planet gong news

news archive : 2009

Gong over Brazil…?!

FLASH : Oxford Academy, Saturday 28/11 is an EARLY SHOW - doors open 6:30pm Saturday, show ends 10:30pm - ticket includes entry to whatever club scene follows…

The GONG Story - from Soft Machine to 2032

Tue 17 Nov, 8pm-10pm Greenwich on Phonic 106.8 FM, Exeter, or listen online. Brian Abbott (Invisible Opera Company of Tibet - UK) meets DJ Paul Giblin.

Radio Gnomonique Invisible?

Gong radio show - Monday night! - 'history, influences and inspirations', with daevid allen, Steve Hillage and Didier Malherbe - Monday, 2 November from 9pm to 11pm Euro time on FIP 105,1 FM Paris. It's 'Carte Blanche' - the boys are bringing their own playlist. Should be interesting… n'est pas? Prog Archives forum post

Fortean Times

Greetings from Planet Gong - daevid allen interview including fresh photos and deep background…

World Domination

Keith Dobson (aka 'Kif-Kif le batter') reports being interrogated recently by an agent of Quietus regarding his designs on World Domination… here's where you can read the report. The 'Let's Play Domination' CD is an analogue re-master of all the World Domination Enterprises A-sides, plus one previously unreleased track, and a 12-page lyric booklet.

New Jerusalem

Tim Blake announces the immediate release for digital download of his New Jerusalem album directly from his download shop.

Steve Hillage : Date with an Interview

Steve is being interviewed live on Cerys Matthews' BBC6 Radio programme on Monday 28th Sept around 3pm. I thought I'd better flag this up early as I missed telling you about his rather good interview with Dr Stu on his N@ked Short Club programme on Resonance 104.4FM the other night. However very kindly we have been sent an mp3 of the programme which we will make available sometime. There are plenty of further radio and TV interviews by both Steve and daevid in the pipeline, including a host in France. I'll post details of them when I know more.

Pixies in Tokyo

Some of you may be familar with Shibuya Crossing in downtown Tokyo, if not by name then perhaps from photographs you've seen (you know the ones pedestrian crossings going every which way), it's the Times Square or Piccadilly Circus of the city, and like both those places neon signs and video screens abound. Well somehow by some means, all this week the Gong 'How to Stay Alive' animated video is part of the loop of films and adverts playing above the heads of the thronging crowds. Will any stop and have a PHP interlude, wonder what all that was, then scurry along? Strange times indeed. Maybe there are some Shibuya web-cams on the net where we can catch it happening live?


Gong - New 2032 album

The waiting is over…

Having had the great pleasure of watching and listening this new Gong album grow and develop over the past ten months all I can say is that since it's completion and final mastering a few weeks ago had I been listening to a vinyl copy it would now be worn out. The right album at the right time by the right band for the right people - you.

Some 2032 on-line Reviews:-
Blog Critics
Get Ready To Rock

daevid allen interview : Prog Sheet

There is a 4 page Gong feature in October's 'Uncut' magazine, plus reviews of 2032 in the October issues of 'The Word', 'Mojo', 'Classic Rock' and the 'Observer Music Monthly'. I'm sure there are others out there. Folk seem quite taken with the album… which is nice.

Gong Poesy, live music + Daevid Allen / Gilli Smyth Book Launch Event

"Anything can happen in the next 24 hours" - Poetry and readings from Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Stephanie Petrik, Glissando Guitar, Space Whisper and live Synthi set featuring Miquette Giraudy, a Steve Hillage DJ set and the launch of three books, yes that's three books - Daevid's 'Gong Dreaming II', Gilli's 'Nitrogen Dreams of a Wide Girl' and Stephanie's 'The Artist Vs. The Upstanding Citizen' - and all at our favourite wee London Café, Inspiral Lounge in Camden. Absolutely no idea what will happen but it's bound to be fun.

Steve Hillage Band - Gong UK Tour support

The Steve Hillage Band will be the support on all the Gong November UK dates.

Gong rebel against Rebellion

Due to major non-fulfillment of contractual obligations by the promoter Gong are unable to appear at the Rebellion Festival. Our deepest apologies for any disappointment.

Had contractual agreements been met we would have happily travelled to Blackpool to play. We hate cancelling shows.

daevid allen - live interview on BBC 6

If all goes to plan there should be a live (earthly) radio interview with daevid and perhaps Steve Hillage from the backstage of the Glade stage at Glastonbury Festival this evening, Sunday 28th, between 6.30 and 7.00pm with Gideon Coe, just a couple of hours before the Steve Hillage Band is due on stage.

