Steve Davis sits down with Gong frontman Kavus, bassist Dave Sturt, their new album “Rejoice! I’m Dead!” on vinyl and a few beers for a full album commentary
Stream the album – http://smarturl.it/GONG_REJOICE_STREAM
Order a physical copy – http://bit.ly/GongShop

Tracklist and start times:
00:16 – The Thing That Should Be
03:38 – Rejoice!
14:00 – Kapital
17:15 – Model Village
24:07 – Beatrix
26:57 – Visions
30:54 – The Unspeakable Stands Revealed
42:51 – Through Restless Seas I Come
49:42 – Insert Yr Own Prophecy

Davis, the unofficial psychedelic expert and radio presenter alongside Kavus on the Interesting Alternative Show, certainly knows his Gong references and so makes the perfect companion to critique each new song and discuss what makes a Gong album unique.

A few beers in, the trio cover contributions from “Hillage the Spillage” and Daevid Allen from beyond the grave, and the individual band roles that came together to create a “banging”, magical release worthy of a similar sit down and listen.

Filmed by George Laycock of Blacktide Phonic/Visual

Gong have also announced a headline tour of the UK in November, in support of Rejoice! I’m Dead! throughout the UK (and one gig in Norway) For tickets, head to http://madfishmusic.com/g
Nov 20 – Lewes
Nov 21 – Cardiff
Nov 22 – Leicester
Nov 23 – London
Nov 24 – Manchester
Nov 25 – Allendale
Nov 26 – Glasgow
Nov 27 – York
Mar 10 – Oslo
Mar 17 – Pwllheli

Rejoice! I’m Dead! is classified as the band’s 28th album and the Gong legacy is the strongest it has been since 1974. Every member was key in the development of each new song – Kavus Torabi (vocals/guitar), formerly of Cardiacs, who joined Gong in 2014 in time for the last album unaware of the direction his new gig as a guitar player would take, Fabio Golfetti (guitar/vocals), Dave Sturt (bass/vocals), Ian East (sax/flute) and Cheb Nettles (drums/vocals) take on the mantle of steering the Teapot further into outer space and the inner ear. The voice of Daevid Allen features on 2 songs – “Model Village” and “Beatrix”, and the album also features guests – Steve Hillage playing a guitar solo on “Rejoice!” and Didier Malherbe’s duduk can be heard on “Model Village” and “Through Restless Seas I Come”.

gilli

Shakti Yoni is no more

[posted Tue 23 August]
Gilli died at mid-day in Australia surrounded by loved ones. She had been admitted to Byron Bay hospital with pneumonia a couple of days ago. She was 83 and also ageless.

Her unique stage presence and vocals manifested and determinedly represented a vital, deeply fundamental feminine principle within the Gong universe. She last performed with the band in 2012.

The two images of Gilli that spring to mind when I think of her are reading a newspaper, feet up on a tour bus, in our kitchen, in 100s of dressing rooms – she was never without a newspaper whatever country we were in, or laughing – a little Gilli semi-supressed chuckle at the absurdity of pretty much everything.

We will miss her. Love to the Good Witch and all who feel her loss.

gong-by-Ashley-Jones-(2)-1000px

Rejoice! I’m Dead!

New studio album

Released on 16th September through Madfish

Some say it couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be done. How could Gong exist without Daevid Allen? A few minutes into listening to the title track of their brand new album, Rejoice!, aspersions will be cast aside. It is undeniably Gong

Gong have had many, many line-ups. Formed when Australian beatnik/freak Daevid Allen quit The Soft Machine and moved to France at the tail end of the ’60s, before debuting in 1970 with Magick Brother, the band have remained fluid, even playing without their founder from the mid-to-late ’70s, fracturing and reassembling and constantly taking on new shapes and forms: an undeniably amorphous unit. David Bowie told Vanity Fayre in 2003 that Daevid Allen’s Banana Moon is one of his favourite albums, and today everyone from indie artists Temples and Ty Segall to hip hop artist Madlib and techno DJ Surgeon are inspired, and borrow, from Gong’s music and ideology. The funky grooves, avant-garde flourishes and counter-cultural stance is timeless. So timeless that Gong fully exists even without their creator and guiding light. For those who are unaware Daevid Allen died in March 2015.

“I have been co-presenting The Interesting Alternative Show with Steve Davis for the last six years or so,” begins the story of how Gong’s new singer/guitarist Kavus Torabi met Daevid. “In 2011, Steve rang up excitedly saying ‘You’ll never guess who we’ve got as a guest next week… Daevid Allen.’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’d met Daevid briefly a couple of times with Tim Smith [Cardiacs] but never properly. As a lifelong Gong lover, this filled me with delight. Straight away the two of us seemed to really click, within minutes the conversation had taken a turn for the absurd and I was more than a little flattered when he told me, after about an hour, ‘You’re a poet man, I can tell.’

“Over the forthcoming months we would text each other on a fairly regular basis, whenever Daevid was in town playing a gig he’d get in touch to see if I wanted to come along. ‘I’ve been thinking about this a lot,’ he told me, ‘Do you want to play guitar in Gong?’ This came somewhat out of the blue. ‘But you’ve never actually heard me play, Daevid’ I told him. ‘I don’t need to,’ he replied. ‘I felt the same way about Mike Howlett when I met him too and I’m never wrong about this stuff.’ Of course I said ‘Yes’ instantly. ‘You know, I can’t play like Steve Hillage,’ I told him. His response was priceless ‘I don’t care about what you can’t do, I care about what you can do.’

