...BECAUSE SOME OF US THINK THAT THIS STUFF IS IMPORTANT
What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

YES UNION Montreal Alan White InterView 1991



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Union (Standard DVD)
DVD - £9.99

Union
DVD - £12.99

Union (2CD)
2CD - £7.99

Rock Of The 70's
DVD - £12.99

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £7.99

Rock of the 70s
DVD - £9.99

1988: Is this James Brown's strangest interview ever?



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Get On Up - Live in America
CD/DVD - £9.99

Live In America
DVD - £12.99

Dave Brock Interview



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Space Ritual Live - Special Edition
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Space Ritual Live 
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Space Ritual Live
DCD - £11.99

THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Cream - Strange Brew



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3 DVD Boxset
3DVD - £24.99

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)

CONNOTATIONS
Blue can mean sky/eyes/seas/Picasso's period
Mood /emotion/a form of music/Monica Lewinsky
Each bee's eyes see multiple refractions
Take one prism ,add to context.Are U blue?
Then deep ocean different to sky shallow
Coral reef waters blue different to lagoon/lake
Take any blue and a spectrum of depth ensues
You have fallen into blue /now you see only black skies
Night of punch drunk stars/morning of Cavaliers and flags
When he came from The Blue People/it was more than metaphor
Race had stolen Light and Shade moved in -deep as dark
Could this pigmentation change with age?or will we be blue as ever
Pale,wan,insipid ,thin,diluted,so many mixed tones and hues
you can not tell where blue loses every core value
Decides to assimilate/integrate.Forgets palette and panache

Famous Blue Raincoat.

Jon and Jane Anderson (Ritual, Nous Sommes Du Soleil)




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Survival And Other Stories
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KARNATAKA The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh 13th March 2015

karnataka
English prog rock outfit Karnataka are nothing if not persistent. From their formation in 1997 they worked hard to build their profile and seemed to be on the edge of moving up to a new level when it all imploded in 2004 in a split fuelled by the classic personal differences scenario.

Founder member Ian Jones was left alone to take the band onward into a new era and after basically starting from scratch again a new line up and revitalised sound is getting them noticed again.

Tonight's show in the comparatively upscale surroundings of Edinburgh's Voodoo Rooms Ballroom is in support of the first album they have recorded with the current line up, 'Secrets Of Angels'. On the day of the show the album wasn't officially released yet and in what could be looked at as either a very brave move or a foolhardy one they played every song from the new album through the two halves of their near two hour set.


Read on...



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Secrets of Angels
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Storm 
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Monday, 30 March 2015

Joey Molland This Way Up: Canadian review


JOE MOLLAND – This Way Up 

Parasol 2001 / Gonzo 2014 

JOE MOLLAND -
This Way Up 

Former BADFINGER looks at the bright side of life. 

Why there’s no “y” in this artist’s name on the cover of his third solo album remains a mystery; perhaps, it was an attempt to show his personal growth. But, given a 9-year cycle of Joey Molland’s records – and it would take him even longer to deliver a follow-up to “This Way Up” – BADFINGER fans don’t care about the spelling: it’s music that matters. And although the 13 songs here follow the classic pop-rock tradition their writer’s a master of, they somehow don’t cut it. 

Building on three demos from 1995, Molland gets things going with the piano-propelled “Mirrors” and signs off with the ballad of “Isn’t That A Dream,” running mostly in an upbeat tempo in between. But while “2 Minute Warning” kicks up the boogie roll, “What Else (Nothing)” taps into triteness over more than 5 minutes to be saved only by its cosmic ring. Still, “Moonlight” comes in a romantic orchestral coating, which spills into the dewy-eyed drama of “When I Was A Boy,” and the twangy vibrancy of “The Bust” is deliciously anthemic. Enough for the optimistic message of the album’s title, if not enough for a total uplift. 

