Daevid Allen

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Daevid Allen
Gong-Zappa-Tel-Aviv-2009-10-31-13.jpg
Allen performing with Gong at The Zappa Club in Tel Aviv, 2009
Background information
Birth nameChristopher David Allen
Also known asDivided Alien, Bert Camembert, Dingo Virgin, Ja Am
Born(1938-01-13)13 January 1938
Melbourne, Australia
Died13 March 2015(2015-03-13) (aged 77)
Australia
Genres Psychedelic rock, space rock, jazz rock, psychedelic folk, performance poetry
Occupation(s)Musician
InstrumentsGuitar
Years active1960–2015
Associated acts Gong, Soft Machine
Website daevidallen.com

Christopher David Allen (13 January 1938 – 13 March 2015), known professionally as Daevid Allen, sometimes credited as Divided Alien, was an Australian poet, guitarist, singer, composer and performance artist. He was co-founder of the psychedelic rock groups Soft Machine (in the UK, 1966) and Gong (in France, 1967). [1] [2] [3]

Contents

Biography

Early years

In 1960, inspired by the Beat Generation writers he had discovered while working in a Melbourne bookshop, [4] Allen travelled to Paris, where he stayed at the Beat Hotel, moving into a room recently vacated by Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky. While selling the International Herald Tribune around Le Chat Qui Pêche and the Latin Quarter, he met Terry Riley and also gained free access to the jazz clubs in the area. [5]

In 1961 Allen travelled to England and rented a room at Lydden, near Dover, where he soon began to look for work as a musician. He first replied to a newspaper advertisement for a guitar player to join Dover-based group the Rolling Stones (no connection with the later famous band of that name) who had lost singer/guitarist Neil Landon, but did not join them. After meeting up with William S. Burroughs, and inspired by philosophies of Sun Ra, he formed free jazz outfit the Daevid Allen Trio ('Daevid' having been adopted as an affectation of David), which included his landlord's son, 16-year-old Robert Wyatt. They performed at Burroughs' theatre pieces based on the novel The Ticket That Exploded . In 1966, together with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge, they formed the band Soft Machine, the name having come from the Burroughs novel The Soft Machine . Ayers and Wyatt had previously played in Wilde Flowers. [5]

Following a tour of Europe in August 1967, Allen was refused re-entry to the UK because he had overstayed his visa on a prior visit. He returned to Paris where he formed Gong along with his partner Gilli Smyth. They also formed the Bananamoon Band. Both projects were cut short as the two took part in the 1968 Paris protests which swept the city, handing out teddy bears to the police and reciting poetry in pidgin French. Allen admitted that he was scorned by the other protesters for being a beatnik. Fleeing the police, they made their way to Deià, Mallorca, where they had lived for a time in 1966 and had met the poet Robert Graves, a friend of Robert Wyatt's family.

Returning to Paris in August 1969, they were offered the chance to make an album by the BYG Actuel label and so formed a new Gong band and recorded Magick Brother , released in March 1970. [5]

1970s

In 1971 Allen recorded and released his first solo album, Banana Moon (sometimes spelled Bananamoon) for BYG Actuel. It did not feature his original 1968 Bananamoon Band rhythm section, but did feature Robert Wyatt, Gilli Smyth, Gary Wright, Pip Pyle, Maggie Bell and many others. Gong's lineup stabilized with Pip Pyle (drums) joining Daevid Allen (guitar & vocals), Gilli Smyth (vocals), Christian Tritch (bass) and Didier Malherbe (woodwinds). This group performed on the soundtrack to the film Continental Circus, poet Dashiell Hedayat's Obsolete and Gong's nominal second studio album, Camembert Electrique .

In October, Allen, Smyth and the rest of Gong moved into an abandoned 12-room hunting lodge called Pavilion du Hay, near Voisines and Sens, 120 km south-east Paris. They would be based there until early 1974. [6] In late 1972 they were joined by electronic musician Tim Blake. Later Steve Hillage and Pierre Moerlen also joined to record the Radio Gnome Invisible" trilogy which consisted of Flying Teapot , Angel's Egg and You . [5] The band signed with Virgin Records in 1973 after BYG Records went bankrupt during recording of Flying Teapot at Richard Branson's Manor Studio. Gong was Branson's second Virgin release after Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells . According to Allen, in his book Gong Dreaming 2, the idea of the flying teapot was influenced by Russell's teapot.

