Here And Now – Charly Records – 1979

Think For Yourself / Open Door / 70’s Youth / Surgeons Knife

Little Things / Only Way / Jam / End Of The Beginning

Uploaded tonight and dedicated with respect to Dave Sez, a regular browser and commentator to this KYPP site, is the third LP (and incidentally the second live LP release) by those free festival favourites Here And Now. This LP is not quite as vital as the debut studio release ‘Give And Take’ (also released on Charly records) or the split live LP with Alternative TV (released on Deptford Fun City records) but it is still a good night in by any measure. The tracks were recorded during the band’s free tour in August 1979 and by that time the band had already lost Kif Kif, the drummer, soon to turn up in the band 012, as well as  Suzie and Ano who had also left to concentrate on their band Androids Of Mu. This live LP is slightly more conventional sounding and a little less chaotic with the loss of those three members.

Both the previous Here And Now LPs mentioned in my text above are available on the KYPP site for downloading, as well as the Planet Gong ‘Floating Anarchy’ LP mentioned in the text below. Also for Here And Now completists, the debut (and only) LPs by Kif Kif’s band 012 and Suzie and Ano’s band,  Androids Of Mu are also on this site if you use the search function to find them. Go on, fill your boots people!

Text below courtesy of Dave Weller and JB, period photographs courtesy of Jezza, apart from the Here And Now Meanwhile Gardens performance photograph below which was sent to this site by Bob Hedger.

Here & Now were the archetypical hippie/punk crossover band and stalwarts of the 70s free festival scene. Although originally formed in 1974 it was at the Watchfield Free Festival of August 1975 where the Here & Now band truly came into being. They regrouped in March of the following year and re-captured the spirit of their first encounter as the “Primal Tapes”; two tracks from this session appearing on the “Gospel Of Free” CD. The summer of ’76 was spent touring as many free festivals as possible in the UK before heading off to tour France. At the beginning of 1977 and the end of this first French tour the band recorded a studio and live session for Radio France, and a track from this also appears on “Gospel Of Free”.


The news that Daevid Allen of Gong had been inspired to track down Here & Now after reading a review in the N.M.E. prompted the band to regroup again in the Summer of 1977, playing street parties in ‘celebration’ of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and, naturally, more free festivals. At this point Twink, the original keyboard player left the band and was replaced by roadie Gavin Da Blitz.

Here & Now teamed up with Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth of Gong in 1977 to form Planet Gong. With a political agenda based around ‘floating anarchy’, Planet Gong combined the improvisational style of the early Here & Now with the quirky nature of Gong. The first ‘Floating Anarchy’ tour saw the band playing a mix of revamped Here & Now compositions plus Gong and Daevid Allen songs. But shortly before the start of the second ‘Floating Anarchy Free Tour’ in the Spring of 1978 Allen quit and Planet Gong reverted back to the Here & Now band. Later that year Allen explained his departure;

“I flourished again in Here & Now. Basically my role was to be helped by their honesty, their positive warmth, and at the same time to get them a wider audience. The moment the work on that level was done, and I found the pressures of the other 7 billion things I was doing were pushing me back here [Deya], I had this feeling that it was the right time to now let them do it on their own”.

The fruits of Allen’s work with Here & Now were released as the “Live Floating Anarchy 1977” album plus a single, “Opium For the People”. These were recorded during the short tour of France that Planet Gong undertook at the end of 1977. The single was recorded in a Paris studio in both English and French; as for the album, Keith The Missile Bass recalls;

” It was recorded in Toulouse at a rather – ahem – anarchic gig – a 3,000 seater which had sold out weeks in advance, and thus found itself in a very difficult situation when another 3-4,000 people showed up and couldn’t get in… they got – well – in that very French way – rather irritated… The riot police showed up a little later and joined in by showing everyone just how good their tear gas and water cannons were… meanwhile the show was going on… It was recorded on an 8 track Tascam machine and the engineers (who, it must be said, had been plonked in a corner at the back of the stage itself) did an absolutely crap job…