“Since being a teenager, I have often come up with riffs that, while I loved them, had to be shelved because I always felt they sounded a little TOO much like Gong. One of which I started playing. Daevid got up and started improvising lyrics and melodies over the top, his beautiful eyes twinkling. This would become ‘When God Shakes Hands With The Devil (from I See You).’ ‘Wow Kav!’ Daevid said afterwards, ‘Got any more like that?’ Realising that 20 years or so of shelved riffs had not gone to waste, I blurted out ‘Yeah! Fucking loads!’

Kavus joined Gong in 2014 in time for the last album the “new” band made with Daevid, I See You, unaware of the direction his new gig as a guitar player would take. “It was shortly after our Brazilian tour in March 2014 that, following a broken arm, Daevid told us that he had been diagnosed with cancer and would be unable to fulfill the 47 date world tour that had been booked to promote [the album]. To my, and I guess all of our, minds there was no question that he would beat this thing. The most enlightened and switched on guy I ever knew, with light shooting out of every pore, he seemed indomitable. Nonetheless, he started making noises about how he wished the band to continue without him. I think everyone in the band felt ambivalent about this, particularly as we watched the majority of the gigs get cancelled upon news that he was too unwell to fulfill them. I certainly had no desire to front it. I have my own band Knifeworld in which I play this role. We did, however, have a new album to promote, so we reluctantly agreed to play the remaining shows and bow out gracefully after that. Each night we sent Daevid recordings or links to YouTube footage and, from his sick bed in Australia, he wrote gushing praise about what had happened to the band and how this was exactly what he had hoped. By the end of the tour and with the full blessing of Daevid we decided to carry on.

“Rejoice! I’m Dead! came together over several weeks in an East London rehearsal studio. In terms of the writing, the songs became very elastic, what may have been brought to the band as a fixed idea, through experimenting, discarding, expanding and mutating evolved into the songs as you hear them now. Every member was key in the development of each song,” closes Kavus. Thus, Kavus (vocals/guitar), Fabio Golfetti (guitar/vocals), Dave Sturt (bass/vocals), Ian East (sax/flute) and Cheb Nettles (drums/vocals) took on the mantle of steering the Teapot further into outer space and the inner ear.

On the album you’ll also notice the voice of Daevid in an early song idea rehearsal, along with Gong alumni Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe and Graham Clark. Fans of the “Virgin trilogy” won’t be let down!

In the words of bassist Dave Sturt: “You bet it’s a fucking Gong record!”

It depends on your knowledge of Gong history and what constitutes as a Gong record, but if Rejoice! I’m Dead! is classified as their 28th album the Gong legacy is the strongest it has been since 1974. Consider the differences between Angel’s EggGazeuse!, Floating Anarchy and I See You, the various splinter projects and collectives… what is it that make Gong who they are? Their spontaneity and numerous Phoenix-like rebirths – this is just the latest installment. Nothing more, nothing less. New members and old coalesce, the sound unmistakably Gong.

Even without Daevid Allen Gong will continue ….. And long may it do so.

Gong’s New Album

Recording Update

As daevid always hoped Gong would continue without him he would be delighted that not only does it continue, it thrives. Recording for the new Gong album has sucessfully progressed for some time, all will be completed by the end of April. Basic tracks were recorded by the band, Kavus Torabi, Dave Sturt, Ian East, Cheb Nettles and Fabio Golfetti, who decamped to the UK from Brasil for the duration, live at Brixton Hill Studios.

Due to some welcome guests, in places the album will witness the mingling of essence of Gongs, perhaps including a little touch of an alien in the night. Fingers crossed, as long as nothing changes the album is scheduled for release in September.

(from Planet Gong website, posted Sun 13 Mar)

 

Gong are pleased to announce they have signed the deal for a new album with Madfish. This follow-up to ‘I See You’ will be released later next year. Friends from across the Gong Universe are being invited along for the ride.

And on that more sobering matter…

“We, the current Gong band, wish to make it clear that we do not endorse the new BYG/Charly Records Trilogy release and stand firmly alongside the earlier band members in asking that you, the fans, only purchase releases that have been approved by Gong musicians.”
love and light Ian, Dave, Fabio, Kavus and Cheb.

GONG are very pleased to announce a short UK tour in October, featuring Ian East, Dave Sturt, Cheb Nettles, Kavus Torabi and Fabio Golfetti.

20/10/15 – Bilston, Robin 2
21/10/15 – London, Dingwalls
22/10/15 – Leicester, The Musician
23/10/15 – Glasgow, Audio
24/10/15 – Manchester, Band On The Wall
03/11/15 – Liverpool, The Kazimier

“When it became clear that Daevid wouldn’t tour again we all decided it was imperative that the Gong band continued. This was Daevid’s passionate wish. So here we are on the road once again fellow travellers.

Fill up your teapots and come join the ride!
Love and peace Gong 2015”

This was Daevid’s last message to the current Gong band…

“I feel you are all equally on the brink of a whole new era of Gong, musically, lyrically and spiritually and that pretty much all you have each done until now has been a preparation for this time.
I want you to know I am 100% behind you with this project and I wish you huge success in every way you decide to measure that success.
I am really proud of laying the foundation for the Gong tradition and have done my best to make it as multi layered, wide ranging and open ended as I possibly could so that almost anything was possible as a result.
At last I am free to let go of it so now it is up to you guys to carry it on into new unknown heights and depths far beyond anything I could ever imagine myself.
Thank you for being there and going for it and may the rewards be unimaginably powerful for each!
Love and massive soulful hugs
daevid”