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:

After The Pearl
CD - £9.99

The Pilgrim
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Demos Old And New
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Return To Memphis
SCD - £9.99

This Way Up
CD - £9.99

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)


TIME TO LOOK, EXAMINE & SEE! CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS
Free Speech and Freedom of Assembly
are mere words unless we are free enough to practice them.
Religious States enforce Medieval punishments for those we admire and respect-
bloggers,journalists,brave independent women get flogged and imprisoned
and we watch from a distance and say nothing.Sharia law is one issue-cruel
and unusual punishments another.Separation of Church and State is essential.
Political alliances seem dependent upon shared cultural values.Cruelty is not one of these.
Nor is selective patriachal injustice.There is no point in wars ,nor invasions
if we are not aware of the values we treasure and defend.Rant and petition are both valid poetic forms.
Set these freedom seekers free,and punish only the punishers..

Sweden’s feminist foreign minister has dared to tell the truth about Saudi Arabia. What happens now concerns us all

Margot Wallström’s principled stand deserves wide support. Betrayal seems more likely
912 Comments 28 March 2015
Special Representative of the Secretary-
If the cries of ‘Je suis Charlie’ were sincere, the western world would be convulsed with worry and anger about the Wallström affair. It has all the ingredients for a clash-of-civilisations confrontation.
A few weeks ago Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister, denounced the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia. As the theocratic kingdom prevents women from travelling, conducting official business or marrying without the permission of male guardians, and as girls can be forced into child marriages where they are effectively raped by old men, she was telling no more than the truth. Wallström went on to condemn the Saudi courts for ordering that Raif Badawi receive ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed secularism and free speech. These were ‘mediaeval methods’, she said, and a ‘cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression’. And once again, who can argue with that?

The backlash followed the pattern set by Rushdie, the Danish cartoons and Hebdo. Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador and stopped issuing visas to Swedish businessmen. The United Arab Emirates joined it. The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, which represents 56 Muslim-majority states, accused Sweden of failing to respect the world’s ‘rich and varied ethical standards’ — standards so rich and varied, apparently, they include the flogging of bloggers and encouragement of paedophiles. Meanwhile, the Gulf Co-operation Council condemned her ‘unaccept-able interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’, and I wouldn’t bet against anti-Swedish riots following soon.

Yet there is no ‘Wallström affair’. Outside Sweden, the western media has barely covered the story, and Sweden’s EU allies have shown no inclination whatsoever to support her. A small Scandinavian nation faces sanctions, accusations of Islamophobia and maybe worse to come, and everyone stays silent. As so often, the scandal is that there isn’t a scandal.

It is a sign of how upside-down modern politics has become that one assumes that a politician who defends freedom of speech and women’s rights in the Arab world must be some kind of muscular liberal, or neocon, or perhaps a supporter of one of Scandinavia’s new populist right-wing parties whose commitment to human rights is merely a cover for anti-Muslim hatred. But Margot Wallström is that modern rarity: a left-wing politician who goes where her principles take her.

She is foreign minister in Sweden’s weak coalition of Social Democrats and Greens, and took office promising a feminist foreign policy. She recognised Palestine in October last year — and, no, the Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and Gulf Co-operation Council did not condemn her ‘unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Israel’. I confess that her gesture struck me as counterproductive at the time. But after Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out a Palestinian state as he used every dirty trick he could think of to secure his re-election, she can claim with justice that history has vindicated her.

She moved on to the Saudi version of sharia law. Her criticism was not just rhetorical. She said that it was unethical for Sweden to continue with its military co-operation agreement with Saudi Arabia. In other words, she threatened Swedish arms companies’ ability to make money. Saudi Arabia’s denial of business visas to Swedes threatened to hurt other companies’ profits too. You might think of Swedes as upright social democrats, who have never let worries of appearing tedious stand in the way of their righteousness. But that has never been wholly true, and is certainly not true when there is money at stake.

Sweden is the world’s 12th largest arms exporter — quite an achievement for a country of just nine million people. Its exports to Saudi Arabia total $1.3 billion. Business leaders and civil servants are also aware that other Muslim-majority countries may follow Saudi Arabia’s lead. During the ‘cartoon crisis’ — a phrase I still can’t write without snorting with incredulity — Danish companies faced global attacks and the French supermarket chain Carrefour took Danish goods off the shelves to appease Muslim customers. A co-ordinated campaign by Muslim nations against Sweden is not a fanciful notion. There is talk that Sweden may lose its chance to gain a seat on the UN Security Council in 2017 because of Wallström.

