planet gong archives

daevid allen

Tim Tam Magazine

What about your good old friend Kevin Ayers, are you still in contact with him?

The last time I saw Kevin was in Seattle USA august 2000 where U of Err backed him singing a couple of his golden oldie songs. I think U of Err worried him quite a lot because we were approaching his songs in what was a new way for him. Despite his nervousness his voice sounded like a million dollars - like an enormous vitamin enriched honeycomb or maybe a swarm of gigantic bees & I thought the combination of this with josh pollack's icelandic guitar chords was excellent. He left immediately after the show looking disapproving & I haven't seen him since.

Is there a particular advice William S. Burroughs gave to you?

He gave me plenty of advice both angelic & deviant but the most important advice Bill Burroughs ever gave to me was to: "Keep your bags packed & ready to go at all times." It's so apt in 2005. That's why I would not like to own a house. I believe that in reality the house would own me & I prefer to be a mobile spirit.

I hear that you play also with the godfather of minimal music, Terry Riley. I know he was doing strange experimentations with Chet Baker recordings at the time. Can you tell us something about those period of your life?

When I first met Terry Riley it was 1961 & we were both selling NY Herald Tribunes at night in the Paris jazzclubs round Pigalle & Montparnasse. Terry was my loop guru. He showed me how to make tape loops & played his Chet Baker loop pieces to me & also a wonderful loop composition called MESCALIN MIX. This inspired me to compose THE SWITCH DOCTOR which eventually became a half hour radio program for BBC3, broadcast in 1968. One can hear this on the DEATH OF ROCK & OTHER ENTRANCES VP114CD. I am also releasing an additional collection of tape loop works on BANANAMOON OBSCURA COLLECTORS SERIES #19: LOOPOLOGY, later this year. Thanks to meeting Terry and Lamonte Young. I last saw Terry at his San Francisco piano recital in 1999. I love his sense of humour & our connection remains very warm hearted.

David Icke (writer of 'I am me, I am free') talks about aliens 'dressed up' like human beings. What do you think about this theory?

Quite possible. When I was seven years old, I also was suddenly born afresh, realising that this new self might just have replaced the person I had been until then. On the other hand I have always had a very active imagination. Such beings are also known as 'walk ins' & I am sure we have all encountered more of them than we realise.

With your incredible band University of Errors you sound more free/ believable/ innovative than young generation of rock'n'roll musicians. Do you got a secret you couldn't tell?

Well, flattery will get you over the moon but it won't get you to Planet Gong. Just a daytrip to the observatory & a sixty second glimpse. On the other hand it is always a serious error to flatter somebody & so in my admiration for your excellent error, I will continue.

An example of a free error is: being born. An example of a believable error is: blaming your mother An example of an innovative error is: a man giving birth to a false dog dyed green.

In the beginning was the error
& the error was duality
& the error became life & death
& the error was faultless
for it gave rise to movement
which gave rise to friction
& friction begat the spark
& the spark forgot as it destroyed itself that
in the beginning was the error

I don't compare myself to other musicians. I just respect them for their own original voice. Or not. I like to meditate a lot. It helps me raise my intelligence to the level where most people naturally linger. At moments when I feel a lot of uplifting energy (like when I am in an upwardly mobile escalator) I ask for a vision of the future music. Then, once I have perceived the vision on the big inner screen, I simply proceed through the great forest of magnificent errors with as much energy as I can find until I either manifest the vision… or I totally fuck up. Mostly I fuckup.

It is very draining to be a professional cunt, sorry cult* celebrity. So, when I get tired, I return to Australia to be a little old grandpa by the sea with my tribe all around me in this beautiful place.
(*CULT: too few people who love you too much)

You sang a lot of time in our city (Vicenza in north Italy). I remember 2 beautiful concerts. One in 1991 and one in 1993 in a nightspot/discotheque called Totem. Do you remember something of our city or something about Italy in particular?

What I love about Italy firstly is the Italian people. I love your easy spontaneous passion & playful nature. I love yr crazy sense of drama. I love your tolerance of eccentricity & love of extremes. Then there is your culture & history which of course includes your spectacular architecture & classic art. And your FILM MAKERS! Mama mia!!! Vicenza is a charming city full of pleasurable memories of gigantic opera singing angels with no pants ah yes; & also a beautiful chair.

It follows that I find Italians are physically aesthetically pleasing to me, particularly the women. The breakfasts are equally awakening. And I have to say the BEST wine I have ever tasted, was an Italian wine served to me by a promoter in 1996. I had to challenge him to eclipse my best experience of an Australian wine & he succeeded with his fifth bottle. As I drank I watched dozens of racing motocyclists crashing to their deaths on screens all around me.

Beyond the delicious error of unlimited pleasure & pain I would say that a bit like Venice, Vicenza is full of fascinating ghosts who are trying to communicate important esoteric information, but nobody believes they are there.

Is there something you never had the bravery to try?

Cooking & eating my own penis.

Robert Wyatt said you were one of his heroes. What are/were your heroes?

Erik Satie, Dylan Thomas, Marlene Deitrich, Spike Milligan, Amaji, Duke Ellington, Charlie Mingus, Ada Lovelace, Sonny Rollins, Serge Gainsbourg, Salvador Dali, Mother Teresa, Thelonious Monk, Ghandi, Eric Dolphy, Ray Charles, Ernie Dingo, Robert Wyatt, Cotton Casino, Ornette Coleman, Pip Pyle, Gurdjieff, Rudolph Nurijev, Little Jimmy Young, Thierry Henry.

Do you think about yourself as an Australian or as a citizen of the world (or maybe a citizen of all the possible galaxies)?

I am a man of no country. No nationality. An astral alien.

This feels right for me.

It is difficult to be an Australian because the real Australians are the Aborigines for whom I have total respect. I don't really know why I was born in Australia except maybe to be one of the few who would be happy to give all their land back to them. Most Australians stand on the edge of the land & stare out to sea as if waiting to be rescued. Maybe the land is too ancient & haunted by the horrible crimes of we invading europeans to be spiritually habitable by us.

I love & respect the land & nature around me here in Australia as I would anywhere on this planet but I live here on the surface of things, with my bags packed & ready to go at all times.

What's freedom for you? Is freedom a responsibility or what?

Freedom is a word printed on a paper bag that contains you & inside which you are having an experience of unlimited space & time. Freedom is a prison that you can never escape from.

If I remember well long time ago you use to go out walking with a false dog on the leash (maybe a tin tied up with a string). Do you remember the name of the dog?

Ah I have lived many reincarnations since then. Unfortunately not, therefore, but if that exceptionally docile (& jumpy) dog was here now I would call it TIN TIN of course. I suspect that Tin Tin would not react well to the accusation of being a false dog. He thought he was real.

After all this I have to say you are one of the few Artists that still have a incredible Touch after so many years. I've got a silly question at this point: how do you fell when you realize you are one of the most important pop-rock-space-psychedelic (and a lot of other stuff…) musician of all the time? A big embrace

Important? Oh well I never realised this description because it isnt real for me. To me I am just a little old man with a tooth missing from my smile & a heart that beats in 5/4 time. But I enjoy a warm hug from somebody I like.

p.s. I'm listening Divided alien playbax disk 1… you still sound absolutely fresh after 25 years…

Its all those preservatives in the tea no doubt!
(Or am I genetically modified?)

God bless you, dear daevid

Thank you dear friend.
I'm sure after all my aeons of devilish behaviour I need all the help I can get!
Therefore in return I say LORD GODDESS bless You!!!!