[Around Prog #14] Gong pt. II


Between 1973 and 1974, with the contribution of the new guitarist Steve Hillage, they recorded the trilogy “Radio Gnome,” composed by “Flying Teapot,” “Angel’s Egg” and “You.” With these three albums they consecrate the mythology of the Gongs, also reaching their artistic peak and popularity. All the Lineups of these three works include Daevid Allen (Guitar, Vocals), Gilli Smyth (Space Whispers), Steve Hillage (Guitars), Didier Malherbe (Sax, Flute) and Tim Blake (Keyboards). Pierre Moerlen (Drum, Vibraphone, Marimba), Mike Howlett (Bass) take the recording of “Angel’s Egg”, while Hillage’s companion Marquette Giraud (Vocals) joins in “You”. Once the trilogy was completed, Allen and his partner Smyth retired to Deìa, Spain, giving other artists the chance to rest. The experiment thus leads to a series of 5 live shows with the Paragon moniker, also releasing “ParaGong Live ’73,” released later posthumously in 1995.


The 1977 album “Gazeuse!” sees after the incision the exit from the Malherbe Lineup, the last of the original formation left, thus formalized the dissolution. The album in fact, given the numerous changes of Lineup, is attributed to Pierre Moerlen’s Gong and in 1976 the new version of the band is presented. The base is rediscovered in France, publishing “Express II” in 1978, continuing the career with several changes, the most recent being Moerlen with the addition of several Russian musicians recording “Pantemine” in 2002 and 2005, while he was working on a unfortunately, new lineup loses life.


The first great Reunion takes place on May 28, 1977 at the Paris racecourse, with the participation of many historical components.

Tim Blake (Plus Didier Malherbe, Steve Hillage e Jorge Pinchevsky)
Lady June
Strontium 90 (Mike Howlett, Stewart Copeland, Sting e Andy Summers)
Steve Hillage (Plus Miquette Giraudy, Pierre Moerlen, Mike Howlett, Mireille Bauer e Daevid Allen)
Shamal Gong (Mike Howlett, Pierre Moerlen, Didier Malherbe, Mireille Bauer, Jorge Pinchevsky, Steve Hillage)
Gong-Expresso (Pierre Moerlen, Benoît Moerlen, Mireille Bauer, Jorge Pinchevsky, Hansford Rowe)
Daevid Allen & Euterpe
Trilogy Gong (Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Didier Malherbe, Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy, Pierre Moerlen, Mike Howlett)

Some tracks recorded during the event were published in the double album “Gong est Mort, lives Gong!”. Later between 1971 and 1978 they created one of the satellite bands, Planet Gong, composed by Daevid, Gilli and some members of the Here and Now. Perform with this lineup a series of concerts, in that of Toulouse in particular record some songs published in 1978 in the album “Floating Anarchy Live 1977.” The album features several unpublished works including “Opium For The People.” The themes of Gong mythology have been taken up in Allen’s solo works and in works with other groups such as Euterpe, trained by Deìa with Gilli and with whom they record two albums. In 1979 he flew to New York to promote the European Program, where together with Gomelsky they created the New York Gong, playing several concerts and recording “About Time” in 1980. This work blends the unmistakable Gong style with the New Wave sounds, and subsequently Allen continues to produce with the Material moniker. Gilli Smyth, begins his solo career, releasing the album “Mother,” which sees the collaboration of Allen, and other Gongs, released in 1978. Also in the same year, the relationship with Allen ends, and with the new partner Harry Williamson founded I Mother Gong, with whom he published several albums, the last of which was titled “2oo6” and was released in 2006. The expression Gong Global Family was coined to encompass all the Gong formations, from the 70s to the our days. The sounds of the Gongs have also been revived by Steve Hillage, who together with Giraudy, records some important albums. “Fish Rising” in 175, “L” in 1976, “Motivation Radio” in 1977 and “Green” in 1978, showing his good guitar technique by mixing distorted sounds with orientalizing exoticism. In the 90s the duo created the Trance-Ambient group by the name System 7, as well as several collaborations with trance and ethnic artists such as Rai Rachid Taha and The Orb by Alex Paterson.


