Friday, March 13, 2015

Soft Machine & Gong Co-Founder Daevid Allen Dead At 77

British psychedelic legend Daevid Allen has died at age 77, according to the Guardian, which cites his son's Facebook page.

In February, Allen revealed doctors had given him six months to live due to cancer. In a statement, Allen said he was "not interested in endless surgical operations" and would not be seeking further treatment. "The time has come to stop resisting and denying and to surrender to the way it is," he wrote.

Allen co-founded the immensely influential psych-jazz band The Soft Machine (named after a William S. Burroughs book) in 1966, which produced the self-titled underground classic The Soft Machine in 1968. He also co-founded the British-French experimental band Gong in 1967.

The following is from Anne Leighton Media Music Services:

Daevid Allen was the kind of mercurial, inspiring individual whose free-thinking nature positively touched the lives of all who came into his orbit. When the Australian-born Allen first arrived in England in late 1960, he ended up as a lodger in the home of Robert Wyatt’s parents; the first Beatnik to be seen in the Kent countryside. Allen brought a glimpse of a different world and way of living to Wyatt and his friends, and later, as a founder-member of British psychedelic pioneers Soft Machine, added his unique vision to British rock music at the time.

It is as a founder-member of the sprawling collective Gong that Allen will be most closely associated; born out of the Paris Spring Commune of 1968, their debut album Camembert Electrique was memorably released in the UK in 1974 on the nascent Virgin Records label for the price of a vinyl single. Gong were never blessed with a stable line-up; Allen left the band in the mid-seventies, but reformed Gong in the early nineties. The latest Gong album – I See You – was released late in 2014, and was greeted with universally glowing reviews, a brilliant restatement of Allen and the band’s enduring musical and lyrical values.

Although Daevid Allen’s death at the age of 77 is a sad loss, his lasting legacy – an unapologetic desire to live, explore, entertain and inform through his remarkable body of work, outside of the world of the everyday – will live on.

See a February 27 video of Daevid performing a piece from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet in Bryon Bay, Australia where poets and artists gathered to help celebrate his life and work.