Christopher David Allen, better known as Daevid Allen and sometimes even Divided Alien (talk about Wyrdness!), died 13 March 2015, only weeks after having been informed that he had six months to live.
On 12 June 2014, Allen underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his neck, when it was diagnosed as cancerous. Allen underwent intensive radiation therapy. In a statement released 5 February 2015, Allen wrote that the “cancer had returned to his neck and had spread to his lungs (metastasized)”. Allen further announced that he “was not interested in endless surgical operations”. On Friday, the 13th of March, his son Orlando Monday Allen, announced the passing of his father through Facebook. He died in Australia at 1:05 p.m., “surrounded by his boys”. He was survived by four sons, two with his partner, willowy whispering witchy wife Gilli Smyth, and two from other mothers.
According to the Daily Telegraph, “Allen revelled in being the court jester of hippie rock and never lost his enthusiasm for the transcendent power of the psychedelic experience“.
Allen once quipped “Psychedelia for me is a code for that profound spiritual experience where there is a direct link to the gods“.
For my part, I was definitely a fan of Gong, and later came to appreciate the other stalwart denizens of the Canterbury Scene, of which Allen was a definite anchor, having co-founded Gong and Soft Machine, two of the scene’s most outstanding aggregations. I came to know Gong and their work through the glissando guitar overload of maestro Steve Hillage, who I still listen to today. Though Allen left Gong fairly early on in their career (1973), he returned in their latter-day period(s) to rock the boat without sinking the ship. Today he is revered as the Godfather of the movement. Whether with Banana Moon, the Magick Brothers or Planet Gong or Mother Gong, Allen was nearly always at the helm, conjuring epic vistas of psych/prog wyrdness for the masses.
Of particular note early in his career was the Radio Gnome Trilogy (Flying Teapot, Angel’s Egg and You) work done with Gong. There are many other recorded works worth of noting, but by and large the critics agree that the music of the trilogy is the best. We all have our faves, mine in particular is the work done on 2032, which marked the return of Hillage and some pretty far-out, trippy fractal videos.
Allen will most certainly be missed by all, especially in the psychedelic and prog rock communities.