To put it as mildly as I can, the Swedish establishment has gone wild. Thirty chief executives signed a letter saying that breaking the arms trade agreement ‘would jeopardise Sweden’s reputation as a trade and co-operation partner’. No less a figure than His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf himself hauled Wallström in at the weekend to tell her that he wanted a compromise. Saudi Arabia has successfully turned criticism of its brutal version of Islam into an attack on all Muslims, regardless of whether they are Wahhabis or not, and Wallström and her colleagues are clearly unnerved by accusations of Islamophobia. The signs are that she will fold under the pressure, particularly when the rest of liberal Europe shows no interest in supporting her.
Sins of omission are as telling as sins of commission. The Wallström non-affair tells us three things. It is easier to instruct small countries such as Sweden and Israel on what they can and cannot do than America, China or a Saudi Arabia that can call on global Muslim support when criticised. Second, a Europe that is getting older and poorer is starting to find that moral stands in foreign policy are luxuries it can no longer afford. Saudi Arabia has been confident throughout that Sweden needs its money more than it needs Swedish imports.

Finally, and most revealingly in my opinion, the non-affair shows us that the rights of women always come last. To be sure, there are Twitter storms about sexist men and media feeding frenzies whenever a public figure uses ‘inappropriate language’. But when a politician tries to campaign for the rights of women suffering under a brutally misogynistic clerical culture she isn’t cheered on but met with an embarrassed and hugely revealing silence.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated

Daevid Allen & Robert Wyatt in the Film ‘Playa de Formentor’ (1964)

Howard Stern - 2006-08-16 - Jon Anderson Visits





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Survival And Other Stories
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THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Galahad: Empires Never Last (May 2006)



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Empires Never Last (Digipack Ltd Ed)
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Guardian Angel
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Mein Herz Brennt
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Seize The Day
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Beyond The Realms of Euphoria
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Battle Scars
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KARNATAKA: SECRETS OF ANGELS – SUPERB ALBUM REVIEW ON ECHOES AND DUST WEBSITE

http://echoesanddust.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/karnataka_secretsofangels-wpcf_300x300.jpgKarnataka are survivors. Since their inception at the tail end of the 1990s, they have most definitely had their ups and downs: they found some success fairly rapidly, helped in no small part by a scorched earth gigging mentality and some fairly prestigious support slots with the likes of progressive rock favourites Porcupine Tree and the much-loved, oft-lamented All About Eve. By 2004, it seemed nothing could prevent the band’s ascent to progressive rock favourites, and larger venues started to beckon.
Sadly, their upward trajectory ran abruptly aground when internal relationships fractured and the band went their separate ways. One of the chief songwriters, founder member Ian Jones, decided to keep the Karnataka flame burning, however, and assembled a new-look band. Critics and fans were divided about the reborn band, but Karnataka forged ahead, delivering several well-received tours and their most successful album to date, 2010’s The Gathering Light – but just as the album finally appeared, the band found itself short-staffed once more as various members elected to pursue other interests.
The Gathering Light possessed more of a progressive rock influence than any of the band’s previous albums: opening with two instrumentals, and possessed of three further tracks that all clocked in at over ten minutes in length, its sprawling atmospherics housed a haunting, soulful but introspective record which felt like a side-step from the Karnataka of old. Life had thrown many obstacles at chief writer Jones, and the album reflected them all, as Jones and the band overcame adversity to deliver a bruised but unbowed album of survivor anthems. The band’s new album,Secrets Of Angels, however, overflows with confidence: it’s not so much bruised as bruising. Here the band sound truly re-energised, thrumming with barely suppressed vitality. The progressive rock influence has for the most part been dialled back substantially, only really surfacing significantly on the epic, closing title track; the result is a much more immediate and focused album with more immediately hooky and memorable songs.
CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Secrets of Angels
CD - £9.99

Storm 
CD - £9.99


Sunday, 29 March 2015

A PECULIAR THING VIA MY ELDER STEPDAUGHTER

This face morph project proves all classic rock bands look alike


http://www.avclub.com/article/face-morph-project-proves-all-classic-rock-bands-l-217009

THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: George Harrison ~ Jai Sri Krishna

Being Sunday I always post sacred music. The name of the deity may change, or even the deity Him/Herself but the spirit remains the same.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

GONZO WEEKLY # 123

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)

HALF A DREAM
I saw a famous man eating @Taco Marias
He was surrounded by smiling blondes
and had a table groaning with Mexican foods
I like being anonymous

Each day,another petition dumps itself on my front lawn
like a wounded bird that needs healing
Ocean to a thimble/i bail out

My friends are dematerialising
They remind me-Art is temporary
and all life is art..

