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Thread: Tim Blake interview

  1. #1

    Tim Blake interview

    I learned a few things from this.. guess I've had my head in the sand re: the internal politics of Gong during the Teapot/Angels Egg/You era..
    I had to leave Gong in ’75 because I was unable to have a good relationship with Daevid any more. I was fed up seeing the music I and others had written have the name on it changed at the last minute. He didn’t even belong to the group after ’73. His participation on Angel’s Egg and You was because we tolerated it and we shouldn’t have. Spiritually, the band broke up after that. It left me with a lot of negative contractual situations which were not conducive to me getting on with another recording career.
    https://www.loudersound.com/features...X1kfrkZZkF1d40

  2. #2
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    Regardless, I really love Crystal Machine.

  3. #3
    Well...
    There has never been any of this beef between any of the other members and Daevid
    Steve & Miquette , Mike , Didier all had a great relationship and collaborated with Daevid through the years
    So to me it seems that Tim is holding this load of poison against Daevid
    Read Gong Dreaming 2 to read Daevid’s side.
    I love Moonwed’s contributions to Gong but he seems like a problematic figure
    Gilli with her sharp instincts warned Daevid
    Not to invite Tim to Gong
    I am glad he did though cause Tim produced pure magic that later turned into poison

  4. #4
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Obviously there must have been bad chemistry, but his words are harsh .... trying to justify something?
    He was really good in Gong, but I haven't been overly impressed with his stuff after.

  5. #5
    I just read this again and this part - “Green, it sounds like I wrote it from beginning to end”

    Phew ...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    I just read this again and this part - “Green, it sounds like I wrote it from beginning to end”

    Phew ...
    Quoting just this part is taking it out of context - he's saying that he had a big influence on Hillage not that he actually wrote it.

    Agree with that or not it's different from the way you quoted it.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by taliesin View Post
    Quoting just this part is taking it out of context - he's saying that he had a big influence on Hillage not that he actually wrote it.

    Agree with that or not it's different from the way you quoted it.
    Let's put it in context.. In 1975 you joined the line-up for Steve Hillage’s first solo album Fish Rising, recorded not long before your and Steve’s departure from Gong.

    Fish Rising would probably have been a Gong album if we didn’t have the problem with Daevid. I’m the only one prepared to mention this. Just look at the band photographs after You. When I look at them, I see a whole load of people completely freaked out, as if we’d been done, and we had been. I get the feeling that if you compare Steve’s music – which is awfully good – before he met Gong and then go up to his fourth solo album Green, it sounds like I wrote it from beginning to end. All I can say is that he must have found some real inspiration in Gong and it managed to bring him out of his shell amazingly.

  8. #8

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    He so arrogant
    He's a difficult character, that's for sure.
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  10. #10
    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Let's put it in context.. In 1975 you joined the line-up for Steve Hillage’s first solo album Fish Rising, recorded not long before your and Steve’s departure from Gong.

    Fish Rising would probably have been a Gong album if we didn’t have the problem with Daevid. I’m the only one prepared to mention this. Just look at the band photographs after You. When I look at them, I see a whole load of people completely freaked out, as if we’d been done, and we had been. I get the feeling that if you compare Steve’s music – which is awfully good – before he met Gong and then go up to his fourth solo album Green, it sounds like I wrote it from beginning to end. All I can say is that he must have found some real inspiration in Gong and it managed to bring him out of his shell amazingly.
    In or out of context for me the meaning is about the same: T.B considers his input to Gong as very important (essential ?) and the main source for S.H's inspiration for his later (solo) work. Even into context how should we read/understand : " sounds like I wrote it from beginning to end..." ? Maybe T.B's writing participation in Gong songs was real and underestimated but he was not alone and there was a Gong before and after him...
    Last edited by Mr.Krautman; 02-10-2020 at 10:25 AM.

  11. #11
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Interesting. And here I always thought they were one big happy family. And I always assumed TB had a very limited hand in the writing, and mainly was there to provide those cool synth effects. Of course his time with Gong influenced his writing, that's pretty inevitable, but I think it's a stretch to say Green sounds like Tim Blake wrote it from beginning to end. Fish Rising, my favorite Hillage album, sound more Blake-like than Green to me.

