George Jefferson is Gong’s number one fan?
While listening to You the other day, I thought I would peruse the world wide web and read a little on Gong. Lo and behold, I found something that seemed too preposterous to be true, but in fact is true. Let me explain. Growing up in the late 70’s and 80’s, it seemed every time you turned on the television, The Jeffersons was on. People just couldn’t enough of George and Weezie. Well, it shocked me to read the story below and find out that Sherman Helmsley (George Jefferson) is/was a huge fan of abstract post-psychedelic band, Gong. So, I’ve included the article plus Gong’s “Flying Teapot” for good measure.
“I once interviewed musician Daevid Allen at a recording studio in San Francisco. Back in the 1960s, he was (briefly) a member of the wonderfully creative British band Soft Machine, but Daevid ended up forming his own strange psychedelic group called Gong.
During his life, Daevid Allen has hung out with everybody from William Burroughs and Jimi Hendrix to Bud Powell, Paul McCartney, Syd Barrett, Keith Richards, Richard Branson and a whole bunch of other famous people that he can’t remember.
One famous person Daevid does recall spending time with is Sherman Hemsley AKA George Jefferson of the 70s sitcom “The Jeffersons.” Sherman had been a jazz keyboardist long before portraying George Jefferson on television, and his progressive sensibilities led him to appreciate the offbeat sounds of Daevid Allen and Planet Gong. Apparently, cosmic Gong compositions like “Flying Teapot” and “Pot Head Pixies” really resonated with the TV star’s psyche.
Years after David’s brief encounter with Sherman Hemsley, the actor would go on collaborate with Jon Anderson, lead singer of the prog-rock group Yes. Their joint musical production was entitled “Festival of Dreams” and supposedly described the spiritual qualities of the number 7.
Anyway, here is Daevid Allen’s verbatim account of his sole meeting with certified Gong fanatic, Sherman Hemsley:
“It was 1978 or 1979 and Sherman Hemsley kept ringing me up, I didn’t know him from a bar of soap because we didn’t have television in Spain. He called me from Hollywood saying, ‘I’m one of your biggest fans and I’m going to fly you here and put flying teapots all up and down the Sunset Strip.’ I thought, ‘This guy is a lunatic.’ He kept it up so I said, ‘Listen, can you get us tickets to LA via Jamaica? I want to go there to make a reggae track and have a honeymoon with my new girlfriend.’ He said, ‘Sure! I’ll get you two tickets.’ (more…)