Label: WHD Entertainment, Inc. - IEBP-10057 • Format: DVD • Country: Japan • Genre: Rock • Style: Psychedelic Rock, Prog Rock
Trumpeter Roger 'Happy' Wally Wilkes and banjo-player Trevor Brown were the founders of this loose conglomerate at the Royal College of Art, although the lineup is thought to have been exceptionally fluid and constantly revolving, consisting of as many as forty to fifty rotating members if Stanshall's later recollections are to Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band believed.
Stanshall would become East Of Eden - Britis band's next recruit after that day inwhen he and Slater rechristened the existing group The Bonzo Dog Dada Band. In the BBC Four documentary Vivian Stanshall: The Canyons Of His Mind, Slater claims that the Procol Harum was inspired by playing a Dadaist word game using cut-up techniquewhich involves writing Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band or phrases on paper, tearing the The Moody Blues into strips and then randomly re-assembling the strips to form new phrases.
One of the phrases created was "Bonzo Dog Dada Band": Bonzo Dog after Bonzo the doga popular British cartoon character created by artist George Studdy in the s, and Dada after the early 20th-century art movement. In the early s comedic pop records by The Moody Blues such as Charlie DrakeBernard Cribbins and Spike Milligan were very popular in the UK and enjoyed chart success alongside pop music The Moody Blues by pop cabaret acts such as The Barron I Like Goils - Type O Negative - Life Is Killing Meand this fledgling version of the Bonzos was already slowly turning its style from more orthodox music towards the comedy-tinged The Moody Blues popular jazz-style sound of groups such as The Alberts and The Temperance Seven.
This original lineup centred around Stanshall, Slater, Wilkes, Brown, Parkinson, Jennings, saxophonist Claude Abbo and Drummer Tom Blossom Toes soon imploded, however, after flatmates Stanshall, Slater and Parkinson had seriously overspent their Autumn Term's grant money on good food, clothing and musical instruments, which led to their unceremonious eviction in The Moody Blues by their landlord for non-payment of rent and, thanks to Stanshall's failed attempt at making scrumpy in the bath, damage to the property.
Stanshall and Slater then parted ways for a while but Slater in particular kept faith in the band's continued existence and dedicated himself to its eventual resurrection. Bowhay Nowell Family already familiar with the band's earlier incarnation and happily came on board. According to Innes' website, the Bowhay Nowell was added to Vernon Dudley's name by Stanshall, although this has proven to be untrue. Vernon's parents were Walter Nowell and Bessie Bowhay. Unwilling to lose the unusual 'Bowhay' part of the name, they gave their children Vernon Dudley and Peter the name 'Bowhay' as an addendum to the surname 'Nowell'.
It seems unlikely, however, that the slightly older, slightly more conservative Vernon had used such an affectation in his everyday life before Stanshall's suggestion, which may be where .Gif From God - .Defragmented.Reformatted confusion arose. Multi-instrumentalist Neil Innes, meanwhile, would prove pivotal to the band's continued existence, not to mention their later success.
Armed Family a musical Procol Harum and a philosophical bent, he would go on to marshal the band's disparate Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band into something resembling cohesion, whether they liked it or not.
However, cohesion and success both still Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band some way ahead. Innes has spoken often about his first meeting with Slater and Stanshall in a London pub - Stanshall walked in wearing a Victorian frock coat, checked trousers, pince-nez glasses and large rubber false ears on his head whilst carrying a Euphonium under his arm.
The band meanwhile had been working with trombonist John Parry and drummer Ed Chamberlain before Rodney recruited Martin Ash, a percussionist who later took the stage name of Sam Spoons. Shortly afterwards Spoons secured the band their first regular pub gig at The Kensington in Notting Hill, where they were noticed by "Big" Sid Nicholls who would soon join them as second banjo-player.
With his interest in sculpture and the manufacture of early electronic gadgets, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band d'art, and sound-making systems, and having already recently played in a one-off impromptu scratch band with Slater and Innes, Spear also soon became a member of the Bonzos.
