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Another artist synonymous with a decade and genre of music. Steve Hillage has been associated with a number of influential artists and bands during the Progressive Rock era of the early 1970s, including Kevin Ayers and most notably, Gong.
After Allen left Gong abruptly in April 1975, Hillage stayed on as the band’s sole guitarist, but soon found this position increasingly uncomfortable, and by the year’s end had jumped ship himself to launch his solo career full-time, having performed as a guest (with Giraudy) on Gong’s first album without Allen, Shamal on only two of the album’s six tracks.
His motivation to do so was fueled by the success of his solo album Fish Rising, recorded in late 1974 while still in Gong and featuring most of his bandmates, as well as former bandmate in Khan, Dave Stewart. His next effort L album was recorded in the United States using musicians from Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, and on its release Hillage formed a touring band which toured in late 1976. During the latter half of the 1970s, Hillage made a name for himself as a guitarist and prog-rock/fusion composer and performer. 1977’s Motivation Radio, with its shorter tracks, marked a departure from the long instrumental workouts of previous efforts, but 1978’s Green, co-produced by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, was a return to his earlier work.
These 1970s works (tacitly in collaboration with his longtime girlfriend Miquette Giraudy) blended complex studio production techniques with dreamscape anthems. Hillage spent time in the Ladbroke Grove area of London, home of the UK Underground and worked with Nik Turner ex roadie for, then later saxophonist of early Hawkwind.
As times and tastes changed however, so did Steve Hillage. He dabbled in the Punk scene for a while, playing guitar on stage for Sham 69 during the 1976 Reading Festival and becoming a Producer in the 1980s, working with such bands as It Bites, Simple Minds and Robyn Hitchcock. In 2006 he returned to Gong and has been with them more or less since then.
Tonights Concert features the Steve Hillage recorded at the fabled Paris Theatre on December 4th 1976, during the time of the release of his follow-up album L.
(Sorry about the hissy sound of the broadcast. It’s an old tape and it’s seen better days, but it tried its best).