I few weeks ago (thanks to Zorch's Basil Brooks) I established contact with Paul Misso, who took the inspirational and iconic photograph of the pyramid stage used as the front cover of 'Revelations' the Glastonbury Fayre triple album released in 1972. He has now produced a rather beautiful large poster of that image which is available via healing-spirit.com.
Paul took many great photographs at that particular festival some of which can be found at alternate-creations.com. Most amazingly of all there a couple of some musicians of our close acquaintance - the first Gong photographs I've ever seen of that gig! Can you spot the 'mistake' on the main one?.
Becoming the Stuff of History?
With each book published is this crazy bunch of musicians we're all so into slowly becoming the stuff of history? Certainly more and more aspects of their lives and times are making their way into big fat books, a process I presume will continue with growing pace.
The recent publication of the two Hawkwind books and then 'Tuning up at Dawn' set me searching around for further volumes which touch on our areas of interest. One that I turned up (and have managed to get remarkably reasonably priced supplies of) is 'In the Sixties', by Barry Miles.
Miles, as he has always been known, a spins a dam fine tale and always gives good Alien - Daevid has regularly made genial cameo appearances in other Miles' books such as, 'The Beat Hotel' and 'Hippies' and I'm sure he also pops up in Miles' William Burroughs biography, although I've yet to read that. So if you want something to read to go along with the avalanche of music released this year there's plenty of choice.
And as for the question of becoming history… well I suspose certain phases and events have already achieved that status, but I trust there's plenty more life to be lived, experienced and enjoyed in the here & now.
Vital Gong - Canterbury Book
Tomás Graves' book 'Tuning up at Dawn' arrived at GAS HQ yesterday morning and what I suspected after hearing the heavily edited radio version broadcast last the other week was fully confirmed by even a brief look at the actual book. It's an absolute must for all those interested Daevid and Gilli, Gong and the Canterbury scene in general. Tuning up at Dawn page.
daevid allen & Gilli Smyth in BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week
'Tuning up at Dawn' a book by Tomás Graves (son of the poet Robert Graves) was read as last week's BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. In the first part (broadcast on Monday 22nd Nov) daevid and Gilli featured as visitor's to and eventually residents of Deia, the village in Majorca where Robert Graves "kept open house for the itinerant international hippy set - a bunch of rock and folk musicians, actors, poets and other cultural luminaries".
Tomás tells me that Lady June, Ollie Halsall, Archie Leggett, Didier also appear in the book, so I think this, plus it sounded like a good read anyway, makes it a must for the bazaar - whenever I can get hold of some copies. Guardian Review of 'Tuning up at Dawn'
Gong Un-Conventional Gathering
Hey, if you can't be there in person - tune in on the astral in a way suits you (deep meditation, play your fav Gong track, go and give that busker some money, stroke the cat, send healing to Iraq - anything in the name of the good Planet Gong) and for however long - it's where the really action is!… Our physical' s'elfs will be there in the Assembly Rooms, doing what we have to do and having the time that's required, whatever that may be…
9.00pm GMT is a good time for a burst of connectivity - but whenever will do.
Feel you there.
The first Gong Un-conventional Gathering organized by GAS member Chris Cambridge is being held at Glastonbury Assembly Rooms on Saturday 23rd October… all day.
Here & Now inc Joie Hinton, House of Thandoy with Mike Howlett, Mark Robson, Twink, Tim Hall with The Invisible Opera, Thom the World Poet, Graham Clark and Basil Brooks will all perform and loads of other friends such as Brian Zero & Elliet Mackerall will be around to talk - come and get to know everybody. Most strangely, coincidentally Grant Showbiz and Jonathan Barnett are also in or near Glastonbury on the same day/night and may also drop in.
The whole thing lasts from Noon to Midnight. Tickets (all-day tickets purchased in advance please) cost £21.00 inc. p&p. You can contact Chris to book tickets or get more info on 0791 701 1255. You can also purchase the tickets on e-bay by credit card.
