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Material

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(1979 – 1999, 2004 – 2004)

Material is a musical group formed in 1979 and led by bass guitarist Bill Laswell.

In 1978, having received a substantial royalty payment for his work with The Yardbirds, Georgian music entrepreneur Giorgio Gomelsky relocated to New York in an attempt to open up the American market to the European / bands he was working with, such as Gong, Henry Cow and Magma. He established the Zu Club in Manhattan and after meeting 24 year old bass player Bill Laswell, encouraged him to form a band. Three young friends, Michael Beinhorn (17, synthesizer), Martin Bisi (17, engineering) and Fred Maher (14, drums), responded to Laswell’s advert in The Village Voice and the band began rehearsing in the club’s basement.

The band became known as the “Zu Band” until Gomelsky hooked them up with former Gong front-man Daevid Allen for a performance at his Zu Manifestival at the Zu Club on October 8, 1978, for which they became New York Gong. Guitarist Cliff Cultreri, who was replaced by guitarist Michael Lawrence for the Manifestival, and second drummer Bill Bacon joined them for a Spring 1979 tour of the USA in an old school bus playing most of Gong’s “Radio Gnome Invisible” trilogy. In autumn, they recorded the album About Time. Allen and the band amicably parted company when they “discovered they couldn’t stand the European way of life” during a tour of France.

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