planet gong archives

daevid allen

1962-63 : Daevid Allen Trio
Daevid Allen, Robert Wyatt, Hugh Hopper
1963 May-June : Daevid Allen Quartet
Daevid Allen, Robert Wyatt?, Hugh Hopper, Mike Ratledge, Pete Brown, Mike Horowitz
1966 May-October : Mister Head
Daevid Allen, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Larry Nolan
October 1966 - September 1967 : Soft Machine
Daevid Allen, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Mike Ratledge; recorded several demos at De Lane Lea Studios in April 1967 with Georgio Gomelsky in the producer's chair (later released as At the Beginning (Charly CR 300 014), Love Makes Sweet Music (Polydor 56151). After playing a season at St Tropez with the Picasso play 'Desir Attrape par le Queue' (Desire Caught by the Tail), the band returned to England. Daevid was knocked back by a visa technicality and the customs traditional dislike of long haired pop stars.
1968 : Gong
1976-77 : Euterpe
Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Tony Tree Fernandez, Anna Camps, Toni Pascual, Toni Ares, Pepsi Milan : toured France in July, followed by a Virgin Radio tour of the UK. (Good Morning : Virgin V2054)
1977 : Catalunatics
Daevid Allen, Sam Gopal, Juan Biblioni, Pepsi Milan, Vera Blum, Marianne Oberascher, Xavier Riba, Victor Periano
1977 : Mother
Daevid Allen, Sam Gopal, Juan Biblioni, Pepsi Milan, Vera Blum, Gilli Smyth, Rafael Aguilo, Patrick Meadows, Toni Pascual
1977 : Planet Gong
Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Keith Dobson (Kif-Kif), Suze da Bluze, Anno Wombat, Steffe Lewry (Steffy Sharpstrings), Keith Bailey, Gavin da Blitz : Live Floating Anarchy '77, Opium for the People
1978-79 : New York Gong
Daevid Allen, George Bishop, Bill Laswell, Michael Beinhorn, Fred Maher, Dennis Weise, Michael Lawrence : first "Gong" gig in the USA (in New York), at Georgio Gomelsky's 'Zu Manifestival'; Spring 1979 : Daevid Allen, Don E Davis, Bill Laswell?, Michael Beinhorn, Fred Maher, Bill Bacon, Cliff Cultreri, Mark Kramer, Stu Martin : tour america in an old school bus; Autumn 1979 : Daevid Allen, Don E Davis, Michael Beinhorn, Fred Maher, Bill Bacon, Cliff Cultreri, Mark Kramer, George Cartwright, Gary Windo : About Time, Much Too Old, Jungle Windo(w), Live in the USA
1980 : n'existe pas
Daevid Allen, George Bishop, Pepsi Milan, Chris Cutler, Angel Aduana, Ronald Walthen, Ronald Dust
1981 : Ex
Don't Stop (Shanghai HAI202)
1986-88 : Invisible Opera Company of Tibet, OZ
1989-91 : Gongmaision
April-September 1989 : Daevid Allen, Wandana Bruce, Graham Clark, Didier Malherbe, Shyamal Maitra, Harry Williamson : Did the first April tour and Glastonbury Festival appearance as the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet UK, renamed to Gongmaison, long UK tour, two trips to France; October-December 1989 : Daevid Allen, Graham Clark, Didier Malherbe, Shyamal Maitra, Harry Williamson, Elliett Mackrell, Jaki Dankworth, Jenni Rodger : Gongmaison; January 1990 - December 1991 : Daevid Allen, Graham Clark, Didier Malherbe, Shyamal Maitra, Keith Bailey : Strong and Streamin' cassette tape from UK and French tour
1991-92 : Magick Brothers
Daevid Allen, Graham Clark, Mark Robson : Live at the Witchwood (Voiceprint), Live in the New World (GAS tape MB1)
1992 : Les Poissons d'Or Perdu
Daevid Allen, Graham Clark, Shyamal Maitra : toured northern France and Belgium by train
1998-20xx : University of Errors
2003 February : <you'N'gong>
Daevid Allen, Kawabata Makoto, Cotton Casino, Gilli Smyth, Josh Pollock, Dharmawan Bradbridge, Orlando Allen : existed for one month, one gig in Australia, some recording (Chinese year of the Black Sheep)
2003 October : Acid Mothers Gong
Daevid Allen, Kawabata Makoto, Cotton Casino, Gilli Smyth, Josh Pollock : Royal Festival Hall, London, 21/10/2003


born Melbourne, Australia, to Walter and Helen Allen.

