Planet Gong – Charly Records – 1977

Psychological Overture / Floatin’ Anarchy / Stone Innoc Frankenstein / New Age Transformation Try: No More Sages

Opium For The People / Allez Ali Baba Black Sheep Have You Any Bullshit: Mama Maya Mantrum

Marvelous LP by Here And Now, this time joined by Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth of Gong. More Here And Now material is uploaded on this site if you use the search function and it is all worth searching out. Text below courtesy of

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 (see picture below) 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 musicical 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 Th‘ 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.

  1. devotionalhooligan
    September 20, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    cheers,always loved this album & it still sounds fuckin great.nice one

  2. andus
    September 22, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    one of the greatest albums of all time, should have been up there with Sgt Pepper.

  3. nickos
    September 23, 2008 at 2:09 am

    there’s a new live Here & Now CD from June 77 ……. can’t reccommed it enough!!! you can get it from KKs website ( see links) I love this site cheerz! BIG LUV N xxx

  4. stirmonster
    September 24, 2008 at 12:28 am

    what andus said. one of my all time faves.

  5. Thomp
    September 24, 2008 at 12:56 am

    You’ve done it again puppies with your endless postings of stuff i’m nearly and almost shamed into admitting a copy of this very vinyl in my collection! I’ve placed it with all my other shameful stuff Hawkwind, pornography, Billy Idol, more pornography…Tch I dunno You’ll be posting The Exploited next, oh the shame…

  6. alistairliv
    September 24, 2008 at 7:56 am

    The 7 June 1977 Here and Now Bristol Gardens alternative Jubilee Squatted Street Party cd Nickos mentions is available from for £7 inc. post and packing. I have just ordered a copy and will review here once I get it.

    Floating Anarchy is rousing stuff – and unlike Malcolm McLaren and Jamie Reid, Daevid Allen really was in Paris May 1968. Daevid played a come back gig at the Centro Iberico in 1982… so he can be awarded an HMPC (Honourable Member of the Puppy Collective).

  7. Jay Vee
    Jay Vee
    September 25, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    I seem to keep seeing Daevid Allen vinyl on market stalls everywhere I go…most recently at La Braderie in Lille – he must have sold hundreds of thousands in his time, his work with Gong was better than his solo stuff – Camembert Electrique is nearly as good as Troops of Thomporrow by The Exploited…

  8. kashi
    October 10, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    up there with Sgt Peppers … couldn’t put it better myself. It is up there with it. I can’t think of a year thats gone by when this album hasn’t sounded right. Still available at along with many other great related albums etc
    “Violence is caused by governments, armies, police force …”

    My favourite live album ever.

  9. tony b
    tony b
    December 10, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Sgt fucking Peppers???

    Is this Q or Mojo’s website or what!!!

  10. ZIGZAG
    January 13, 2009 at 9:34 am

    “Turn your head up to the morning sun,
    and your life will just have begun”.
    Too true chaps!
    Speaking as someone who was there in 1977 and saw Planet Gong in 1978 let alone 2008 and still has copies of the original albums (1 for best). Still my all time favourite, though as you can see/hear this music does have a downside.

    By the way I havent listened to Sgt Peppers since the 60’s.

  11. ZIGZAG
    June 9, 2009 at 3:51 am

    wwwwwwwwwwwwwatchout for the floating gnome showwwwwwwwwwwwww

  12. Burger soft
    Burger soft
    January 6, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I saw the very first Here & Now with Daevid Allen gig, at Oxford. It was a without rehearsal gig and it showed. Although it didn’t quite spark a riot.
    Tim Blake also played and was awesome, so the crowd was in a forgiving mood I imagine. As it was we had a dry night as we couldn’t track down anyone willing to sell us any hash. Even so a good night was had, and Here and Now with Daevid and Gilli went on to do this legendary tour, so at some point it must have gelled good.
    God bless them yes indeed.

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