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 the USA & 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 University of Errors opening for Guru & Zero. It was an unusual experience. Makoto & 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 San Francisco. 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 [ayahuasca] 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 (Allen): A drummer/DJ with reggae & jazz & hip hop roots age 28
- Dharma: A gentleman Indonesian bassist age 27
- Josh (Pollock): An Indy grunge guitarist age 39
- Makoto: A Japanese psychedelic freakout style guitarist age 38
- Cotton: A female Japanese synthesizer & singer age 33
- Gilli Smyth: A female space whisper queen age unreleased
- daevid allen: 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.
- There is no bass part on more than half the tracks.
- There is no saxophone on any of the tracks.
- There are three lead guitarists.
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!