Updated 3/16/2008

the life & times of the good doctor chadbourne


Eugene Chadbourne
INSTRUMENTALIST, COMPOSER, PERFORMER AND WRITER
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1970 - 76

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1970-1976

CALGARY HERALD, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Entertainment writer and editor

Youngest writer and editor in paper’s history, received civic award 1975.

Covered a beat including both classical and contemporary rock music

Freelance writer for Downbeat, Coda, McCleans, Cadence, Jazz Podium

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1975

Release of first album, VOLUME ONE; SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR, founding the much-acclaimed Parachute label, later to document works by John Zorn, Bob Ostertag, Henry Kaiser, Polly Bradfield, and others. Premiered his first series of compositions for solo acoustic guitar. Pioneering work in the “prepared” guitar.


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1976

Release of VOLUME TWO; SOLO ACOUSTIC GUITAR. Continuing series of solo concerts across Canada and in San Francisco. Collaborations with Canadian Creative Music Collective members such as Micheal Snow, Casey Sokol and the late Larry Dubin. Forms Western Music Improvisation Company with Paul Woodrow and Clive Robertson. Activities include Cable TV broadcasts and cross-Canada tour. In San Francisco, first collaborations with soprano saxophonist Bruce Ackley, later a founding member of the ROVA Saxophone Quartet.

Increasingly active in community activities:

Programmed concert series at Parachute Arts Center, a Canada Council ‘Parallel Gallery.’

Disc jockey on University of Calgary student radio, Cable FM-CORA (pioneer pirate radio enterprise) and Cable TV host (Channel 10.)

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1977


Re-location to New York City. Release of VOLUME THREE; GUITAR TRIOS including recording premiere of guitarist Henry Kaiser.

Duet collaboration and performances with composer and multi-instrumentalist Leo Smith. First appearances in New York City solo gets positive reaction from New York Times critic Robert Palmer, as does Chadbourne appearance at Studio Rivbea festival as part of Frank Lowe Quartet: “Chadbourne plays in a wild, teetering style that approaches anarchy and sometimes takes the plunge.” Performs with John Lindberg, Butch Morris,

Phillip Wilson, dancer Harry Streep, Philip Johnston, Luther Thomas, Lester Bowie, Joseph Bowie, Dewey Johnson, Luther Thomas but most importantly begins musical relationship with John Zorn, founding the 300 Statues Trio with violinist Polly Bradfield. At close of year Zorn and Chadbourne journey to San Francisco for long series of concerts and recordings with TWINS quartet also featuring Ackley and Kaiser. Records for Carla Bley’s MUSIQUE MECHANIQUE with bassist Charlie Haden. Chosen as one of the artists to appear on GUITAR SOLOS THREE, an international collection produced by Fred Frith. Parachute label releases School double album including recording premiere of John Zorn and first recording of one of his compositions, Lacrosse.

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1978


Plays as members of ensembles with Zorn, Bradfield, Billy Bang, Frank Lowe, Wayne Horvitz, John Oswald, Joseph Bowie, Davey Williams, LaDonna Smith, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford, Steve Beresford, Henry Kaiser, David Toop, Andrea Centazzo, Fred Frith and Toshinori Kondo including first European performances. Premieres orchestra piece The English Channel at Creative Music Studio, Woodstock, NYC where he serves in capacity of guitar, orchestra and improvisation techniques. Other faculty includes Roscoe Mitchell, Carla Bley, Steve Lacy, Ursula Oppens, Garrett List and many others. Organizes guitar trio performance in New York to premiere new compositions by himself (Courage), John Zorn (Fencing) and Leo Smith (Wind Crystals).

Premieres of solo guitar pieces by Smith (Kuboxe) and Zorn (Dominoes and The Book of Heads.)

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1979

Performances with Tristan Honsinger, Beresford, Kondo, Centazzo, Franz Koglmann, Walter Malli, Han Bennink, Leo Smith, Rutherford, Peter Brotzmann, Peter Kowald, Fred Van Hove, John Stevens, Tom Cora, Frith, Ostertag, David Licht, Mark Kramer, Evan Parker, Paul Lovens, Paul Lytton and Steve Lacy. Organizes large-scale festival in New York City including performance of The English Channel, also recorded and released on the Parachute label. Extremely active in promoting the acceptance and activities of European avant-garde musicians in New York City, helping to foster trans-Atlantic co-operation which continues today.


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1980

Works with Centazzo, Zorn, Beresford, Kondo, Licht. Forms and rehearses The Chadbournes combo audaciously blending avant garde improvisation and traditional country and western music, forever altering the course of music. First Japanese tour with Kondo is highly controversial as are intiial American presentations where traditional song forms begin to be used, with the exception of the American South, where this concept is embraced enthusiastically.


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1981

Chadbournes begin touring. Group includes Licht, Cora, Kramer and sometimes Zorn. Also performances of major Zorn compositions (Jai-Ali, Archery, Croquet) in ensembles including George Lewis, Bill Laswell, Robert Dick,. Horvitz and many others. Performs at Public Theatre, NYC, with Oliver Lake and Jump Up! Re-locates to Greensboro, N.C. and forms Southern versions of Chadbournes including Scott Manring, Becky Jordan, Tom Shephard and Chris Turner.