“Daevid Allen mixed and jiggery-poked his way through it in Deia – nursing (amongst other things) the bass sound from the crackling cellophane it originally was on tape to the relatively realistic sound on the album. Other miracles were not in short supply…

The album was first released on BYG Records in France and Charly Records in the UK, the advances being used to fund the purchase of a PA and musical equipment. Original copies of the album urged buyers to pay no more than £1.50 or better still to steal it, and had a black and white drawing on the cover with the suggestion that the owner coloured it in. The version issued by Charly saw the price increased to £2.25 – though the extra 75p did mean the cover came in colour. Since it’s release, “Live Floating Anarchy 1977” has sold tens of thousands of copies, but the band members have never received any royalties.

Here & Now continued with a series of free tours in 1978 and 1979. No entrance fee was charged; concert goers were instead encouraged to make an appropriate donation to cover the costs of the show, feeding the band, and petrol money for the tour bus. £50 was the target for each nights collection. The second free tour, in the Summer of 1978, resulted in an album jointly issued with Alternative TV, one of the support bands, titled “What You See… Is What You Are”. Each band had one side of the LP, featuring tracks recorded on the tour. It was sold at gigs for £1.00 or could be bought in shops for £1.75. Although the sound quality is not great, it is well worth a listen not least because this is the only recording that features saxophonist Jack Neat who joined the band for a few months in early 1978.

Towards the end of 1978 Here & Now’s first studio album was released, “Give And Take”, plus an EP, recorded at the same time, “Dog In Hell”. Again, the advances on the album from Charly Records were used to fund a new tour bus, and a truck for equipment. The band then kicked off another free tour to promote the album, the fourth of that year, playing over 30 shows all over the UK. Just prior to the start of the tour they recorded a John Peel radio session following a chance encounter with him at an open air gig at Meanwhile Gardens. The Peel session captures the essence of Here & Now well. Two songs are from the “Give And Take” album and the ‘space punk’ style is much more in evidence than on the “Floating Anarchy” album, yet the importance of trying to capture the moment, the ‘here and now’, meant that two of the tracks were jammed ‘there and then’ in the Maida Vale studios – much to the surprise of the BBC engineers.


The intense touring schedule continued in 1979, resulting in a live album, “All Over The Show” and another studio single, “End Of The Beginning”. By this time the pressure of extensive touring in both the UK and Europe was beginning to take its toll. In the spring of 1979 the “choir of angels” also known as singers Suze Da Blooze and Annie Wombat, who had joined when Planet Gong was formed, left the band along with founder and drummer Kif Kif Le Batter. They were followed by another founder and guitarist Steffe Sharpstrings at the beginning of 1980. This left Keith The Bass and keyboardist Gavin Da Blitz as the remaining veterans of the Here & Now band of the 1970s – a band that probably played more free gigs than any band in history, that fused free-form psychedelic hippy rock with the attitude and raw sound of punk, and crossed paths with the ultimate pot head pixie, Daevid Allen of Gong.


Perhaps most importantly of all the Here & Now of the 70s challenged the music biz establishment by cutting out the ‘middle man’ between musicians and their fans. By selling albums to record companies they funded their own musical equipment, PA, and tour bus. This allowed them to do free tours with collections each night to cover running costs. The albums were then sold at gigs and through shops at roughly half the price of normal releases. Their ultimate goal was to establish an alternative free gig circuit run on a co-operative basis with a shared equipment pool – but this never happened. The politics of free tours and determination to challenge the music industry status quo connected with the punk ethos of the time, and Here & Now tours were typically accompanied with a host of punk bands on the bill. Many of these bands, such as The Fall and Mark Perry, went on to become the standard bearers and media darlings of the ‘alternative’ music scene of the early 80s. But Here & Now were never able to shake off the hippie tag to become anything more than the “crusties concert party”, garnering at best media indifference.

The line up changes at the end of the 70s introduced guitarist Deano Ferrari to the band along with drummer Rob Bougie. This new look Here & Now saw a continuing change away from the earlier improvisational style to a more structured approach, and also added a third musical dimension – reggae… A further change, was the introduction of an admission charge, albeit only £1, on the ‘Christmas Stocking’ tour at the end of 1980.

