planet gong archives

Gnome again

daevid allen interview (source unknown)

The last time William Burroughs saw Australian poet / singer/ song writer/guitarist Daevid Allen, he told him: "Get a haircut and disappear." Allen made himself scarce, quit the band he founded (Gong), and headed to Deya, Majorca, there to work on the full length book of his series of concept albums, lumped together under the collective title of "Radio Gnome Invisible."

Much misunderstood by critics in its vinyl rendition, Allen hopes that the novel form will better suit his absurdist pataphysical cosmology and help us all to understand the meaning behind his burgeoning cast of characters: pot head pixies, octave doctors, Zero the Hero, Captain Capricorn et al. Absurd it may be, but beneath the frivolity there lies, rest assured, a serious spiritual message.

Allen has been doing heavy research, lately studying comparative religions until his advisors (voices from the spirit world) told him that he should not look to books for his direction.

What else could our man do but form another rock and roll band? He found Euterpe, a drummerless Spanish band playing rather unusual versions of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven and Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick," in the amphitheatre at the bottom of Robert Graves' garden.

Allen, who had "overdosed on solos" while with Gong, was delighted by the effervescent enthusiastic qualities of the band, was surprised to learn that Euterpe were aware of Gong's records to date, and, more or less, took it from there.

An album, "Good Morning." recorded on Allen's four-track Teac was forthcoming. "I've never had such a good time making a record," he admits. "Euterpe have this wonderful, very open, Mediterranean innocence, and adapt to anything so easily. And what especially knocks me out is that when they play there's never as much as a note out of tune."

The arrangements for "Good Morning," he reveals, came together very quickly, with Euterpe - Ana Camps (vocals), Pepe Milan (mandolin, guitars, vocals), Toni Pascual (Moog strings, electric piano, electric guitar, vocals), Toni Ares (acoustic and electric bass) and Toni Tree Fernandez (acoustic and electric guitars, vocals) - all contributing inspired ideas.

The results are, essentially, sunny soft rock, but Allen has not lost his affection for tape loops and things electronic. At present, he and Euterpe are opening concerts with a drone tape that will form part of an album by Gilli Smyth, mother to Allen's numerous offspring. Approximately, the album is going to be called "Mother".

"It's about the crisis of not not knowing whether to be in a band or be a mother, and about mother complexes generally, the whole Oedipus thing. It asks questions like "how would you feel if your mother was a prostitute? and "how would you feel if your mother was a witch? Like, how would these things affect mother love? And the whole strange shadow world that forms the difference between mother love and sexual love.

"And mostly these ideas appear as poems by Gilli backed up with sound collage … including parts of this 45 minute slowed down guitar glissando thing that I did…"