Pioneering psychedelic rock and jazz fusion musician Daevid Allen passed away on Friday April 13th, 2015, at his home in Australia, a message posted on the Planet Gong website announced. He was 77.
“It is with great sadness that we report the passing away of the great Daevid Allen, for many years the leading light in the anarchic collective Gong. Daevid lost his long battle with cancer, and the world is a little less sunlit as a result,” a spokesperson for Allen said in a statement, according to Rolling Stone.
Allen had been forthcoming about his recurring battle with cancer. He had previously undergone surgery to remove a large portion of the cancer; however, the disease returned with a vengeance in his neck, and later spread to his lungs, a series of scans revealed. Just last month, in February 2015, the pioneering musician announced in a statement to his fans that he had made the decision not to undergo any further surgeries, and had been given approximately six months to live.
Born and raised in Australia, Christopher David (“Daevid”) Allen relocated to the U.K. in 1961, according to Consequence of Sound, after he was inspired by the Beat movement. Initially, Allen teamed up with drummer Robert Wyatt and bassist Hugh Hopper to form the Daevid Allen Trio, a free-jazz group, which generated some attention with their score for staged interpretations of the William S. Burroughs’ The Ticket That Exploded. But, it was another Burroughs piece that would lend its name to Allen’s first moderately successful band that he founded in 1966. Yes, we do mean Soft Machine.
Soft Machine went on to record and release one single, “Love Makes Sweet Music”, before they headed out on a European tour, which later wrapped up with a series of breakout performances in Paris, France. But, upon returning to the U.K., Allen was unable to clear immigration as he had overstayed his visa; so, he was returned to Paris, and subsequently left Soft Machine. Soft Machine – sans Allen – would go on to open for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. And, after settling in Paris, Allen founded the progressive rock group, Gong, with singer Gilli Smyth in 1967.
In 1970, Gong released their first album “Magick Brother”. But, the band is best known for the Radio Gnome trilogy, which is made up of the albums: “Flying Teapot”, “Angel’s Egg”, and 1974’s “You”. In 1975, Allen left Gong to pursue a solo career, and would release a series of albums over the course of the 1970s and 80s. By 1991, though Allen revived the original lineup of Gong, and he continued to play and tour with the band off and on over the years, until 2014 when his illness prevented him from joining them on the road.
Allen’s son Orlando posted a message about his father’s passing on Facebook, according to The Guardian. It reads, in part: “As the eternal wheel turns we will continue your message of love and pass it around. We are all one, we are all gong. Rest well my friend, float off on our ocean of love. The gong vibration will forever sound and its vibration will always lift and enhance.”