Recording of the next album began towards the end of 1981 and continued until March 1982. Some of the new songs had already been previewed on the band-released tape, “Stolen Moments”, but it took a further year for the album, tentatively titled “Out Of Nowhere” to see the light of day. Disenchanted with Charly Records, who had released the two previous albums plus “Live Floating Anarchy 1977” but paid no royalties, and without a manager, Here & Now began the search for a new record label. They finally released “Fantasy Shift” in April 1983 on Chick Records, a label run by the owner of the studios where the album was recorded. With a tour lined up to coincide with the release, the first pressing of 3,000 records soon sold out. However, the label refused to run a second pressing as they felt it would be too risky.

Undaunted, the band continued with a hectic touring schedule including the obligatory summer festivals such as Stonehenge. The arrival of drummer Paul Rose (to replace Rob Peters) just as “Fantasy Shift” was released heralded the most long-lasting Here & Now line up (along with Keith Th’ Bass, Gavin Da Blitz, and Deano Ferrari). By now the Here & Now sound had morphed into hard rocking reggae with punk overtones. At the end of the year they released another self-produced tape, “Coaxed Out From Oxford”, a live show recorded in October 1983, for sale at gigs and by mail order. Then, in September 1984 the band signed a new record deal with Landslide Records. Their next album, “Theatre” was recorded during October and was about to be released when the distributor, Pinnacle, went into receivership. The 1,000 copies of the LP that had been pressed were retrieved from Pinnacle’s warehouse by the record company who gave them to the band by way of compensation as, under the circumstances, all deals were off. So, yet again, Here & Now were without the support of a record label.

Despite this latest setback, the band carried on with yet another tour including 3 nights at the Marquee Club, but by the end of 1985 they decided to call it quits. The collapse of the independent label and distribution network in the UK, the continuing frustration with dodgy record deals and a general sense that their progress was forever being thwarted meant that a farewell concert was planned for Dingwalls on the 31st January 1986. The concert was captured for posterity and released as both a video and LP under the name of “Been And Gone”. The LP was released on yet another label, Coldharbour Records; in this case it was managed by a friend of the producer of the video. The release of a live album as a ‘swan song’ was most appropriate. Throughout the 80s Here & Now continued the relentless touring of the 70s, and established themselves as a popular live attraction. And although the gigs were no longer free, causes such as CND and the ALF were often beneficiaries. Their live reputation was established despite attracting limited coverage in the weekly music press, though the ‘tour news’ pages of the N.M.E. were a notable exception.

Dave Weller

The free festival movement of the 1970’s was utopia in action. Food, music, fun, all cost nothing. you could do what you liked as long as you didn’t harm anyone. The sun shone in the Midsummer month. There were streets and stages and shops and side-shows and the centre point was a great pyramid that was the main stage.

Here & Now were the musical heroes of the free festivals, and they established the free music circuit which was a reaction to the general unpleasantness and greed of society and the music business in particular.

The band travelled in a bus which had been converted into a living and sleeping and eating accommodation. They owned their own P.A. and equipment truck and everyone worked for free so touring expenses were non-existent. The roadies and the girls took a collection, and the £50 or whatever was enough to fuel the band and bus to the next gig.

Again, the burning everlasting summer passed in a flash. The rain and cold came back and we’d rather burned our bridges at Latty road. We took up an extremely kind offer to shelter at festival band Thandoy’s Norfolk retreat.

In the chilly damp weeks that followed, there was still no word from Daevid. Even though we were a battle-hardened unit in our own right, the uncertainty, coupled with the onset of another nine months of miserable weather, was unsettling everyone.

Tempers were fraying, and after one altercation too many, the gentle Twink found he’d had enough and left the band, kindly leaving us his bus. Keith the Bass put forward the also gentle Gavin as his replacement, and he was duly elected. His synthi maelstrom would soon earn him the name Gavin da Blitz.

Ironically, Daevid surfaced days later with a whole set up in place. A British-French tour was being organised, and by October we had all met up at Harry Williamson’s place in North Devon for rehearsals.