The band are currently on route down the A303 past Stonehenge and on to the Festival. Everyone is quietly excited and focused for a mega SHB/Gong set (they will run together as at the Amsterdam Uncon), and as at Amsterdam the Glade is blessed with a Funktion One PA (none better) with David Id and John Newsome himself at the controls along with Jasper Johns on Visuals - in fact Jasper has been part of the team zapping the lights and projections all weekend at the Glade.

High on the hill above the Festival site the last three hours and more of the event could be a complete trip… and if you want, you can tune in via Radio Gnome Invisible - broadcasting across the etheric frequencies direct brain to brain. Go on, why don't you try…Steve Hillage Band 9.00pm right through to the close of the Gong set at midnight.

Hugh's Farewell

Hugh Hopper will be laid to rest at a natural Burial Ground in Kent this Thursday 25th June.

It will be a Tibetan Buddhist Ceremony to respect Hugh's wishes and there will be opportunity for a few musicians to play by the graveside to say goodbye. Afterwards there will be lunch at a local pub and then a gentle walk. No flowers please; however, donations offered will be shared between the Brabourne Ward at Canterbury Hospital and the Kangyur Rinpoche Foundation.

Do not cry because I die
Do not cry as I am
Drifting alone on the
Seashore of light
Rejoice in the light of love, my love
Into the pure light above
The Rainbow light where
I am free of suffering
And bright.

From me to Hugh and all his great friends and family
Christine Hopper

For those who wish to offer a donation instead of flowers for Hugh's funeral, Christine asked me to tell you that cheque (€/£) could be done in her name (Christine Janet) and she will dispatch it herself to the Brabourne Ward Canterbury Hospital and the Kangyur Rinpoche Foundation.

There will be a concert in Hugh's homage Saturday 27 June (20H00) at the Club Le Triton in Les Lilas, very near Paris. You will find also CDs of Hugh's music. The benefit of this concert and CDs sale will go to Christine.

Hugh Hopper passes away

Photo by Xavier Marchon taken at Hugh's final gig in Bourgoin-Jallieu last year - many thanks to Aymeric for sending this.

Dear Hugh Hopper passed away the afternoon of Sunday 7th June. Our thoughts and love go out to his wife Christine, their young daughter Rosa, and to all Hugh's close family and friends. He was a lovely, unassuming, gently humorous man who was always a joy to be with - and of course he was a unique, stunning, innovative creative musician.

As we reached Fasano for last Saturday's Gong concert daevid told me he had received a message that Hugh reached the final hours and very early this morning as we queued for US work visas we heard the news that he had gone. daevid just quietly said that besides Robert, Hugh had been the person he had played music with the longest. He will be so missed.

And here is a link that I was sent today to a nice interview with Hugh from 1998. It gives just a little flavour of what a personable chap he was.

Dave Sturt : Welcome to Gong!

What does it take to be a member of Gong? I have no idea whatsoever - who does? You certainly must get the call somehow. A pixie whispers in your ear, you tune into Radio Gnome Invisible without realising, the voices start 'making sense' - something happens. There has been many a fine up-standing musician carefully mapping out a career and developing along sturdy traditional musical lines, who one day turns around to find themselves in a pair of unreasonable trousers on stage with Dingo Virgin, the Submarine Captain and the Good Witch Yoni transmitting the vibrations of an invisible Green Planet full of pixies to an audience of seemingly the same. No doubt they wonder how they got there ('letting the days go by…'). All I can advise is - stuff happens - and Mr Dave Sturt it's happened to you!

With Dr. Howlett on the other side of the world in Brisbane teaching Sound Technology (with a side-order of pure Gong?) it is not possible for him to represent the luminous green Planet at all the gigs this year, but we are all deeply pleased and delighted to announce the arrival of Dave, who is keen as mustard and simply brimming with as yet unplayed musical notes and sounds. He will co-inhabit that most vital, Basso-Profondo, T-Being type, mother-spot (or should that be Mother being T's-pot) in Gong. Please welcome him and watch out for him, I'm sure yer socks will be blown clean off.