The Things You Learn
While perusing Daevid's latest EMI/Virgin royalty statement (a bit over £150 for 6 months of worldwide sales through the mighty music biz at their tip-top pygmy rate - since you asked, enough for about 15 feet of ride in Branson's planned spaceship) I found a track I didn't recognize - 'Elysian Fields'.
An internet search revealed that it's on a Future Sound of London album called 'Isness' from 2002, as the Angels Egg/You band are listed as co-writers with Messrs Cobain and Dougans. I presume it's Gong sample.
Note:- Since posting the above I've been informed it's basically a Didier flute sample from the end of 'A Sprinkling of Clouds'. So now we know.
What a Week!
The past seven days has seen the arrival of stock of Bananamoon Obscura CDs Nos. BMO 8, BMO9, & BMO10, the re-mastered 'Angels Egg' and 'You' CDs, a new live CD from the Brazilian Invisible Opera Co of Tibet, 'Glissando Spirit Live' and promo CDRs of the forthcoming new System 7 album 'Encantado' and the 12" Remixes 'Planet 7' from that album. By email came artwork and details of 'Live Spring '88 - The Return', a new Daevid double CD, Mothergong's 'Glastonbury Festival '79-'81' and 'Parade', the forthcoming debut studio album by Gilli's new US based band Gong Matrices - Phew!
Details on all of these are in the various Release sections and they all have bazaar pages which will be updated as all that music continues to sink into my musically over-loaded brain.
More Japanese Mini-LP CDs
Here's some of the Canterbury related LP style paper sleeve limited edition CDs being released through September/October. I'm informed that the M. Mole, RW and Soft ones are remastered, don't know about the others. All very dinky and nice I'm sure with gatefolds, textured sleeves, inserts, etc if required.
Egg / Civil Surface (VJCP-68688)
Gilgamesh / Gilgamesh (VJCP-68689)
Hatfield & The North / Hatfield & The North (VJCP-68685)
Hatfield & The North / Rotter's Club (VJCP-68686)
Hatfield & The North / Afters (VJCP-68687)
Matching Mole / Matching Mole (MHCP-428)
Matching Mole / Little Red Record (MHCP-429)
Robert Wyatt / The End Of An Ear (MHCP-430)
Robert Wyatt / His Greatest Misses (VACK-1282)
Robert Wyatt / Live 1974 (VACK-1283)
Soft Machine / Third (MHCP-423)
Soft Machine / Fourth (MHCP-424)
Soft Machine / Fifth (MHCP-425)
Soft Machine / Six (MHCP-426)
Soft Machine / Seven (MHCP-427)
Gong Tour Cancelled
daevid's message :
Well this is a sad communication because I have to tell you that the autumn GONG tour of is not financially viable.
Our overheads are too great & the income is too little. The tour is already making a loss before we even leave home & that is without budgeting for unforseen expenses.
With Voiceprint Records already way way over its original budget, all our royalties still unpaid by Charly Records & no other commercial backing, there is simply no money behind us to absorb any losses.
Unlike many other industry funded outfits, we of GONG are totally dependant on making a profit for our own survival.
Perhaps traditional touring has become a dinosoar activety in 2004. It could be that the future lies in long weekend parties, more of the mini festival idea. A sort of GONG 25 event but with onsite camping & also comfortable accomodation, healthy food & zany drinks & smart bar.
On the bill: several variations on Gong & its circle of bands plus experimental sounds, spoken word, specialist recording, creative improvisation & music workshops plus DJs & all night dancing.
So instead of transporting a large number of bodies with compex equipment at huge expense across the map, tis obviously better to do two or three large & memorable events & invite the Gong family to join us for the weekend.
I believe this is the future.
This year there may still be good news for Japanese fans. It is still feasible for us to play two gigs in Japan. On Sun 10th & Mon 11th October. Stand by for more news on this.
