With great sadness I must say that Daevid Allen, the leader of the legendary prog-jazz eccentrics Gong, has died aged 77. The very sad news was confirmed on the Facebook page of Allen’s son, Orlando Monday Allen.
Last month, Allen announced he had been given six months to live, after cancer for which he had previously been treated had spread to his lung. «I am not interested in endless surgical operations and in fact it has come as a relief to know that the end is in sight», he said. «I am a great believer in The Will Of The Way Things Are and I also believe that the time has come to stop resisting and denying and to surrender to the way it is».
Daevid Allen, a founding member of the influential jazz outfit Soft Machine and the driving force behind the prog-rock group Gong, died on Friday following a battle with cancer. He was 77. «Daevid passed peacefully in Australia today, Friday 13th at 1.05pm, surrounded by his boys», a message posted on the Planet Gong site read. «Everything has stopped here in a house of tears. Tears first, celebration later».
Born in Australia, Allen migrated to Europe in the Sixties after being influenced by the beat movement. The guitarist, along with drummer Robert Wyatt and bassist Hugh Hopper, formed the free-jazz Daevid Allen Trio, which got its start providing the score for staged interpretations of William S. Burroughs’ The Ticket That Exploded. Burroughs’ The Soft Machine would also inspire Allen to name his next project Soft Machine, which in its first of many incarnations featured Allen, Wyatt, bassist Kevin Ayers and organist Mike Rutledge.
Soft Machine are an English rock band from Canterbury formed in mid-1966 by Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals, 1966–1971), Kevin Ayers (bass, guitar, vocals, 1966–1968), Daevid Allen (guitar, 1966–1967), and Mike Rutledge (organ, 1966–1976). As a central band of the Canterbury scene, the group became one of the first British psychedelic acts and later moved into progressive rock and jazz fusion. Their varying line-ups have included former members such as Hugh Hopper (bass, 1969–1973), Elton Dean (saxophone, 1969–1972), and Andy Summers (guitar, 1968), and currently consists of John Marshall (drums), Roy Babbington (bass), John Etheridge (guitar), and Theo Travis (saxophone, flutes, keyboards).
Gong is a psychedelic prog rock band led and started by the Australian hippie and musician Daevid Allen in 1967. Their music has also been described as space rock. A number of more or less famous musicians have one or more times set foot in this somewhat experimental project; Allan Holdsworth, Bill Bruford and Steve Hillage are some examples