Interviews with Daevid Allen and Malcolm Mortimore [Listen: 22:37 min] “Peeling the paint” Gentle Giant (audio) plus GonG (written)
Interview Date: November 29, 2011 @3:30pm EDT
TWO Special Guests this week: Written (Part 2 of 4): Daevid Allen(founding member of GonG) and Audio(Part 2 of 2): Malcolm Mortimore (of Gentle Giant).
Malcolm Mortimore is the drummer on the album "Three Friends" by Gentle Giant. He has gone on to play with some of the top players in the world such as; Van Morrison, Tina Turner, Mick and Chris Jagger, Tom Jones, Oliver Jones, and many more. In this interview Malcolm and I talk about going on tour through Europe with Sabbath and Jethro Tull, The album “Three Friends,” what it’s like being a session man ; working for people like Mick Jagger on his new album, and life after Gentle Giant.
Daevid Allen was a member of Soft Machine, GonG, and uN1vER5itY of 3rroR5. Our interview was a written one where I emailed him and he emailed me back the responses. I'm a big fan of his, so it was a thrill for me to have had the opportunity to ask him these questions. To be honest, his answers both surprised me and thrilled me. In my opinion, the GonG concepts were both intelligent and sound in their thinking, and forced me to reexamine my understanding of those classic albums and his work as a whole. I have broken up the interview to coincide with my two Gentle Giant guests Malcolm Mortimore and Derek Shulman. I hope you enjoy it.
Lastly, before we get too far into it I thought I should say a word or two about my "Prog-Rock Special"(Progressive Rock). I am at a little bit of a loss as to what to do about my use of the limiting label of Prog-Rock. You see, there seems to be a real negative association with this sub-genre called "Prog-Rock." I both understand why my guests might shy away from this label and don’t agree with most of the criticism of it. But to summarize the key criticisms: they play their instruments too well (distancing themselves from the common man) and they took it too far and became way too self-indulgent. My response to this is why is playing well a disadvantage; also, are the people who were leveling these comments still playing as bad as when they were supposedly good? On the second point, we are dealing with music and the arts; taking things too far is a good thing. Anyways, I recommend that you give some of these great bands another listen. Long Live PROG-Rock!
The GTV and Daevid Allen Interview (Part 2 of 4)
Q: The Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy is full of symbolism; the first and most obvious symbolism to me is the concept of ‘starting new’ or the idea of ‘rebirth.’ It’s found in the story of the Pothead Pixies being reincarnated with the help from the Octave Doctors in the Angel Egg and it’s also in the beginning of your awareness of the Planet Gong. I could be projecting my own ideas and imagination, but I envisioned you (with Gilli Smyth) lying under a tree and having a moment of inspiration. Can you tell me more about the night on Easter 1966?
The Radio Gnome Trilogy was created to be a vision carrier not a fixed idea. The most important thing is the story you make from it as an individual. Your vision. From your vision you can find inspiration to understand your own path.
My part is to weave an archetypal story structure that serves as a launching pad for you so you can project your own ideas and imagination and envision what works for you.
Q: Planet Gong sounds like a wonderful place (a kind of Utopia). Could you describe what things like weather, recreational activities and possibly a day in the life of a Pothead Pixie?
Tis strange but everybody who has visited planet gong returns to contradict all contemporary accounts. So even if I tell you mine it will only be temporary. You wanna hear it anyway? OK.
There is no duality on this Planet. So there are no extremes. It is a continu-om. The majority of residents who I call the pot head pixies, can deliberately change body size and shape or disappear altho when nearbye, they seem to radiate a green warmth. Their voices are projected direct into the centre of our awareness using a concentrated mind power I have named <telepot radio>.
There is no day or night because the planet generates & provides a balanced equilibrium between all polar opposites. It is a planet that runs on the laws of music such as octave, harmonic and tone.
