Saturday, March 14, 2015

Daevid Allen dead at 77

Christopher David Allen
January 12, 1938 - March 13, 2015

Daevid Allen, founding member of psychedelic rock group Gong, died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Allen was 77. While Allen is best known for his work in Gong, Allen was one of the founding members of prog-rockers Soft Machine. Allen was a member from for only a year, as he was denied re-entry to the UK. Allen had stayed in Paris for too long while on tour with Soft Machine. Being Australian, he was not allowed to reconnect with his bandmates therefore forcing him out of the band. Allen returned to Paris in 1967, where he connected with Sorbonne professor Gilli Smyth. With Smyth and saxophonist Didier Malherbe, Gong was formed. 

While not commercial successful, Gong were able to attain a cult following amongst music fans. Of the albums in their discography, the band's most praised piece of work is their Radio Gnome trilogy- consisting of the albums Flying Teapot, Angel's Egg and You. The band went through several line-up changes, with Allen, Smyth and Malherbe as the core three members. The band would split in 1976 but would go on to spawn other Gong bands. This includes Smyth's Mother Gong, drummer Pierre Moerlen's Gong and Allen's Planet Gong. Gong reunited several times over the years (1991-2001, 2003-2006, 2007-present), with Allen at the helm along with other long-time members from the original group. The band's last album was 2014's I See You. In June 2014, Allen had a cyst removed from his neck. When it was discovered to be cancerous, Allen immediately underwent radiation. On February 5 of this year, Allen announced that the cancer had returned and had spread to his lungs. Allen chose not to have anymore surgery.  His doctors estimated he had six months to live. Allen would pass just a little over a month later. 

It's sad to hear of Daevid's passing. I had always heard of Gong and did become somewhat interested in their music but never got around to listening to it. He seemed to be devoted to his music as well as Gong's. Soon after he announced about his six months left to live, I immediately went online and listen to a few Gong albums. They were a unique band. Luckily, Allen left behind a pretty big body of work for music listeners to enjoy. 

Rest in peace, Daevid.  

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