Thursday 16 January 2014

Gong 1971 and 2014

I don't normally post stuff like this here (it would be endless), but I love this Gong photo so much that I had to:

That's Christian Tritsch, Kevin Ayers (with bowl on head), Gilli Smyth, Daevid Allen, Sam Wyatt (Robert's son), Pip Pyle (Sam's step-dad) and Didier Malherbe.

According to the Planet Gong website: "It was taken by Robert Wyatt's brother, photographer, Mark Ellidge, in the gardens of the Chateau d'Herrouville in the Val d'Oise, North East of Paris where Camembert Electrique was recorded.


I'm guessing that the picture was taken in late Summer of 1971 (the dandelions being the giveaway?), sometime after the recording of Camembert Electrique and after the trip to Glastonbury Fayre, both of which were in June of that year and neither of which involved Kevin Ayers. Perhaps the band were rehearsing at the studios prior to the first UK Gong tour in October/November, which did include Kevin.

One thing I've noticed with all these old photographs, slides and contact sheets of the Gong tribe back in the day is there are none featuring Gilli's daughter and Daevid's step-daughter Tasmin, who would have been about 11 years old at the time of this particular photograph. Perhaps she was very shy, unlike young Sam."

It fails to mention that earlier that summer — one the solstice no doubt — the Grateful Dead played a gig for the locals, on their first trip to Europe (which didn't involve any other concerts). '71 isn't one of my favourite years for them, but Deadheads will want to check that out here.

Fast-forwarding 42 years, Gong's 2014 lineup and plans for an album and tour have been announced:

As with the last time I saw them (with Pok in Brighton) it's Daevid, his and Gilli's son Orlando on drums, Ian East on horns and flutes, Dave Sturt on bass and Brazilian gliss guitar master Fabio Golfetti. The exciting addition is Kavus Torabi, a former Cardiacs guitarist (wow!). No mention of Gilli had me worried for a moment (she wasn't terribly well on that last tour, but still did her thing with dignity and aplomb between backstage rests), but a more recent posting on PlanetGong mentions that as of Daevid's 76th birthday over in Byron Bay last week "Gilli was very cool as well".


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