Finally let me say how sad I feel to witness the death of touring. I have been doing it all my life & for all the hardships it is enormous fun.
It makes for a heavy heart to think of all the time energy & good work that has been put into these tours by Nigel Morton, our agent who has worked long & hard for virtually no reward.
Lets hope we can soon reverse this trend with larger more concentrated & less time consuming projects.
Gilli's message :
After number crunching all the projected figures for the tour, the Moneypenny Agency and the band realise that the huge expenses, like international air fares, big tour bus, sustaining 10 people, etc. come to much more than the income from gigs.
After looking at all the possible solutions, the Agency has reached the conclusion that, within the limited time frame available because of the AMT tour, it is simply not viable to do the Acid MotherhoodGong tour. Changes in the music industry have knocked out a lot of live venues and it is much more sustainable to set up weekends in one place where the band plays several times.
Gong realises they will have to change their manner of touring and concentrate on such events, which apart from the band will have visiting musicians, workshops, fire eaters, camping, staying in cabins, dancing, celebrating.
This is anticipated to take place in March/April next year.The Gong story has always included such gatherings, and circumstances seem to have presented them again, as a viable way to communicate with all the Gong friends, play the music we love, share energies, and make it possible to come from the other side of the world.
Hopefully we will be playing at a two day Festival in Japan, 8th October on. We feel very sad to disappoint all our gong friends who have participated in the long Gong story with us, and helped in so many ways. We feel sad for ourselves too, not to be playing that new music we were looking forward to, and connecting again with those friends, fans, clowns, buskers, performers, and multi-coloured people, who make all the gigs so heartfelt.
We are visioning the spring.
Jonny's message : Oh triple rats! The second tour of the year spirals gently downstream Eyore-like into what might have been land, legs sticking skywards humming quietly to itself. After so much effort from all involved to save the tour we retire to the pavilion for tea to plan a more oblique and perhaps more interesting look at the future.
Tim Blake's Accident
Those of you who do not regularly visit the Planet Gong Forum will not be up to date on Tim Blake's recovery after a very serious car accident on 3Oth May. Well I'm happy to report that although still temporarily housed in a wheelchair and armed with set of crutches he is almost fully rebuilt, mending well (although there is a way to go yet) and will hopefully be fully restored to rude health in a month or so.
Obscura CDs 3-6
Obscura CDs 3 to 6 are due to arrive at GAS next Tuesday or Wednesday - if not we march (custard pies at the ready) on Tyne & Wear, home of the Record Co.
Gentle Genie & Gong DVD in stock
Two new arrivals this morning - the 'new' Gong DVD has unexpectedly arrived. I haven't seen it yet but it is of the London Fridge gig back in 1991 and once was a very good, if limited video. Second newbie is Daevid's very mellow 1985-99 acoustic compilation 'Gentle Genie' which gently plays as I type this.
Bananmoon Obscura CDs I am relably told that Obscura 3 & 4 will arrive at GAS by the end of this week. So not too long to wait for those of you who pre-ordered the first 4 of the series. Also as numbers 5 & 6 are apparently only about 10 days away they are now available to pre-order in the bazaar.
Obscura 1 & 2 In Stock & Pre‑Order Update
Finally the wait is over. The first two titles of the strictly limited Bananamoon Obscura series of CDs have arrived at GAS HQ and I am very impressed with both releases. Both are pretty essential. BMO 1 is a complete joy for all those who like the Good Morning/Happiest Time era and the Brainville CD with Messers Hopper & Pyle demonstrates just how very good that band was.
Pre-orders for just Nos. 1 & 2 will be sent out first - with news on Nos. 3 & 4 posted later this week. If Obscuras 3 and 4 are genuinely only days away from arrival at GAS I will not send out any pre-orders that include these as well as numbers 1 and/or 2. Rest assured I have all of your pre-orders on computer and as hard copy and I am working my way though them as fast as I can.
