Pierre Moerlen's Gong
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|Pierre Moerlen's Gong|
|Also known as||Gong (1976)
|Genres||Jazz rock, progressive rock|
|Years active||1976–1988; 2002–2005 2010–present|
Pierre Moerlen's Gong was an instrumental jazz fusion outfit led by French drummer and percussionist Pierre Moerlen, which developed as an offshoot of the psychedelic progressive rock band Gong, founded and led by Daevid Allen. It was notable for the prominent use of mallet percussion, such as marimba, xylophone, and vibraphone, in a jazz-rock context.
Amid a flurry of line-up changes in the mid-1970s, including the departure of founding members Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth, Gong drummer Pierre Moerlen found himself in charge of the band and with two albums remaining on their Virgin Records contract.
Moerlen formed a new line-up featuring his brother Benoit on mallet percussion, US-born bassist Hansford Rowe and a rotating cast of session guitarists, notably Allan Holdsworth, ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, Mike Oldfield and Bon Lozaga.
They released two albums under the Gong moniker, Gazeuse! (called Expresso in North America) in 1976 and then Expresso II in 1978. Following the completion of the Virgin contract, Moerlen changed the name of the group to Pierre Moerlen's Gong. In early 1979, the group released Downwind, which was a more rock/pop flavoured album that featured occasional lead vocals by Moerlen himself and a cameo by Steve Winwood. Later in 1979 they released another album, Time is the Key, that took the band further into pop/rock territory. The live album "Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live" was released in 1980, followed by another studio album, Leave It Open, in 1981. By this point, Pierre Moerlen's incarnation of Gong scaled back its activity greatly, not releasing another record until 1986's Scientology-inspired Breakthrough, featuring members of the Swedish band Tribute. Second Wind followed in 1988. The group quietly disbanded soon after.
Lozaga, Rowe, and Benoit Moerlen went on to form Gongzilla in the early 1990s, releasing four albums to date which are very much an extension of the percussive fusion that the original group brought to the fold, and they perform a mix of new and old live material going back to the Gazeuse/Expresso II period. Moerlen joined them for their 2002 European tour.
Moerlen revived the PMG name in 2002 and recorded the album Pentanine with Russian musicians. He died unexpectedly of natural causes on 3 May 2005, while rehearsals for another Pierre Moerlen's Gong project were underway.
The last album of the Pierre Moerlen's Gong was started in 2005 with another new line-up of young French musicians, but Moerlen died suddenly leaving the project at a very early stage. The band nevertheless decided to record Pierre's last compositions with some of their own, and release it posthumously as Tribute in 2010.
|Gazeuse! (1976)||Expresso II (1978)||Downwind (1979)||Time is the Key (1979)|
|Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live (1980)||Leave It Open (1981)||Breakthrough (1986)||Second Wind (1988)|
|Full Circle Live '88 (1998)||Pentanine (2004)||Tribute (2010)|
- 1976: Gazeuse! (Expresso in North America) (issued as a "Gong" album)
- 1978: Expresso II (issued as a "Gong" album)
- 1979: Downwind
- 1979: Time is the Key
- 1980: Pierre Moerlen's Gong Live
- 1981: Leave It Open
- 1986: Breakthrough
- 1988: Second Wind
- 1998: Full Circle Live '88
- 2004: Pentanine
- 2010: Tribute
- 2015: Romantic Warriors III: Canterbury Tales (DVD)