox' feature where a musician listens to and expounds upon songs played to them by an interviewer. The music played to the subject is not necessarily current stuff, though it can be.

daevid didn't say exactly what he listened to except to say that his true feelings about certain other 'space-rock' bands and their music may be revealed! I'm sure it's all bound to be very interesting and entertaining and I'll looking forward to reading it. The Wire

Here & Now rehearsals

Just 10 minutes ago I returned from Glastonbury Studios where Here & Now were busy rehearsing for the UK tour with daevid and The University of Errors. As I opened the rehearsal room door it was like having your atoms dispersed and being sucked across the galaxy. My ears instantly melded with the Mothership.

Steffe, almost encircled with a ring of effects pedals which he alternately tickled and stomped on, was caressing the most amazing deep space to scorching psychedelic sounds from his guitar. It does him and them a disservice to call it Hendrix/Hillage like, because the sounds are completely his own language. But those two names are as good a reference/launching pad as any for where Steffe has headed.

Joie Hinton was surrounded on 3 sides with layers of keyboards and analog synthesizers with a big beaming smile on his face as he surfed a towering wave of synth sounds of his own creation. Steve Cassidy, sitting amongst the strange tubular bedstead that is a full electronic drum kit, tweaked and nudged his sound settings while maintaining pulsating rhythms from beyond. And like the Oak tree that he is, Keith the Bass, in front of his huge new Ampeg (?) bass cabinet which seems to be about 10 foot high, thundered out bass-lines so groundingly solid you could migrate to them and start up a new civilization. And this was them just warming up!

Good grief the Errors will have to respond in kind to stay the course with this Here & Now band - but the best thing of all is - They will! These two bands are going to encourage and complete, push and guide each other to some dizzying musical heights. You've got to go and be part of it - together there is no limit to what we may experience.

Going Going…

Finding half a box of Mark Robson's CD In Search of a Simple Life when I thought they had all finished a year or more ago prompts me to list some CDs nearing the end of their supplies which I'm pretty sure won't ever be pressed again. If these are for you taste don't tarry.

Poet for Sale

By now all subscribers should just about have received their special signed and dedicated copies of daevid's new illustrated book of poetry along with a letter with details of the surprise 'bonus; CD that is still to come as our thanks for their faith and support.

Regular 'non subscription' copies are now available in the bazaar costing £10.00 plus post and packing.
Poet For Sale

Gig & Tour Summary

The University of Errors have embarked upon their tour. Below is a summary of what's to come. All the details are at the University of Errors

daevid allen's University of Errors : European dates, including Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium and France, in the first half of May. UK Tour with Here & Now throughout the second half of May. Then a few more, just UofE, in the first week of June. If you didn't see them last year don't miss it. The number of die-hard giggers who said it was one of the best they had ever attended was remarkable.

Here & Now : Dates in the UK with the University of Errors throughout the second half of May. Here & Now will be represented by Steffe on guitar, Keith tha Bass, Steve Cassidy on drums and Joie of Eat Static on synthesizers/keyboards.

Guru & Zero : Europe's first chance to see and hear the new psychedelic improvising trio of daevid with Makoto and Cotton from the Acid Mothers Temple. There's one absolutely certain gig in Paris on 10th June, but before that….because the AMT and UofE are touring at the same time, and true to the unpredictable nature of the trio, if daevid doesn't have a University of Errors gig on the same night, Guru & Zero will perform at Acid Mothers Temple gigs. I will attempt to keep up to date on that plan.

Planet Gong : A complete one-off date on the Isle of Wight on Solstice. daevid with the new Here & Now line-up let the Floating Anarchy genie out of the bottle (first time since '99). And if that weren't enough Mark Robson and Jerry from Kangaroo Moon are also on the bill. This gig can only accommodate 250, and I think is going to sell out, so book to avoid disappointment - all the details you need are in the gigs/events section.

