Perhaps it’s the French attitude towards music and musical groups, yet I find the sheer number of incarnations that the band Gong has gone through to be truly amazing. Just imagine if each member of the original Mothers of Invention decided to start their own version of the Mothers after Frank called to tell them he was breaking up the band (then you’ll get an idea).
Gong is a progressive/psychedelic rock band formed by Australian musician Daevid Allen in 1967, after Allen—then 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.
While the “Classic Gong” line-up retired from regular touring in 2001, there have been one-off reunions since, most notably at the “Gong Family Unconvention” (Uncon), the first of which was held in 2004 in the Glastonbury Assembly rooms as a one day event. The 2005 Uncon was a 2-day affair featuring several Gong-related bands such as Here and Now, System 7, House of Thandoy and Kangaroo Moon. The most recent Uncon was a 3-day event held at the Melkweg in Amsterdam on 3-5 November 2006, with practically all Gong-related bands present: classic Gong, System 7, Steve Hillage Band, Hadouk, Tim Blake & Jean-Philippe Rykiel, University of Errors, Here & Now, Mother Gong, Zorch, Eat Static, Acid Mothers Gong, Slack Baba, Kangaroo Moon and many others.
In June 2008, Gong played a concert in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank, opening for Massive Attack’s Meltdown festival, with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Steve Hillage, Miquette Giraudy, Mike Howlett, Chris Taylor and Theo Travis among the lineup (see clip above).
Gong will be performing at Zappanale 20.