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Daevid Allen. Gong. Hugh Hopper. Brainville 3. Oh Moscow. You me & Us



Zu Manifestival: ??, Giorgio Gomelsky, Daevid Allen, ??, CC

I first met Daevid when he was playing with Soft Machine. Then they went off to France to play at a Jean Jacques Lebel event and came back as a trio. At a club called Happening 44, I think their first gig without Daevid, Mike Ratledge told me he’d been refused re-entry into the UK. Ever the Capricornian, Daevid settled in France and formed Gong. The next time I saw him was when the Camenbert Electrique band came to London. Steve Hillage and I were living in the same house at the time and I remember sitting Steve down to listen to Gong - they did a Peel show while they were here. Steve hadn’t heard of them, but at the end of the broadcast he looked at me and said, definitively: ‘I’m going to join that band’. And within a couple of years he had.

Robert Wyatt, Ian MacDonald and Daevid were also instrumental in getting Henry Cow signed to Virgin. And for the first half of the ‘70s I was the informal stand-by, stand-in, drummer for Gong whenever they were between drummers - or when, for one reason or another, Pierre Moerlin couldn’t make a gig or a tour. Then, in 1978, Daevid and I spent a fortnight or so in Deya (Majorca) recording the basic tracks for what became N’existez pas - and socialising a lot. One day, I remember, we visited a flickering Robert Graves, who included in our conversation several other people not visible to us. Round then I was also playing, on and off, in Gilly Smyth’s Mother Gong and, in 1978 (again) we flew off to New York to play at Giorgo Gomelsky’s Zu Manifestival; a trip that included an unscheduled emergency landing in the Azores. Never a dull moment.

In 1999, I was drafted in for a Japanese tour with the Gong Family 30th anniversary, playing in a trio with Daevid & Hugh Hopper. Eight years later Daevid, Hugh and I, now as Brainville 3, did several festivals and tours, until Hugh’s untimely death in 2009. Daevid and I re-gathered in another trio not so long after, with keyboardist Yumi Hara – a project more poetry than song based, until Daevid followed Hugh in 2015.

Daevid and Hugh were both very level-headed and thoroughly decent people.


Hugh in Moscow with Oh Moscow

I first bumped into Hugh at Community Supplies, a wholefood wholesaler, then in Camden, set up to supply communes with bulk organic food. We first played together in Moscow and Volgagrad in Lindsay Cooper’s Oh Moscow, and then in Japan, with Daevid Allen, as part of the Gong Family 30th Anniversary. In 2006, Hugh invited me to join him in a one-off project in Paris to play the whole of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s LP Birds of Fire - something I doubt I would ever have even considered undertaking with anyone else. After that we started to do occasional concerts as a duo. And, of course, he Daevid and I became Brainville 3. In 2008, we were booked to play as a duo in Mexico. I had left early to give a couple of lectures at the University and, two days before the show, I got a mail from Hugh saying he was hardly able to move and unable to fly. Tests identified Leukemia, from which Hugh died a few months later. He's much missed.


N’existe Pas   Charley Records, 1979
Poesy at Play   BaR 003, 2017
Rain Cheque (DVD)   BAR 008, 2018

The Frog and the Spoon, 16 minutes from a concert Hugh and I did in Koln, in 2007 - on CC100, 2014.

BRAINVILLE THREE  Trial By Headline. RER BV1, 2008


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