Allen performing in Hyde Park, London, 1974 DaevidAllen1974.jpg
Allen performing in Hyde Park, London, 1974

Allen left Gong in April 1975 and went on to record three more solo albums, Good Morning (1976), Now Is the Happiest Time of Your Life (1977) and N'existe pas! (1979). During these years, he lived in a hippie collective in Deià and contributed to the production of The Book of Am, an album by the band Can am des puig, loaning them a four-track TEAC reel-to-reel tape recorder.

In late May 1977, Allen performed and recorded as Planet Gong, then reformed the "Radio Gnome Trilogy" version of the group for a one-off show at the Hippodrome, Paris, France. The show, the first Gong Reunion, featured Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers in their first live appearance as part of Mike Howlett's band Strontium 90, before Summers joined both Copeland and Sting in The Police. An edited version of the Gong concert was released later in 1977 as the double live album Gong est Mort, Vive Gong .

In 1978 Allen moved to New York at the invitation of his old producer Giorgio Gomelsky, and was teamed up with the nascent Material to form the punk-influenced New York Gong. They toured the U.S. in the Spring of 1979, playing the classic Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, and later recorded the studio album About Time .

1980s and 1990s

In 1981 Allen returned to Australia, taking up residence in Byron Bay where he worked on performance pieces and poetry. He performed with performance artist David Tolley as Ex (not to be confused with the Dutch punk band The Ex), using tape loops and drum machines.

In 1989 he formed a new Gong band, Gongmaison, which toured and recorded a self-titled album. Reverting to the name Gong, they released Shapeshifter in 1992, which continued the classic Gong mythology of Zero the Hero.

A second Gong Reunion event took place in London in 1994 and the "classic" lineup toured between 1996 and 2001, releasing a new studio album, Zero to Infinity in 2000.

In 1996 he made a guest appearance on the track "Chant of the Twisted Mystics" on the album "Escape From Awkward Caucasia" by Byron Bay psychedelic / space rock band Freaks of Nature.

In 1998 Allen co-founded the San Francisco-based psychedelic rock band University of Errors and the U.K. based jazz rock band Brainville 3 , going on to record several studio and live albums with each. He also recorded with Spirits Burning, a space rock supergroup whose members include Alan Davey, Bridget Wishart, Karl E. H. Seigfried, and Simon House. Some of Daevid Allen's most experimental work was with the long running Los Angeles noise band Big City Orchestra, including live performances and more than a half dozen CD releases.

Other projects around this time included the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet and the Magick Brothers. [5]

2000s

Allen performing with Gong at Zafferana, Sicily, 2009 Daevid Allen con i Gong in concerto (Zafferana - Sicilia) 31luglio09.JPG
Allen performing with Gong at Zafferana, Sicily, 2009

A project with his son, Orlando, and members of Acid Mothers Temple led to Acid Mothers Gong and the 2004 album Acid Motherhood, as well as an improvisation outfit entitled Guru And Zero.

In November 2006 a Gong Family Unconvention was held in Amsterdam, which included a reunion of many former Gong members from the "classic" early 70s line-up. Further Gong concerts were held in London in June 2008, featuring many of the same line-up, including Allen himself, Gilli Smyth, Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy, and Mike Howlett.

In November 2007, Allen held a series of concerts in Brazil, with a branch of Gong, which was called Daevid Allen and Gong Global Family (Allen on vocals and guitar, Josh Pollock on guitar, megaphone and percussion; Fred Barley on drums and percussion, Fabio Golfetti on guitar, Gabriel Costa on bass, Marcelo Ringel on flute and tenor saxophone), along with his other band University of Errors (Allen, Pollock, Michael Clare and Barley). The concerts took place in São Paulo on 21 and 22 November and São Carlos on 24 November. These musicians, minus Marcelo, recorded some new songs at studio Mosh, in São Paulo. The São Paulo concert of 21 November was then released only as a DVD (UK only) and as a CD by Voiceprint Records.

