Steve appears on a CD that was released at the end of June in the States, 'Light My Fire - A Classic Rock Salute To The Doors', on Cleopatra Record's Purple Pyramid label. The only track I've heard is the one Steve contributed to, 'The Soft Parade' which is very good indeed, full of prime Hillage guitarisms and with Graham Bonnet handling the vocals in good Lizard King style. If you get a chance cop an earful.
Stonehenge Festival Campaign CD
Invisibles Opera Company, Here & Now, Hawklords, more…
Very nice looking Stonehenge Festival Campaign double CD produced to aid the Stonehenge Festival Campaign. It features 2 tracks from the Invisible Opera Co. of Tibet, and tracks from the 1984 Festival - 2 from Here & Now, a couple from the Hawklords, one from Uncke Nik Turner, and as they say, …many more. Good looking, very reasonably priced and focused on a cause.
daevid allen update : good news
On 1st October daevid's course of radiotherapy was completed. During the last phase of treatment it was decided to double the level of radiation and double the number of sessions to two per day. Consequently daevid is frail as could possibly be, far below shattered, very quiet and as Turiya emailed, "very introverted", he has also lost a lot of weight - but most importantly the cancer is gone. Now comes the slow journey back to being a healthy, happy, independent 77 year old.
When he decided to embrace the radiotherapy course of action daevid said he would commit himself completely and utterly for the duration, and do whatever 'they' said needed to do done. Then, when it was all over, he would commit himself totally to naturopathic pathways back to wellness - as well as the daevid pictured above in 2012.
David Tolley 1936-2014
daevid allen collaborator passes
A bit of sad news that came my way was the passing of daevid's friend David Tolley, with whom he recorded the album 'Ex-Don't Stop' on Shanghai Records, released in 1983. David actually died at the end of February after a long illness. Normally I would have had the news from daevid, but you know - circumstances. David Tolley was a couple of years older than daevid and I seem to remember that they had known each other a long time, since at least Melbourne in the 1950's.
David Tolley reveals an a rich, interesting and creative life. "Well done that man" as daevid would enthusiastically say, "Home at last!".
Mike Howlett, Steve Cassidy, Jerry Bewley
Trio added to London event
The trio of Mike Howlett, Steve Cassidy and fabulous, one/sometime Kangaroo Moon guitarist Jerry Bewley have been added to the Gong 2014 'I See You' album launch event line-up on Fri 28th November. Mike will also be guesting with Gong 2014 on a couple of songs.
The photograph of Mike was taken this Summer outside the Pavilion Du Hay near Sens, France - Gong's communal abode in the early 70's and where the 'Angels Egg' album was conjured, incubated, recorded and hatched.
The album launch events are getting groovier than highly grooved things, all very trés Gongish - Gnomes came, Huckelberry fickel tickel my fingold, heh, Boy Blue left his horn stuffin under the settee, and brought his mellotrone, and freaked them all out. Oh what a mindblast. Jacky Jill, knees up Mother Brodie. Oh what a joy of a trickley howathere… - and that kind of thing. It's a true Gong event people, how often do they/can they happen?
This will be a true Gong event transending the eras, the albums, the ears and anything else you care to think of - how often do they happen? It has the full blessing of daevid, Orlando and Gilli, whose presence will be much missed, but I'm sure felt.
Gong Album launch Party
Thursday 20th November - Manchester, Club Academy - Gong 2014 with special guests, Here & Now and Graham Clark and Mark Robson (The Magick Twins).
Friday 28th November - London, The Garage - Gong 2014 with special guest Steve Hillage, plus a trio of Mike Howlett, Steve Cassidy and Jerry Bewley, and an Andy Bole solo set.
Dave Sturt, Ian East, Fabio Golfetti, Kavus Torabi and a mystery guest drummer, with the full blessings of our Absent Alien Aussie Allens - Orlando and daevid, are hosting two very special events with invited guests to launch the new Gong album, 'I See You'. Visual illumination from the one and only Jasper Johns in full-on Flute Salad Lightshow mode at both events.
Just when all was a deep glooming gig-wise as the planned Gong dates UK and European dates spluttered, flickered and went out one by one like light-bulbs blowing on an overloaded Christmas Tree circuit - there is a light that won't go out - and it's called Gong and now have two unique events to look forward to in November.