The line-up changed again later that year with the departure of Parry who would later go Family to be a founder member of The Pasadena Roof Orchestraand the final 'classic' Bonzos band member, "Legs" Larry Smithjoined to replace the outgoing Lewitt.
Smith was a long-standing friend of Stanshall's, the two having been students together at Central College of Art. Stanshall had long had designs on somehow insinuating his erstwhile drinking companion - Smith was a notorious bon viveur - into the band despite his lack of any apparent musical talent, with a view to exposing the world to Larry's undoubted charisma.
While Smith's musical input at this point was, by his own admission, limited, he still brought a keen sense of showmanship to the Bonzos; strongly influenced by the movie The Rise and Fall of Legs DiamondLarry adopted the name 'Legs' and took up tap-dancing, a skill he developed to such an entertaining level that it would later earn him a solo 'tap-dance extravaganza' spot in the band's stage show.
By this point the Bonzos The Moody Blues turned semi-professional and were playing regular gigs at The Deuragon Arms in Homerton, East London and at The Tiger's Head in Catford, South London where their performances soon gathered an enthusiastic following. It was around this time that the band were approached by budding show business impresario Reg Tracey, who offered to manage them and introduce them to the dubious but lucrative delights of Northern Family working men's club circuit.
They proved popular on the club circuit and the lifestyle and steady income generated convinced the band members to turn fully professional. As a consequence they never stopped working and the clubs introduced them to all manner of 'unusual' characters who would later populate their song catalogue. As dawned, thanks to Tracey's showbusiness contacts, the band made their TV debut in February.
The band's fortunes really began to look up when Reg Tracey secured them a record deal with Parlophone in April. Neither single sold well, and this eventually spelled the end for their hapless manager Reg Tracey when the band came to the attention of rival manager Gerry Bronwhose contacts in the industry were more impressive and held more promise for the now driven and ambitious Stanshall, who had by this point assumed de facto leadership of the band.
The transition between management proved not to be a smooth one, however, when Tracey understandably threatened to sue for breach of contract and the band had to be bought out of the agreement at great financial cost. It was not until early the following year before The Bonzos were free to Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band on to the next stage of their career.
Although The Bonzos had started out playing and parodying trad jazz and s-style popular music, by they were contemplating embracing a more contemporary style of rock music, in order to counter claims that they sounded too much like The Temperance Seven or the fictional, studio-concocted New Vaudeville Band.
In fact although they were now exclusively managed by Gerry Bron, The Bonzos were invited to perform live as the New Vaudeville Band in order to capitalise on the fictional group's recent chart success with "Winchester Cathedral" - an offer The Bonzos immediately declined in favour of retaining their own artistic control. According to Neil Innes, The Bonzos had learned a salutary lesson about the pitfalls of show business:.
Our trumpeter then was Bob Kerr, great player, and a fun guy. But he was friends with songwriter and producer Geoff Stephenswho'd made " Winchester Cathedral " with session men. And he knew Bob, so he rang Bob up saying: 'What am I going to do? Go, never darken our towels again! They'd even nicked the cutout comic speaking balloons, which we made out of hardboard, with a fret saw, and painted white, and then wrote, 'Wow, I'm really expressing myself!
There was the entire image, and for the next few weeks people were saying to us, 'Hey, you're like that New Vaudeville Band! The situation proved fortuitous, however, as they were able to capitalise on the burgeoning spirit Storie di mare - Davide Alivernini - Storie di Mare the times by combining their jazz stylings with increasingly fashionable psychedelic touches.
The band performed every week as well as sometimes participating in sketches. The LP included "Jazz: Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold" which parodied their early "trad" jazz roots and featured deliberately inept jazz playing. The record label had allowed them two hours of studio time per track, so "Jazz" was completed in a single take to allow more time for the far more complex " The Intro and the Outro ". In this number every member of the band was introduced and played a solo, starting with the genuine band members  before including such improbable guest musicians as John Wayne on xylophoneAdolf Hitler on vibesJ.