Spring!still politicians vote for war
against all Nature.Contra Naturam
So i go back to sleep

Rip van Winkle on Groundhog Day.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Review – Karnataka – Secrets of Angels

CoverLet’s face it, change is inevitable. Evolution is about gradual change, we must evolve to grow. This is beginning to become something of a moot point when I discuss music and, especially, progressive music.
If something doesn’t progress it will become stagnant, lifeless and listless yet when you talk to some music fans abut progressive rock all they can talk about are the halcyon days of the 1970’s and the likes of YesKing CrimsonVan Der Graaaf Generatorand Genesis to name a few. How then is that progressing, moving forward and delivering something new?
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow, if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”
It has been said by minds more sage than mine that progressive music is dying. It isn’t growing and, therefore, not living.
It seems that the artists and musicians who are thriving in the current music scene are the ones who can re-invent themselves, like a Phoenix from the flames, and be reborn as something different and, potentially, something better.
This metamorphosis into something new will often come about because the current iteration of that particular band has run its course and come to a close with some members wanting a change and thinking they have nothing more to offer. What emerges from the musical chrysalis is, hopefully, new and exciting and, maybe, superior to what preceded it.
“Things end because something else is ready to begin’.
The eclectic British band Karnataka have been through more than one re-birth and re-invention in their time, formed in 1997 they have, up to now, released four studio albums and 2 live albums.
CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Secrets of Angels
CD - £9.99

Storm 
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Delicate Flame Of Desire
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COMING TOMORROW


THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: JOHN RENBOURN - White House Blues - 1971 - Contemporary Folk music

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem


Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not? why not indeed!!" (The wondrous poetpic is by Jack McCabe, who I hope forgives me for scribbling all over it with Photoshop)

4 JOHN RENBOURNE
LUCKY WE WERE TO HEAR HIM
strum ,pick and sing.Bringing folk back
into a PENTANGLE future.With Bert Jansch
and fellow musical crew,he would bring each song story to life.
He knew them all!And could play like an angel!
Seeing him live was the thing-solo and with band members.
Hearing him on LP and Cd merely reminded us
how important it is to keep music live-and musicians too!

Without John Renbourne,who do we listen to?

  • a link.
    Influential folk guitarist John Renbourn has died aged 70.
    www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk
     . His playing along with Bert Jansch in Pentangle was extraordinary . http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/…/guitarist-renbourn-dies
    • Andi Clarke So sad to hear this. A lovely man and an amazing musician I was blessed to see live on many occasions. As Rob said, a musical historian,and,a great arranger of others material. One of my all time favourite songs is one of his own original compositions called, So Clear. For me a perfect song https://youtu.be/AlCwa-siLx8
    For me, this is a perfect song. Others have uploaded the same recording as by "John...
    youtube.com

Yes Concert Reviews: 8/8/02

Here is another addition to my series of Yes music posts.  I started this series hereand you can read the others here.
I saw the progressive rock band Yes play at Tweeter Center (currently known as the Susquehanna Bank Center) in Camden, New Jersey on August 8, 2002 during the first part of their Full Circle Tour.  You can read more about this show here.
This show was a very special one for me as it was the firs time I had the privilege of seeing Yes’ “classic line up” live.  In 1995, the “’80’s Yes” lineup (also known as “YesWest”), with Trevor Rabin as the guitarist, broke up.  This made it possible for the classic line up (listed below) to reform in 1996 and perform and record the Keys to Ascension shows and albums.  Unfortunately, due to internal politics and scheduling issues, the tour Yes was unable to scheduled a tour in 1997 with Rick Wakeman in support of Keys to Ascension.  There was a lot of press and public appearances (including on mainstream television) that went along with the reformation of the classic line up.  After all the hoopla from the reformation, Yes really did not want to short circuit their positive publicity by not touring.  The biggest problem was, obviously, that they would be forced to tour with a line up that did not include Rick Wakeman in support of an album that the touring unit did not make.  As a result, Yes had to scramble to form a new line up, this one involving Billy Sherwoodas a multi-instrumentalist band member and Igor Khoroshev as a touring keyboardist, and a hastily make new album, called Open Your Eyes, consisting of material culled mostly from a Chris Squire / Billy Sherwood project, to support on a tour in 1997.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