Seven More Saving Graces of Gong

Due to all sorts of complications it looks as if the <you'N'gong> project will have to be kept on hold until next Spring. So the eternal, internal Gong band dialogue of who?, what?, where? and how? - with a side order of why? is resumed once more. As so often this throws up many interesting thoughts and ideas. Such an, at present, email conversation continues right now - so let's tune in and see what we can divine of the future…

  1. Working with an established "name" band with a unique lyrical style & high standards & thus exposure to larger venues⁄festivals⁄tours.
  2. Being able to be true to ones own musical⁄artistic identity in an established band with well written (even inspiring) material which has never sold out to commercial pressures.
  3. Players get the possibility of contributing to the writing of material that has a good chance of being remembered.
  4. Players often get the chance of expanded careers. Gong has often been a stepping stone to "bigger & better" things.
  5. Being part of a large international semi secret society which has built its following & catalogue on personal closeness with audiences & a unique non industry presentation that surfs & survives difficult & rapidly changing music industry economic conditions & thanks to Jonny, a club membership fan base format that remains our own.
  6. The chance to become part of the woof & warp of a larger musical tapestry with many great musicians weaving in & out in a self creating grand design.
  7. Gong is one of the biggest longest running INDEPENDENT bands in the biz. We are possibly operating at the highest "industry acceptable level" for a band that totally refuses to accept the commercial edict.

Very few bands like Gong run for decades. It is one of a kind.

& yes, it is not financially easy but is the way it is in this business in 2003.

By our very nature, the artist⁄musician remains frighteningly vulnerable in an industry which is the purest strain of viral capitalism. An industry which is currently caving in on itself & struggling to reconstruct itself.

It seems that financially breaking-even these days is increasingly seen as a good tour. Gone are the halcyon rockstar days of the seventies & eighties.

We are perpetually poised on an economic tightrope with no net.

Thankfully there are still many lunatics like ourselves prepared to sacrifice sense for soul.

And there are all those other less material benefits which you know yourself & which each of us can only know in ourself.

In this last category perhaps are the most mysterious & profound benefits of all.

thus endeth the multiplied musings of guitar chairperson alien.

om cha cha

La Plus Ca Change Part 2

Cher Michael,

Sorry to be late in answering but its pretty intense out here. Currently in NYC chez Virginia preparing for two poetry readings friday & a gig in Woodstock with NicOletta Thereminista on Saturday. After this I will be back in the UK Wednesday in time to catch Man U getting their cumuppance. Whacko! Thence follows the new UofErr tour including Prague hooray!

So to yr message:

Actually, I can think of no better way to further discuss this matter of gong 03 than over a glass of red chez toi n'est pas? Hope yo aint on the wagon.

Meanwholes as an aperitif let me say that of course I agree with you totally when you say neither ***** (a wee touch too menacing) nor ***** (a grand touch too undependable) are really in the game.

As for my own madness, well admittedly there is mounting evidence to balance the more tolerant view from this side that all the world is mad but thee & I (& even thou art somewhot mad!)

And may this evidence be mounted & gently penetrated I say!

Alas, I come with glib foot.

But as to they who have given so much & received so little I am thinking like this:

Much as I adore the confidence & relaxed enjoyment of the tried & tested, my abiding notion is that GONG in relation to the music biz at this time is a bit like a theatre repertory company.

One does the same plays with the same cast every season AT ONE'S PERIL!!

Similarly, with a band of fulsome repertoire like Gong, an element of surprise adds vitality by providing a dangerous edge.

I always enjoy rising to this cyclic challenge in fact & wonder if you would enjoy engaging in it with me for this cycle at least.

Imagine this: When the new season sprouts there begins a buzz of anticipation in the chat rooms. How will Gong look & sound this year they wonder.

Given that the prime aim is to stay fresh & keep em guessing, IF Gong is often the same (or even predictable) this wonder is lost alas.

Rotation thus becomes a necessity, which can also be great fun… & lucky are we who can find a way to practice it.

Of course the refined part of this art is minimizing the frustration for the players in waiting. Ah if only I were really good at this.

Anyway, without in any way diminishing the musically accomplished (& quite subtly commercial) sound of zero2infinity Gong. The ultimate aim would be to find ourself with a fresh sound which can handle the trilogy easily while extending into yet unexplored territory.

I am afraid that the alternative would be to enclose Gong within an ageing & diminishing club membership with narrowing aesthetics & crystalize it into an antique teapot to be tolerated & admired for its endurance.

Not what I want at all personally.

