Gong pre-tour, 09-2001
The Latest, Brighton, UK
Another email interview, if that's okay! This one is for Brighton entertainments mag, The Latest. The journalist would like your answers back by 10th September please, in order to ensure it goes in the optimum issue in time to preview the Brighton gig. Thanks so much!
Petrina McFarlane, Work Hard PR
From anarcho-fugitive to showcase gigs at the Royal Festival Hall. That's a long, strange journey. Are Gong in danger of becoming respectable?
Great Goddess & Holy Cheeses I hope to hell not!! Nothing would be more dispiriting for me than to be a respectable predictable pedestrian old fart reprocessing the same stale ideas to a bunch of sleepy traditionalist reactionaries indignantly criticizing the slightest variation from the ancient original versions.
There seems to be a sudden interest in the kind of cosmic space rock that Gong have practised for years. Why do you think so many people are listening now? How does it feel to be godfather of a whole genre of music?
Well the rave culture have happily embraced us as their ancient ancestral dreamboner & bloody good on em sez we. But I would sooner be goddessfather or godmother.
How did an Australian end up on the other side of the world in one of Europe's most infamous psychedelic outfits?
I didn't exactly fit in down there at the time & even now I still can't get a gig for love or money in my mumcuntree. When I am in oz I go back to being a single father of my 7yo son Ynys.
When Gong started, there was a sense of social and cultural experimentation that had maybe never existed before. Were you making and breaking rules as you went along? Or did early Gong have influences and musical precedents?
O we were just making it up as we went. Doing wot came naturally…and there was a huge resistance which was inspiring to rebels such as we.
Do you think that a lot of people have misunderstood Gong's surreal humour?
Definitely but then this was an intentional ploy on my behalf to limit our commercial viability so we would last longer. We would never have survived with more commercial success than we had. It almost wiped me out in 1974. But its a delicate tightrope act. You can't do without a certain degree of success of course.
You've talked about taking on the Gaullists in 68, are european governments any different now?
Entirely different kettle of fredfish. Globalization has commodified revolt. Now its a different ballgame as we saw in Italy recently.
What kind of state would the United Republic of Gong be?
Should I tell you this? Why not? The political system on planet Gong loosely resembles what we would call: FLOATING ANARCHY. Nuff said.
Are things generally more repressed and constrained than they were 30 years ago?
Yes in that we are repressed internally by the overwhelm of information and are constrained by our inability to gain an overview. Many seek relief in dumbing down for simplicity's sake.
What will it take to shake people up?
Time, Space & Wisdom.
There's a lot of drug debate at the moment with the Conservative party talking about legalisation of certain illegal substances, which I gather they can't actually do anyway because of UN legislation, and New Labour taking a rather defensive decriminalisation stance in certain parts of the country. What the hell is going on???
What we see from the Bananamoon Observatory is that the US Right Wing Christian coalition wants to wipe out Marijuana use because it de-codes their warped brainwash & has the potential to free up wage slave mentality. It is almost impossible to legally tax because anyone can grow it & hard drugs not only encourage wage slavery but are much more profitable. The US & right wing organizations everywhere are putting huge financial pressures on all governments world wide to repress dope smoking & cultivation to the max.
You've talked about 'huge surge forward in the evolution of music' thanks to the availability of resources. Is this a good time for music?
Yes in that everybody can now create their own music. No in that now there are so many learning curve cds its hard to find the exceptional ones.
What do you hope to achieve with Gong's music?
As always my primary drive is to lift the hearts & hopes of everybody who we play to & send them off with their toenails twinkling!
Thanks very much…
Thanks for being an intelligent & perceptive bridge!