And if you are in Sheffield or Nottingham there are two imminent opportunities to catch Dave and fellow Gongster Theo Travis in action in their Cipher incarnation as they provide inventive, luscious and at times scary music and sounds for the classic horror silent film, 'The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari'. Details in the Gigs Section.

University of Errors : Portugal

Flashes of the Errors in action at the Gouveia Festival in Portugal at the beginning of May. Some very stylish photos from Claude Wacker>, and an email from hymnself pointing out some Youtubeings…

Gong-rich Downloadable Fanzine

January issue of the French language fanzine [pdf 68.9 MB] Vapeur Mauve is a hugely Gong-rich one containing as it does interviews with Gilli Smyth, Didier Malherbe and Tim Blake, along with articles on Pierre Moerlen, University of Errors, Gong, more.

Gilli Smyth May Day

Blossomings, beginnings and a life lived well

Gilli smyth in Deya - photo by Jeremy Dunn

It is the first of May - a day of celebration in so many spiritual, secular and political mythologies, belief systems, realities and fantasies. We are in close proximity to Beltane (depending on your grasp of calendars or the heavens) a time of bloom and future promise. The sun is shining, the faithful and not so faithful, many gaily attired and garlanded with flowers and blossoms, gathered on Glastonbury Tor to welcome the dawn and they now festoon the High St and the Market Cross a riot of colour and celebration. At the 'heart' the fires are re-kindled, tended and in some cases leapt over.

Last night in Italy daevid along with the University of Errors and Octave Doctor David Id played his first Northern hemisphere gig of the year as he wends his way towards London, the mixing of the new Gong album, '2032' and Gong rehearsals. Yesterday Steve and Miquette left Australia after a joyously productive 10 days of recording vocals for the album with daevid and Gilli. Mike Howlett is in his final preparation for his trip to Australia to settle in to his new 'Professorial' role at Brisbane University before returning to the UK in early June for the Gong rehearsals and the Mid-Summer festivals.

The Gong touring/giggling party has been assembled - in cyber-space at least. Old hands such as David Id and light-show wiz Jasper Johns will be joined by new eager recruits Jez and Dominic - while I attempt to pull logistical strings together, or at least tie them into some kind of pretty bow. Gong's agent, the vastly experienced Dan Silver (a good pirate name that), continues to work away at more Summer and Autumn Gong dates which will be announced shortly.

And it is exactly a week since the visionary, inspirational and extremely personable John Michell left us. His tremendous body of work and it's seminal influence will continue to resonate and grow. He was a true, very special elder of the tribe who will be much missed.

There is so much more to tell you, we have been as bees - all will be revealed, all is change. May your May Day be free of all Maydays - Blessings (as they say).

System 7 - Live Japanese download

Why not put a little System 7 in your system with this electrifying 55 minute live straight from the desk set recorded at Shinjyuku Face in Tokyo on 11th April. The download site is in English, pretty easy to use (you have to register first) and the download only costs about £7.00 or €8.00. Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy are in sparkling form weaving patterns of rhythmic magic, with Steve spiraling out some rather special guitar lines. Just click on the image to get connected.

DVD orders - Supplies re-connected

If you have been waiting for an order which contained the Steve Hillage Live Uncon DVD + CD set or the Gong Live Uncon DVD deep apologies for the delay in being able to send them out - they are all now on their way to you.

Economically driven changes in methods of distribution (they farmed it out to a new company) sucked my order for more copies into a black hole from which it seemed impossible to extract it no matter what noises were made. This morning the DVDs finally arrived, the 'blockage' in the system has been cleared, the flow re-established and a massive sigh of relief audable around Glastonbury. Thank you for your patience and support.

I think perhaps it would be good to focus even more clearly on Eek!-oh-GnOmÉ-ics rather than the stuff that seems to be causing all these rising ripples. Radio Gnomics - pathway to the future!

Pierre Moerlen's Gong : Arista Years

Until supplies are gone you can buy this fine 2CD collection of three of Pierre's albums for the rather excellent price of £6.80. They popped up at a low price (I think the record company went bust) - so I pass it on. Maybe it's a gift from Pierre?

Gong Nov UK Tour Dates

The dates for the first Gong UK Tour since 2000 have been announced. Not only is it the first Gong UK tour for almost a decade, it is 3 times that since Steve Hillage and Miquette were on such a jaunt - they must have been children. This November should see the good band Gong lighting up a venue not too very far from your very good self. We hope to see you there.