Their GUIDES are called OCTAVE DOCTORS
Q: Your idea of a Utopia intrigues me, like do things ever change on the Planet Gong or do they always stay the same?
On PG all conditions rest in a state of balance.
In a utopia it is thought everybody is very happy all the time.
But if there is no unhappiness, what does happy mean?
Q: They say that pot (marijuana) is much stronger today than it was back in the 60’s. Did the Pothead Pixies have anything to do with this?
On the contrary, the minds of earthlings have reinvented it producing hybrids that wd scare a nuclear scientist.
Q: I sense a bit of the Merry Pranksters attitude in you and the band. Do you/did you find LSD to be an actual creative “tool” or was it just fun but listening back you realize that you were just really high?
Wot? Me?? Merry Prankster. Oh no. I am very serious indeed.
Far too serious as you can see from these answers.
I need a silly serum.
How can it not be a creative tool? I wonder....
My apologies for putting you in this situation.
I think that the prog-rock scene probably has the best artwork.
I think it's a pity we have been strapped in to the armchair of a cultural style known as prog rock. At first it meant music that was progressive. Then they called it Prog and it turned into a princess.
Those covers were drawn by you; have you always drawn?
Yes. I have always loved drawing. I even went to art school. You would think I might be getting good at it by now but.....
Are they creatively the same thing for you (do you go to the same space when drawing as you do writing songs?
Well the creative restlessness which drives me and gives my life meaning is not an idea/space. It's a consuming passion. It fuels the relevant artistic discipline. Decisions take themselves.
Q: Is success the opposite of failure?
Q: Stage\Stadium technology has changed almost immeasurably from the early days of Gong. When listening to these albums, I’m often struck by what could be pulled off (stage wise) these days. Are there things (big screens or big stage props) that bands have now that you wish you had then? Would they have made a difference?
Actually I think they are a distraction. The last three European tours with Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy were major spectacles with massive light show and 1000+ audiences.
I felt increasingly distanced from my audience. Spontaneity and risk taking rapidly decreased as the show slowly became an exercise in caution. The same solos were repeated nightly. It felt like performance and business wise we were becoming corporate-ized. Vive la 99%.
What I enjoy most is the simple delight of watching and hearing a hot band play to a group of people. Big stadiums commodify and depersonalize. You are too often sold an illusion of an act.
That is why I want to go back to a grass roots Gong asap and play to smaller audiences with plenty of direct communication and eye contact and no frills..
Come back next week when we continue Part 3 of our interview with Daevid Allen of GonG!
We continue the Prog-Rock Mania with the first in amazing two part interview with Derek Shulman (the former lead singer of Gentle Giant), and of course continue our written interview with Daevid Allen.
I just came across a really interesting Avant-garde Jazz band called Jooklo Duo. The band consists of two main members (Virginia Genta - Sax and David Vanzan - Drums) but collaborates with a multitude of artist. It's definitely out there so check them out.
I did some research from this cool site. Check it out:
- Ahmed Jamal
- Andrea Bocelli
- Brett Anderson
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- Miracle Condition - Complete Live Concert
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- The Fall - Mark E. Smith
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- The Orb - Alex Paterson
- The Searchers - John McNally
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- Tortoise (Band) - Complete Live Concert
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- Ron Carter Interview (Part 1 of 2) [Listen 22:25] Hooking Up A Nice New Turntable S04 Ep10
- John Scofield Interview (Part 2 of 2) [Listen 18:00] Having A Jazz Thing To Say With John Scofield S04 Ep09
- Ted Gioia (written) Interview & John Scofield (audio) Interview (Part 1 of 2) [Listen 15:00] Listening And Trying To Figure It Out With John Scofield S04 Ep09
- Charlie McCoy Interview (Part 2 of 2) [Listen 29:00] Shaking Hands With Charlie McCoy S04 Ep08
- Charlie McCoy Interview (Part 1 of 2) [Listen 26:00] Discovering Unique Talent With Charlie McCoy S04 Ep08
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