In the 1980 all the members were engaged in personal projects and the Réunion became more and more occasional and the Gongs seem to have arrived at the epilogue. The turning point took place in 1989, when Allen and Malherbe re-established the band with the name GongMaison, together with which they released a self-titled studio album and a live album. The first real work of the Gongs from the days of Gazeuse was published in 1991, entitled “Shapeshifter,” later renamed “Radio Gnome No. 4.” The lineup also features Pilp Pyle at the drum and Gilli Smyth, recording the 1993 album “Live on TV 1990.” We are in 1994 when the meeting for the 25th year of the Gong formation is held in London, publishing the double “25th Birthday Party” released in 1995. Throughout the year plus the next, the historic Lineup of the trilogy, found itself busy on a tour of Europe, North America and Japan. Therefore, in 1998 they released the “Family Jewels” compilation, which contained only unpublished pieces, recorded by different Lineups of the Gong Family. Between the 1990s and 2000s, Allen started other projects such as University Of Eerrors, Goddess T & Canterbury Family, Magick Brothers and Guru & Zero. Another work that continues the Gong mythology was “Zero & Infinity” and the following “Live To Infinitea” of 2000, followed by “Oak Friends!” and “High Above The Subterrania Club 2002.” Allen, who has since moved to Australia, gives birth to a totally new line-up, with Kawabata Makoto and Cotton Casino of Acid Mothers Temple, Gilli Smyth and his son Orlando Allen at the drum. An event worthy of note was the Gong Unconvention in 2006, which took place at the famous Malkweg in Amsterdam, during which various Gong Family formations performed. The G-Wave was born from the meeting, a label aimed at producing Gong and Steve Hillage Band albums. This revived collaboration between Hillage and Allen led to the creation of several LIVE and an “2032” album, released in 2009, after more than 40 years of activity. It was the first time since 1974 that Hillage and the band have been together in the studio, with part of the original Radio Gnome lineup. According to the Gong mythology 2032 will be the year in which the planet Gong, inhabited by Pot Head Pixies, will come into contact with the planet earth, following a perfect astral alignment. Between 2009 and 2010 there were many European live shows by the Gongs, Magick Brothers and University Of errors and in September 2010 in the UK in support they played Nik Turner’s Space Rituals. An intense live activity continues, until the end of 2012, and with the beginning of 2013 Gilli Smyth definitively abandons the concert activity, entering Kevin Torabi Lineup. “I See You” is published in November 2014, in the same year Allen undergoes surgery due to cancer. The intervention will have a positive outcome, forcing him for precautionary reasons not to participate in the mini-tour of the presentation of the disc. In a press release announcement that it would be the farewell album, and that the Gings, being a great family, each made their own contribution, could have continued to exist even without him. In fact, on the cover of the disc, you can see how a small sentence appears at the bottom right, with the words: “whatever it is it will change.” Allen unfortunately in 2015 announces that his cancer status has degenerated, leaving him no room for improvement. in the statement, he added that he would have 6 months of life left and on March 13, 2015, his son Orlando announced his death through his web channels in Byron Bay, Australia at 1:05 pm. In 2016 an album “Rejoice! I’m Dead!” Is recorded, in which appear Hillage, Malherbe and the voice of Allen in two songs. The last release dates back to 2019, with “The Universe Also Collapse,” followed by a set of the collaboration period with Virgin entitled “Love For The Planet Gong: The Virgin Years ’73 -75.”

