With an excellent new album already released (2032), legendary psychedelic pioneers Gong hit the road for their first full UK tour in 8 years, which coincides with their 40th anniversary. We caught up with Gong supremo and frontman Daevid Allen to find out the latest from planet Gong:

R13:You haven't toured with Gong for some years now, are you looking forward to being back on the road?
D: Although we haven't been touring in the UK like we did in 2001, we have been playing a lot of festivals all over the world this year already. Also, last year Massive Attack invited us to play RFH as part of their MELTDOWN and over the last years we have been playing internationally quite a bit. But a 26 gig tour over 39 days -which we are now in the middle of- is always a stretch. Musically, the band tends to go from strength to strength, albeit with the usual personal & practical dramas & difficulties. Life goes on and on the road mister Kerouac.

R13:The reasons given for stopping at the time were mainly that it wasn't commercially viable anymore, how frustrating was that decision and did you ever think that it might be the end of the band?
D: I doubt that idea came from me unless I was having a bad air day. We don't have any corporate label aspirations or controlling showbiz connections thus it seem to me Gong always just adapts and goes on truckin' one way or another, regardless of commercial climates/bankers whims.

R13:You have a new album out that continues the Planet Gong/Zero the Hero story, what's the storyline/theme this time round?
D: Ah yes! We like songlines on the sweet grin planod tho egg on face glossies like Mojo for example who obviously didn't do their homework tried to get smart by claiming against the available evidence that this is the fourth episode of the trilogy (?) when in fact it is the seventh and final episode of a coded teaching story that built on the seventies Gong trilogy. The code remains unbroken as long as nobody takes it seriously which of course they shouldn't!

The storyline/songline in vague brevitea deals with the return of certain characters from the luminous grin planude who are dismayed to discover the current unhappy state of our planet earth. Nevertheless they spread positive vibes/ good ideas about a beneficial outcome & promise to return in 2032 to help out.

Obviously the full story is available in glorious technocolour in booklet form inside the CD or even more sumptuously as a part of the LP vinyl version.

R13:Have you been pleased with the response to the new album and do reviews bother you?
D: Yep, it seems like a very popular album and is already climbing the charts in France. Reviewers who have not done any research and make their ignorance public are rarely impressive except for a laugh.

R13:What was it like working with Steve Hillage again, both as a contributor and producer and what made you bring him back into the fold properly after all these years?
D: I didn't 'bring him back in the fold' as much as he 'slid back in' because he wanted to get back to playing in a fun band again. We have remained good pals over the years and I have always been open to it but he was busy with System 7 till now.

I think the evidence is there in the album and the shows that we make a great creative partnership. Lets see who else agrees.

R13:You are a prolific writer and performer, with such a large output in both Gong and side projects, do you feel that some of your best work has gone
unappreciated by the wider populous?

D: The wider populous has never been any kind of target for me. I find it curious that the commercial success based assumption is always that everyone is trying to 'get to the top' rather than just creating the best art they can do and enjoying the results whatever they turn out to be.

Fame is a very sticky wicket so be very scared me darlinks. My advice: stay clear!

R13: Do you regret leaving the band back in 1975 when Gong was arguably at it's most commercially successful?
D: I left because it was getting too successful and the music/art was suffering. It was the only sensible thing to do!

R13:You have always been in touch with new music, are there any bands or artists at the moment that give you hope for the future?
D:O yes. Have you got a hundred days and 44 ears?

R13: Whenever I have seen you perform, either with Gong or solo you are always incredibly enthusiastic; what keeps you motivated after so long?
D: Because I love doing what I do.

R13: Are there any goals left that you want to achieve musically and can you ever envisage a time when you will stop performing?
D:I wont even stop after I die. Promise!

R13: You recently released a book documenting the 2nd part of Gong history (Gong Dreaming 2), was that a cathartic experience for you and did you
approach it with the goal of absolute honesty?

D:Creative life is constantly cathartic, joyful, ridiculous, amazing and deeply depressing. I try to tell it as it is.

R13: You have had some exceptionally talented musicians in the Gong family and produced some genre defining music so does it bother you that people
often think of Gong as a 'funny' band given that humour runs overtly through
much of the material?

D: Refer to question 3 about humour coding of gong storyline. Its much to serious to be serious about it.

R13: My friend has stopped smoking and is worried that he won't be able to tune into Radio Gnome anymore, can you allay his fears?
D: No. Everyone is a mystery to me, most of all myself.

R13: Thanks for your time, see you on the tour and when might we expect the mothership to traverse the country again?
D:I haven't the foggiest but soon, soon, soon!

See Gong on tour in the UK in November at the following dates: Bristol O2 Academy (Nov 19), Manchester Academy 2 (Nov 21), Edinburgh Picture House (Nov 22), Sheffield Leadmill (Nov 23), Leamington Spa Assembly (Nov 25), Cambridge Corn Exchange (Nov 26), London HMV Forum (Nov 27), Oxford Regal Theatre (Nov 28).

You can get tickets to all shows here. For more information on the weird and wonderful Gong and associated friends check out the band website here.