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1982

Solo concerts continue. Chadbournes change name to Shockabilly and first recordings produced by Kramer. Chadbourne begins releasing his own cassettes, beginning a series that has baffled critics. In its unrelenting creativity and survival as a guerilla business enterprise, this series of cassettes has earned Chadbourne a place in history as one of the founders of the “low-fi” or “low-tech” movement that continues to grow in popularity as the year 2000 approaches. Invention of the Electric Rake, a humorous sound-effects and performance device that starts a whole series of similar contraptions and inspires many others to create like-minded instruments.


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1983

More than 100 Shockabilly concerts in USA and Europe. Premiere of solo performance pieces involving homemade instruments The Secret of the Cooler, The Shopping Cart, The Birdcage.


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1984

More than 150 Shockabilly concerts in USA and Europe, first tour diaries published in O.P. These accounts of various disasters on the road were well-received and led to many other musicians writing similar articles.


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1985

Shockabilly dissolves in April, leaving behind two Eps, five albums and one single, all to be re-released by popular demand in the ‘90s. New series of solo tours and recording projects begin including Country Protest with Lenny Kaye and the Red Clay Ramblers and Country Music from SE Australia recorded on Australian tour with Jon Rose, David Moss and Rik Rue. Collaborations with Bertram Turetzky and Joan La Barbara (New Music America at Los Angeles Children’s Museum.)


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1986

Year begins with Canadian Broadcasting Company’s world premiere broadcast of People Want Everything for an octet of musicians from widely diverse genres. Nearly 75 solo concerts plus collaborations with The Violent Femmes, Jon Rose, Corrosion of Conformity, Camper Van Beethoven, Butthole Surfers, Evan Johns and summer tour with Snakefinger.


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1987

Solo and collaborations with Rose, Lovens, Bennink, Willem Breuker, Kondo, Lewis, Zorn, Bobby Previte, Anthony Coleman, Billy Bragg, Michelle Shocked, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Patsy Montana, Si Kahn, Holly Near, The Horseflies, Dan McCrary, Camper Van Beethoven and Elliot Sharp. Invited simultaneously to both Vancouver Folk and Jazz festivals, a distinction awarded to no other artist in festival history.


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1988
Many solo concerts including the beginning of touring activity in Yugoslavia, where he remains a popular performer, and Eastern bloc countries such as East Germany and Czechoslovakia. Chadbourne tour diaries from the DDR published in West German Spex. Other Chadbourne articles published in Sound Choice, Maxium Rock and Roll and Forced Exposure and are translated and published in French, Greek and Russian.


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1989

Premiere of solo performance The Cadaver, in which a corpse is created out of junk instruments, then dissected on stage. Solo tours plus work with Camper Van Chadbourne, The Sun City Girls and others. Bit part in Wes Craven’s film Shocker. University of Michigan press publishes Draft Dodger.


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1990

More than 100 solo performances plus collaborations with Hans Reichel, Shelley Hirsch, David Weinstein, Jin Hi Kim, Amy Denio, Camper Van Beethoven and the Sun City Girls. Performs in Derek Bailey’s COMPANY WITH Jim O’Rourke, Louis Moholo, Alex Ward, Vanessa Mackness and others and is chosen to appear in Bailey’s four-part documentary On Improvisation where a special section deals with Chadbourne’s unique fusion of country and western and avant garde improvising. A Chadbourne song God Made Country Music for Good People Like Y’all is chosen to be played over the show’s end credits.


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1991

Gulf War tour with Camper Van Chadbourne is only European tour of of this time not cancelled because of terrorist paranoia. Also performances at the Taktlos festival with Jin Hi Kim, stewardship of the Moers Festival Improvisation Project featuring Jimmy Carl Black and Don Preston of the Mothers of Invention as well as Tony Trischka, Brian Ritchie, Leslie Ross and others. Tours Japan with percussionist Shoji Hano and collaborates with Keiji Haino. Founds the Chadbourne Baptist Church, an international ensemble, performs at the Winnipeg Folk Festival with Boiled in Lead, Mojo Nixon, The New Blue Velvet Band, Gary Lucas, Utah Phillips, Ronnie Gilbert, David Moss and Robin Holcomb. Duo tour with Tony Trischka including command performance at the home of author William Burroughs.


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1992

Solo concerts and performances with Han Bennink, They Might be Giants, Rose and Chris Cutler. Appearance in the Austrian film Malli: Artist in Residence with longtime collaborator Walter Malli. Malli and Chadbourne perform duo at film’s premiere in Vienna. Performer and instructor at Tennessee Banjo Institute, featured in concert with Bela Fleck, John Jackson, Said Hakmoun, Trischka, Jim Bowie, Don Stover, Weissberg, and many others.


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1993

Stars the The Jack and Jim Show with Jimmy Carl Black, performing more than 100 concerts in Europe. First solo CDs in years are released on the Swiss Intakt label: Strings (instrumental) and Songs (with vocals) to rave reviews. Records on Alternative Tentacles label with Evan Johns and Mike Buck.


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1994

Premiere of Crude Gene Mannipulappalachian for acoustic instruments and musique concrete at Musique Action ’94 in Vanouevre, France. Post Day of the Dead Ritual for ensemble presented at SECCA,

Winston Salem, N.C. Quartet with Malli, Sunny Murray and Peter Kowald performs at Ulrichsberg Festival, Austria. Chadbourne logically chosen to open international Home Tapers festival Fast Forward in Nijmegen, Netherlands and appears with the second generation of Chadbourne performers, vocalist Molly Chadbourne. Release of first Jack and Jim CD, Locked in a Dutch Coffeeshop Double CD retrospective Electric Rake Cake is released on Overtone and innovates new Chadbourne concept in design involving recycled packaging materials.