The previous part [Around Prog #13] Gong pt. I


(1970) Magick Brother
(1971) Camembert Electrique
(1973) Flying Teapot
(1973) Angel’s Egg
(1974) You
(1976) Shamal (without Daevid Allen)
(1992) Shapeshifter
(2000) Zero to Infinity
(2004) Acid Motherhood
(2009) 2032
(2014) I See You
(2016) Rejoice! I’m Dead!
(2019) The Universe Also Collapses

Past Members

Daevid Allen / Vocals, Guitar (1967–1968, 1969-1975, 1977, 1990, 1992–2001, 2003–2004, 2006–2015; died 2015)
Gilli Smyth / Vocals (1967–1968, 1969-1973, 1974, 1977, 1990, 1994–2001, 2004, 2006, 2007–2013; died 2016)
Ziska Baum / Vocals (1967–1968)
Loren Standlee / Flute (1967–1968; died 2014)
Didier Malherbe / Saxophone, flute (1969–1976, 1977, 1990, 1992–2001, 2006)
Rachid Houari / Drums, Percussion (1969-1971, 1973; died 1973)[1]
Christian Tritsch / Bass, Guitar (1969–1973)
Pip Pyle / Drums, Percussion (1971, 1990, 1992–1997; died 2006)
Laurie Allan / Drums, Percussion (1972–1973, 1974)
Mac Poole / Drums, Percussion (1972; died 2015)
Charles Hayward / Drums, Percussion (1972)
Rob Tait / Drums, Percussion (1972, 1974)
Diane Stewart / Vocals (1972, 1974)
Tim Blake / Synthesizer, Vocals (1972–1975, 1977, 1994, 2006)
Francis Moze / Bass, Piano (1972–1973)
Mireille Bauer / Percussion (1973–1976, 1977)
Steve Hillage / Lead Guitar, Vocals (1973–1975, 1977, 2006, 2008–2012)
Mike Howlett / Bass, Vocals (1973–1976, 1977, 1994–2001, 2006, 2008–2009)
Pierre Moerlen / Drums, Percussion (1973–1974, 1975–1976, 1977, 1997–1999, died 2005)
Miquette Giraudy / Vocals, Synthesizer (1974–1975, 1977, 2006, 2008–2012)
Chris Cutler / Drums, Percussion (1974)
Bill Bruford / Drums, Percussion (1974)
Brian Davison / Drums, Percussion (1975; died 2008)
Dave Stewart / Keyboards, Synthesizer (1975)
Patrice Lemoine / Keyboards, Synthesizer (1975–1976, 1977)
Jorge Pinchevsky / Violin (1975–1976, 1977)
Sandy Colley / Vocals (1976)
Stephen Lewry / Lead Guitar (1990, 1994-1998)
Keith Bailey / Bass, Vocals (1990, 1992–1994)
Paul Noble / Synthesizer (1990)
Graham Clark / Violin (1991-1992)
Shyamal Maïtra / Percussion, Synthesizer (1992–1994)
Chris Taylor / Drums, Percussion (1999–2001, 2006, 2008–2012)
Theo Travis / Saxophone, Flute (1999–2001, 2006, 2008–2010)
Mark Robson / Synthesizer (1999–2000)
Mark Hewins / Lead Guitar (1999)
Howard Scarr / Synthesizer, Guitar (2000–2001)
Josh Pollock / Lead Guitar (2003–2004, 2007)
Dharmawan Bradbridge / Bass (2003–2004)
Cotton Casino / Synthesizer, Vocals (2003–2004, 2007)
Kawabata Makoto / Lead Guitar (2003–2004, 2007)
Orlando Allen / Drums, Percussion (2003–2004, 2012–2014)
Tsuyama Atsushi / Bass (2004, 2007)
Tatsuya Yoshida / Drums, Percussion (2004, 2007)
Marcelo Ringel / Saxophone, Flute (2007)
Gabriel Costa / Bass (2007)
Fred Barley / Drums, Percussion (2007)

Current Lineup

Fabio Golfetti / Lead Guitar (2007, 2012–present)
Dave Sturt / Bass (2009–present)
Ian East / Saxophone, Flute (2009–present)
Kavus Torabi / Guitar, Vocals (2014–present)
Cheb Nettles / Drums, Percussion (2014–present)

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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