The Obscura CDs are limited to 1000 copies per title and I have 'overstocked' by only about 75 copies per title more than the pre-orders on file. When my stock is gone it's highly unlikely that I will be able to get more, so if you want copies…
Great daevid allen interview
The just published Australian magazine 'xochi23' has one of the best interviews with daevid I've read for years. 31 of the magazine's 100 pages are devoted to the interview which took place in Australia in September last year. It's a highly entertaining and informative in-depth examination of daevid's time in Paris in the early '60's, the early Gong years and more.
'xochi23' is limited to just 100 copies and is a very well printed b/w, 17.5cm x 25cm perfect bound volume which I would decsribe as a book rather than a magazine. Copies are available from Australia for £8.00 pounds plus postage or €11.50 Euros plus postage. Very highly recommended.
NEW ('hot') items appear red in the menus to make them easier to spot. MP3 samples are being added and a new mp3 icon accompanies those menu titles, product pages and tracks for which samples are available. We have also turned on most of the links for items that are not in stock at the moment. Many of these will return in time, so do check back! It seemed sensible that you could at least access the information. Links to items currently unavailable are greyed and the 'Order Now!' button on the actual page of the item is turned off so you can't click it by mistake.
Steve Hillage Live '78 Double CD
A new live double CD of the Steve Hillage Band at the 1978 Deeply Vale Festival is officially released on 31st May but it is in stock in the bazaar right now. It's almost the complete concert recorded direct from the mixing desk. The band, including the late Christian Boulé in the line-up is in stunning form. Not to be missed.
Becoming visible - the website of Invisible Opera Company of Tibet member Brian Abbott.
Psyquest Selene Remix
A great streamed smoothly grooving tabla-driven techno remix of 'Selene' by Psyquest has been posted. If the You Remixes were your thing then check out Stof's other psytrance and no-age work. I think you'll enjoy it. Stof's site
Release Pages Modified
The pace of Gong Family releases is such that we have expanded and modified the release info. There are now separate pages divided up thus:
Any changes to release schedules and additional information will in future be posted on these pages and of course on an album's bazaar page (if there is one) rather than in the news section. I will however continue to post basic news of new releases of new here and on the Home page.
Bananamoon Obscura Update
The first two BMO CDs which were due to be released yesterday seem to have been delayed. All the 'parts' are at the pressing plant but there is some problem with the artwork. If this is quickly solvable then the CDs would take approximately 2 weeks to arrive at GAS. Even if the problem is more serious and requires a design change or new filmwork they should still only be 3 weeks away from arriving here. I don't know whether this will have a knock on effect on the other BMO CDs or if the record company will release the first 4 on one date? This latter option would be possible as the covers for the first 9 BMO CDs are being printed together. I do apologize for the delay. I am as keen as you are to see these CDs finally released.
Gilli Smyth & daevid allen - Acidmothergong Japan Tour
daevid and Gilli spin some tales of a strange, tiring but enjoyable Japanese time. Some photographs will be posted in the Gallery in the next couple of days. Acidmotherhood Japan Tour
It's Pouring CDs & More!
will be the most staggering year for the release of Gong Family related albums ever. Here is what is to be released in the next 3 months alone - in fact it's not all of them, I haven't yet listed the couple that we are bringing out ourselves. Many of these releases are available to pre-order in the bazaar. In fact for some of them pre-ordering will be vital.