  12. #12
    I think Tim is one of the most important elements in Gong’s magical sound- i love his synths works so much
    But Tim has lost my respect by consistently portraying Daevid as a manipulative scoundrel cheat
    I have been a rabid Gong fan for more then 45 years
    I have read dozens of interviews , books, articles
    I have a few friends like Brian Abbot and Andy Bole Michael
    Claire , Josh Pollock , Maggie Thomas , Chris Cutler who were close to Daevid and new him well
    I spent time with him and worked with him especially on his swan song album
    I am a middled aged man who knows much about life and can look at my idol as a human being with faults and flaws
    Never have i heard anyone accuse Daevid for being a crook or a swindle that cheated his band mates
    Shure he wasn’t perfect sure he made mistakes and there were consequences both for him and for members of Gong
    I met Steve Hillage Miquette and Mike and spent some precious moments with them
    Talking about Daevid and the love and respect they showed towards him were genuine

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Udi Koomran View Post
    Never have i heard anyone accuse Daevid for being a crook or a swindle that cheated his band mates
    There were shenanigans with BYG and Virgin, Daevid signing to both at the same time; I believe that is widely accepted fact.

    Tim's biggest beef with Gong is that he "wasn't sacked properly". The story he told me is that when Nik Turner was sacked from Hawkwind, he was paid off, management sat him down and he got "the check". When Tim was sacked from Gong, he wasn't.

    IIRC, the release "Gong In The 70s" was attributed to Tim, as an attempt to redress royalty issues.

    But I agree with everything you write Udi, and I, like yourself, have similar experiences with Gong, and Tim. The text in recent box set surprised me a bit, however, because it consciously (IMHO) drew the narrative of Gong away from being "Daevid's band."
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    There were shenanigans with BYG and Virgin, Daevid signing to both at the same time; I believe that is widely accepted fact.
    Daevid’s Gong Dreaming 2 explains this at length
    As far as i understood this no shenanigans

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    the release "Gong In The 70s" was attributed to Tim, as an attempt to redress royalty issues.
    ."
    No really
    Tim went through an accident and the release was meant to help him deal with the financial expenses

  16. #16
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    let's see if Aymeric can tell us more on this TB issue

    But yeah, TB's declarations come a bit like a feather ruffler.

    Tim's biggest beef with Gong is that he "wasn't sacked properly". The story he told me is that when Nik Turner was sacked from Hawkwind, he was paid off, management sat him down and he got "the check". When Tim was sacked from Gong, he wasn't.
    not surprised by this if they were still living like a hippie community by the time of his "sacking", but he might've made an issue out of it back then, instead of recently...
    And he's been back twice in the band, soooo....

    There were shenanigans with BYG and Virgin, Daevid signing to both at the same time; I believe that is widely accepted fact.
    Again, if Daevid was out there in hippyland, he probably never saw (as in "read") Charly's contract allegedly signed on an airport bar table before hastily heading to Ibiza.

    Yeah, most likely Daevid naivety and "carelessness" certainly made him an easy prey,


    ==============

    BTW, TB is completely off about Brexit and losing his house or being forced out... All he has to do is apply to French citizenship and he'll get it in no time.

    just like the thousands of UK civil workers inside the EC that will keep their job despite the Brexit. Even translators in the Parliaments should keep their job (maybe less of them, though). However, for the European Council and elected parliament members, they lose it. Unlike what it may seems about tough negociations in the Brexit, Continental Europe has been very friendly to British (ex-?)citizens (whether linked to the European institutions or just living in Europe - pensionners or private firm workers) living on it...
    Last edited by Trane; 02-11-2020 at 10:27 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    There were shenanigans with BYG and Virgin, Daevid signing to both at the same time; I believe that is widely accepted fact.

    Tim's biggest beef with Gong is that he "wasn't sacked properly". The story he told me is that when Nik Turner was sacked from Hawkwind, he was paid off, management sat him down and he got "the check". When Tim was sacked from Gong, he wasn't.
    It's a complicated story, to the point where the various parties all have a point.

    Bad record deals were signed which should probably never have been signed, and some of them would be illegal today, like Virgin's "cross-collateralisation" of recording and songwriting royalties, publishing, studio costs etc. Virgin can be blamed for knowingly offering artists deals that were entirely in the label's interest and, for the artist, would result in them never earning a penny. This is why Robert Wyatt stopped recording albums between 1975 and 1980 : he was accumulating a debt towards Virgin doing so.

    As for BYG, Daevid has said that Karakos and Young were, initially, good to him and he was thankful for their original investment. This is why he returned to their post-BYG labels in 1977 (Karakos' Tapioca and Young's Charly) after he fell out with Virgin. A puzzling move in other respects, though, as Charly had sued Gong and Virgin for their reissue of "Camembert Electrique", undertaken in the belief that BYG had gone bankrupt and wouldn't ask for their share. (Apparently, Young was in jail as a consequence of the bankruptcy when this happened, but he sued as soon as he was out.)