The 2009 album 2032 featured the band's drummer since 1999, Chris Taylor, formerly of Roachford and Soul II Soul. Allen's son Orlando replaced Taylor in 2012.

In 2013, in Devon, England, Allen performed solo material and poetry at an event entitled "Up Close with Daevid Allen". He also joined The Invisible Opera Company of Tibet (UK) on stage to perform songs, including the Gong song "Tried So Hard" – a live recording of which appeared on the band's single, [7] along with a studio version with Allen on vocals.

His final studio album with Gong, I See You , produced by his son Orlando, was released in November 2014.

The same year, he worked on Book of Intxixu, the second Can am des puig album, and New Start by Belgian musician Will Z., a tribute album to Deià musicians, the first posthumous album of Daevid Allen and Carmeta Mansilla, singer of Can am des puig.

Illness and death

On 12 June 2014, Allen underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his neck. It was determined to be cancerous and he subsequently underwent radiation therapy. In a statement, released on 5 February 2015, Allen wrote that the cancer had returned to his neck and also spread to his lungs, and that he was "not interested in endless surgical operations". He was "given approximately six months to live". [8] [9]

On 13 March 2015, his son, Orlando Monday Allen, announced through Facebook that Daevid Allen had died. [10] The Planet Gong website announced that Allen had died in Australia, at 1.05pm, "surrounded by his boys". [11] Allen had four sons, two with Gilli Smyth and two with other mothers.

Reviewing Allen's life, The Daily Telegraph said:

Allen revelled in being the court jester of hippie rock and never lost his enthusiasm for the transcendent power of the psychedelic experience. He once remarked: "Psychedelia for me is a code for that profound spiritual experience where there is a direct link to the gods." That he never attained the riches and fame of many of his contemporaries did not concern him. [5]

Discography

With Gong

See the Gong discography

Solo & with others

1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2010s

Filmography

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

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Gong are an English-French progressive rock band that incorporates elements of jazz and space rock into their musical style. The group was formed in Paris in 1967 by Australian musician Daevid Allen and English vocalist Gilli Smyth. Band members have included Didier Malherbe, Pip Pyle, Steve Hillage, Mike Howlett, Pierre Moerlen, Bill Laswell and Theo Travis. Others who have played on stage with Gong include Don Cherry, Chris Cutler, Bill Bruford, Brian Davison, Dave Stewart and Tatsuya Yoshida.

Steve Hillage British guitarist

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<i>Camembert Electrique</i> 1971 studio album by Gong

Camembert Electrique is the second studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, recorded and originally released in 1971 on the French BYG Actuel label. The album was recorded at Château d'Hérouville near Paris, France, produced by Pierre Lattès and engineered by Gilles Salle. Jean Karakos was executive producer.

<i>Continental Circus</i> (album) 1972 soundtrack album by Gong

Continental Circus is the original soundtrack album of the 1972 French documentary film of the same name directed by Jérôme Laperrousaz. Released in April 1972 on Philips Records, the album is credited to "Gong avec Daevid Allen" and was recorded and mixed in two days in the spring of 1971, a few months before the band's 1971 album Camembert Electrique was made. Laperrousaz was a close friend and supporter of Allen and his partner Gilli Smyth and the film, starring Jack Findlay and Giacomo Agostini, is about motorcycle road racing.

<i>You</i> (Gong album) 1974 studio album by Daevid Allens Gong

You is the fifth studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, released by Virgin Records in October 1974. It is the last album by Daevid Allen's iteration of the group until 1992's Shapeshifter. Recorded at Virgin's Manor Studios in Oxfordshire, England, side 1 was mixed at Pye Studios, Marble Arch, London, while side 2 was mixed at The Manor. It was produced by Simon Heyworth and Gong "under the universal influence of C.O.I.T., the Compagnie d'Opera Invisible de Thibet", and also engineered by Heyworth.

<i>Gong Live Etc.</i> 1977 live album by Gong

Gong Live Etc. is a live album by Gong, recorded between 1973 and 1975 and originally released in 1977. It is a set of live recordings, studio out-takes and BBC session recordings spanning the years 1973 to 1975.