Out Now - available in the bazaar :
CD Acidmotherhood : Gong
CD Jungle of Spices : Shyamal Maîtra
CD Owl and the Tree : Daevid Allen / Mothergong
2CD Mystery and the History of the Planet Gong:Various
Out Now - available to pre-order in the bazaar
CD Spirals in Hyperspace:Ozric Tentacles
2CD Live à FiP:Hadouk Trio
Released 12 April
CD Mango:Guru & Zero (pre-order)
Released 20-30 April
CD Tara:Brian 'Zero' Abbott (pre-order)
Released 26 April
CD BMO 1 Studio Rehearsal Tapes 1977:Daevid Allen & Euterpe (pre-order)
CD BMO 2 Brainville Live in the UK:Daevid Allen, Hugh Hopper & Pip Pyle (pre-order)
Released Late April
LP Mango:Guru & Zero (pre-order)
Released 03 May
CD Tree in Fish:Mothergong (pre-order)
Released 04 May
CD Jet Propelled Photograph:University of Errors (pre-order)
CD Belle Illusion:Pip Pyle's Bash! (pre-order)
Released 17 May
CD BMO 3 Self Initiation:Daevid Allen (pre-order)
CD BMO 4 Bards of Byron Bay:Daevid Allen & Russell Hibbs (pre-order)
CD Gentle Genie:Daevid Allen
Released 24 May
DVD Live at the Fridge:Gongmaison
Released 28 June
CD BMO 5 Live in Chicago:University of Errors
CD BMO 6 Live @ Knitting Factory:Daevid Allen & Nicoletta Stephanz
Acidmotherhood in Stock
Copies of the new Gong 'Acidmotherhood' CD are now in stock and all the pre-orders have now been sent.
Virgin Reissues Re-Scheduled
Virgin/EMI have decided to re-scheduled the remastered, expanded re-issues of 'Angels Egg', 'You' and the 'Live Etc' box set to coincide with the Autumn Gong tour. So the release date is now 6th September.
Kevin Ayers Mini-LP Japanese CDs
Those ingenious Japanese have been at it again. Last year's Kevin Ayers four re-mastered reissues have just been released in limited edition replica mini-LP sleeves. As usual the original sleeves are reproduced down to the smallest detail with the correct textured finish, gatefolds etc. They even go as far reproducing the Harvest Records inner sleeve advertising various LPs (is it a mad search for perfection or do they just have a lot of time on their hands?).
All quite stunning really and all quite expensive. A minor quibble is that the original Bananamour booklet, which came from the GAS archives for the UK issue and has been used for these Japanese mini LP versions, is still included in the general CD booklet and hasn't been separated to it's original glory - they have translated it into Japanese though - so that's nice.
daevid allen on Bananamoon Obscura
There is a new brief interview with daevid allen on the forthcoming Bananamoon Obscura Series in the archives, and while you're there more work has been done the Gong Family gig history - still a huge amount to do, but base camp has well and truly been established.
We have turned on most of the bazaar links - even items that are not in stock at the moment. It seemed sensible that you could at least access the information. The links to unavailable items are greyed and the order button on the actual page of the item is turned off so you can't order it by mistake. If an item is 'greyed' I expect to be able to it again in the future.
The Future Releases page is in a constant whirl of updating as news of the exciting new Bananmoon Obscura CDs comes through. At present 10 CDs of the series are in the works, news of the first 6 is now avaliable, two of which have release dates. Also due for release in March are re-mastered re-issues of The Owl and the Tree with a bonus track and History and Mystery, expanded to a double CD. So with Gong's Acidmotherhood CD there are currently 5 new Gong related albums due for release in Feb/Mar! More detailed news very soon.
Acidmotherhood Story: daevid allen
By the end of the 2001 Gong tour, I was restless for change. Outside our gig at Blackburn City Hall I saw a double poster for GONG and Tchaikovsky's SWAN LAKE. Was this an omen? Scary.
Perhaps we had become a surrealist pantomime. I had originally thought that Gong had such excellent musicians… well what could go wrong? Alas! Seeing the Subteranea DVD confirmed my suspicion & Howlett voiced it succinctly. We had become a comfy armchair of a band.
Toward the end of this tour I received a love letter. When I met its author our eyes popped out of their sockets. We became lovers yet we also became firm friends. Her taste in music was strong and clear. I called her Christi-eye Queen of the PHP.