PLAYLIST: Strange Fruit #113

Strange Fruit is a unique two-hour radio show exploring the world of underground, strange and generally neglected music. All shows are themed and all shows set out to give the most hardened of sound-hounds some new delight to sample.
The show is also unique in providing homework for undergraduate students on North West Kent College’s Foundation Degree in Professional Writing (who dig up many of the odd facts featured in the links between tracks).  Neil Nixon, the founder and co-presenter of the show  has released a book about rare albums for Gonzo Multimedia.  The show is broadcast on Miskin Radio every Sunday from 10-00-midnight.

 
1.  Exploding White Mice: Pipeline 
2.  The Human League: The Black Hit of Space
3.   Pink Floyd: Talkin’ Hawkin’ 
4         ANNOUNCEMENT strange@ 
5         Madder Lake: 12lb Toothbrush   
6  Ralph Myerz: You Never Come Closer 
7.         ANNOUNCEMENT   
8.         Loscil: Sea Island Murders
9.  The Magnetic North: The Bay of Skaill
10.  ANNOUNCEMENT   
11.  Fleetwood Mac: Thoughts on a Grey Day
12.   Pye Corner Audio: 
  Unmarked Reel Two; Track One 
13   ANNOUNCEMENT   
14         R.D. Burman: The Bullet Train Theme 
15   Cybotron: Sonic Overdrive
  (Sliding, the Riddle, Answer) 
16  ANNOUNCEMENT   
17  Katie Lee: Schizophrenic Moon 
18  Bill Fay:  Pictures of Adolf Again 
19   Crystal Jacqueline:
  You Just Gotta Know my Mind 
20  Janet Greene: Fascist Threat 
21  ANNOUNCEMENT   
22  Spectrum: Superbody 
23  D J Earworm: Madam Madonna 
24  ANNOUNCEMENT   
25  Tiny Tim: Eve of Destruction
26  ANNOUNCEMENT   
27  Fraternity:  Seasons Change 
28   Jane Weaver:
  Your Time in this Life is Just Temporary
29  Strange@     
30   Dame Barbara Cartland:
  Goodnight Sweetheart


DAEVID ALLEN TRIBUTE: In International Times (Courtesy Thom the World Poet)

daevid allen 1
Daevid Allen
1938 – 2015
Daevid Allen was born in Australia in 1938, but his springboard to musical legend came after he moved to the UK in 1961. He was a founder member of Soft Machine in 1966, but became best known after starting madcap psychedelic rockers Gong. The band are best known for their Radio Gnome Trilogy, made up of the albums Flying Teapots, Angel’s Egg and You. Although he left Gong in 1975, he resuscitated the band in 1991 and played with them until their last album ‘I See You’ in 2014.

I first encountered Daevid Allen in 1999 when, through a series of happy accidents, I joined Gong at short notice for a European Tour filling in for Didier Malherbe, playing saxes and flutes. I had heard little of Gong’s music and was barely aware of Daevid though I knew some of Gong member Steve Hillage’s music, particularly his album ‘Fish Rising’ which I thought was great. Joining Gong was a turning point in my musical life. For 10 years I toured the world and recorded with Daevid and the band, playing saxes, flutes and some keyboards and I co-wrote much of the ‘Zero to Infinity’ album. I recently read of Daevid Allen’s music being ‘like Sun Ra meets Vivian Stanshall meets DIY punk meets a really big fucking bong’ and I think that just about sums it up!