We combined much of the music we’d been playing as Here & Now with Daevid’s new and old material and Planet Gong came to be. By November the tour was under way

By this point Suze was singing as well as dancing and she was joined by Ano Wombat. Marie-Clair de Lune danced and sometimes so did Trissy (Janet’s seven year old daughter). After a few gigs we were joined by Gilli Smythe on space-whisper.

It was a totally different world. For one thing we simply weren’t used to playing concerts… not ones that people came to, anyway! Somehow Here & Now used to flower in the summer, in the open air. Secondly, we weren’t used to performing every day, or for that long at a time (nearly two hours – totally exhausting if you’re the drummer!). We tried to do the tour in Twink’s bus, but it just couldn’t bear to be in France without him. It broke down and refused to be mended

In France though, we had more time between gigs to get to know people a bit. Meeting all these old mates of Gong was a treat… not to mention the food!

Jonathan Barnett

  1. Dave Sez
    Dave Sez
    December 9, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Wah-hay, it’s Christmas time again, two presents in two days! Thanks a bundle, Penguin, “it’s the little things …” Cheers, Dave Sez.

  2. Dave Sez
    Dave Sez
    December 9, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    PS: The original white cover of the Planet Gong LP was also used for its very first CD release … in Japan, a good few years ago. A treasured if rather expensive disc in my collection. Cheers, Dave Sez.

  3. Dave Sez
    Dave Sez
    December 10, 2010 at 2:55 am

    I know I shouldn’t say it, but there is a god after all .. revved up by this post, and intrigued by the mention of a 1978 Peel session that had previously escaped my attention, I found this:

    “The Live Music Hour Broadcast Sun 5 Dec 2010 04:00 BBC 6 Music. The Boomtown Rats get the Live Music Hour started with a set recorded at the Hammersmith Odean in 1982. Our 1st session comes from a band that are still going strong, it’s Bluetones recorded for 6 Music in 2006. To conclude this morning’s Live hour, it’s Here and Now recorded in 1978 for John Peel.”

    Ha ha, and it’s still up, one day left to go! Thanks to the brilliant programme Radio Downloader ( which automatically rips the BBC iPlayer to mp3s, here ya go (but you have to sit through the Boomtown Rats first …), and this one’s a special for Penguin:

    Details from Peel’s BBC website:

    Recorded 08/11/1978 – Here And Now
    TX – 16/11/1978

    Producer – Mike Robinson
    Engineer – Mike Robinson
    Studio – Maida Vale 4

    This Time
    What You See Is What You Are
    Oh My God Can Be So Hard We Tried And We Tried But Couldn’t Find It
    Chicken Marimba

    Gavin Da Blitz (Synthesiser)
    Keith Da Missile (Bass)
    Freddy Facetious (Drums, Vocals)
    Steffy Sharpsticks (Guitar, Vocals)
    Suzz Da Blooz (Choir Of Angels’)
    Annie Wombat (Choir Of Angels’)

    Just prior to the start of the tour they recorded a John Peel radio session following a chance encounter with him at an open air gig at Meanwhile Gardens. The Peel session captures the essence of Here & Now well. Two songs are from the “Give And Take” album and the ‘space punk’ style is much more in evidence than on the “Floating Anarchy” album, yet the importance of trying to capture the moment, the ‘here and now’, meant that two of the tracks were jammed ‘there and then’ in the Maida Vale studios – much to the surprise of the BBC engineers.

    Hope ya like it, cheers Dave Sez.

  4. Dave Sez
    Dave Sez
    December 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    H&N Peel starts at 39:30 of 60:00 .. cheers Dave Sez.

  5. back2front
    December 10, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Good to see Here & Now up again, cheers Penguin – actually this album has just been re-released along with “Give & Take” with bonus material on Esoteric Records:

    Thanks for the Peel Session link Dave Sez – I have this already on a tape called “Past Masters” but good to get an upgrade!

    One of the original cassette culture bands and often overlooked.

