You never blow yr trip forever
March 13, 2015 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Daevid Allen, founder of Soft Machine and Gong, died today at age 77. It's very hard to describe his music - space rock, jazz-rock, prog-rock or some weird combination of all of them, but there was nothing quite like it.

Gong's major work was "The Radio Gnome Triolgy" which "begins on the album Flying Teapot (1973) when a pig-farming Egyptologist called Mista T Being is sold a ‘magick ear ring’ by an ‘antique teapot street vendor & tea label collector’ called Fred the Fish. The ear ring is capable of receiving messages from the Planet Gong via a pirate radio station called Radio Gnome Invisible. Being and Fish head off to the hymnalayas of Tibet (sic) where they meet the ‘great beer yogi’ Banana Ananda in a cave. Ananda tends to chant ‘Banana Nirvana Mañana’ a lot and gets drunk on Foster’s Australian Lager.”

Hmm. Maybe just stick with the music.

Flying Teapot from the album of the same name.

A live version of "I never Glid Before" from the next album, Angel's Egg.

A Sprinkling of Clouds from the 3rd album, You, which was a truly revolutionary track of the mid-70s that forecast much to come in electronic music.

And, from Camembert Electrique, something that probably should stand as his last word - You Can't Kill Me.

"Now you're here...
Then you're gone...
Night and day...
Right and wrong...
You can do what you want
You can do what you want
You can do what you want
You can do what you want..."

Daevid Allen Remembered.
posted by pyramid termite (44 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Third, by The Soft Machine

posted by Going To Maine at 4:55 PM on March 13, 2015

Man, I was just thinking about him recently. Gong is one of my favorite bands of all time, ever since a friend of mine gave me a cassette of Angel's Egg & You in High School in the late 1970's (which I still have!).

When I went off to college at UC Berkeley in 1980, I saw him do a poetry reading at Rasputin's wearing, if I recall correctly, some sort of strange spacesuit-inspired outfit. Told some interesting stories about playing in Gong too.

A multicolored . for Daevid...
posted by foonly at 4:58 PM on March 13, 2015


And that live footage of "I Never Glid Before" is just amazing.

I love Third, but Allen's not on it, is he?
posted by doubtfulpalace at 5:00 PM on March 13, 2015

no, allen left soft machine due to visa problems before they started their recording career
posted by pyramid termite at 5:02 PM on March 13, 2015

Another Guardian article with some amazing last-ish words:
He played his final gig in his home town of Byron Bay two weeks earlier – back as a beat poet for one final time – reading out the following lines:

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”
posted by doubtfulpalace at 5:03 PM on March 13, 2015 [13 favorites]

For my money, I'd take Magma or Soft Machine, but Live Au Bataclan was one of the first CDs my dad gave me when I got a CD player and I'll always have a soft spot for their meandering, whimsical prog. At least for me, they were a lot more fun than a lot of the other prog bands that I tried to get into, and I think I'm gonna take a stroll through YouTube to see if there's stuff that I missed that's worth another look.
posted by klangklangston at 5:12 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Some more context at Planet Gong.

Funny you should mention Magma...the same guy who gave me the Gong tapes also gave me Magma's Udu Wudu and John McLaughlin's Shakti, also on cassette. And which I still have. I still kinda think of Gong & Magma together for that reason.

I hope Daevid hooks up with Leonard Nimoy in wherevertheyare...

...and I second the live 'I Never Glid before'...that recording makes me happy
posted by foonly at 5:19 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever.
posted by kenko at 5:23 PM on March 13, 2015


posted by Sys Rq at 5:24 PM on March 13, 2015

His music has brought me great joy for decades (thanks for the intro, Milton!) and I'm glad he's not suffering from cancer now, though I wish that I could have seen him perform once.

Instead I'll treasure the dream I had in Seattle, 1999, in which I walked into a underground club by Stewart and Westlake (said club doesn't exist) and saw Gong play amazingly.

Let a pothead pixie tell you what to do and this is what he'll tell you…
If you gotta problem to know who you are, Here now, this is what you do
Remember - You are me, I am you, all of us together now go

posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 5:51 PM on March 13, 2015

posted by oceanjesse at 6:07 PM on March 13, 2015

I was introduced to the music of Gong in college. There's nothing quite like it...trippy and goofy but technically impressive as well. Sort of like a white, European, acid-fueled Sun Ra Arkestra that knew their way around a recording studio.

give him a bit of your love, you get it back later
posted by uosuaq at 6:15 PM on March 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

Being a lover of all things Shimmy Disc, I believe "Who's Afraid?" with Kramer was the first recording I heard him on. I always appreciated Bopera III for its buoyancy, and worked my way back in his discography from there. He played in various incarnations at the Mercury Cafe in Denver over the years, but, alas, I always missed him, though I still have some pothead pixie decorated flyers for those shows floating around.

posted by talking leaf at 6:21 PM on March 13, 2015

Daevid and Gong's Steve Hillage talk to the BBC about their early days in Canterbury, in 2009.

