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Daevid Allen

Daevid AllenBorn: 13-Jan-1938
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Musician

Nationality: Australia
Executive summary: Demented musical gnome

One of the main architects of the British psychedelic scene, Daevid Allen spent his early years in Australia working in a variety of different fields -- including actor, scene-painter, and interior decorator. After moving to England in 1960, he made the acquaintance of Robert Wyatt, the son of the proprietor of the boarding house in which he was staying. The pair, joined by Wyatt's friend Hugh Hopper, began performing together in a free-jazz trio; eventually Allen moved to Paris and spent a period there collaborating with Terry Riley and William S. Burroughs. Upon returning to England in 1966, Allen once again enlisted his friend Robert Wyatt -- this time to participate in a project that had presented itself to him during a vacation in Ibiza. It was the creation of this new band, Soft Machine, that would first generate widespread interest in Allen's music. His tenure with the band proved to be short-lived, however: following a performance in St. Tropez, Allen was denied entrance back into England, forcing him to abandon the Machine. Instead, he moved to France to create the phenomenon that was (and continues to be) the band Gong. Blending together a wide variety of musics (although remaining centered around what might be called a "psychedelic" sensibility) under the mantle of a fanciful mythology, Gong would soon achieve legendary status and strongly impact the British and Amercian music scene that was to later emerge.

During his involvment with Gong, Daevid Allen remained active with outside projects, including his first solo record Banana Moon released in 1970. After leaving Gong in 1975, Allen embarked on a long series of solo and collaborative projects that led him to different corners of the world. Gong itself would continue without him, and eventually splinter into various sub-groups under the control of different members of the original Gong. One of these incarnations took place while Daevid was living in New York: New York Gong would include Bill Laswell and the musicians that would later constitute his band Material.

In 1990, the full Gong evolved out of another Daevid Allen-led Gong-ling, Gongmaison, when original Gong drummer Pip Pyle was invited to participate in a Gongmaison recording session. Gong proper has continued to be active ever since. Allen has also kept busy with his solo projects, many of which now involve his band Daevid Allen's University of Errors.

Father: Walter Allen
Mother: Helen Allen
Wife: Kay Calvert (div.)

    Soft Machine Guitarist (1966-67)
    Gong Guitarist/Vocalist (1969-80 and 1990-)
    Daevid Allen's University of Errors Guitarist/Vocalist (1998-)


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