Come and fan the flames, a grand musical adventure awaits, this could be quite someting - and not a big white pixie suit in sight, unless you plan on dressing up. In fact we could all go as Bert Camembert (I'm Bert Camemberticus, No I'm Bert Camemberticus, No I'm…, etc) in homage to daevid, who by the time of the gigs should be well down recouperation road after his radiation therapy.
Gong I See You titles, timings, credits
The revised release date for the new Gong studio album is now Monday 10th November.
Everything is now in the hands of the record label - daevid's artwork, all the credits, lyrics, notes and writings, plus a host of photographs both live shots and from a photoshoot in Brazil, and of course the LP and CD audio masters. Snapper's artwork team have all the elements to design an appealing and edifying package, one that will illuminate and enhance some great Gong music - I'm sure they'll do just that.
This year and particularly this month it has been impossible to miss the marking of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Many of us will have family links with that conflict, but I doubt any of us will have our relatives on film talking in depth of their experiences of the war.
The father of Mother Gong's Harry Williamson can be found on the BBC website recalling life on the Western Front and the Christmas Truce of 1914 in a 30 minute interview recorded in 1963 when Harry was 13 - fascinating stuff : The Great War Interviews.
daevid allen out of Gong tour / UK Tour cancelled
daevid allen will not be playing with Gong this year. He needs much more of time to recover from the series of operations he had in June and his month in hospital. He will need a period of recooperation after his course of radiation therapy which is on going now and lasts until the end of September.
Consequently the UK tour and most of the European dates have now been cancelled. It is probably best that you check directly with any venue hosting a Gong concert which you were hoping to attend to find out what the situation is and for any ticket refunds.
It is with regret and sadness that Gong must announce the cancellation of the UK tour this coming Autumn. Following daevid's illness we had hoped to make the tour viable in some way without him. This has ultimately proved impossible. Apologies to all who looked forward, as we did, to the shows. We hope to see you all again before long. - Love and flying teapots, Gong
System 7 - Steps
Step one, you find a girl you love…
There's the old Military Two-step, Three steps to Heaven of course, and the slightly too well known amongst certain friends and relations 12-step Programme. Here now revealed are '5 Steps to System 7'. These are seminal points on Steve and Miquette's journey to sonic blissdom (with us hitching a ride). Some you will know, others may be new to you. It seems sort of logical that there should actually be 7 steps to System 7 - but maybe a couple of them rightly remain a little more personal.
Steve Hillage guested live on the N@ked Short Club on Monday, June 23rd, between 9pm-10:30pm on Resonance 104.4FM (London). He talked about the new 'Out' album and played some of the tracks. Other topics included the System7vsGong live mashup plans that happened at the following weekend's Glastonbury Festival. I'm sure there is a listen again facility somewhere on Resonance FM.
System 7 vs demi‑Gong and a Magick Bro
Steve Hillage fuses Gong, System 7 and Magick
When Gong's much-anticipated headline slot at The Glade stage on Friday 27th June had to be cancelled due to daevid allen's health problems, Steve Hillage, who was to guest with Gong that night, was asked to step in with System 7. Due to the circumstances Steve wants to do something uniquely special - the obvious choice was to invite some of the current Gong musicians to guest with him and partner Miquette Giraudy.
Together they plan to incorporate a few well known Gong instrumental tracks into a rocking System 7 set and bring it all to a rousing climax of rock/techno fusion. Joining them will be current Gong members Dave Sturt (bass and ambient sounds) and Ian East (flute and sax) plus Magick Brother and long-time daevid allen collaborator Graham Clark (violin). And sending a wave of positive Glastonbury Love and healing vibes to daevid.
So we aim to vibe up the ailing alien allen with the positive, energising vibration of music - with the System 7, demi-Gong, Magick Brother combi, which will mix and match in new, mysterious and powerful ways, raise the holy cheeses high and send their essence around the globe - always our intent - but now with added laser-like focus.
IMPORTANT GONG ANNOUNCEMENT
"We regret to announce that Gong must withdraw from this year's June and July Festival dates as daevid allen needs an operation. Please focus healing thoughts in his direction."