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1995

Chadbourne records in Nashville with Kenny Malone, Don Helms, Michael Rhodes, Paul Lyman and others. Opens Thunderclaps festival in Utrecht, Netherlands in duo with Derek Bailey, the performance is later broadcast on Dutch National Radio. Jack and Jim continues to tour including several events in Croatia and Slovenia for Bosnian refugees. Also collaborations with Luc Houtkamp, Leftover Salmon, Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. Solo recital at Royal Festival Hall, London. Family band concept expands to include both Lizzie and Molly Chadbourne at Mimi festival, Saint- Martin-de-Croix, France.


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1996

Performs with Norwegian punk band TRBNGR in Trondheim to celebrate release of 45 single in which Chadbourne sings in Norwegian. First concerts by The Banjo Duet, collaboration with Dutch banjoist Volcmar Verkerk. British tour with Kenny Process Team. California tour includes collaborations with Ben Goldberg, Damon Smith, Gino Robair, Ed Cassidy and Bunk Gardner. American tour and appearance at Victoriaville festival in Quebec with Paul Lovens. Summer tours in Holland, Germany, Denmark, California, New York City and Washington D.C. including collaborations with Kaiser, Robair, Ackley, Licht, Barry Mitterhof and Ellery Eskelin. San Francisco Bass Quartet premiers first sketches from

Chadbourne orchestra piece Insect and Western. Italian tour with Tatsuya Yoshida, and Walter Malli. Following recordings all in new release or scheduled: Jesse Helms Busted for Pornography (C&W opera); Nijmegen Hassen Hunt with Bennink, Kim, Camper Van Chadbourne; Chadbourne Barber Shop with Charles Tyler, Violent Femmes, and others; In Memory of Nikki Arane with John Zorn; Boogie with the Hook, a collection of duets with Bennink, Zorn, Bailey, Tyler and Verkerk.

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1997

 Oakland Contrabass Quartet records four pieces from Insect and Western. Duo concert with Dan Plonsey in San Francisco, appearance with William Parker. Tuba/ Jackson Krall, drums trio. Lectures at the California Institute of Arts as special guest of Wadada Leo Smith.

Ellington Country sextet with Carrie Shull,oboe, Leslie Ross, bassoon, Paul Lovens, drums, Pat Thomas, keyboards, and Alex Ward, clarinet and saxophone, founded and first tour includes Swiss Taktlos festival and three concerts in Holland. Insect and Western Party founded with Shull and a pool of other participants. Premiere performances of many sections of Insect and Western in all these groups, continuing with Chicago engagement featuring Gene Coleman, bass clarinet; Michael Zerang, percussion, Carrie Biolo, vibraphone and Mickey Greenberg, piano. Reunion duet concert at the Knitting Factory with Chadbourne and John Zorn, alto saxophone. Insect and Western Party tours USA throughout fall with Shull, Brian Ritchie and Carrie Biolo.

Performance at the Nickelsdorf Jazz Festival with Walter Malli ensemble and in duo with Keith Rowe. Performances of Insect and Western music continue in Chattanooga, Tallahassee, New Orleans and at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla.

At present The London Guitar Ensemble, The Gold Sparkle Band, The New World Ensemble and the New Music Society of Tasmania are preparing performances of Chadbourne’s compositions.

Records: Patrizio with Paul Lovens (Victo)/ End to Slavery, solo

(Intakt)./ re-release of Country Music from SE Australia (Uprising)/

Psychad (12 inch vinyl album, Swamp Room)/ From the Hellingtunes:

Double 45 set (Lucky Garage) and CD (Intakt)

Publications: I Hate the Man Who Runs This Bar: A Survival Guide for Real Musicians (Cardinal/Mix Bookshelf)

Bye Bye DDR (U. of Michigan Ridgeway Press).

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1998

New duo recording projects with fellow guitarists Henry Kaiser and Davey Williams. Release of French guitarist Noel Akchote’s set of duets with Chadbourne and Mark Ribot.

Premiere of “House by the Cemetary” at Arts Watch, Louisville, Kentucky.

Performance of Insect and Western pieces in Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca. With southern California based musicians. Solo performances throughout midwest including Kansas City, St. Louis, Little Rock, Memphis. Italian tour including concert in Rome, March. New solo performance in Paris and recording of solo album for Rectangle. Re-release of Vol. 2 Solo Acoustic Guitar on Rastascan label. Performance with Paul Lovens in Berlin at annual Total Music Meeting. Solo concerts in New York, Washington, Boston. Trio with Alex Ward and Pat Thomas set to play 8 Westcan festivals including Vancouver and Edmonton. Same trio slated for Festival for River Eno, Durham, North Carolina. Release of Insect and Western composition collection on Leo Records.