Be that as it may, perhaps it is in the spring air but here & now I am wont to fantasize:

1. About a perfect gong lineup that rises above even the smallest hint of splendid mediocrity to a peak of new perfection.

2. And how and with whom this can be achieved.

It is rather good fun so who's for tennis??

So let me know if you fancy a chat & tipple! (& please also if not!)

til then tootle oo ol cock

Bits & Pieces

Not overtly Gongish but Donald pointed me at this gentle site. Mandala Project

First <you'N'gong> Gig

In a brief conversation daevid reported that the first <you'N'gong> gig, nr Mullumbimby in Australia was a complete a blast exceeding all the band members' expectations. About 400 turned up to be treated to an amazing set of sonic band-birth sounds that sent all in attendance into overdrive. The band are now all of a-buzz as they set off on the journey of recording the new album. daevid promises a fuller view of the gig proceedings very shortly (which will be posted here)…

daevid allen on <you'N'gong>

We have statred a new news section in which topics outlined in this section are expanded upon in much more detail. The first entries, written by daevid, are all about the new <you'n'gong> band. Find out all about the inspiration behind it, the formation of the band and the musicians involved.

<you'N'gong> - A New Gong Band for 2003!

Whatever it is it will change…A new Gong band for this year is about to be born. It will be daevid allen, Gilli Smyth, a rhythm section of Orlando Allen and Dharmhawan, from the Acid Mothers Temple, Cotton Casino and Kawabata Makoto, and from the University of Errors, Josh Pollock.

The different elements each of these people can bring to the band are so uniquely strong and focused that the resulting combination has the potential to be quite stunningly different to anything that has hitherto sailed under the Gong banner throughout the years. I can't wait to hear what develops.

In mid February <you'N'gong> are gathering in Byron Bay, Australia to begin recording a new studio album which it is hoped will be released before a tour in October/November.

Of course the development of this new band does not necessarily signal the end of the the daevid, Gilli, Theo Travis, Mike Howlett, Chris Taylor Gwyo Zepix Gong line-up. Just look at the past - since when have Gong followed the 'rules'?

New Hadouk CD

Some of you may already know that Hadouk Now (Celluloid 67039-2) was released just before Christmas. It features the trio of master musicians that go to make up that band, Didier Malherbe (on all manner of blown instruments), Loy Ehrlich (on strange stringed things) and Steve Shehan (percussion).

As with all Didier albums it has a superb level of musicianship. It's flowing melodic ethno-jazz is a joy to hear and expands one's knowledge of what is possible with Koras, Doudouks, Hajoujs, Hadginis, Balais and many other exotic sounding instruments.


Reissues a Go-Go

Gong related back catalogues which have had, or are just about to have the 're mastered from master tapes, added unheard bonus tracks, new deluxe booklet treatment' are Kevin Ayers (almost completed and due first), Khan (all done awaiting a release date) and Steve Hillage (at the planning stage). Boy it's going to be an expensive year.

University of Errors + Here &Amp; Now Tour

UK and European dates are now being booked for between 22 April and the end of May by Keith at the Space Agency for this most amazing package.

The live experience of daevid allen, Josh Pollock, Michael Clare and Warren Heugel as the The University of Errors would be more then enough in itself - they are that good. But add a Here & Now band consisting of Steffe and Keith the Bass alongside Joie and Merv of Eat Static (yes you read it right) and you have the recipe for an earth moving series of gigs. Stay tuned for the details.

Gong Back Catalogue to Get the Treatment It Deserves

The time has come…EMI (the owners of Virgin Records) are to re-release much of the Gong back catalogue this year. The CDs will be re-mastered from the original tapes, be expanded with previously unheard bonus tracks and have totally new, detailed and illustrated booklets.

The Radio Gnome Trilogy of Flying Teapot, Angels Egg and You are due at the end of May and Live Etc, expanded to a double CD, will be available in October. The You CD should also contain the 1974 Quad mix re-mastered for 5.1 surround sound and there is a strong possibility of Flying Teapot and Angels Egg being similarly treated.

This most exciting venture is being co-ordinated by Mark Powell who has overseen many other similar projects, such as a masterful job on the Caravan catalogue a couple of years back. We are in regular contact with him to help to make these releases the best ever - no contest.