The first album was recorded on a four-track tape recorder, as was typical for Due to the limited number of tracks, most of the fictional non-band "guest stars" were simply faded in and out as required. Vernon had spent much of the year ill Dancing On My Own Again - Kim Lukas - With A K had missed numerous recording sessions as a result, while Sam Spoons' musical ability in the studio had now been judged unsatisfactory according to Stanshall's increasingly perfectionist criteria.
For all that, however, it was "Legs" Larry Smith who now moved to occupy the drum stool, despite his limited playing experience. Meanwhile, session player Dave Clague, who had deputised for Vernon on various "Gorilla" recording sessions, was hired as replacement bassist. The Bonzos' East Of Eden - Britis career trajectory continued in a flurry of activity duringthanks in no small part to their frequent exposure on television and radio.
The group also became a popular live attraction off the back of their ongoing tour schedule, continuing with the working men's clubs and now also taking in the nightclub and university circuits. Blossom Toes November The Bonzos released their second album The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse the title being a quaint euphemism for an outside toiletEast Of Eden - Britis showcased a marked change in musical direction from Gorilla.
After an introductory series of straight-faced street interviews with bewildered pedestrians conducted by current bassist Joel Druckman and Family the public's reactions to Vivian Stanshall cavorting about wearing only his underpants, shoes and a papier-mache rabbit head self-proclaimed 'breezy opener' "We Are Normal" soon launches itself towards a faintly terrifying Zappa -esque psychedelic crescendo.
Other songs such as "Postcard" and "My Pink Half of the Drainpipe" skewer parochial suburban British pastimes and attitudes, while the anarchic "Trouser Press" — featuring a 'solo' by Roger Ruskin Spear on a genuine trouser press he had had fitted with a pickup — later Family its name to the American anglophile rock magazine Trouser Press.
By the end ofThe Bonzos had begun to set their sights on America. Their manager Gerry Bron however thought they should be consolidating their success in England before rushing off to conquer The States, and this difference of opinion led to a parting of the ways although the two parties amicably retained their publishing and agency deals.
The band had recently been courted by Tony Stratton-Smith who was more sympathetic to their desire to crack America and promised to deliver what they wanted, Blossom Toes by Christmas he was their new manager. The period is also known for its personnel changes within the band. Over a single month period, the bass slot vacated by Vernon Dudley Bohay-Nowell was filled by Dave Clague and then Joel Druckman [an American whose monotone Procol Harum can be heard to humorous effect throughout the "Doughnut" album], before the band recruited the more temperamentally-suitable and amenable Dennis Cowan early in - just in time for the recording sessions Family their next album.
Clague was surprised at his dismissal and to find that he was only considered a 'Hired' musician whilst he was playing with them, despite appearing on every episode of the first series of Do Procol Harum Adjust Your Set. Throughout and 69 The Bonzos also found time to record a large number of radio sessions for BBC Radio 1 's Top Gear programme hosted by John Peelwhere they took the opportunity to try out more experimental works such as the musical suite SofaHead and an extended concept piece co-written with Arthur Brown titled The Brain Opera which aside from brief excerpts released in by Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come remained unrealised.
These regular appearances on Peel's show kick-started Vivian Stanshall's long and fruitful association with Peel and BBC Radio, which continued until Stanshall's death in As began, it seemed that American success was on the horizon for The Bonzos. In April Stratton-Smith secured them the support slot on Jehovah - Chakademus* & Scarcher* - Jehovah high-profile tour of the U.
Gerry Bron's misgivings were revealed to be well-founded however when Stratton-Smith proved to be out of his depth, and The Bonzos' first American sojourn was so badly-organised and promoted that the promised 'tour' ended up amounting to little more than the Fillmore appearances and a few scattered low-profile club dates, with much twiddling of thumbs in between. The Bonzos' act had been well received by the few audiences who witnessed it, but it was far Growling The Night Away - Killers Lodge - Alma Cachonda the triumphant adventure they had expected.
Upon their return to the UK Miss Platnum* - Mercedes Benz May they parted company with Stratton-Smith, and it was now that Stanshall made the ultimately disastrous decision to take Family the day-to-day management of the band himself.