Debuts as a child radio actor on 3DB (a commercial radio station in Melbourne). Trains as a cadet executive and interior decorator where he meets David Tolley (of whom more later). Attends national Art Gallery School whilst studying electric guitar with Bruce Clark and acting in a review at Now Theatre in Flinders Street. Joins ABC TV as a scene-painter. Trains as a TV graphics artist and Studio Floor assistant.


Moves to London, meets 14 year old Robert Wyatt while lodging with the Wyatt family. Suspected of being a 'bad influence' in Robert's life, introducing him to 'beat' sensibilities.

Paris return

Meets and jams with George Niedorf in Paris Clubs, and brings him back to England to teach Robert to play drums.

Marries art groupie Kay Calvert and moves to Paris to live on the houseboat he's just bought from Gilli Smyth.

Meets Terry Riley and experiments with tape-loops. Performs with William Burroughs as a part of the 'Machine Poets' exhibition at the ICA and the American centre, and at the Paris Bienniale '63. Writes and performs in dramatisations of 'The Ticket That Exploded' in Paris at La Boheme.


Jams free jazz with the Daevid Allen Trio, early recordings released as 'Live '63 (Voiceprint VP122). Other recordings are made of these early bands but are sadly lost in the mists of time, as are the legendary 'Musical Theatre of the Pacific Rim' recordings Daevid made whilst busking the length of Europe with painter/musician John Howley in 1964 (see later). Daevid turned down the chance to work on 'Chappaqua' in its favour.


Whilst writing poetry in Deya (Book of Chloroforms), Daevid is commissioned to make a tape work/collage for the BBC Radiophonic workshop, broadcast in 1967 as 'Switch Doctor'.

Easter 1966

Daevid has a vision which is to change his and many other people's lives. He sees his whole life mapped out before him and has an experience that puts him in touch with a brotherly inner voice, and a past life in which he had played Atlantlantean Temple Music, spawning the entire mythology around which the Gong band is later based. Within hours of this vision, Wes Brunson - a millionaire cowboy spectacle dealer from Oklahoma who had taken far too much acid - puts up the money to form Soft Machine. The concept of playing anything as remotely fashionable as 'pop' music is a radical step - Daevid says he would never have considered playing pop songs if he hadn't heard the Yardbirds' "Still I'm Sad".

Inspired by watching Syd Barrett at early Pink Floyd gigs, Daevid perfects the art of Glissando guitar, stroking the strings with something like a scalpel handle and processing the sound through an echo box and other effects. Combining Daevid's glissando guitar and Gilli's space whisper in a loose line-up that is to form the prototype for Gong, they begin to realise the concept of total space music that they had been hearing in their heads.


In the aftermath of the Paris riots Daevid and Gilli flee France pursued by police who consider them to be insurgents. They return to Deya, narrowly avoiding expulsion from Franco's Spain due to a provocative interview Gilli did with the Barcelona tabloids.

Once the heat dies down they briefly smuggle themselves back to France with the Banana Moon Band, to fulfil commitments they had with the 'Living Theatre'. Banana Moon record demos ('Je ne fume pas des Bananes') for Pathe Marconi and Barclay, but turn down record deals on the grounds that the terms are too old-fashioned.

Daevid and Gilli spend two months in Deya, working on material that becomes "Magic Brother". There they meet Didier Malherbe who is living in a goatherd's cave on the side of a mountain in Robert Graves' back garden, which had a miniature reproduction amphitheatre next door in which they staged poetry readings involving local poets and musicians. Gilli writes 'The Mind Book' at this time.

Film-maker Jerome Laperrousaz gives them the excuse they need for their official return to France, inviting them to make a series of soundtrack compositions. Gilli and Daevid buy a ruined mill house with an adjoining plot of land in Montaulieu with money that Daevid had been given by his parents. One of their visitors that summer is swashbuckling entrepreneur Jean Karakos, who had started an anti-music biz record company called BYG. He advances the money to record 'Magic Brother', and 'Banana Moon' before hearing a single note - the latter purportedly recorded after several cases of Fosters and 'loads of black hash'.


Daevid wastes no time in pulling together a team of virtuoso musicians to form the first proper Gong band. They enlist the services of Bob Benamou as manager alongside Karakos, who also manages Magma, Gong's shadow or flip-side in the French alternative scene. Karakos sets up the Amougies Jazz Festival where Gong play their first gig. Billed as the first-ever French festival, it was actually held on the last weekend of October, ten miles across the border in Belgium not far from the site of the Battle of Waterloo. Laperrousaz gives them free use of his haunted Normandy Chateau - built by Marcel Grateau, inventor of hair curling tongs - where Gong live, write and rehearse.