Fall European tour includes first all-Bach recital in Ghent, Belguim, guitar quartet in Rotterdam with Lukas Simonis, Jacques Palinncx and Leonid Soyblelmin; duet performance in Paris with Rene Lussier; three performances in Holland with Ad Peynenberg. In November collaboration in USA and Canada with John Oswald, Stephan Rush and the Detroit band Immigrant Suns. Premiere of I Talked to Death in Stereo to celebrate release of Horror Part One CD, inaugurates the Horror Part One Band with Joee Conroy, Norman Minogue, Eena Ballard and Steve Good. Tour of Texas in December includes duos with Doug Garrison in New Orleans and Davey Williams in Birmingham, and two performances of the Butterfly Garden in Atlanta, the first with Rob Mallard and Jeff Sipes, the second with a six piece workshop ensemble including Mallard. Final gig of the year is appearance with Zambiland Orchestra in Atlanta with Colonel Bruce Hampton, Sipes, members of Leftover Salmon, Moe and other bands, Derek Trucks, etc.

Lecture/demonstration Expanding the Jazz Repertoire presented at U of M, Ann Arbor...

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1999

Performaces of Butterfly Garden in New York City with Ellery Eskelin and Brian Ritchie. Trio in Philadelphia with Toshi Makihara and John Berndt. Collaborations and touring through Kansas City, St. Louis, Bloomington (Ill.) a/o. European tours scheduled for March-April and May-June, formation of new Mondo Chadbournes 2000 Trio with Chris Cornetto and Billy Kettle. This group performs in London at the LMC Festival and on a special boat ride concert organized along canals and riverbanks between Amsterdam and Utrecht. Hellington Country sextet performs at 1999 Nickelsdorf Jazz Confrontation,

Austria.

Chadbourne is chosen as curator for August program at Tonic, New York City, among other activities presents the Horror Part Two Band, a country and western concert and inaugurates a Wednesday bluegrass series. Phil Ochs tribute and evening of new solo guitar music presented at Brecht Centre, NYC. New Camper Van Chadbourne trio lineup with Jonathan Segel and Victor Krummenacher records new live CD at Knitting Factory Old Office.

Performs in September with Han Bennink in Toronto. In October solo and duo concerts with Me and Paul with Paul Lovens in Germany, Austria and France. Invited to participate in festival in Kobe, Japan in November.

Horror Part Two Band CD set for Halloween release on Leo records.

Last recording session of the year done for Avant with Mark Dresser, Susie Ibarra and Joe Morris. CD to be entitled Pain Pens.

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2000

Year begins with two important collaborations: The quartet with Susan Alcorn, pedal steel; Walter Daniels, harmonica; and David Dove, trombone, pays tribute to the late Doug Sahm and records Texas Sessions in Austin and Houston. Then, on to Florida where Bedbugs is premiered with sextet including faculty from St. Petersburg and Tampa area music colleges. Camper Van Chadbourne two week tour of Europe in February.

House of Chadponk home label released with entire back catalog coming out on CD, many titles for the first time. Series of performances in Kansas City with Malachy Papers jazz band. Tour in Italy with Zu Band, followed by performance at Albert Ayler tribute in Koln Triennele, a project suggested by Chadbourne. In early May, the largest Chadbourne project to date, a collaboration with the 22-piece folk ensemble Olga Volgala in Ghent, Belguim, as part of that city’s major music festival.

Performing with Me and Paul as well as Ernest Tubb Memorial Band in Action 2000 festival. Me and Paul set for August Mulhouse Jazz festival in France.

Earth Day performance in Nashville.

July Chadfest set in New York City with Guy Klusevek, Miya Masoka, Kevin Norton and Mark Dresser.

Me and Paul set for August Mulhouse Jazz festival in France, also performs at Palermo Jazz Festival and the Jazz Bicycle Festival in Gronigen, Holland.  Earth Day performance in NashvilleFall tour of southern USA with Han Bennink including performances in Nashville, Asheville, Columbia, Durham, Greensboro and Atlanta.   Followed a month later by an even more extensive tour with Paul Lovens, about 20 concerts between North Carolina and Texas.  Chadbourne performs solo at first ever concert series at Intuit Gallery in Chicago, Northampton College and special post election concert--remember, nobody won this time--at Johnny D's in Boston.  Created film music  for Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lodger" with Walter Pratti and others at special Hitchcock Festival held in Milan.

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2001

The year kicks off with solo performance at Centre Pompidou in Paris and Me and Paul performing at the Sons D'Iver festival the next day.   Me and Paul continues on tour through Italy, France, Austria,  Germany, Poland and Belguim.  

Short duo tour in March unites Dr. Chadbourne with percussionist Toshi Makihara, including shows in New York City and Washington, D.C.  Solo performances in midwest and Ontario and first collaboration with Immigrant Sons Orchestra in Detroit.  In April, historic collaboration with Texas Tornados/Doug Sahm rhythm section and others is captured by Boxholder records for eventual release as Texas Sessions: To Doug, Chapter Two. Camper Van Chadbourne tours in Europe in the early summer, followed by a handful of east coast dates with Me and Paul.  

Following a summer’s hiatus from gigs—the first in more than 15 years, the Jack and Jim show spring back into action for a series of dates in Holland and Paris. On Sept. 10, Chadbourne plays a devastating version of his song “America Stands Tall” for an appreciative audience in Gronigen, Holland.  Chadbourne is still in Holland on Sept. 11, but the Jack and Jim tour is completed.  

A series of performances in Scandanavia with Martin Klapper and Herman Muntzig goes on as planned, but the duo tour with Han Bennink tour scheduled for late September and early October in places such as Florida and the midwest is cancelled;  Han refuses to travel.   Only a few isolated gigs before Jack and Jim meet up with Pat Thomas for the extremely successful Jimi Hendrix tribute in Reggio Emilia, Italy, held in conjunction with a series of compositions by avant garde Italian composers dedicated to Hendrix.   The CD “Jimi II” is released from this set and is received enthusiastically. 

