Pierre Moerlen


Platinum Member
Just listening to some Gong and it struck me that Pierre Moerlen is rarely discussed, yet he was an incredibly brilliant drummer (now deceased) that some of you may enjoy a lot.

I was listening to this track - check out the monster fill he does to lead into the groove http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTEukASPBhE

Check out how he handles the wicked Zappa-esque changes in this one (Chandra) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG4Q5G9UHxo ... he also plays tuned percussion. Check out his combination with the tambourine a bit after 2 mins.

In Downwind www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9XatlzCK8s the best section of the song starts around 1:40, leading to a great Mike Oldfield guitar solo. At around 4:10 the drum solo starts ... around 5:40 the solo hots up leading to a fantastic climax.

Flat out hotshot fusion drumming in Expresso with Alan Holdsworth on guitar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuMEhD4P8PY

And for some silly fun - here's an early super-tight clip of Gong live with the maniacal hippy frontman, Daevid Allen and fabulous hippie guitarist, Steve Hillage carving it up :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiy5K81qvbg

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I used to listen to Gong (sorry, didn't mention it in our PM's Polly) and I've been impressed with Pierre Moerlen's percussive approach to drumming, which is not surprising, as he studied classical percussion at a conservatory of music in France. Pierre was also at one stage part of the ensemble "Les Percussions de Strasbourg".

Moerlen "quitted" the band on several occasions, just to return a few years later, with new personnel and new material.

In 1974, he left Gong, and he was replaced for the susequent tour by another of your "hero", Polly, Mr Bill Bruford.

There were many versions of this band: Gong, Gong-Expresso and finaly Pierre Moerlen's Gong.

He has also contributed with his talent in projects by Brand X, Steve Hillage and Mike Oldfield.

In 2004, "Pentanine", the new project with his brother Benoit, and they planned to put together another version of Gong, alas, it has never happened, as Pierre Moerlen passed away in early 2005.

A great drummer, with an original view at drumming, he's sure missed by many, including myself. Long live Gong. :)


Senior Member
Pierre Moerlen was an absolute Monster player! I was shocked to see he had passed a few years back. Master of odd time signatures. My drum teacher turned me on to him in the early 80's. He let me listen to a solo of his on a Live album where he kept odd time with hi hat while playing amazing fills during the entire length of the solo. Very impressive I'm glad you guys brought him up. Not so many in the U.S. have ever heard of him


Junior Member
I've been an avid Pierre Moerlen fan for 30 years, and I can seriously say that I've never heard anyone even close to his style or perfection.
Here's one of the best clips of him that there is. (I'd love to know how he does those bloody humming bird wing fills!!) anyone know how he does the fills in, "Expresso"? I had the privelage of meeting him in 1997 in Leeds, Yorkshire, and had a lengthy talk with him, but forgot to ask that very question! A sad loss indeed. Here he is!


Senior Member
Thanks to a post on Planet GongI am reminded it would have been this great mans birthday today. Found this thread and loving working through the links, have ordered his manuscripts and currently listening to the Gazeuse link, thans Pollyanna!