    The problem the 'Trilogy Gong' guys have with all of this is that they joined at the time when Gong were switching from the soon-to-be-bankrupt BYG to Virgin, and were under the impression that they were signing with a Virgin band, having no personal ties to BYG. But Gong as a band were contractually tied to BYG, and it's not clear exactly when BYG ceased operations. Some in the band have claimed that they'd gone bankrupt at the time of recording "Flying Teapot" (January 1973), but correspondence between Virgin and BYG (and later a company that "inherited" its assets, Sonodisc I think it was called) reproduced in the Charly boxed set a few years ago provides evidence that BYG existed under some form into 1974 ("Angel's Egg", released in December 1973, had the mention "A BYG/Virgin production", and studio costs were invoiced to BYG !).

    As a result of Virgin, with Daevid's blessing, misappropriating "Camembert Electrique" (which hadn't recouped studio costs), Gong suffered the consequences of BYG's wrath, and Charly's subsequent non-payment of royalties to them (likely on the basis that Gong owed them until the albums had recouped), and they also suffered from the very bad contract they'd signed with Virgin, AND, it has to be said, a certain carelessness regarding where the money for their weekly retainers was coming from. By 1977, the band had collectively accumulated a debt of dozens, possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds. Benoît Moerlen once told me that when the Expresso II line-up signed with Virgin, each member had to "pay" (or possibly sign an IOU for) their share of that debt.

    I don't know if anyone was aware of any of this at the time Tim left the band in March 1975. It could be argued that he was morally entitled to some money when he was fired from the band, but that he didn't get any is understandable in light of the reasons why he was fired (see Gong Dreaming 2). After all, there had been money available to pay Bill Bruford the princely fee he demanded for coming to their rescue mid-tour and do the rest of the November/December 1974 European dates.

    There are things Tim claims regarding songwriting credits (on Angel's Egg) not reflecting his real input, or SACEM forms (French society of composers/songwriters) for gigs that falsely claimed all the songs played were by Allen and Smyth etc. Maybe he's right, difficult to know. In any case, by the time of "You" they'd switched to collective credits (even for "Perfect Mystery" which dated back to 1970 - so Tim, Steve, Mike and Pierre earned as much as Daevid for it), and re: the SACEM stuff one would need to check whether this would have been systematic or a one-off.

    The thing with Tim is that he claims he was never happier in Gong as during the Paragong period prior to Allen and Smyth returning. His view, possibly a retrospective reconstruction but maybe his real feeling at the time, is that Allen and Smyth "stole" the music the "new boys" had created and turned it into a Gong product for their own gain. I don't think this view holds up well in light of the fact that (a) Gong was Daevid's creation, and was a famous band before 1973, certainly in France they were big, so to join Gong was benefitting from what Daevid, Gilli, Didier and others had done to establish the band in the early years; (b) like Miles Davis, Frank Zappa and others, one of Daevid's talents was to gather very creative, and very different people, around him. It's easy to disregard this talent and take the view that the band would have formed without him, but it's simply not true. The Trilogy Gong didn't survive Daevid's departure, ultimately...
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  18. #18
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Thx Aymeric

    Quote Originally Posted by calyx View Post

    The thing with Tim is that he claims he was never happier in Gong as during the Paragong period prior to Allen and Smyth returning. His view, possibly a retrospective reconstruction but maybe his real feeling at the time, is that Allen and Smyth "stole" the music the "new boys" had created and turned it into a Gong product for their own gain. I don't think this view holds up well in light of the fact that (a) Gong was Daevid's creation, and was a famous band before 1973, certainly in France they were big, so to join Gong was benefitting from what Daevid, Gilli, Didier and others had done to establish the band in the early years; (b) like Miles Davis, Frank Zappa and others, one of Daevid's talents was to gather very creative, and very different people, around him. It's easy to disregard this talent and take the view that the band would have formed without him, but it's simply not true. The Trilogy Gong didn't survive Daevid's departure, ultimately...
    you meant BYG, I suppose

    =================

    Additional comments from TB and SH in the Flying Teapot very recent remasters' booklet also speak in Daevid's absence (gone to Deia) about visitors (allegedly from BYG) trying to force them to sign a document they weren't allowed to read. Maybe the "saga" continues in the booklets of AE and You, but I didn't buy them (however I did for Shamal - not read the booklet yet)
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  19. #19
    A few years back Shindig put out a magazine called ‘Interstellar Overdrive: a guide to spacerock’ which had an article on Gong. Tim Blake made the same comments in that article about Daevid Allen as he did in this recent interview. This is what Mike Howlett said in the Shindig article in response to Tim’s complaints.

