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Kif-Kif le batteur
History of Planet Gong
Unabridged version of a contribution for liner notes of the Here and Now, Gospel of Free retrospective CDs - only a tiny part of which made it into the booklet.
Planet Gong is daevid allen and Gilli Smyth with the Here & Now band. daevid allen and Gilli Smyth were founder members (along with Didier Malherbe) of Gong, which is still going, but now led by Pierre Moerlen and having undergone many changes. The name is now "Gong Espresso". daevid and Gilli have both done solo albums and lived most of the last few years in their small house in the north of Majorca.
The Here & Now band has been going under many line-up guises for 3 or 4 years now, the bulk of the latest line-up being formed by a totally chance jam at Watchfield free festival 1975. Over the last 18 months or so we've lived on and off in a rather small 16 year old bus called the bus who we've all come to know and love and live in. The Here & Now family (that's a better word than band) has played at nearly all the free festivals in the last three years and most other gigs have been free and if not, cheap.
daevid bumped into us by accident(?) one day in that well known capitalist wholefood store on Portobello Road who I won't give the pleasure of naming, and since then we've checked each other out a bit as everybody did a tour of Britain and France together as Planet Gong. Unfortunately even though it was mostly arranged by nice people, it cost money, even then it was always one pound maximum admission (a bit more in France but then we'd less control over the promoters). Also we spent £800 hiring a small P.A. from Tony Andrews (1) which we've subsequently bought half of out of the small profits from the tour, so this time we don't have the expense of hire. Also we sold rights to the single "Opium for the People" and a live album "Floating Anarchy" [also on CD] for a total of £5000 with which we are buying a new bus to live in (we never sleep in hotels, even when the bus broke down for a couple of weeks in France - and that is one reason for a new one - we just used to ask the audience after a gig for somewhere to crash), also some more of the P.A., a little more personal music equipment and a marquee and generator. Then we'll be much more independent for doing our own gigs (free).