Gong founder Daevid Allen sent a message to the latest lineup of the band just before his death, telling them he was sure he’d left his creation in safe hands.
Allen passed away from cancer last month, aged 77. He’ll be remembered at a concert in London tonight, featuring band frontman Kavus Torabi, sax player Ian East and bassist Dave Sturt appearing as Inspiral Gong.
They’ll tour the UK in October and November this year as Gong, alongside guitarist Fabio Golfetti and drummer Cheb Nettles.
In his email, Allen spoke of his delight at hearing how the lineup sounded without him. He said: “It is super clear to me that Kavus, you are the perfect fit with Dave, Ian and Fabio and that Cheb, you are the perfect fit with Kavus!”
He added: “I want you to know I am 100% behind you with this project and I wish you huge success in every way you decide to measure that success.
“I am really proud of laying the foundation for the Gong tradition and have done my best to make it as multi layered, wide ranging and open ended as I possibly could.
“At last I am free to let go of it so now it is up to you guys to carry it on into new unknown heights and depths far beyond anything I could ever imagine myself.”
Torabi, who joined Gong last year, admits he wasn’t enthused at the idea of continuing without Allen. He tells TeamRock: “The cancer was spotted after some Brazilian gigs in early 2014, while we were completing the album I See You.
“Daevid made it clear he wouldn’t be performing any more, but wanted the band to carry on. I was pretty reluctant – partly because one of the reasons I joined was to be in a band with Daevid. I didn’t have 100% confidence it would work.”
That changed after the band rehearsed, and Torabi went on to front Gong for a short run of shows. The Knifeworld and Guapo leader reports: “We knew we had something incredibly special.” The band kept in constant touch with Allen. “We were emailing him after every gig, sending photos and YouTube links, and he’d respond pretty much every day.
I’m so glad he got to hear what had happened to his band
“Shortly afterwards the cancer became far more aggressive and he knew he wasn’t going to beat it. But I’m so glad he got to hear what had happened to his band before that. His son Orlando told us it had made it easier for Daevid to let go.”
From a personal perspective, Torabi reflects: “He was the most enlightened guy I ever met. He was the real deal. No bullshit whatsoever. Funny, smart, antagonistic, free from any mind-forged manacles, constantly searching, learning while operating completely independently of the straight world.
“The guy hardly had a penny. It wasn’t about money – it was about life, experience, love and creating. He was an enormous inspiration to so many people, myself included.
“His worldview had an enormous impact on me. Actually becoming friends and making music together has been indescribable.”
The Gong Family Gathering takes place at the Inspiral Lounge, Camden, tonight at 9pm, also featuring a Steve Hillage DJ set, Allen’s Magick Brothers collaborators Mark Robson and Graham Clark plus a Miquette Giraudy DJ set. Proceeds will be donated to “a good cause that Daevid would have approved.”
Allen’s email to Gong
Can I just simply say that it is super clear to me that Kavus, you are the perfect fit with Dave, Ian and Fabio and that Cheb, you are the perfect fit with Kavus!
_I feel you are all equally on the brink of a whole new era of Gong, musically, lyrically and spiritually and that pretty much all you have each done until now has been a preparation for this time. _
_I want you to know I am 100% behind you with this project and I wish you huge success in every way you decide to measure that success. _
I am really proud of laying the foundation for the Gong tradition and have done my best to make it as multi layered, wide ranging and open ended as I possibly could so that almost anything was possible as a result.
At last I am free to let go of it so now it is up to you guys to carry it on into new unknown heights and depths far beyond anything I could ever imagine myself.
Thank you for being there and going for it and may the rewards be unimaginably powerful for each!
Love and massive soulful hugs