daevid allenJaime Gonzalo, Ruta 66
Hello from Planet 66. How's life goin' on in Planet Gong?
Alive and throbbing with orgainc techno and partying rebels, avoiding tax and defying free market fascism.
Nowadays your headquarter seems to be in Australia. I interviewed you back in 1976 and your feelings towards Oz were of bitter disapointment. In fact you said that you'll never be back. However in the mid 80s something changed your mind. What it was?
That will be covered in Gong Dreaming 5. Briefly though I can say I went back to my source, died and rebirthed. On the 8/8/87 I received the new vision and went back into action one octave higher. Techno illuminated the path. Nowadays I return to Oz for Xmas each year to be with my children, most of whom live there.
Gong is back again after a 6 year hiatus. In your opinion, which are the commercial possibilities the band does have to survive in or to today's music bizz. Do you trust in old fans loyalty or Gong 2000 also wants to appeal younger audiences?
Don't forget Pierre Moerlen captained the good ship in my absence, with skill and technical excellence. The myth carried equally with Planet Gong space punk Stonehenge psychedelia and Gilli's Mother Gong, a worthy vehicle for the Wimmins' movement. When I returned I raised the stakes on the spiritual level. Whether they were the older original fans or those in their teens and twenties, they are drawn to the Gong family simply because they feel they are part of it.
How does it work Gong as enterprise? Do you have acountants, lawyers, manager, etc.? Are you still operating as a commune?
We use floating anarchy. It is loosely based on the Grateful Dead biz model, but we are a much smaller and simpler and anti corporate and anti establishment 'cottage industry'. Anyway, Gong is now a circle of bands around the fulcrum of the classic Gong band. We are a virtual commune in psyberspace. We live everywhere.Are you still in touch with the Octave Doctors? Do you think that those quality of intense love they infused on you is still valid for a society much more loveless than the 70s one?
I connect with the Octave Doctors daily. But how would you describe 'Love'? What I define as love is the life force of creativity. In this context, who cares about the values of temporal / emotional social fashions?
Besides chemical stuff, which were the sources of inspiration in the making of Gong's philosophy.
For me. meditation. Firstly - you listen inwardly and hear what you are supposed to materialize - then you play it / say it. Food, drugs, air, love are tools of life. The rules of alchemy are yours to (re)discover.
Would you say Planet Gong never exists if british customs let you in when flying back from France after a tour with Soft Machine?
Perhaps in a parallel way this story is working its way to completion now…
How were your relationship with the Softs, being older than they and more or less a father figure?
I was big daddy beatnik trailblazer so they had to 'kill me' to move on.
Was the visa problem the only reason to break up with them so overnightly?
No, we were all huge egos in permanent collision. It had to blow.
Could you trace a short psychological profile of Ayers, Wyatt and Ratledge?
No. It would not do them justice, they merit more serious treatment. Ask me when I'm 75.
Also, thanks to the segregation from Soft Machine you ended down in Paris. How do you recall May of 68? Did we missed much the ones that weren't there then? Did the revolts reached some goal?
Read 'Gong Dreaming Book 1' for the ideal description. It was a perfect political wave in a choppy sea. Surfers will understand my words.
A cultural and spiritual revolution was one of the ideals you keeped from May 68 and one of Gong's main aims? Is this still available in the materialistic, mundane and agnostic year 2000?
It happened and happens still. Sexual revolt, feminism, world music, techno party scene, virtual reality, eco awareness, new age spirit… etc. It's all en route. It's all happening. But if that's how you see 2000 AD, maybe your eyes describe theselves.
I know, I know…"it's all much too serious to be serious about", but to use absurdity at present time as an ideal shield seems a bit frivolous. Wouldn't be wiser to use something which bring some light, some sense, into the absurd world we live in?
Absurdity is an aesthetic filter which leaves only the Gong tribe engaged. No time to deal with those whose path lies elsewhere.
Let's talk about drugs. Nowadays you ill-advise the use of them as method to obtain the telepot contact effects, this is enlarge the mind…why?
Drugs are a quick tourist trip to a place you will reach anyway by hard life school. It's a repayable overdraft. Temporary but fascinating.
In the past, drugs played a fundamental role in the making of Gong's music. "You", for example, was a record made off druggy improvisations. Do we have to understand there's no place for experiments once you grow up?
If growing up means losing innocence, wonder, spontaneity, creative excitement, then I would call it dying down. Drugs are a tool. Know thy dose.
Much of the decisions that signaled decisive moments of your life - your musical quest, the creation of Gong, to leave Gong - seem to be made under pyscotropic enlightment…
Would they have happenened without acid? Would it have rained if the sky was bue? Possibly…
Between you and me… the former vision where you glimpsed Planet Gong in 1966, wasn't just a private joke soaked in lager, hash and acid?
No hash, no lager, no kidding. This was a defining spiritual awakening. It was timing, simultaneity, destiny. It was real for me.
Instead of mind-expanding substances now you rely more on meditation to reach a similar physical and spiritual level… could you describe some of the experiences you go thru while meditating?
This is not advisable, better to tread your own path & describe your own experiences.
What remain from Pataphysics in today's daevid allen thinking?