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2002

The first tour of the year is a series of gigs in California, including several in Los Angeles,  a return to Ventura’s City Hall, a special jazz concert with Bertram Turetzky at one of the hospitals in San Diego, and both solo and Camper Van Chadbourne shows in San Francisco.  There is also a special Valentine’s Day gig in San Francisco with Ashley Adams on bass and Beth Custer on clarinet, reviving the Insect and Western Party group name.  

In March, Me and Paul tours in France and Germany, including a triumphant show at  the Nimes Jazz Festival.  Chadbourne carries on alone to the Basque country, where he records both solo banjo and in collaboration with the French rockabilly band The Wild Bud.  

Meanwhile, the Bach solo banjo project has been recorded and is in production for the Volatile label.   Chadbourne performs in duo with Cooper Moore at the Brecht Forum in New York City, then heads to Russia for festival appearances in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, courtesy of the Cultural Exchange Commission.   His reception in Russia is overwhelmingly positive.  

The Midwest Chadfest in Kansas City follows, a remarkably successful venture in which Chadbourne worked in several different contexts including performances with the jazz band Malachy Papers and several ad hoc groupings.  

In May the Victoriaville festival presents Chadbourne in duo with Rene Lussier and the results are part of a projected live CD.   Chadbourne’s performance  activity in his hometown of Greensboro suddenly jumps into high gear with his regular jam session gigs on Tate Street; the band Monk Vs. Ornette, playing cover tunes guess who, is one of the results of this as well as Greensboro fans now being able to see the Dr. live sometimes three times a month or more, sometimes even twice in one day.  

Early June brings an unforgettable series of solo gigs in Llubjana and Croatia followed by the premiere of the Slim and Slam Project with Bertram Turetzky and Paul Lovens at three Austrian shows.  

In July Chadbourne appears at the Vancouver Folk Festival as part of the Collaboratory, an amazing project involving an international cast of musicians.  Besides playing solo at the festival, Chadbourne performs with Debashish Bhattarcharya (Indian slide guitar), Amir Koushakni (tar), Vivian Xia (yanquin) and others; he also guests at the festival with Montreal hip-hoppers Freeworm and the controversial Bitch and Animal.  

Coming up in the fall of 2002 are a special festival project in Winston Salem in a trio with percussionist Gerry Hemingway and multi-instrumentalist Scott Manring, an ensemble project with Rene Lussier performing in Montreal, solo concerts in the Midwest and participation in Baltimore’s  High Zero festival along with dozens of other free improvisers. 

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2003

An east coast tour provides an opportunity to experiment with large group free improvisation on the Baltimore scene as well as a New York City quartet with Gerry Hemingway, drums/ Mark Dresser, bass and Joe Morris, electric guitar.
Aki Takase launches her new Fats Waller Project with Dr. Chad, vocals, banjo and guitar plus Paul Lovens, drums/Nils Wogram, trombone/Rudi Mahal, bass clarinet and the esteemed Ms. Takase playing the piano and leading the band. This venture is somehow timed with the horrible Bush II invasion of Iraq, Alexander Schlippenbach fetching me at the Berlin train station with the news that the American army is “90 kilometers out of Baghdad. The Fats Waller Project is a great success over the next few years, Wogram sometimes throwing his chair to trumpeter Thomas Heberer.
“Country Protest Anew” is recorded in Madison, Wisconsin with local band Noah John. For this venture the theme and structure of the ‘80s Country Protest album was revisited, although with not as strong cover art. I wanted a picture of Bush with a big terd on it but they did something more “tasteful.”

A west coast tour includes my first performance in Mexico. An international group including musicians from Japan and Denmark crossed over from San Diego where we had been involved in a festival. The Tijuana show was interesting, especially how quickly the Mexican cops and taxmen showed up to make sure nobody was charging cover. Following the west coast tour, the Fats Waller group went on the third tour of that year, including the Cremona and Cerkno jazz festivals.

In the summer Aki took us into a studio in Hamburg where we recorded the first and so far only CD effort by this ensemble, released by Enja. Then I met my daughter Molly Chadbourne and was accompanied by her as well as several charming friends, Emily Johnson and Carrie “Pocohantas” on a run of solo dates around the lowlands. Molly was particularly taken by the little Belgian coastal town of Dirksmuide. I hung there for a few days in the band room before heading for more solo concerts in France and Switzerland.

At the end of June I assembled the trio of Jack and Jim and the Artist Formerly Known as Black Paddy for a tour that included Amsterdam’s Bimhuis, the Kongsberg Jazz Festival and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Jack and Jim appeared at the 2003 Zappanale as a duo, in between thre were more solo dates in France and Germany. This busy summer of festival activity concluded with the Mulhouse Festival in France, I appeared in duo with Rene Lussier whose leg was broken.

The Co-Lab Festival in Porto, Portugal took place in September, I presented a new Insect and Western piece about mosquitos with a workshop group and also played in various combinations with Phil Minton, Jon Rose and Chris Cutler. After that I joined Paul Lovens for Me and Paul at a small Frankfurt festival, recorded some duo tracks with Schroeder in Freiburg, then met Martin Klapper and Herman Muntzing for the Chadklappmuntz trio tour in France, Belguim and Holland.