<i>Flying Teapot</i> (album) 1973 studio album by Gong

Flying Teapot is the third studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, originally released by Virgin Records in May 1973. It was the second entry in the Virgin catalogue (V2002) and was released on the same day as the first, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (V2001). It was re-issued later in the year, with different cover art, by BYG Actuel in France and Japan. Recorded at Virgin's Manor Studios, in Oxfordshire, England, it was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky and engineered by "Simon Sandwitch 2 aided by Tom Zen".

<i>Acid Mothers Gong Live Tokyo</i> 2006 live album by Gong (as "Acid Mothers Gong")

Acid Mothers Gong Live Tokyo is a live album by Acid Mothers Gong, a band featuring members of Gong and Acid Mothers Temple, recorded during April 2004 at the Doors Club in Tokyo, but not released until 2006 by Voiceprint, catalogue number VP382CD. No producer was credited, but mixing was carried out by guitarist Kawabata Makoto and drummer Yoshida Tatsuya and editing was by Daevid Allen.

<i>Banana Moon</i> 1971 studio album by Daevid Allen

Banana Moon is the debut solo album by Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist and Gong leader Daevid Allen, released in July 1971 on the French BYG Actuel label. The album is sometimes referred to as Bananamoon and it was also reissued as a Gong album.

<i>Magick Brother</i> 1970 studio album by Gong

Magick Brother is the debut studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, recorded in Paris during September and October 1969 and released in March 1970 on the French BYG Actuel label.

<i>2032</i> (album) 2009 studio album by Gong

2032 is the twelfth studio album by Gong, released on 21 September 2009.

<i>Zero to Infinity</i> 2000 studio album by Gong

Zero to Infinity (02∞) is the tenth studio album by Gong, released in 2000. Like their 1992 album Shapeshifter, it continues the Gong mythology, the central part of which was formed with the Radio Gnome Trilogy of albums, comprising Flying Teapot in 1973, followed by Angel's Egg, 1973, and You in 1974.

<i>Shapeshifter</i> (Gong album) 1992 studio album by Daevid Allens Gong

Shapeshifter is the ninth studio album released under the name Gong and the sixth album by the Daevid Allen version of the group. It was released in 1992. It is the first proper album from Daevid Allen's Gong since You from 1974. It is the first album from the original group without founding member Gilli Smyth. Didier Malherbe and Allen are the only two returning performers from the previous album. Pip Pyle, who performed on Continental Circus and Camembert Electrique also returns.

<i>Acid Motherhood</i> 2004 studio album by Gong

Acid Motherhood is the eleventh studio album by Gong, released in 2004. The line-up on this album consists of a merger of latter-day Gong, with members of University of Errors, and Acid Mothers Temple. It is the only Gong studio album not to include saxophone and to include three guitarists.

<i>I See You</i> (Gong album) 2014 studio album by Gong

I See You is the 13th studio album by Gong, released on November 10, 2014.

References

  1. McFarlane, 1999, "'Daevid Allen' entry". Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 26 February 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. "Domain Names Australia". Whiteroom.com.au. Archived from the original on 2 November 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  3. Allen, Daevid. Gong Dreaming 1 (SAF Publishing) ISBN   0-946719-82-9
  4. "Austlit Biography".
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Daevid Allen, prog-rock innovator - obituary". The Telegraph. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  6. Allen, Daevid. Gong Dreaming 2. SAF Publishing, 2009, pgs.52, 67, 291.
  7. "Planet Gong Bazaar: Vinyl: The Invisible Opera Co. of Tibet with daevid allen: Tried So Hard". Planetgong.co.uk. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  8. "Gong founder Daevid Allen has six months to live". Theguardian. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  9. "Current News". Planetgong.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  10. "Gong founder Daevid Allen has died, aged 77". The Guardian . 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  11. "Current News". Planet Gong. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  12. "Gilli Smyth, Daevid Allen & Orlando Allen – I Am Your Egg". discogs.com. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  13. "Gilli Smyth, Daevid and Orlando Allen - I Am Your Egg". planetgong.co.uk. Retrieved 18 March 2015.