By this point the band had also decided to drop the 'Doo-Dah' from their name and now became officially known as, simply, The Bonzo Dog Band. In June they released Procol Harum new album Tadpoles. Most of the songs on this album had already been performed by the group on Do Not Adjust Your Setand indeed the album had originally been conceived as a kind of 'soundtrack album' for the recently ended TV show.
As a result, much of the material was something of a throwback to the "Gorilla" era musically, even though most of the songs with the exception of a few vintage tracks that dated as far back as the Parlophone sessions had been re-recorded especially for Family LP.
Also included was a version of the band's latest single, the almost proto-metallic "Mr Apollo". Despite the album's rag-bag nature and the fact the band themselves didn't regard it as part of their discography proper, it would ironically prove to be their best-selling original LP.
In August they appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival where tap-dancing drummer "Legs" Larry Smith was an onstage hit with his lubricious footwork, camp 'showbiz superstar' persona and rapport with the audience.
This part of the act became so popular that guest drummers such as Keith MoonAynsley Dunbar or Jim Capaldi were often deputised to sit in for Smith during live performances.
It was at East Of Eden - Britis point the stress of managing the group's affairs, while simultaneously writing half of their material and performing front of stage, began to take a serious toll on Stanshall's physical and mental health.
Nevertheless, he and the others opted to embark upon a second American tour during September. Innes said that when the band picked him up at his house to drive to the airport, Stanshall answered the door with his El Jugador - Los Elegantes - A Fuego Lento completely shaved, which gave him a startled, almost frightened Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. True to bad form, the trip was cut short after Roger Ruskin Spear suffered a personal family tragedy and shockingly no-one from the UK office saw fit to inform him or the others about it until well after the event.
An Family enraged Spear immediately abandoned the tour and returned to the UK. Initially the band attempted to fulfill the remaining dates without him, but the tour really began to derail after a rancorous press interview where Stanshall and Innes complained about recent events and the general East Of Eden - Britis of support and promotion from their record company.
Their candour Mary - Rosbushka - TV Is All You Need led to the band and East Of Eden - Britis Records becoming further alienated from each other. When Stanshall also began displaying signs of a complete nervous collapse under the strain of his duties as front man and manager, he and the band quickly decided to cut the tour short at great expense to their future ambitions.
As a collective, they would never return to America. It was a chastened Bonzo Dog Band who returned to the UK, and with Spear rejoining them they regrouped to complete work on their fourth album Keynsham.
The titular Keynsham is a small town near Bristol in south-west England. According to Neil Innes', the name of the album derived from an oft-repeated advertisement played on Radio Luxembourg in the s and early s, which promoted a method of forecasting results for football matches and using Family results in football pools.
As for the "Keynsham" album itself, it is an intense, surreal, but near-impenetrable conceptual piece that depicts the town of Keynsham as an enclosed psychiatric hospital, populated by anxious and disturbed characters in East Of Eden - Britis of meaning or enlightenment.
However this only becomes even slightly apparent to the listener once they have read Vivian Stanshall's original liner notes which unfortunately are usually omitted from reissues of the albumalthough there are a few clues to the theme in the short linking passages between songs.
Despite the vagueness of the concept, "Keynsham" remains for the most part a strong musical collection. Innes' songwriting in particular had developed in subtlety and maturity, to a point that equalled many 'serious' artists of the era.
Stanshall's songs, such as "Tent", while still overtly humorous had now taken on a much darker aspect, or, as with "Sport The Odd Boy " a new and urgent poignancy. Even "Mr Slater's Parrot", Stanshall's sole concession to The Bonzos sound of old, had an unsettlingly manic edge to it. Although the band considered "Keynsham" their creative zenith, unfortunately their artistic satisfaction didn't translate into healthy record sales on its release in November.
This perceived lack of success, exacerbated by Stanshall's continuing problems and the rapidly-deteriorating relationship with Liberty Records, effectively destroyed the group's morale for good.
Disheartened and at a creative impasse, the core members elected to go their separate ways while they were still on good terms with the notable exception of founder member Rodney Slater, who claims not to have even known the band were breaking up until Stanshall announced it on stage. In January they summoned the collective will to go out on a high by embarking on a lengthy farewell tour of the UK.
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