Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In 1960, inspired by the Beat Generation writers he had discovered whilst working in a Melbourne bookshop, Daevid Allen travelled to Paris where he stayed at the Beat Hotel, moving into a room recently vacated by Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlofsky . He sold the International Herald Tribune around Le Chat qui Peche and the Latin Quarter, gaining free access to the jazz clubs in the area. After meeting up with William S. Burroughs, and inspired by philosophies of Sun Ra, he formed the free jazz outfit, the Daevid Alllen Trio , and performed at Burroughs’ theatre pieces based on Burroughs' novel The Ticket That Exploded .
Allen travelled to England, renting a room in Canterbury where he met his landlord’s son, 16 year old Robert Wyatt. They formed the band Soft Machine in 1966 with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge . Ayers and Wyatt had previously played in Wildeflowers .
Following a tour of Europe, Allen was refused re-entry to the U.K. due to overstaying his visa on a prior visit. He settled in Paris where, in May 1968, he took part in the protests which swept the city. He handed out teddy bears to the police and recited poetry in pidgin French, and now admits that he was scorned by the other protestors for being a beatnik.
Fleeing the police, he made his way to Deya, Majorca, with his partner Gilli Smyth. It was here that he recorded the first album under the name Gong, entitled Magick Brother, Mystick Sister (released on BYG in 1970). They were joined by flautist Didier Malherbe, who they claim to have found living in a cave on Robert Graves’ estate.
In 1971, Gong signed with Virgin and released Camembert Electrique. Gong became somewhat of an anarchist commune in rural France between 1973 and 1974. They were joined by Steve Hillage to record the ‘Radio Gnome Trilogy’ of LPS, consisting of Flying Teapot, Angels Egg and You.
Allen left this incarnation of Gong and formed Planet Gong, followed by New York Gong in 1980 (with Bill Laswell). More projects followed, including Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet, Brainville, Ex (not to be confused with the Dutch punk band The Ex), and Magic Brothers.
In 1981 Allen returned to Australia, taking up residence in Byron Bay where he worked on performance pieces and poetry. He performed with performance artist David Tolley using tape loops and drum machines. He is currently involved with a project entitled you’N’gong (a play on the phrase “Young Gong”) with his son, Orlando, and members of Acid Mothers Temple, as well as an improvisation outfit entitled Guru And Zero.
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