As in this talk, Daevid always seemed at peace with himself, cheerfully unsentimental in the face of people constantly wanting to talk about the 60s/70s, and consistently and gleefully focused on making music and being an artist. His Telegraph obit nails it, I think:

Allen revelled in being the court jester of hippie rock and never lost his enthusiasm for the transcendent power of the psychedelic experience. He once remarked: "Psychedelia for me is a code for that profound spiritual experience where there is a direct link to the gods." That he never attained the riches and fame of many of his contemporaries did not concern him.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:25 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by quazichimp at 6:41 PM on March 13, 2015

posted by motty at 6:54 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by LeLiLo at 7:07 PM on March 13, 2015

posted by jack_babylon at 7:21 PM on March 13, 2015


saw him solo many years ago in Vancouver. A strangely magical evening. The crowd was sparse, less than fifty people, and given that many were music-scene types, there was animosity in the room. Mr. Allen proceeded to instruct us all to gather in a circle and hold hands, close our eyes, and then he began to chant.

posted by philip-random at 7:28 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

also ...

Gong's major work was "The Radio Gnome Triolgy" which

a recent radio show ...
posted by philip-random at 7:33 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

He was a very good friend of my aunt's. She was in Mother Gong with Gilly et al - the article has it wrong, they started that band in Deia, not in Australia. I didn't know him well myself, just a bit, when I was a teenager - but oh, the last few years have been hard on the crazy little artist colony that was Deia in its heydays. There's a film about those years here which I may have linked before; I think Daevid's in it, and I know Kevin Ayers and Del Negro and Mati Klarwein and Jakov Lind are, to name a few who if I believed in an afterlife much I would like to imagine all smoking a joint together right around now. Watching a generation pass is tough; it's not something I anticipated happening, somehow, but it turns out that witnessing as the adults of my childhood and adolescence die is a difficult thing.

. for Daevid and for the others I just mentioned and while my aunt Annie is still here in body, she's not all here in mind, and so I don't think I will tell her about this, just as I didn't tell her about Del. She gets mixed up, and then she gets sad, and then she forgets anyway and so it all slips away at the end.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:34 PM on March 13, 2015 [8 favorites]

Now is the happiest time of your life
Now is the happiest time of your life
Now is the happiest time of your life...

posted by Rash at 8:19 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by Rash at 8:26 PM on March 13, 2015

If anyone's looking for some context for Gong/Soft Machine, Radio 2's History of Psychedelia is a pretty good starting place.
posted by zamboni at 9:26 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

According to legend, The Soft Machine was the only band that could hang with Barrett-era Floyd.
posted by evil otto at 10:31 PM on March 13, 2015

posted by Smart Dalek at 10:58 PM on March 13, 2015

posted by Mister Bijou at 11:46 PM on March 13, 2015

posted by Meatafoecure at 1:37 AM on March 14, 2015

Gong released an album called I See You last year, featuring (among others) Cardiacs/Knifeworld guitarist Kavus Torabi. One of the tracks on that album is called Occupy, and here is a video that Cyriak made for that track.
posted by Grangousier at 3:16 AM on March 14, 2015

posted by bifter at 4:10 AM on March 14, 2015

.Bon voyage, monsieur Camembert.
posted by L E M M at 5:43 AM on March 14, 2015


Have loved his music for years, and saw him play live many times (a performance at the Barrowlands in Glasgow sometime in the early 1990s is one of my standout memories). Wasn't aware he was so ill. Will be sorely missed.
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 5:48 AM on March 14, 2015

posted by fatbaq at 6:00 AM on March 14, 2015

I was introduced to Gong in 1984 during my first year at university. They went hand-in-hand with my psychedelic education. But I didn't see Dævid/Gong play until 2001 when two good friends took me to a club in London (The Scala in King's Cross). Glad that show coincided with my visit.

posted by terrapin at 6:08 AM on March 14, 2015

posted by El Brendano at 6:21 AM on March 14, 2015

posted by pinacotheca at 6:25 AM on March 14, 2015


Planet Gong Live Floating Anarchy 1977 (full album)

Turn your head up to the morning sun
And your life will just have begun

posted by jammy at 7:53 AM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by town of cats at 11:08 AM on March 14, 2015

i'm only commenting here because i can't believe there aren't more shows of grief.

the appropriate response is this: -

because there's no real response for such a loss to the art of being open, raw and human.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 8:26 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Daevid Allen Trio-The Song of the Jazzmen

Robert Wyatt on drums

Protopsychedelic jazz poetry from 1963! Crazy, man crazy!
posted by jonp72 at 8:33 PM on March 14, 2015

posted by uhclem at 10:15 AM on March 15, 2015

i am an incorrigible punmaker and wordplayer, and I don't do it to be funny but I do do it to be funny, and I think those sorts of things are able to get better into the heart of experience, a distillation like James Joyce say, and if you're laughing that doesn't mean you're not being serious but it doesn't mean you're being serious like serious is painted as either

so I heard Gong and I felt "oh, somebody else -does- get it, wonderful."

may his bones become the richest of soils.
posted by solarion at 4:29 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

posted by klausness at 2:45 PM on March 18, 2015

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