When I met Daevid, I was immediately taken with his openness, his love of music and words and his sense of wonder and almost childlike curiosity about the world. He was continuously excited by all things artistic and creative. He took great delight in words– whether poetry, lyrics, puns, or just the fun of language and games with word play. I spent endless hours with Daevid and Mike Howlett on tour buses around the world joking and playing with words and rhymes.

With Gong, Daevid was very happy to be an equal part of a group and although he was the soul of the band, wrote the majority of the music, did most of the singing and fronted the band, he was very generous with sharing out songs and instrumental solos and encouraged everyone to write music for the group. He also shared out songwriting credits in a far more generous manner than most in his position would.
Daevid was a talented guitarist and a great improviser. There was a wonderful freedom of spirit in his playing which I enjoyed very much – much more than all the technically accomplished rock guitarists who have everything worked out and pre-prepared. I once heard his soloing style described as like an airplane taking off and you never knew how it would land and I think that was right. Anything could happen and his solos were unpredictable. When one is truly improvising, things don’t always work out- but that is the risk you take. Daevid was wholeheartedly improvising and some magical music and guitar playing resulted. His glissando guitar technique which he said was inspired by Syd Barrett was wonderful and at times awe inspiring – washes of sound, harmony and textures floating in space. He also said that Syd Barrett was the original inspiration for singing with the strong London accent – a characterful style of singing that he, Robert Wyatt, Richard Sinclair (of Caravan) – and later David Bowie – all adopted, at least for a while.
Daevid not only started off the bands Gong and Soft Machine (both which I have enjoyed playing with for many years) , he also recorded many solo albums, and formed University of Errors, Brainville, Magick Brothers and various other groups. He was a catalyst for an enormous amount of much music making and musicians and poets worldwide were drawn to him for his creativity and his huge enthusiasm for life.
daevid allen 2
He loved jazz, free form improvisation, songs, experimental music, folk music, nursery rhymes, noise music, chanting and all sorts of fringe musics. He used to wind people (including myself!) up by saying he ‘hated the Beatles’. He also said he ‘hated Prog’. He embraced punk and new wave music and there was often a youthful and fiery energy to his music, from his band Planet Gong right up to the end. On the very last Gong album – ‘I See You’ there are almost punk like thrashes that sound like a band of seventeen year olds – not a 76 year old man – and certainly not a music icon from the 1970s.

Daevid was kind, fun, inspiring, encouraging, endlessly creative, and an original thinker. A big fan of the Goon Show, his crazy humour was loved by millions though he also saw it as having a revolutionary edge to it too. I think it was in the subversiveness. The Flying Teapot trilogy, Radio Gnome and the Pot Headed Pixies were all wonderful inventions – charmingly bonkers.  He was not one to toe the line and could often be contrary – sometimes infuriatingly so. One funny anecdote I remember was that he went to a legalise cannabis event in Hyde Park in around 2001 as a special guest as he was such a leader of the counter-cultrure movement. You would not believe how many people I have heard say that they had their first trip listening to Gong’s music. Anyway Daevid went to this event at Hyde Park and in front of a big crowd, stood up and said ‘Ban cannabis! It’s terrible for you!’ And the throng of people in their stoned haze just cheered – ‘Yay! Great!’ Hilarious and very Daevid.

Of course being the age he was Daevid was right there when it was all happening in the 1960s. He lent Jimi Hendrix his first amp when he came to London, and enjoyed playing chess with him. He played alongside all the rock greats when they were starting out. He was in Paris during the riots in 1968 and the Stonehenge and Glastonbury festivals in the early 1970s. Gong were one of Richard Branson’s very first bands on Virgin records. I loved to hear his stories about those times.

I always felt that Daevid was ‘the real thing’ not someone trying to be a rock star or a poseur. He was living the alternative lifestyle full of music, poetry and life before such a thing was even invented. An artistic beatnik, an intellectual hippie, a comic surrealist and a poetic musician.
A true original and an inspiration to so many.

All over the world I have encountered so much love for Daevid and his music. He has now had his last cuppa tea and left us on his flying teapot to another place. Farewell and bon voyage. I feel honoured to have known him. And thank you for the music you daft old bugger.
Theo Travis
March 2015


 

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