Daevid leaves Gong in April '75. Having experienced a wall of force which prevents him from going an stage, he hides in the bushes most of the night and then tries to hitchhike home in the rain still wearing medieval jesters costume and running stage make-up. Fortunately a van full of hippies who'd just been to the gig take pity and give him a lift.

Daevid and Gilli again retire to Deya and team up with the Majorcan group Euterpe, that Daevid discovered playing versions of 'Stairway to Heaven' and 'Thick as a Brick' alongside their own songs.

Virgin Records offers Daevid a solo contract with which he buys his own studio equipment and sets up the Banana Moon Observatory in Deya. Virgin release one very obscure promo single 'It's the Time of Yr Life' (Virgin VS123). Daevid gives up smoking dope and cigarettes.

With 'Tubular Bells' falling out of the charts Virgin plunges into crisis and drops Daevid sharpish. He then re-connects with Jean Luc Young (formerly of BYG) and his new Charly Records company.

At this time Daevid also produces 'Licors' by Pau Riba (Movieplay 171178/9) and 'Brossa d'ahir' by Pep Laguarda and 'Tapineria' (Ocre BOL003?). With the lucrative advances from Charly Records, Daevid begins recording 'Now is the Happiest Time of Your Life'.


Mike Howlett gives Daevid a tape of a squat punk band from London which formed at Watchfield Free Festival earlier in the year. They had begun to make a name for themselves, attracting people like Reebop Quaku Baah (ex Traffic) and Arthur Brown to jam sessions. They provide Daevid and Gilli with a riotous four bar monotone crash course in anarchy in action!

Floating Anarchy '77

The band give up all chemical and herbal stimulants at Daevid's insistance, and plunge into a free tour of Engand. No fees are charged and the hat is passed round at every gig. Daevid collapses on the eve of the second tour, returns to Deya and gets into excessive partying and drinking, bringing the entire structure of his life down upon his head. This is the last straw in their relationship for Gilli, who splits back to England to get on with her own career.


Amongst all this chaos Daevid manages to record "n'existe pas" (Charly CRL5015), one of his finest and most poignant albums - a radical plunge away from anything remotely fashionable. The only favourable reaction it got was from reviewers in the United States, so off to the colonies it was...


Michael Bloom:

People started coming around to Zu House, especially musicians. I introduced Michael Beinhorn, at the time a 15 year old kid desperate to get his hands on a synthesizer (he soon bought a Micromoog from Joe Gallivan), and he in turn brought his friend Fred Maher, an aspiring drummer. (Giorgio) Gomelsky found this bass player who'd been doing some work with an ethnic dance troupe, and who claimed to have been playing with Ornette Coleman; this was Bill Laswell. They started rehearsing in the Zu basement, trying to learn Art Bears tunes and evolving their concept of urban funk with mutant excrescences. When Daevid came back to start rehearsing, they became his New York Gong band, accompanying him not only at the Manifestival but on his 1979 American tour. Somewhere along the line, they started recording as Material, but they were New York Gong first. (For a while they were calling themselves Zu Band. They went through several guitar players; the guy who did most of the Gong activity was one Cliff Cultreri, subsequently an exec with Relativity Records, working with guitar 'heroes' from Joe Satriani to Adrian Legg.)

Tina Curran, also appeared on stage with New York Gong in costume as part of an ad hoc pixie auxiliary, several adults and children traipsing about in green outfits.

New York Gong played a long set comprising most of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, introduced by the relevant Camembert Electrique material. I think the band was Allen, Smyth, Cutler, Laswell, Cultreri, and a saxophonist named George Bishop; maybe Beinhorn made some Moonweed noises too, and there might have been another drum kit for Maher. They were almost done when, at about 2 o'clock in the morning, the police showed up and insisted that it was time to shut up. ("Cops at the door," indeed!) The cops pulled the plug, and Gomelsky urged all the drummers to come out on stage for a climactic percussion jam on the rhythm of 'The Isle of Everywhere'.

Oh yeah, I also remember Beinhorn telling me how much fun he had wandering around the neighborhood with Daevid to spray bright green Gong graffiti. Afterwards, Daevid made the 'n'existe pas'! album with Cutler (performing under the name Brian Damage) and Bishop, then came back in 1979 to tour America with New York Gong, by then composed of Laswell, Beinhorn, Maher and Cultreri. Part of his idea then was that the spirit of Gong should manifest in a multiplicity of bands all at once: New York Gong, Here and Now Gong, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, whatever Hillage wanted to do, the meditation circle in Mallorca, and anything that might be going on around him in Australia. Other than the Zu performance, however, this was the first appearance of Gong in America-- and the last with a band, until the Magick Brothers toured in 1993, or whenever it was.

