Whichever way you look at it, Daevid Allen is one of the most interesting and enigmatic characters in music. An Australian, he was working in a Melbourne book shop when he discovered the writings of the ‘Beat Generation’, and his life was never the same again. He travelled to Europe in search of the Beatnik ‘nirvana’ in 1960, and found himself in a Paris hotel, living in a room that had only very recently before been vacated by poet Allen Ginsberg and his life partner, fellow poet Peter Orlovsky. Here he met Terry Riley who introduced the young Allen to the world of free jazz, and the notorious William Burroughs.
“[he] was looking for a jazz band to play while he performed dramatic versions of (his cut-up book) The Ticket That Exploded with Ian Somerville and Brion Gysin. My room was right next door to Brion’s—he was doing interesting tape loops similar to Terry Riley, who was around, too. Burroughs invited me up to his room and said, ‘Well Dave, there’s two ways that I can communicate this information to you. One way will take 30 years and the other will take five minutes. Which way you do want it?’ Anticipating instant sodomy, I said, ‘I think I’ll take the 30 years.’ He was happy with that and told me, ‘I’ve got this job and I want you to play.’ We put on the show and there was the weirdest collection of people in the audience. Burroughs had one scene with nuns shooting each other up with huge syringes. Terry Riley came, and we ended up playing together outside in the street with motorscooter motors, electric guitar and poetry. It was wild.”
Armed with these revolutionary new ideas, he travelled across the channel to England where he formed The Daevid Allen Trio featuring his landlord’s 16 year old son Robert Wyatt on drums. A few years later in 1966 they formed the legendary Soft Machine with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge.
After a European Tour in 1967, Allen was refused entry to the UK because of a visa irregularity, and moved back to France, where he became involved in the famous student insurrection of 1968. He then moved to Deya, Majorca where he, and partner Gilly Smyth began to assemble a loose-knit collection of musicians who began recording under the name Gong. One of these musicians was Didier Malherbe (latter dubbed Bloomdido Bad-De Grass by Daevid), a tremendously gifted saxophonist and flautist, who Daevid claimed to have found living in a cave on the estate of poet Robert Graves. The rest is history.
In the weeks following being refused re-entry to Britain in September 1967, Daevid Allen started playing gigs with various musicians and artists under the collective name Gong, at a Paris club called La Vieille Grille. Early in 1968, he met experimental film director Jérôme Laperrousaz and told him he was looking for musicians to form a band. The latter forwarded the request to a local band called Expression, whose lead guitarist had just left. The rhythm section, consisting of Patrick Fontaine (bass) and Marc Blanc (drums), was recruited and played its first gig with Allen only a few days later, still under the name of Expression. The set consisted of two Soft Machine numbers, "Why Are We Sleeping?" and "We Did It Again", mixed with spontaneous improvisations. They subsequently took the name of Bananamoon.
Then came May '68 and the student riots in Paris. Daevid Allen was forced to leave Paris with his partner Gilli Smyth. The group reunited in July at the Avignon festival, opening for the jazz group of vibraphonist Gunter Hampel. This was followed by a few gigs. Then they embarked for Mallorca, staying at Allen's house in Deya. At the end of the year they returned to France, spending the Winter at Bob Bénamou's ashram in Monteaulieu, near Nyons (Drôme). It was during this period that the trio recorded several demos for the Barclay label. This led to nothing, however, and the three members went their separate ways : Allen resurrected the Gong project, while Fontaine and Blanc went back to Paris to form Ame Son (in 1974, he opened for Gong on a French tour when playing in the band of English vibraphonist Robert Wood). Their recordings survived, however, and thanks to the efforts of longtime fan Thierry Leroy (who had financed Gong's 1992 comeback album Shapeshifter), were released on CD in 1993 under the title Je Ne Fum' Pas Des Bananes.
2. Pretty Miss Titty
3. Rich Girl
4. Un Oeuf
5. My Mother's Gone to India/Hare Krishna/Time of Green Banana/Remember The Name
6. La Belle Cerebrale
7. Est-ce Que Je Suis (Garcon ou Fille)
8. Hyp Hypnotise You
10. Why Do You Come Knocking at my Door?
11. Rock n Roll Angel
12. Why Are We Sleeping?
13. French Garden
14. French Garden
15. Pretty Miss Titty
16. Pretty Miss Titty
17 Gong Song
18. Je Ne Fume Pas des Bananes
19. Je Ne Fume Pas des Bananes