The Magick Brother dates will not now happen as a trio with daevid. We hope that some may still take place as Mark Robson and Graham Clark duo gigs, similar to their already booked KozFest appearance.
I understand that the Yumi and Us Japanese gigs will continue with Yumi Hara and Chris Cutler, but not daevid.
New Gong Album
The crazy joyful and eternally renewable world of Gong returns with a sparkling new studio album entitled 'I See You' due for release on 27th October 2014 on Madfish.
daevid allen & merry pranksters are back with a new album and a potent and colourful line-up that includes Cardiacs guitarist Kavus Torabi, 21st Century asteroid guitar man Fabio Golfetti, virtuoso hornsman Ian East 'wind' on saxoflutes, plus sinuous bassist and sonic manipulator Dave Sturt trading sparks with the flamedog Orlando Allen's fiery drumming and with the serene Gilli Smyth guesting.
Dynamic, unexpected, whimsical, brilliant chops and huge fun.
System 7 Out
There's a new System 7 double CD entitled Out. It's a super, definitive gathering of tracks and mixes that in the main have previously only been available on 12" vinyl or as downloads. The release date was 7th July, the pleasingly appropriate 7.7.14, and you can order it now.
Rovo : magic band - magic sounds
One of the joys of the year so far has undoubtedly been the discovery of the music of Rovo, thanks to Steve and Miquette and the amazing Phoenix Rising Tour.
Rovo produce a stunning mixture of the types of music and sounds many of us hold dear - but in an excitingly new way. Thunderous jamming, psychedelic space-rock, an adventurous combination of electronica and dynamic percussive creativity and joyous, uplifting melodies exuberantly demand our attention on each of their albums. If they were based in the UK or Europe they'd be huge.
Due to the strength of the Yen and the fact that Japanese releases have held a high price (lower-priced downloads sales, which pull down the price of physical sales, are still quite small in Japan compared with other territories) this all means that Japanese DVD and CD sales are some of the most expensive in the world.
So having this window of opportunity to offer the remaining Rovo tour stock at reasonable price (have a look at what they cost on Amazon!) is a one off pleasure. But there is a very imited supply on all of the Rovo releases, some in single figures.
with guests Steve Hillage, Tim Blake, Didier Malherbe
Cyrille Verdeaux has just released a new Clearlight album, 'Impressionist Symphony', with Steve Hillage, Tim Blake and Didier Malherbe featuring among the guests. I've not heard the whole album yet but Cyrille's 'Clearlight 2014 Teaser' certainly puts me in mind of the glory of the 1975 'Clearlight Symphony' album which also featured our Gongsters as guests.
Gong in Brazil : fabulous photographs
Classy looking gig review of Gong's recent Brazilian trip. Naturally it's all in Portuguese, but that's easily surmountable these days with the power of the interweb.
guitar wrangling for fun and occasionally profit
Here's a cool interview with Josh Pollock from All About Jazz in which he chats about all sorts of aspects of his rich and varied musical life which naturally includes the University of Errors and playing with daevid… When he [daevid] is inspired, I have heard him play some of the most astounding, mind-blowing guitar I've ever heard from anyone, anywhere (though I have also heard him sound like an orangutang wondering what the hell this thing is hanging from his neck….
Happy Birthday Mr Allen
To-day, 13th January… Christopher David Allen is 76
daevid allen is either 3 or 300
opinion remains divided
but… then again the divided alien remains, so that's all fine then
The physical being has reached his Trombone-age (or wind driven, manually operated, pitch approximator as it's known by the rest of the brass section).
Although one aspect of his personalities has been known to 'post' none of his beings to date actually reads forums or social media pages - he probably wouldn't be who we think he is - if he did.
I am however happy to let you know on his behalf and in lieu of any 'regular' social media postings, that he does have weather where he is, would love to see you at his next concert and would be delighted if you found time to listen to any of his works. I can also assure you that he has really liked/hated something recently - but it wasn't on the net.
When I spoke to him this morning (the evening in Australia) convivial commemorations had commenced with continuing carousing until the wee small hours a certainty - the musical gathering sounded in full swing in Byron Bay. Oh yeh - Gilli is very cool as well.