Professor Paul Elwood invited me to Brevard College in North Carolina for lectures, readings, workshops and concerts. Several of the gigs involved drummer Jeff Sipe. A nude man flanked by two nude chicks streaked by the duo gig with Sipe and I at a local bar. Mind you, this was November in the Appalachians. Nice way to end the year, jamming whilst watching some hippie freeze his dong off.

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2004

I start the year with a North Carolina Chadfest meant to encompass the cities of Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Greensboro and Asheville. Most of the shows are disasters and the mountain activities cancelled entirely due to a change in Jeff Sipe’s schedule. Still we are able to welcome the wonderful Martin Klapper to the local scene and he records a trio session with myself and Carrie Shull which to no surprise has never been released.

From here I am on to the frozen north for my debut in Green Bay, Wisconsin as well as a Madison Chadfest that takes place in two different venues. Molly comes from her college in Beloit to perform a “reunion” show of the duet material we started performing when she was seven years old.

A set of Kansas City gigs including a mardi gras party raided by the police is the preface to a whirlwind trip to Leipzig where the Fats Waller Project takes part in a special piano festival.

In March I perform a duet concert in New York City with Marc Ribot. Several local Chadbourne Baptist Church concerts take place in which members of earlier incarnations of the ensemble mingle with newcomers. Molly scores me an April gig at Beloit’s C-Haus venue; I clear the place with the electric rake solo. The release of Country Protest Anew is celebrated with a string of midwest gigs combining myself with various members of Noah John, sometimes the full group.

I organize a Sunday afternoon improvising event for area players: a total flop. Early in May I head to Austin for solo and group projects including the first in what will be a series of recording sessions with Earl Poole Ball, former Johnny Cash bandleader and session man of note.

The Aki Takase Fats Waller project is invited to Holland as part of an annual festival, there are also some German jobs, then I head back to Slovenia and the Cerkno festival where I play solo. Back in Holland I have a nice gig as a guest with one of Tobias Delius’ ensembles in Eindhoven, then a solo in Karlsruhe and duet with Schroeder in the Stuttgart Nord-Bahnhof “Wagon” venue.

A new group convenes at the behest of drummer Peter Hollinger: The Fifty Four, all guys that are turning 50 this year. The others beside myself are cellist Ernst Reysinger and trombonist Johnnes Bauer. We will play at a series of festivals during this year, starting with Action 2004. Besides improvising, the song “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” becomes an interesting band theme. This group never plays again after 2004.

In June I play several duet gigs with Han Bennink including a jazz festival in Burlington. The Fats Waller project carries on with festivals in Verona and Tours. I work solo in Porto, then pack the house for my Lisbon premiere.

In July I jam with Matana Roberts and Sticks and Stones when they pass through Greensboro. The Fifty Four plays at the improve festival in Antwerp in early August. In mid August there is a huge fire in our house. Shortly theafter I am contracted to conduct a week of workshops in Mulhouse, the Sacred Insects of Ancient Egypt piece written entirely in hieroglyphics. I also play some duets with Schroeder in Holland. The Mulhouse festival invites the Fats Waller group as well as the Fifty Four so there is plenty of activity that week, my clothes and instruments reeking of smoke.

In September I go to the Northwest for the first time in years, solo concerts in Portland and Seattle are included. I meet and spend several days with Mason Williams in Eugene, also play concerts in Helena and Livingston, Montana, the latter on the edge of Yellowstone park.

A Scandanvian tour takes place in October with Chadklappmuntz, highlights include Eksjo deep in the woods. Later that month, Fats Waller Project hits Nurnburg and Elmau, I play a series of solos in Barcelona as well as Naumburg and Leipzig. Then it is back with the Fats group for a great show at the Berlin Jazz Festival.

Final tour of the year includes solos in New York City and a collaboration with the Doctor Dark band in New Haven. For the first time in my career I do not bomb in New Haven, but watch for a return to form in the coming years.

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2005

Tyson Rogers presents a guitar festival in Raleigh but I have to bow out the last minute when a tornado makes the highway between there and Greensboro impassable in a car with non-functioning windshield wipers. About a week later I get to collaborate at Gate City Noise with Instrument inventor Mark Dixon, he has an incredible apparatus set up that includes an entire washing machine. The performance will later be utilized as the framework for the Horror Part 11
disc (2007).

Han Bennink arrives and we begin a Southern swing with gigs including Chapel Hill, Atlanta, Orlando and the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Every trip with him is memorable, this one includes Han’s fight with the dread-locked proprietor of a venue over smoking in the dressroom issues, a chick baring her tits during an otherwise horrid Raleigh show and Han discovering American racing because I drive him right by the Daytona 500.

I hit Kansas City for St. Patrick’s Day and some of the Irish fiddle tunes I arrange for the Malachy Papers band are recorded for eventual release on a CD entitled Chadbirish Euck. The world is not ready for avant garde versions of Irish music, however, so this CD is eventually removed from the catalog and tucked away for a more receptive future, perhaps the 31st century. I return to Greensboro and once again am dismissed from jury duty in a trial I really wanted to work on, the murder of a Greensboro drug dealer following an argument at a sleazy lap dance club.

