Gong Return For Rare Uk Tour In November 2009

To celebrate their 40th Anniversary of live touring, Gong, the progressive/psychedelic rock band originally founded in 1967 by Australian musician Daevid Allen will join forces with guitarist Steve Hillage and other core members from the original line-up for a rare UK tour in November 2009. The UK shows will mark the first time Gong have toured the UK since 2000.

Gong are currently working on a brand new forward-looking album called "2032, " the same year that the Planet Gong makes full contact with the Planet Earth - and a major new chapter in the continually evolving Gong mythology. The album is due to be released in September 2009.

Gong's music has often been described as space rock. The highly anticipated forthcoming tour will reunite founding member Daevid Allen with former Gong members Steve Hillage, Gilli Smyth, Mike Howlett and Miquette Giraudy, plus Chris Taylor, Theo Travis and John McKenzie.

Gong originally formed in 1967, after Allen, a member of Soft Machine, was denied entry to the United Kingdom because of a visa complication. Allen remained in France where he and a London-born Sorbonne professor, Gilli Smyth, established the first incarnation of the band. This line-up, including Ziska Baum on vocals and Loren Standlee on flute, fragmented during the 1968 student revolution, with Allen and Smyth forced to flee France for Deya in Majorca.

They allegedly found saxophonist Didier Malherbe living in a cave in Deya, before film director Jérôme Laperrousaz invited the band back to France to record the soundtrack of his movie "Continental Circus." They were subsequently approached by Jean Karakos of the newly formed independent label BYG and signed a multi-album deal that included the albums - "Magick Brother, " "Mystic Sister, " "Camembert Electrique, " plus Allen's solo album "Bananamoon."

Gong played at the second Glastonbury Festival in June 1971, which they followed up with a UK tour the following autumn. In late 1972 they were subsequently one of the first acts to sign to Virgin Records, getting first pick of the studio time ahead of Mike Oldfield. By now, a regular line-up had established itself and Gong released their "Flying Teapot" album. After the band signed with Virgin subsidiary Caroline Records, "Camembert Electrique" was given a belated UK release in late 1974.

Between 1973 and 1974, Gong, now augmented by guitarist Steve Hillage, released their best-known work, the "Radio Gnome Trilogy", three records that expounded upon the Gong mythology, "Flying Teapot, " "Angel's Egg, " and "You."

In 1975 at a gig in Cheltenham, Allen refused to go on stage, claiming that a "wall of force" was preventing him, and subsequently left the band. With both Smyth, who wanted to spend more time with her two children, and synth wizard Tim Blake having jumped off in previous months, this marked the end of the 'classic' line-up.

The band continued, touring the UK in November 1975 (as documented on the 2005 release "Live in Sherwood Forest '75") and worked on their next album "Shamal", but Hillage, who had been the band's de facto leader since Allen's exit, and his partner Miquette Giraudy, who had taken over from Smyth in late 1974, left before "Shama" was released in early 1976. Â They re-joined the band briefly for a 1977 live reunion in Paris, and released the punk rock-influenced "Opium For The People" single.

Gong Mythology

Flying Teapot (1973): Radio Gnome Trilogy, Part 1

Gong mythology is a collection of recurring characters, themes, and ideas that permeate the rock albums of Daevid Allen and Gong and to a lesser extent the early works of Steve Hillage. The story is based on a vision Allen had during the full moon of Easter, 1966 in which he claims he could see his future laid out before him. The mythology is hinted at through all of Gong's earlier albums but is not the central theme until the "Radio Gnome Trilogy" (1973-1974).

The story 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 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.

This latter development mirrors the real-life experience of band members Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth who met their saxophonist, Didier Malherbe, in a cave in Majorca.

Meanwhile, the mythology's central character, Zero the Hero, goes about his everyday life when he suddenly has a vision in Charing Cross Road. He is compelled to seek heroes and starts worshipping the Cock Pot Pixie, one of a number of Pot Head Pixies from the Planet Gong. The pixies are green with propellers on their heads, and they fly around in teapots.

Zero is soon distracted by a cat which he offers his fish and chips to. The cat is actually the Good Witch Yoni, who gives Zero a potion. This concludes the first album of the Radio Gnome Trilogy.

Angel's Egg (1973): Radio Gnome Trilogy, Part 2

The second album "Angel's Egg" begins with Zero falling to sleep under the influences of the potion and finds himself floating through space. After accidentally scaring a space pilot called Captain Capricorn, Zero locates Planet Gong, and befriends a prostitute who introduces him to the moon goddess Selene.

Zero's drug-induced trip to the Planet Gong continues, and the Pot Head Pixies explain to him how their flying teapots fly (a system known as Glidding). He is then taken to the One Invisible Temple of Gong.

Inside the temple, Zero is shown the Angel's Egg; the physical embodiment of the 32 Octave Doctors (descendants of the Great God Cell). The Angel's Egg is the magic-eye mandala that features on much of the band's sleeve-art. It is also a sort of recycling plant for Pot Head Pixies.

A grand plan is revealed to Zero. There will be a Great Melting Feast of Freeks which Zero must organize on Earth. When everyone is enjoying the Feast, a huge global concert, the Switch Doctor (the Earth's resident Octave Doctor, who lives near Banana Ananda's cave, in a "potheadquarters" called the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet (C.O.I.T.) and transmits all the details to the Gong Band via Bananamoon Observatory) will turn everybody's third eye on, ushering in a New Age on Earth.
You (1974): Radio Gnome Trilogy, Part 3

In the third installment "You, " Zero must first return from his trip. He asks Hiram the Master Builder how to structure his vision and build his own Invisible Temple. Having done this, Zero establishes that he must organize the Great Melting Feast of Freeks on the Isle of Everywhere, Bali.

The event is going well, and the Switch Doctor switches on everyone's third eyes except for Zero's. For Zero is out the back, indulging in Earthly pleasures (fruitcake).

Zero has missed out on the whole third eye revelation experience and is forced to continue his existence spinning around on the wheel of births and deaths and slowly converging on the Angel's Egg in a way which, to a certain extent, resembles Buddhist reincarnation.


In episode four in the album "Shapeshifter� (1992), Zero meets an urban shaman who agrees to take Zero to the next level of awareness on the proviso that Zero spends nine months on an airplane, travelling where he wants but not using money or eating anything other than airline food. Zero eventually dies in Australia under mysterious circumstances.

The last installment in the album "Zero to Infinity� (2000) sees Zero's spirit enjoying a body-free and virtual existence. During the course of this he becomes an android spheroid Zeroid. With the help of a strange animal called a gongalope, he learns that all the wisdom of the world exists within him and practices Lafta yoga and tea making. He becomes one with an Invisible Temple and has a lot of fun.

Gong's mythology is not universally serious. Great amounts of the story pertain in some way to the production and consumption of tea (perhaps suggesting mushroom tea however, but the word tea has also for long been a word to describe cannabis, especially in the 1940s and 1950s). The characters of the story are often based on or used as pseudonyms for band members.

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