  6. DLZ1965
    December 11, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Just bought the re-issue but thanks for spreading the word about this magnificent band. I’ve seen them live four times this year and the new line-up is the best yet – Go and see them,you will be pleased you did.

    Would love to get a copy of the “Past Masters Vol 1” cassette if anyone could upload it,mine died years ago. Cheers!

  7. pinkpressthreat
    December 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Dave Sez,a bit of a legend on the quiet, has pointed me in the direction of some Here & Now goodies lately and I’m loving it; as I said on another blog,,the other day, I really think that “Fantasy Shift”,although the most commercial-sounding album they released, and possibly not undisputed favourite amongst all fans, is, for me, as near perfect an L.P. as they could’ve made, and could’ve been a huge seller if more pressings had been put out.

    I get sort of wistful listening to it today-at 04:25 on “The Mega Number” when you hear the band on “Capitalist Radio” and someone opens their front door only for the last part of the track to kick in with full can really believe that, had they not operated quite as far outside the mainstream and “played the game”, then that album could’ve been “the one”…but if they had taken that route then they never would’ve written “Fantasy Shift”. Hearing it again I’ve realised how much it meant to myself and my friends – we would go to the gigs, dozens of ’em I’ve lost track, and sing those words back at them. If I had to pick out one gig it would be Hammersmith Clarendon Xmas 1982 with Kif-Kif as guest – The power went down for a while and Rob Peters (I thought it was Kif Kif at the time) kept us hecklers at bay with a display of his drumming skills.
    Great days..I’ll always keep them close to my heart. And the current line-up is exciting right now, with Nik (Nimbus Noodle) and Slim Verhoef, from Brighton weirdos Giant Eyes, on drums and guitar respectively. Some new material out of the question? Now that would be something. 😉

  8. DLZ1965
    December 14, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Hey, I have a recording of the Clarendon Hotel 1982 gig mentioned above. The ONLY time you will hear a drum solo at a Here & Now show.

    I believe new material is being worked on but i’ve heard that one before with these boys.

  9. Eddie
    December 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    What is the new CD version like? I’ve bought “remastered” CDs before and it tends to be marketing speak for “lots of dynamic compression and racked up treble”.

  10. pinkpressthreat
    December 20, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    If anyone else wants that Clarendon ’82 gig and a few others (not necessarily the best quality in every case) go to Sugarmegs site here:

  11. back2front
    December 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Eddie, the new CD versions are the best quality yet in my opinion – the extra tracks are related singles from the same period. Keith the Bass has also been putting out touched up gigs from the 70s as well (see Free Love Records).

    Pinkpressthreat agree with you about “Fantasy Shift” though “Give and Take” is still the icing on the cake for me.

    New album out soon as well apparently…

  12. elmoono
    December 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Great post, but i am getting an error on Little Things / Only Way / Jam / End Of The Beginning download – any chance of a re up – All Over The Show 2nd mp3 🙂

  13. ciaran
    January 12, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Great stuff, made me dig out a few H&N LPs out that I hadn’t listened to in a long time, why did I never grab a copy of Fantasy Shift on vinyl?

  14. David M
    David M
    January 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Just picked up this very disc via Cherry Red and most entertaining it is too.

  15. Kevin
    July 12, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Hi there. Anyone still have a copy of the 1978 Peel session that was re-broadcast on BBC Music (The Live Music Hour Broadcast Sun 5 Dec 2010 04:00)? If so, a link would be appreciated, as the Mediafire link above is dead. Thanks, Kevin.

    Saw Here & Now at Alchemy Festvals 2011 & 2012 and they were amazing!

  16. Kevin
    July 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Also saw Here & Now at last month’s Sonic Rock Festival, Builth Wells, Wales. As is usually the case, they gave an excellent performance !

  17. Bob
    July 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I have a good copy of the peel session and a lot of other H&N bootleg shite too, if Mickey Penguin doesn’t mind I’m happy to send them to him and he can stick ’em up on here.

    Mind you having said that I’m sure he has them all anyway.

    (Oi Oi Mr P. BTW, long time no see-Big love to you and all the SRD crew)


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