Hopefully there will be many opportunities to see, hear, meet and experience daevid for real in 2014. If they come your way - don't ignore them - unlike so much that passes before our eyes and ears - THEY will be memorable.
On this day next year he will entering his Sunset Strip-age, then it's onwards to his Shellac-age, etc.
Shindig Space Rock issue
I wish I was a Spaceman in Fireball XL5…
The new issue of Shindig Magazine is a Space Rock special which features Gong, Here & Now, Hawkwind, uncle Tom Gagarin and all - it looks very stylish and hits the streets on January 16th.
Shindig's notifying email also had the info that ole Captain Dave Brock is on Stuart Macconie's BBC Radio 6 'Freak Zone' this Sunday, 12th January.
Rovo and System 7
…only the best will do
Before Christmas, while he and Miquette were in the Far East, Steve Hillage asked me to send 'Phoenix Rising' CDs to John Newsham and Jasper Johns. This was great news as it meant that both were up for the Rovo and System 7 March dates.
In John Newsham there couldn't be a better Front of House engineer. He first worked with the Steve Hillage Band in the 70's and was the most genial of sound-gurus at the Gong Amsterdam Unconvention alongside Venux DeLuxe and David Id. He designed the wondrous Funktion One PA, and has worked with the very best including a long association with Pink Floyd. John is an ultimate sonic adventurer so naturally the dance world has always been perfect fit as well. You may have encountered his surround-sound trance set-up at a Festival.
Jasper is THE go-to Gong lighting/projection wizard who you will have experienced, been immersed within and transported by if you have seen Gong in the past few years. What he can summon forth with his hypnotizer lighting system is quite incredible - a true psychedelic quester and visionary.
For the Hillage guitar-rich, synthy, Prog/dance/jam band extravaganza we head towards all of this is brilliant news. The Rovo and System 7 dates continue to develop into a very special Spring break - their like will not be experienced again - which is exactly how it should be.
Gong 2014 : Class of 2014
…what awaits down the road and around the bend?
GONG has never stopped shape shifting in it's 46 years of touring - from the origins in the Parisian revolutions of '68, through the Virgin years to it's newest incarnation. Unorthodox and unpredictable it continues to defy show-biz gravity, most forms of logic, every fad and fashion, and pretty much anything else you care to conjure up. Weeeellll, it is GONG.
DAEVID ALLEN at 75 carries the banner for the original vibe with the irresistible
ORLANDO ALLEN on drums, while new guitarist
KAVUS TORABI ex Cardiacs leads the charge into the future. Add to this the virtuoso
IAN EAST 'WIND' on horns and flutes, the sexy sinuous bass lines of
DAVE STURT (the sonic manipulator), and the soaring psychedelic guitar lines of Brazilian
FABIO GOLFETTI and you have a 21st Century supergong
If you miss it, it will miss you!
In 2014 we can also look forward to a new album of total new Gongness which is nearing completion, the working titles of which include, 'In Your Dreams' and 'I See You'. No-one outside the band and a couple of studio chaps, not even me, has heard a peep of this baby yet - naturally they are all highly enthused. What will it be?
Mes amis, Mesdames, Messieurs - encore une fois?
Dash it all - Why not!
on-line for the first time!
How can one expect to cut a meaningful swathe through this complicated life without a Here & Now t-shirt? Whether worn as a simple, focused statement of active intent or detached Zen-like equanimity you can't really go wrong.
For years, until the return of Andy Roid, if you wanted a Here & Now shirt you had to wait for a gig to come along (usually in the UK) and hope they'd remembered to bring some. Shirts did not feature high on the H&N agenda.
Now for the first time, and in collaboration with the band themselves, everyone around the circle has a chance to pre-order a spanking new, crisp Here & Now t-shirt.
Tim Hawthorn - Bandcamp pages
…digital barditry and more
Some more bandcamp-erage this time from singer - songwriter, Tim Hawthorn (Tim Hall, as was) - Elder Bard of Ynys Witrin, 'Silver on the Tree' mainstay, 'Avalonian Free State Choir' chorister, UK Invisible Opera founding member, a Silver Twiglet, and lead archetype (you guess which one) in 'Tim Hall and The Archetypes', and sometime busker of this parish.