    ‘Tim’s argument is about two things – on Angel’s Egg there were lots of mis-credits done. He thinks its deliberate, though the reality is that Daevid just got it all muddled up. I got credits for things I shouldn’t have got, didn’t get credited for things that I should have got. The same happened with Tim. But I’ve looked through all that and it roughly evens out – with the accreditation. They work both ways. Then on You – we agreed that everything that went on it would be split seven ways between the band. On the “Isle of Everywhere” almost all of it was written by Daevid instrumentally. We all wrote various bits. Steve (Hillage) wrote the Om riff for the “Master Builder” track.

    ‘Tim has been a bitter and twisted soul for a long time. I tried to talk this out with him a number of times. Steve will always give you the same story. Tim’s like a computer – you go through the story with him and the programme works fine and he gets it. Then the next day you have to load it back again, he’s gone back to the start and forgotten everything. It’s all gone – he just can’t remember. I’ve been through it with him song by song and figured out what’s right and what’s wrong. He really is a troubled soul – it’s his own fault. How long ago did he leave Gong? Thirty eight years ago. It’s an obsession, really.’

    The same article goes on to say: ‘Daevid Allen, for his part, appears to bear no malice to Blake. He (Allen) comments: “What an extraordinary talent (Tim) had. A fragile visionary. We would stay up all night, drop acid and create extraordinary music. He should now be up there with Eno as a synth pioneer. Sadly he apparently self-destructed. What can I say without sadness?”’

    On the break-up of the band, Howlett said this: ‘Tim left because he was losing the plot. He was having problems. At one point he was screaming away at the kitchen and I told him to stop and he grabbed a bowl of muesli and put it in my face, so I punched him and broke my little finger … We had a big dinner – we were all talking away and Tim leapt up on the table with a big carving knife and threw it at Daevid and hit this girl who was there. One of our roadies grabbed him and threw him out into the garden – and that was kind of his official exit.’
    The more you know you know you don't know what you know

  20. #20
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    ^^^^

    This sounds plausible!

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Munster View Post
    A few years back Shindig put out a magazine called ‘Interstellar Overdrive: a guide to spacerock’ which had an article on Gong. Tim Blake made the same comments in that article about Daevid Allen as he did in this recent interview. This is what Mike Howlett said in the Shindig article in response to Tim’s complaints.

    ‘Tim’s argument is about two things – on Angel’s Egg there were lots of mis-credits done. He thinks its deliberate, though the reality is that Daevid just got it all muddled up. I got credits for things I shouldn’t have got, didn’t get credited for things that I should have got. The same happened with Tim. But I’ve looked through all that and it roughly evens out – with the accreditation. They work both ways. Then on You – we agreed that everything that went on it would be split seven ways between the band. On the “Isle of Everywhere” almost all of it was written by Daevid instrumentally. We all wrote various bits. Steve (Hillage) wrote the Om riff for the “Master Builder” track.

    ‘Tim has been a bitter and twisted soul for a long time. I tried to talk this out with him a number of times. Steve will always give you the same story. Tim’s like a computer – you go through the story with him and the programme works fine and he gets it. Then the next day you have to load it back again, he’s gone back to the start and forgotten everything. It’s all gone – he just can’t remember. I’ve been through it with him song by song and figured out what’s right and what’s wrong. He really is a troubled soul – it’s his own fault. How long ago did he leave Gong? Thirty eight years ago. It’s an obsession, really.’

    The same article goes on to say: ‘Daevid Allen, for his part, appears to bear no malice to Blake. He (Allen) comments: “What an extraordinary talent (Tim) had. A fragile visionary. We would stay up all night, drop acid and create extraordinary music. He should now be up there with Eno as a synth pioneer. Sadly he apparently self-destructed. What can I say without sadness?”’

    On the break-up of the band, Howlett said this: ‘Tim left because he was losing the plot. He was having problems. At one point he was screaming away at the kitchen and I told him to stop and he grabbed a bowl of muesli and put it in my face, so I punched him and broke my little finger … We had a big dinner – we were all talking away and Tim leapt up on the table with a big carving knife and threw it at Daevid and hit this girl who was there. One of our roadies grabbed him and threw him out into the garden – and that was kind of his official exit.’
    I want to thank you for these words
    I have learned a few new facts that help me understand
    thanks again

  22. #22
    Steve Hillage covers a bit of the same era in this interview.. https://www.guitarworld.com/features...Dww99D3nsSXLFU

  23. #23
    I read that Hillage interview this morning, quite interesting and a good overview of his entire career from his perspective.

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