Tag Archives: Roger Ruskin Spear

Roger Ruskin Spear – The Forgotten Bonzo

The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. That’s Spear on the left.

Most biographies of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band seem to champion the two most well-known alumni of this groundbreaking British ensemble (you can’t really call them a rock group) of the 1960s. Neil Innes went on to fame and fortune for his work with Monty Python and for his role in the Rutles mockumentary and records. Vivian Stanshall produced a few notable albums post-Bonzos, and since he was the lead vocalist and a prolific songwriter, he grabbed much of the spotlight when the band was in its heyday. The Bonzos appeared in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine Magical Mystery Tour film performing their song “Death Cab For Cutie,” which is where most people first heard of them.

Roger Ruskin Spear is all but forgotten, even by many of those who count themselves fans of the Bonzos, but he wrote and produced two notable solo albums and has been involved in countless musical projects up to the present day.

Again wikipedia comes to the rescue of the lazy (such as I):

Spear is best known as a former member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band. He wrote some of their wittiest songs such as ‘Shirt’, ‘Tubas in the Moonlight’ and ‘Trouser Press’.He is also well known for his robot creations,that graced the stage with the Bonzos, creating much hilarity and havoc. He is also famed for his virtuosity on the theremin leg – in ‘Noises for the Leg’, amongst other tunes. Many of his songs have clothing/wardrobe related themes, such as ‘Trouser Freak’, ‘Trouble with my Trousers’ and ‘Waiting for the ‘Wardrobe’, as well as the aforementioned ‘Shirt’ and ‘Trouser Press’. It is not known why. Roger was once quoted as saying, “Trousers. Trousers. It’s such a stumbling word. In America they have pants and jeans, but in England we still have trousers”.

I have recently digitized my vinyl copy of Spear’s 1972 Electric Shocks album in its entirety. Here is a track called “Patrick Moore,” which seems fairly standard until near the end, when aliens make a sudden appearance, which makes me happy.

Roger Ruskin Spear: “Patrick Moore”

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Filed under 1960s, Comedy