The April Banlieus Blues festival in Paris invites the Aki Takase Fats Waller Project and a film is made about the group that is later shown on French television. We move on to Schwabish Gmund and I use the proximity to my favorite hippie country studio to finally work on mixing down several tracks recorded there in the previous year, one of them Lizzie Chadbourne’s original song entitled “Grey.” Later that month a folk music symposium organized by the University of Wisconsin invites me for a special Madison show also featuring Sir Richard Bishop of the Sun City Girls as well as the Handsome Family band. Bishop and I do are first jam in years. I also play a solo set at a Charles Mingus festival in Green Bay. A few days later I play with Malachy Papers at a spin-off New Orleans Jazz Festival event, jamming with the young pianist Brian Haas.

May kicks off with some great one-off collaborations. I jam at Gate City Noise with a touring trio featuring Massimo Zu, Lukas Ligeti and saxophonist Johnny Gebbia. A few days later I play two sets of improvised duets at The Stone in New York City with pianist Misha Mengelberg. Then the Jack and Jim Show plus the Artist Formerly Known as Black Paddy begin a tour in Dresden, going on to the Cerkno Jazz Festival, Action 2005 and a recording session at Schroeder’s studio that eventually yields the Boxholder CD entitled “Hearing is Believing.” (2007). The tour finale is also memorable, a two night stand at Nova Cinema in Brussels, the second night a tribute to Sun Ra and Thelonious Monk involving the Romanian jazz group of old buddy Mihai Jordache.

In late June I travel to Ithaca, New York for my first concert there, thanks to some connections made through my old friends the Werbizky gals. I go to visit their father George Werbizky and am delighted that we are finally in agreement over politics, having argued furiously about Communism when I was a pimply teenager. I play two nights of solo and collaborations in Detroit, opening a brand new and quite wonderful venue reconstructed and named after the old Bohemian National Home. July 4 is spent recording protest songs with Frank Pahl and Joel Petersen.
In mid July the Aki Takase Fats Waller Project plays at the Museum of Modern Art in Porto, then the Molde Jazz Festival in Norway, the latter also hosting me in a solo concert.

After taking most of August off I agree to a short tour with the Violent Femmes, opening some of the shows as well as playing guitar, banjo and electric gizmos during the band’s set. Molly opens the show with me in Charlottesville, delivering a memorable Appalachian style version of “Baby Got Back.”

The new Get out of Iraq Now band featuring Brian Ritchie and Victor de Lorenzo and pianist Brian Jackson plays for the first time at a jazz festival in Appleton, Wisconsin. The following week I play the Guelph Jazz Festival with Rene Lussier. At an AACM symposium, Roscoe Mitchell shocks me by delivering a special tribute to me during the discourse.
A promoter insists on me opening for Delbert McClinton in Jacksonville, Florida, where I am pretty much booed off stage but paid well for the privilege, at my estimate as much as 50 cents a boo. Only a few days later I fly to Switzerland to perform with the Aki Takase Fats Waller Project, then am on to Split, Croatia as a soloist prior to rejoining Aki’s band in Vienna, where I also perform solo. Then this interesting itinerary heads back to the Balkans: I perform my first gig in a Muslim city, Travnik, Bosnia. The eight hour bus ride from Zagreb is one of the most memorable journeys in my life. After a concert in Zagreb I take quite a long train trip in order to start a whole series of solo and collaborative gigs in the Basque region of France and Spain, often hitting villages as well as larger centers such as Bilbao.

Two British Columbia venues invite me for solo concerts directly after the Thanksgiving holidays. The year concludes with a visit from a touring Malachi Papers, over the course of several local gigs we begin rehearsing the music from the Butterfly Garden suite, to be presented in a septet format at Action 2006 next year. I hit New Haven again for a show that bombs big time but my first gig ever on Martha’s Vineyard is a big success. I spent a free day there and am interviewed by the Banjo Newsletter: this ends up being a cover piece.

The year ends disastrously: Derek Bailey dies. He was such a wonderful man, always ready to give over his time to young musicians. I turn down several offers to write obituaries because I am too upset. My last memory of Derek is perhaps my favorite: standing outside his home in London, I notice that his flat is practically surrounded by “For Sale” signs. I asked if he had been practicing more than usual lately and he said yes, as a matter of fact.

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2006

I start off the year with the Violent Femmes, touring from Arizona up to Humboldt County in California. In February I play a festival with the Aki Takase Fats Waller Project, then am back with the Femmes in Greece, Ireland and England. When the Femmes head home, I scoot to Bologna and begin a series of solo concerts winding up in the Arcore suburb of Milano.
Molly Chadbourne is studying in Amsterdam during this period, making every trip abroad a special father-daughter delight. I go to play with the Fats band in Bremen at a huge jazz showcase/conference trip that takes over an entire convention center. After a few more days with Molly I meet the G.O.I.N. band for a week-long tour including the Banlieus Blues festival outside Paris, the Bim Huis in Amsterdam and a double bill with Adrian Belew in Milano. The best documentation of this tour is a video released later that year, April Fool’s in Amsterdam.

Then it is time to start a new project, a banjo duet with Kevyn Blechdom proposed at different times by both the Parisian Cartiers Foundation and the Musique Action festival in Quebec. My first chance to work with this interesting, provocative young woman is at the Nantes Ideal Festival. The performance includes my first experience firing stage guns, in this case a rifle.

In early April I am back in France to work both alone and with Jimmy Carl Black at the new Festival Invisible in Brest, France. A festival originally to be curated by Derek Bailey turns into a tribute and I play two sets, one in duo with John Zorn and the other solo.

