Daevid Allen, a founding member of the pioneering progressive and psychedelic rock bands Gong and Soft Machine, has died, aged 77, following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Daevid Allen recently wrote a message explaining that the cancer, which was previously treated with surgery, had returned and was spreading to his lungs. “I am not interested in endless surgical operations and in fact it has come as a relief to know that the end is in sight,” he wrote. “I am a great believer in ‘The Will of the Way Things Are’ and I also believe that the time has come to stop resisting and denying and to surrender to the way it is.”
Allen was born in Australia in 1938. He moved to the UK in the 1960s, where he met Robert Wyatt—he and Wyatt played together in the free jazz combo the Daevid Allen Trio. Wyatt and Allen formed Soft Machine, named after the William S. Burroughs book. Allen was featured on the band’s first single. In 1967, he was refused entry back into the UK during a European tour due to visa issues, and therefore, was forced to quit the band.
Following his exile from the UK, he settled in Paris, where he formed Gong. Though he ultimately left the band in 1975, he recorded six albums with the band, including “the Radio Gnome Trilogy” records (Flying Teapot, Angel’s Egg, You). He later joined reunited incarnations of Gong starting in 1991. He was also a prolific solo artist, and he made records with outfits including University of Errors, Invisible Opera Company of Tibet, Brainville, Ex, Magic Brothers, and more.