She came to live with me in Australia. One day in April 02 she showed me a website of a band I had never heard of. Acid Mothers Temple was her favourite band at that time. I trusted her complicity so began talking to Makoto & Cotton by email. Suddenly we were all saying: Lets play three gigs in US & call ourselves: Guru & Zero!
T'was August 02 when we met for the first time on stage at the I-Spy club in Seattle with uoferr opening for Guru & Zero. It was an unusual experience. Ma koto & Cotton arrived sleepwalking & barely acknowledged my presence before a minimal sound check after which they slept at strange angles all over the dressing room until a few seconds before showtime. They awoke & were onstage in a flash & before I was quite setup they suddenly began in total syncro with a ferocious wall of feedback. But I rose to the occasion in my own way without much thought. It was fun to play but would I have stayed to listen?
Our next gig was at the annual Bill Maas EGG LAKE Festival on St Juan Island. We also played a third gig later at the Hemlock Tavern in SFO. But before the festival gig I began communicating with Cotton in pataphysical sign language. She was Harpo Marx in a future life. On the way to the stage we became lost in a thicket. We clambered around amongst the shrubbery weak from laughter for what seemed like an hour. By the time we reached the stage they had been waiting for us. This full moon gig could not have been more different. Delicately atonal & dreamy in the evening summer air, the audience in this vast organic garden were charmed & delighted. Me too.
We were all lodged for the night in an A-frame gay guest house. I slept at the top of the house in a room with a great view & decorated with 135 rescued & restored teddy bears. The next morning during my meditation I had a powerful premonitory vision. In fact it was the completion of a vision quest to know where Gong was going begun with an iawoska journey with Pixie Queen earlier in the year. I saw a merger of acidmothas & gong. East melting with west. Old dissolving into young. I heard some future possible musics which I imagined would become us. It left me with a sense of the deepest peace I had ever experienced. I thought: If such aesthetic opposites can find a shared chord of their own accord, then world peace will become us. I can now say I saw God witnessed by 135 teddy bears.
I also saw seven musicians: Orlando: A drummer/DJ with reggae & jazz & hip hop roots age 28 Dharma: A gentleman Indonesian bassist age 27 Josh: An Indy grunge guitarist age 39 Makoto: A Japanese psychedelic freakout style guitarist age 38 Cotton: A female Japanese synthesizer & singer age 33 Gilli: A female space whisper queen age unreleased Daevid: A glissando guitarist & singer age 65 This band was to be called: you'N'gong. This eventually changed into ACID MOTHERS GONG and finally back to being: GONG.
After the Ecstacy: The Laundry. The making of this CD was a long & intense process that has permanently changed the lives of most of those involved, hopefully for the better. The process however was full of pain & conflict. Orlando took on an extraordinary workload to rebuild his studio while also rehearsing. The promised finance was withdrawn long after we had begun to spend it. I became an unpredictable volcano & the style & culture & generational conflicts loomed large & took a huge emotional toll on us all.
In the context of past Gong works, this is a revolutionary album.
1. There is no bass part on more than half the tracks.
2. There is no saxophone on any of the tracks.
3. There are three lead guitarists.
4. Instrumentation on track three is:
a child's tambourine,
a tiny swiss UFO
a headless electric guitar scraped with a metal rod
But the musical end result is here & as with all art, we simply hope that the unfolding outcome gradually transforms the process.
Yum cha cha!
Gong UK - European Tour Postponed
The UK and European parts of the Gong Spring Tour at the end of April and throughout May have this afternoon been cancelled. However the Japanese dates with the Acid Mothers Temple at the beginning of April will still go ahead.
We are hoping to move many of the dates/build another tour for UK and Europe in September and October. Apologies to the many of you who were looking forward to the gigs, or who had already begun to make work/holiday, or travel arrangements to catch a gig or two.