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* Events: Bonzo Dogs to bring mayhem to Daphne du Maurier Festival!
Posted Apr 20, 2010 - 06:44 PM
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Events Original members of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band play old favourites and new material from their brand new CD! Festival Marquee, Fowey, Friday 14 May 7.30pm...

They were innovators of their generation, laughed at and loved in equal measure as they married musical mayhem with comedy and wacky theatrics on stage. The songs and antics of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band still hold fond memories for so many who fell under their spell in the mid to late 1960s.

While it's no longer possible to reunite the whole team, following the death of the legendary Vivian Stanshall in 1995, three of its key members are flying the flag for all things madcap and Bonzo under the title Three Bonzos and a Piano, and will be performing at The Daphne du Maurier Festival (Festival Marquee) on Friday 14 May.

Original Bonzos Roger Ruskin Spear, Rodney Slater and Sam Spoons have teamed up with super-pianist Dave Glasson to create more fun, music and subversive diversion in the spirit of the ageless band – "a sort of Bash Street Bonzos" according to Roger.

They recently performed at a sell-out show at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London on Saturday 6th February to coincide with the launch of their new CD "Hair of the Dog" and are hoping to do the same in Cornwall. This is the only show in Cornwall this year. A local group of 12 mad people from Penzance, known as Turkey Rhubarb, will be with them to do a spectacular brass-band 'march-in' - which will certainly be worth seeing!

The original band started as an art school group combining elements of music hall, trad jazz, psychedelic rock, and avant-garde art, playing in London pubs. The Bonzos have a strong history, having appeared with members of Monty Python, the Beatles, Eric Clapton, the Kinks and The Who as well as having a Top 5 hit with 'Urban Spaceman'.

The band could be said to be a kind of "musical missing link" between The Goons and Monty Python. In 1967 and 1968/9 they featured as the "house band" on "Do Not Adjust Your Set", a fore-runner of Monty Python, with Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones, as well as the young David Jason. Their humour was undoubtedly influential. Comedians Stephen Fry, Adrian Edmondson, Eddie Izzard, Chris Morris and Bill Bailey have all named the Bonzos as a formative influence. Vivian Stanshall's legacy is well-known and is celebrated by the Three Bonzos.

"We had a brief illuminating time between about 1964 and 1970 before going our separate ways. Most of us have been doing our own stage acts and shows in the meantime," explains Roger.

The ingredients of Three Bonzos and a Piano had been playing together as a group as the Slightly Dangerous Brothers. Then the idea of a Bonzos 40th anniversary show came up a few years ago, and the whole tribe reunited to pay tribute to Vivian, with Bonzo original Neil Innes and some special guests on board – a move that was followed by a tour. Fans were clamouring for more, but Neil wasn't keen to continue. Roger and Sam resumed their own collaboration, then asked Rodney to join them to play some Bonzo tunes. Dave Glasson – ex-Whoopee Band – completed the line-up.

"We decided we couldn't really use the whole band title if Neil wasn't involved, so we had to find a new name," says Roger. Watching The Jonathan Ross Show one night, Roger spied Four Poofs and a Piano, and Three Bonzos and a Piano were born. Roger is in charge of sax, clarinet, trouser press and giant robots (don't ask!), Rodney plays saxophones and washboard, Sam is on drums, electric spoons and didgeridon't, while Dave takes control of piano, bass, pullover and glasses. Andy Roberts, former Liverpool Scene and The Scaffold, who is one of the best respected musicians is a regular guest on proper guitar, banjo and ukulele.

They have been digging out all the old songs from the Bonzos' back catalogue in honour of Viv, including some that have not previously been performed, as well as brand new songs. Their new CD, “Hair of the Dog,” was released (or unleashed!) on 6th February and will be on sale at live gigs or via the website

"We are dotted all over the place, so it's tricky getting together and we've decided not to push ourselves to do more than two or three shows a month so we don't get tired or jaded. We're all old people now, you know," says Roger, but it's clear there's life in the old dog yet!

On the set list will be Jollity Farm, Big Shot, Hunting Tigers Out In India, My Pink Half of the Drainpipe, Trouser Press, Monster Mash, Cool Britannia, Can Blue Men Sing The Whites?, I'm Bored and many more to recreate the atmosphere of those formative years of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band at such legendary venues as The Tiger's Head in Catford and The 100 Club. There’s plenty of new material, too, and the new CD includes mostly new numbers and one or two old favourites – so a completely new sound! And still hilarious, irreverent fun!
The onstage show is full of anarchic good humour and subversive silliness: "It's general chaos on stage – a bit like a workshop really," says Roger. "We don't want to get too slick with the act, but there little chance of that. We have collective amnesia, and rely on the audience to join in and remind us!"

Don't miss this chance to see them in action! Sanity, what sanity?

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