Harry Williamson

It was very like Ken Kesey, The bus was Graffitti'd head to foot with slogans and filled with loads of musicians stumbling bleary-eyed into the snow. People would arrive at the gigs wearing conical knitted hats with bobbles on the top, all the right colours and funny curly toed shoes - out of the wood work, as it were. And suddenly here was Gong but it was nothing like the Gong they'd got to know, it was much more brash with trendy New York session musicians forming the backing band.

'Alien in New York' (Charly CYZ101) is recorded around this time in Jamaica, financed by the black American soap star and devote Gong fan from California, George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley). [Magnet Magazine]

Winter 1979-1980

Daevid did Divided Alien Clockworks Band solo tour - with Elisabeth Middleton as support - using cut - up backing tapes from New York Gong album - released as 'Playbax '80' (Charly CR30218) with accompanying Video. It combined all the tricks Daevid had learned over the years and represents the peak of this musically experimental period - A willfully obscure but bizarrely brilliant masterpiece

The Astral Alien Years


Daevid returns to his native Australia, and re-establishes old contacts with family and friends, finding more than the "blue eyed emptiness" that had prompted him to leave the country over two decades earlier. The immediate factors facing him when he arrives are the death of his father and the fact that money had completely dried up. Daevid starts driving mini-cabs for a living and forms EX with David Tolley (an old friend from Cadet Executive days), and begins hanging out with Thom Kelly and the Melbourne Street Poets, performing in venues such as Cafe Jammin' and Metro Poetry Cafe.


Daevid returns briefly to England for a few poetry dates. As he gets into the cab to catch the plane back home, Jean-Luc Young presents him with contracts that have to be urgently signed before he leaves. On his way to the airport Daevid reads the contracts properly and realises he has just signed away everything to Jean-Luc and Charly Records!

Daevid returns to Mullumbimby and sets up Studio in Banana shed.


Daevid presenting an FM Radio show from Byron Bay- Radio Brainwave - 'The Death of Rock' (Shanghai HAI201) is released from New York era - Other recordings from this period were included on 'The Australian Years' (Voiceprint VP101) which involves Bart Willoughby, Young singer and didj player with Australian Aboriginal Band NFA - He also appears on the 'C Drone' and The Invisible Opera CD.

Daevid adopts the name Ja-am and records 'The Seven Drones' (Voiceprint VP102) - a series of ambient meditational pieces and discovers the wonders of rebirthing.


Daevid spends time in a kind of spiritual retreat doing Rebirthing then Mystery School Trainings. The only musical venture at this time is jamming with the Peace Training Dreamtime Band which also involved one Mark Robson - a kind of precursor to The Invisible Opera Company of Tibet, and Kangaroo Moon. Daevid enjoys hanging out at 'Hakim's', an octagonal jam space cum recording studio which was part of the Narada community somewhere in the Australian Rainforest near where he lived in Mullumbimby. There he crosses paths with a young(ish) Gong fan by the name of Russell Hibbs. Hibbs has just shacked up in the Rainforest, growing his own veggies, doing a degree in Oriental Therapies, and starting to write songs of his own. They make an immediate and deep connection. Daevid suggests they work together using his old Tascam reel-to-reel tape recorders from Deya days which he has installed in the new Bananamoon Observatory. Before long they pull in Evan Heaven, a cosmic bespangled busker complete with flashing lights and a home-made guitar, and drummer Neil Cairney...

1991 : Magick Brothers

The acoustic periods in Daevid's life have always coincided with periods of spiritual self initiation and renewal. Of course these themes are encoded in the music, so that listeners might access similar changes through osmosis. Named after his first album in 1969, Magick Brothers is the freshest and most human of his material to date. Little remains to be said, except that in this band he can be who he really is. He is in his true element.

Graham met Daevid in London in 1988 at the last concert of Invisible Opera Company of Tibet, UK, and instantly became the first instrumentalist to be recruited for Gongmaison. Graham's virtuoso technique and heartfelt approach are a vital element in all of Daevid's recent music.

Mark, though born in Sussex, UK, spent much time in Australia where he played with the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet, OZ and most notably with his own band, Kangaroo Moon.