planet gong archives

daevid allen

Filippo, part 2 (via email)

What about your collaboration with early Soft Machine? What was your role?

Original hard drive. Unruly elder. Bad boy beatnik poet. Starving naked hysterical visionary. Occult management. Reluctant guitarist.

How could you describe 'success'?

First comes the vision. Then you must materialize it. Success is when you have experienced (however briefly) grounding your vision

What do you remember the most of the '80s?

As 80's began i was militant propagandist for my own private anti-cannabis campaign.

I looked everywhere for musicians who didn't smoke dope. Couldn't find any.

went to new york. Bill laswell & the guys from material hated stoned people. Toured france with new york gong but it felt like i was working for a bank.

one night we stayed at an exquisite 16c castle surrounded by luscious lawns. This freaked them out completely. I found bill shivering in a corner. "Its 2pm & all the shops are shut" he drawled trying to do a humphrey bogart.

o well he was still young. They all grew up in concrete jungle. Had never seen total countryside. They called magnificent forests: "the shrubbery". Raw earth made them twitchy.

all they wanted was a 'white city' hamburger & some castrated coffee.

they were sick kids with a wicked sense of humour.

i had some great gigs with this band. A tragedy we didn't play italy. There was a public riot chez les bretons. A bomb in marseille.

paris bataclan was cool.

but i was bored so back in nyc i left the band & made studio tape loop cut-ups bill burroughs style. This is where sampling came from.

i played solo cross usa with the tapeloops & called it "divided alien playbax band". (Bananamoon obscura cds #8 & 9 on voiceprint records.)

then i burned out & returned to australia.

What was your relation with new wave and all that stuff?

The first us gong gig was giorgio gomelski's 1978 zu manifestival in nyc & he invited thurston moore & a whole bunch of no wave bands like: theoretical girls, floating garbage & the static…

And what about no-wave bands like MATERIAL, 4 example?

I first played with material at the zu manifestival & they then became new york gong.

but i liked them best playing with fred frith at the mudd club. An inspired combination!

Talking about Art: what still scandalize people today?

Anything with fear. Terrorism. Dangerous sex if extreme enough. But its pretty easy when all you need to show people is an erect penis. especially if it is a magnificent 67 year old penis!

What's your moral?

Truth telling over etiquet on a salad of abstract ethics & pataphysical serenity.

Someone see Julian Cope as one of your most important followers.

Ahh my dear mr someone.

i wonder if he asked mr cope about that?

but if it is so, then perhaps we are all just part of a human chain. A bucket brigade. An evolving species.

Do you prefer to stay unique or are you happy to have followers?

Maybe we are like a procession of wizards. First i follow the one ahead, then someone follows me.

or we are like elephants trotting along, holding the tail in front with our trunk.

or a chain of interlocked sodomites passing on the protein + gonnorhea…

or perhaps a rainbow serpent called tesla.

If someone gives you the possibility to see in the future what do you like to find in it?

A huge mirror & a cup of tea

What's the most beautiful side of being an artist?

The realisation that you have not put yourself here to worry about money or material possessions. That you can put your love of spirit life above everything & share it with your tribe of usual suspects.

What do you like to do when you're not playing music?

Like many of us, you will find me dreaming, eating, praying, farting, meditating, drawing, sneezing, painting, shouting performance poetry, rapping, scatting, 'chanting in voices', yodelling in the supermarket, houseworking, fathering, grandfathering, mothering, empathising, brooding, criticising, truth-telling, lovemaking, lie-concealing, shock producing, self pitying, avoiding dentist appointments & being a drama queen. Drop in for a cuppa tea sometime.

What's your approach to musical technique?

  1. Avoidance.
  2. Minimalism.
  3. If all else fails i just try to be the inspired amateur.

When does music become noise?

When you resist it.

Where is the limit?

When you reach your own aesthetic boundaries.

but don't forget there is always that little doorway.

if your ego gets small enough you can find yourself back inside the sound where you fully understand the music language again.

It's a beautiful yet dangerous world full of unlimited textures & sensations. Some people never come back.

What do you think of some 'industrial jam' from groups like Throbbing Gristle?

Its all about the type of spirit power that is invoked & the way it rushes through the band as a whole.

suddenly you hear everything like a spirit voice that thrills right through your everything.

anyway genesis (p.Orridge) is a friend & artist i really love & respect. He cuts up his body to be true to his art. This is total dedication. He is a saint.

Why did you left gong after 'you'? [sic]

i wanted to stop smoking dope & find a band who didn't smoke.

but i stayed on in band until my spirit guides blocked me from going on to the stage at a gig in cheltenham uk. It was the end of the cycle but

the trilogy was finished so job done.

first it was a relief. Then it was emptiness.

Did you never think about 'complied' audience with commercial stuff?

Sorry but "complied" in this setting is not an english word.

if by this you mean:

"did i ever deliberately try to make mass-appeal commercial music?"

then i would give the same answer as idi amin when asked if he was a dictator.

"not completely…"