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Daevid Allen

Having discovered that he has very little time left with us Daevid Allen posted the following message on thursday 5th February 2015...

"Hello you Kookaburras, OK so I have had my PET-CAT scans (which is essentially a full body viewing gallery for cancer specialists, ) and so it is now confirmed that the invading cancer has returned to successfully establish dominant residency in my neck.
The original surgery took much of it out, but the cancer has now recreated itself with renewed vigour while also spreading to my lung.
The cancer is now so well established I have now been given approximately six months to live.
So My view has Changed: I am not interested in endless surgical operations and in fact it has come as a relief to know that the end is in sight. I am a great believer in "The Will of the Way Things Are" and I also believe that the time has come to stop resisting and denying and to surrender to the way it is.
I can only hope that during this journey, I have somehow contributed to the happiness in the lives of a few other fellow humans. I believe I have done my best to heal, dear friends and that you have been enormously helpful in supporting me through this time. So Thank you SO much for being there with me, for the Ocean of Love and Now, importantly, Thank you for starting the process of letting go of me, of mourning then transforming and celebrating this death coming up - this is how you can contribute, this would be a great gift from those emotionally and spiritually involved with me.
I love you and will be with you always - Daevid xxx."

So, in celebration of the life of a true pioneer we re-present this, his final interview with TotalMusic-Online...

It's hard to imagine just exactly what is listed on Christopher David Allen’s passport as his occupation. Poet, guitarist, singer, composer, performance artist, magick traveller, psychedelic loon? You need only glance above to see that this is a man who not only loves what he does but refuses to take himself too seriously, and yet his influence is inestimable, not only as a founding member of both Soft Machine and Gong but also on over forty solo albums released over the last forty five odd years. He recently reconvened the classic Gong line up for 2032, another instalment in the Radio Gnome Trilogy and Andy Basire took him back to the music scene in Melbourne in the '50s?

Daevid Allen : “My friends and I were jazz geeks and hated rock n roll. I played in a poetry & jazz trio and spasmodically supported the Brian Brown Quintet on Sunday afternoons at Jazz Centre 44 in Melbourne. I also gave lunchtime lectures on Jazz at Melbourne Universities. Bebop was the punk of its time. More scary for the parents than commercial pop acts. Our heros were black geniuses like Thelonius Monk and we were surrounded by racists. There was an innocence to Australian cities in the fifties. There was no TV until I was seventeen and air travel cost a fortune. We were very behind the times. Nevertheless I discovered a second hand Sun Ra LP in a record store in 1958 and it reflected my own future. Most memorably, I saw the brilliantly eccentric Spike Jones And His City Slickers play live in Melbourne and I never took myself seriously again.”

Total Music: In the early '60s you decamped to Paris, how important was that first move to Europe and how different from Australia was it?

Daevid Allen : “Today people often tell me they wished they could have been there in the sixties. But I always wanted to be there in Paris & Berlin in the twenties during the birth of dada and surrealism. Apollinaire, Satie, Cocteau, Brecht, Dali, Picasso, such were my heroes. So living in the city where they had all lived was a dream come true. Luckily I landed in the Beat Hotel on the left bank in a room just vacated by Allen Ginsberg and was soon providing the jazz for live William Burroughs performances - with occasional help from Terry Riley. Paris felt like it was a creative hub of sorts at that time (early sixties). One day Melbourne will be."

Daevid with Steve Hillage and bananaTotal Music: What, if anything do you recall about your Soft Machine days and do you remain in contact with Robert Wyatt ?

Daevid Allen : “The whole story has been published in a book called Gong Dreaming 1: 1965-1968 (SAF Publications) so now I can safely lose my memory about it completely. Suffice to say that it began with a blessing and ended with a curse. We played a very different music to what we hear Softs playing now. It was a powerful ongoing implosion between four very big egos. Mine was the first to adopt exit strategies. Robert and I find each other every couple of years and swop salient originalities. I have massive respect for his work and really enjoy his unusual conclusions.”

Total Music: Gong history has it that in 1968, after you and Gilli (Smyth) had formed Gong, you went to Majorca and found Didier Malherbe in a cave, is this true?

Daevid Allen : “AH SO... Perfectly so. Gong was a product of both male/female magick and forces way beyond our ken - and this story explains itself in the recently published second volume: Gong Dreaming 2 (also SAF publications). We went to visit poet Robert Graves to pay respect. Later I took a stroll and found Didier playing flute in a cave behind an ancient ampitheatre on Robert's property. It actually happened. 'Monsier Bad de Grass I presume?'”

Total Music: Many Gong fans feel that the early 70s incarnation of Gong was the most memorable, what do you remember about that era and especially about Steve Hillage and Tim Blake joining the band?

Daevid Allen : "The 70's were very memorable times but the present moment is the most rivetting time for me. Anyway Tim appeared during the recording of the Bananamoon LP in 1971 and wanted to be a roadie. He stayed a while but left to find a synthesizer after which he returned. He was a genuine revolutionary like Eno but has cleverly escaped the dubious prize of glory. Steve on the other hand, was stolen from the Kevin Ayers Whole World band by Bloomdido Bad De Grass (Didier Malherbe) who came with sax in hand to their gig in Fontainebleu and like a psychedelic pied piper he leapt on stage and spirited Steve away to the Gong house at Sens where he met (current partner) Miquette (Giraudy). Sorry Kevin but...”

Total Music: Although not remembered by many fans with as much affection as the early 70s line-up the Pierre Moerlen led Gong did have its moments, how do you feel about those albums?

Daevid Allen : "Technically brilliant. Lacking perhaps to some degree in loving kindness and silly good humour.”

Total Music: What prompted the recent Gong reunion (and was Tim Blake asked to get involved)?

Daevid Allen : "This event was the fruit of earlier Gong Unconventions organised by fans in the UK. But the Amsterdam Gong Unconvention was a larger three day event with two stages and everybody who had ever been involved in Gong attended. Together we created an extraordinarily heartfelt and joyful occasion. Tim was not only invited but gifted with 100% royalties on a Gong CD release on Voiceprint called Gong In The Seventies. It was at this event that Steve remembered how much fun it could be to play in Gong and, hallelujah, now he is back after 30 odd years.”

Total Music: The results have been getting great reviews are you happy with how the album sits in relation to the original Radio Gnome trilogy?

Daevid Allen : "Well it is actually the seventh and final wave of the story of Zero and his curious adventures on Planet Gong....a story/song cycle in seven parts. Let me elucidate. After the trilogy the fourth album was Gongmaison (1989), the fifth Shapeshifter (1992) and the sixth was Zero To Infinity (2001). I think 2032 is a natural coda to the entire song cycle and long may it flourish if it helps in some way.”

I See You is available on Madfish. You can find loads more about Daevid at www.daevidallen.net, you can also find out more on the mighty Gong at www.planetgong.com, and there is a bulging store of Gong/Daevid Allan related goodies to be found on Voiceprint Music

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