There are a limited number of tickets at a reduced booking fee for visitors to our site for all the November dates (except Leamington Spa and Exeter who have their own unique booking systems).

April ticket update - The main promoter of the Gong November UK Tour has been sending monthly updates of how the tickets are going. Wow Mancheter! Almost 400 gone there already with London and Edinburgh not far behind.

Gong's Biggest Fan circa 1979?

A recent email reminded me of the strange tale of daevid's encounter with, at least for a brief period, Gong's biggest fan.

This is one of the most mind-blowingly weird anecdotes MAGNET has ever published. Ten years ago, writer Mitch Myers profiled prog-rock legend daevid allen (Soft Machine, Gong), who told us of his strange encounter with actor Sherman Hemsley (aka George Jefferson). Here is the story of Hemsley's obsession with flying teapots and his alleged den of iniquity that housed an LSD lab, a harem of naked girls and crack/freebase depots on every floor….

The moral is perhaps don't be a 'fan' - be a Gongster instead.

Gong Nov UK Tour Dates

The dates for the first Gong UK Tour since 2000 have just been announced. Not only is it the first Gong UK tour for almost a decade, it is 3 times that since Steve Hillage and Miquette were on such a jaunt - they must have been children. So with any luck this November should see the good band Gong lighting up a venue hopefully not too far from your very good self. I do hope to see you there.

There are a limited number of tickets at a reduced booking fee for visitors to our site for all the November dates (except Leamington Spa and Exeter who have their own unique booking system).

Gong 2032 album

Gong are currently working on a brand new forward-looking album called 2032 - Yes that's the year 2032 - the year that the Planet Gong makes full contact with the Planet Earth - and a major new chapter in the continually evolving Gong mythology. The album is due to be released in September 2009.

At the beginning of December last year I had the pleasure of hearing 10 of 14 or 15 'work in progress' tracks, pencil sketches of the direction being embarked upon by the band. I won't to try and describe what I heard, but it seemed to me all the right boxes were being ticked, all the right buttons pushed and all the right questions posed. The pixies are definitely with them and I could perceive through the mists of the future a very timely Gong album indeed taking shape - maybe just the kind of album that we need right now. So onwards to the Summer, September, October, November and 2032.

Space Rock - Record Collector article

The March issue of 'Record Collector' has 'a mega-sized Spacerock/Hawkwind feature' by knowledgeable writer/journalist Ian Abrahams. Thanks to the weeks of scanning by Steve 'Shadowjack' over the past few years the GAS archives have been able to provide some pretty rare vinyl images for the article.

Mike Howlett - Dr Down Under

Mike Howlett is about to become a Doctor. He is currently completing his PHD after which he will be taking up a post as Associate Professor, Head of Sound and Music, at the University of Queensland in Brisbane - just a couple of hours drive from daevid and Gilli in Bryon Bay. Yes a real Professor in Gong, we rejoyce! However this will mean that he is not available for most of the Gong gigs this Summer, but luckily for all of us ace-bass John McKenzie (Steve Hillage Band, Global Village Trucking Co. and more) will be most happily on-board when Mike can't make it.

Storm in Teacup (Woodford Folk Festival QLD 2008)

The beginning of a long email received from daevid just the other day…

Greetings friends!

In response to widespread enquiries I have attached the curious story of Stefanie and I being thrown out of the Woodford Folk Festival in the good old boy Australian state of Queensland at the end of 2008 for unrestrained POETIC use of that universal magick word affectionately known as FUCK.

Apparently it is OK that people of all persuasions use FUCK in all walks of life EXCEPT in a poetic, humorous or imaginative literary performance. Such is life in the deep north of the sixth most retrograde, over regulated and childishly obedient nation in the world. If you imagine that, in Australia, at an apparently alternative folk festival, the festival organisers might have some idea of the popularity and breadth of modern performance poetry and its use of multi media in 2008.

Given that I was partly responsible (see Machine Poets with William Burroughs) for the pioneering of multi media poetry performance in Paris and London ICA in 1962 and in fact represented Australia with the same show at the Paris Biennale of 1967, my treatment by Woodford Festival poetry organiser Shirley Friend seems just a trifle over the top. But then, as you see here, they wouldn't want to know about all that. They only seem to know about BUSH poetry and maybe also a little bit of SLAM poetry might be allowed….So welcome to modern Queensland alternative culture my friends. But dont you worry about that. There are plenty of pumpkin scones!

Love and pataphysical belly laughs,