planet gong archives

orlando allen

Patrizia, Drum Club Magazine IT 2014-08-ish

Having both parents musicians did you ever feel you could do anything but playing an instrument yourself?

It was very natural because we were always surrounded by instruments and music. I remember sneaking into the studio when I was 5 and playing the drums and guitar.

Why did you decide to play drums and not guitar as your father?

The drums chose me - it was natural. Although I do play guitar and sing, yet prefer mostly to be in the engine room, this is where another side of me comes alive. This is where the Flamedog was born.

Did you take formal drumming lessons?

Yes from the age of 13. Both with a private jazz teacher, and at Box Hill College of Music at Melbourne, Australia. I then went on tour for the next decade, which allowed all my formal training a way to find its own voice and character. I believe that once one has sufficient technique and playing ability, performing live and direct is the best training.

What were the best aspects of growing up in a non-traditional family as yours?

The freedom to be oneself and follow one's passion and dreams.

As a kid did you use to follow the long Gong tours around the world?

Yes and no. Yet I have lived and gone to school as a kid in Spain, UK, America, and Australia due to my parents travelling with their music.

The beginning of Gong are strongly connect to psychedelia… Do you like this musical style yourself?

Umm… Yes. LSD is a fantastic experience and also where I first saw, felt, and had amazing psychedelic visuals. I did not have this experience until I was in my 20's, because as a child we were kept away from any drug taking.

The entry of Steve Hillage in the band brought a lot of innovation. What do you think about him as a musician?

He is a superb musician and producer. I have a lot of respect for all the original members of Gong as each of them went on to inspire generations of musicians, Djs and artists.

In 1974 your mother decided to quit the band and shortly after your father did the same. As far as you know, did they ever regret this decision?

Maybe yet they could bring me and Tali up in Deia, Majorca, and it brought about some classic Daevid and Gilli albums such as Now's the Happiest Time of Your Life and Mother.

In 1977 after Expresso Gong split up. In your opinion which were the main reasons for this?

There were a lot of politics over the split between a no-lyric, more super high level jazz rock style and the original Gong… so I can only imagine the reasons for this.

The band reunited shortly after with a show in Paris. Do you have any memories of that?


In 1978 your mother released a solo album called Mother; did she play it to you at that time?

Yes, of course

In 1991-92 Gong recorded Radio Gnome part IV. In your opinion compared to the first [albums] how much had the band grown up musically with this one?

Not sure

Acid Motherhood in 2004 is your first album with the band. What memories have you got of the releasing of this [album]?

Well I have absolute respect for the Acid Motherhood Tribe. It has been great to be their guests in Japan, they are our psychedelic Family. For me this album was very hard due to a fall out between mainly me and Daevid. So at the time of release, I wasn't actually present.

Was it your father or your mother to ask you to join the band?

I have worked with both of them over the years. I started with Mothergong doing a tour of Japan in 1998. I then went on to write, engineer, and produce various songs and albums for both of them.

In terms of creativity do you feel you had any disadvantages in being a son of art?

There are so many different perspectives, so I cant really comment because music is all I know. As far as having famous psychedelic rock star parents, yes, there have been many disadvantages. Being "the son of" can be a tough call… yet I have to say after 20 years in the music industry there have been many advantages as well.

What kind of advice do your parents give to you before any concert?


To you, what did you personally bring into Gong music?

Into Gong I bring my history, my heart and my musical rhythm and sonic soul. The Flamedog style of drummings is more about power grooves and feels; I love to dance myself so I drum for the dancer and bring the funk and groove to the mix.

What is your equipment? (Please name sticks and everything else in detail…)

   22" X 18" KICK
   16" X 16" FLOOR
   14" X 14" FLOOR
   12" X 9" RACK
   10" X 8" RACK
   12"x3.5" Custom made Australian Rosewood and White Birch Stave Snare


ZILDJIAN Avedis, K series and custom Australian made cymbals:
   1 X 14"  HI-HAT*  Zildjan K series
   1 X 10"  SPLASH - custom
   1 X 12"  SPLASH -K series
   1 X 16"  CRASH -custom
   1 X 18"  CHINA -Avedis
   1 X 14"  CHINA- custom
   1 X 20"  RIDE - Avedis
   1 X 22"  RIDE- K series
Both Rides placed around the hihat with 5 Boom stands for cymbals.


I like the Dennis Chambers signature sticks because they are well balanced, agile yet extremely tough; they last the test of rigorous tours.

Do you feel you are a part of the so-called Gong Global Family?

If I may Quote Mark Shimmin who recently commented on a post I made about the Gong Global Family - he writes
"as a long-term appreciator of Gong in all it's forms I really enjoyed your [Facebook] post today. I was especially pleased to see that you acknowledged Pierre Moerlen's Gong as part of the Gong family. There are so many amazing and diverse manifestations of the Gong vibe - some psychedelic, instrumental, jazz, electronic, Celtic, reggae. Gong is much more than a band, more than genre, and continues to defy creativity-limiting categorizations and definitions."
I feel honored to be a small part of Gong in all its forms over the past and future decades.

Which of drummers who played in the band over the years did you appreciate the most and why?

Gong has had many drummers - Bill Bruford, Chris Cutler, and Pierre Moerlen to name a few. Two drummers stand out to me the most: Pierre Moerlin and Pip Pyle. Pierre inspired me deeply with his work on one of my favorite jazz/rock albums to date - Gazeuse, with special guest Allan Holdsworth. And it was a great pleasure to do a Gong tour of Japan with him in 1998, where I was playing conga and percussion. Pip Pyle inspired me mostly through his work on Camambert Electrique, and Hatfield and the North. I really enjoy his willingness to push the edges of the free jazz and progressive rock styles. Their work with Gong speaks for itself.

In 2009 Steve Hillage was back in the band after many years to release 2032. How did your mother and father react to this?

They all dreamed this together… and there were some fantastic shows and video clips from this reunion.

The new Gong album 'I See You' is about to be released. Can you give us any anticipation for it?

This album was finished during a time of unexpected crisis so it has a power of its own. I feel honoured to have mixed and produced with Dave Sturt, Daevid Allen, and the band. This deluxe vinyl set and CD release was mastered by Udi Koomran who worked some dazzling final touches to this sonic Gong feast. It has original members Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth in great form. The Gong band consists of Legendary Spiral K Octoflash (Kavus Torabi) on crunch skyth guitars, our Brazilian contingent Mr Fabulo Golfcart (Fabio Golfetti) on winged guitars and glissando, The Eastwind on saxos and flutes, Mr UniCorn Strut on Bass and Invisible Operas, and myself the Flamedog Alien on drums and vocals. The band is firing on all cylinders, with snippets of Gong history intermingled throughout the album. There is a CD with an extra track, and double album deluxe vinyl set which includes 3 sides of audio and one side visual. The release date is Monday October the 27th, 2014 on Snapper/Madfish UK. This date was set randomly by the label and happens to be 45 years to the day of the first Gong performance.