The science of the absurd deflates itself by farting forcefully and becomes the University of Errors.
In Gong's cosmology there are gods, God Cell, and heroes, Zero. Wouldn't be the world, any world, much better without gods, heroes and other nietzschian idols?
Gods/Heros - individuals who break limiting orthodoxies and burst thru to new levels in advance of their tribe will always be vital to social evolution. Where the existential model is cellular circular or spiral-like , rather than pyramid-like, then probably this model is more easily enjoyed in the current philosophical climate. Maybe truth continuously reinvents itself.
In many aspects Gong encapsulates a religion. It has its myths and rites, it asks for faith, promises santity in seventh heaven… Does humankind really need religion? Haven't been enough such big pests as christianity and islam…?
Organised culture based religions are for those who find safety in numbers. This invites war. However the religious experience is a mystery that can release an individual from the combat between either:or. Meanwhile you can find that Gong point to a possible non material multi dimensional spontaneous religion symbolised by conscious individuality blending in an invisible temple. Anyway, how would you find an invisible temple? Here's a clue. Maybe some kind of profound religious experience would be a basic entrance requirement.
What do I have to do to experience the Banana Nirvana, the everlasting orgasm (sexual, I suppose)
At other level, Gong can be perceived as a political entity, a people's band of subliminal agit-pro. What king of changes have your politics gone vthru from the 60's to now.
Quantum physics / Mandelbrot / Rebirthing / Psyberspace… these all influence our attitude to control mediums. A living body politic breathes with every change of social consciusness, but cannot always successfully pause to taste its own tongue. We seek new models of organisation by inter-acting them out amongst ourselves at the cutting edge of our conscious practicality. What we are discovering is not yet fully named or even seen. A political egg.
Which was your perception of Spain when you lived here, how do you remember Deyá and Barcelona?
I was a Spaniard at the time of the Conquistadores. This time round I felt Mallorca to be my 'spiritual' home. I understood the earth and stone. I became an olive tree. Though I walked in a freckled Aussie body, my soul was born in Deya and these valleys will hold magic and reverence in my heart forever.
Do you remember what kind of "provocative statements" did Gilly Smith to a Barcelona's tabloid?
Liberated anti-Franco hallucina-genius sexy feminism.
During your spanish season you produced an album to Pau Riba, "Licors", and worked too with other local guy whose name eludes me right now… What did you think of Riba and those albums?
To me Pau was the Bob Dylan of the Catalan culture. His father was a legend. I was proud and honoured to produce him and meet the tribe.
What happened with the book about the world of Gong, kinda selfbiographical, you were working on at the time you stepped in Barcelona? Is "Gong Dreaming Part 1" part of that book? How can I get a copy?
Gong dreaming 1 is the first part of my story. It covers the period from my seed vision in Deya through to the birth of Gong. Gong Dreaming 2, out in the Summer, deals with the Gong community in France and the UK and stops when I leave Gong. Gong Dreaming 3 is the period from solo albums in Deya to the US experience with Bill Laswell and material and my return to Australia. Sorry, but Gong Dreaming 1 is almost out of print. It has sold surprisingly quickly worldwide. Try Gong Websight www.planetgong.co.uk. Let me remind you that Gong Dreaming 2 is being designed in May for publication in the Summer. Anyone who buys one in advance gets a personal drawing and dedication in their own copy.
Barcelona was also the place where you tried to reform Gong with local musicians… tell me the story, please.
A triumph of lunar caprice over music biz mafia that will be fun to describe in Gong Dreaming 3.
Anyway the best thing you did in Spain was "Good Morning", the album with Euterpe… to me is better than many Gong albums, really laid back, a memory from a time, the idealistic 70's, and a place, the hippy dream of Baleareic Islands, that don't exist anymore. What's your feeling 'bout this album?
It is for me an eternal flashback of sweet memories from what really was the happiest time my life. So far.
You almost ceased to exist too with your following (?) album, "daevid allen N'Existe Pas". You recorded it after the breaking up with Gilli and it contains your most disenchanted observations. Is this your "dark" album?
N'Existe Pas is 'Art as a mirror'. This is the essential shadow dive. The long dark teatime of the soul. Most of Gong, 'Good Morning' and 'Now is the Happiest Time of Your Life' I see as 'Art as Transformer'.
I have empty holes with your solo discography. Could you drop me a complete list of your solo recordings?
Done. But just in case we forgot something, check with above mentioned websight.
As far as I know you're still working as solo act. How's goin'on…?
My solo shows change a lot. They are my Wizard's kitchen of experimental songlines. Right now I am drawing from album collage / alchemical beats / ambient chillout / industrial noise / glissando/solo guitar / performance poetry / acoustic / electric songs / stories.
There will be further Gong releases, archive or new stuff?
Gong is in a peak of activity. To get the inside view check the website, become a member of GAS.
How would you dissuade those who think of you as an elder hippy still freaking out?… or the freak out is already over for all of us?
That's your stuff Amigo… Love it or hate it, you are entrely free to enjoy yr own reaction. I'm going out to get the best Margarita I ever tasted. Hasta las huevos! Looking forward to touring Spain with University of Errors in June/July… Hope to talk more then…
love from daevid allen