A few days later I am back on the road in Germany and Switzerland with the Aki Takase Fats Waller Project, leading up to the event that has absorbed most of my planning time for the past six months. For Action 2006 in Vandouevre I have been given the carte blanche, a large budget to arrange six different events.

These are the New Directions in Appalachian Music group including vocalist Phil Minton, drummer Paul Lovens and multi-instrumentalist Mike Cooper; a septet version of the Butterfly Garden suite combining Malachy Papers with a fine Dutch trio including Tobias Delius on reeds; a Johnny Paycheck tribute featuring double French horns and double harmonicas; the Hills Have Jazz band with special guest soloist Oliver Lake; the Chadbourne Baptist Church with guests such as Molly Chadbourne singing and trombonist Johannes Bauer and the Horror Part Nine finale during which Jimmy Carl Black read The Raven outloud, monsters invaded the audience ala Ray Dennis Steckler and Molly cut my hair and glued it to my face wolfman-style during a banjo solo.

Still this tour was not over. Pat and Jimmy and I took our trio to Marseilles for a concert there, then I had to fly to Bergen, Norway for another Aki date. The Fats band continued working that summer, I got to combine a Fats date in Rome in July with the Cartiers Foundation show in Paris with Kevyn, this duo now officially dubbed the Chaddom-Blechbourne Experience. For the Parisian event an action film actor coached us in the use of both an Uzi machine gun and the large 45-Magnum that I ended up firing…was it six shots, or only five?

The Femmes invite me to play with them at a surfing championship in Virginia Beach. This show out on a beach, with people as far as the eye can see in either direction, was really a highlight. From there the Femmes tour moves up the coast to Maryland, New Jersey and eventually Washington DC. In September I play with the Femmes in downtown Greensboro for more than 10,000 people: there is not a single mention of the event in the local press. I open for the Femmes the next night in Charleston, South Carolina, then am home a few days before flying to Sardinia for both a solo show and a duet with Paul Lovens (Me and Paul). All of the invited musicians including Fred Frith become part of a marching brass band on the final night of the festival.

Tatsuya Nakatani comes to Greensboro and we play a series of local dates combining country and western, bossa nova and avant garde noise. His introduction to me is priceless, an email in which he said he wanted to “come South and play Johnny Cash train beat” with me.

In October Chadklappmuntz start another tour, that string of dates preceded with several collaborations involving Martin Klapper including a duet gig in Prague. I conduct a week-long workshop in Warsaw at a modern art foundation located in a castle: a wonderful experience. I cut several CDs with the Last Chance Band during this period. The Chadklappmuntz round of Sweden and Denmark includes towns such as Vasteras, Gaevle, Norkoping, Gothenburg, Copenhagen and three separate events in Stockholm.

The Femmes take me on tour in mid November, starting out in Valencia and winding up in Lisbon. I then head to England where a festival in Leeds has invited me, I jam with a bunch of folks including Alex Ward. After a Parisian gig with the Femmes in an enormous venue covered with astro turf, I am back in the UK for a few solo dates in Liverpool and Bristol.

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2007

2007 has been an action packed year, at this writing the last performances look like they are going to be a series of California dates between San Diego and Humboldt.

This was the year of Jimmy Carl Black’s 69th birthday, the “Think 69” tour was based on the idea of revving up the activity of this beloved duo, trying to 69 dates in one year. While we fell short of that goal, we did do 40 gigs in 16 states of Bushworld, allowing Jimmy his first trip back to the USA in close to a decade. In addition we began the year with gigs in Switzerland, Italy and Croatia following a solo slot for me in a superb Swiss festival held in Biel.

From the European Jack and Jim tour I jumped to the first extended tour with Chaddom Blechbourne Experience, dates including the notorious Gonzo Bar in Tegelen, Holland, a newly revived Stadtgarden venue in Koln, the groovy Parisian Point Ephemere, Rotterdam’s new Worm and once again the Nova Theatre in Brussels.

In March I returned to Austin, Texas for more studio work, this time with budget capabilities thanks to Lou Kannenstine at Boxholder. I went back to work with Earl Poole Ball, Walter Daniels on harmonica, drummer Ernie Durawa and the amazing Redd Volkaert on both acoustic and electric guitars. “This is Our Gordito” continues my Texas recording trip and should see the light of day in 2008.

An April tour begins with a duet with Oliver Lake in New York City. I very much enjoy a solo show at Inwood Park in upper, upper Manhattan a few days later. Then I fly off to meet the Aki Takase Fats Waller Project, returning once again to Leer in northern Germany where they like the idea of people returning to Leer so much that there are a series of proverbs concerning the idea. The Fats band also plays Ghent, Singen and Germering before flying to Talinn in Estonia and the vitally important jazz festival, threatened at the very moment because native Russians are rioting in the downtown over the removal of some World War II era statues from the center.

The show goes on, afterwards we eat at the same restaurant as Archie Shepp: it is a Tex Mex joint, in Talinn. The band onstage plays Creedence and Tom Petty covers. I stay a few days to check the town out. On the way home I play with Kevyn Blechdom at the Stone in New York City. There is an unusual amount of activity for me in the Big Apple in 2007. I come back in early June to play a special show for Book Expo, paid for by an independent publishers’ group: this Brooklyn event is a big bomb. The 2007 Chadfest is held at the Stone in the last two weeks of August; in between I head on two tours, one crossing Canada and the other portions of eastern Europe.

For the former I start with a week of teaching at a Vancouver community college; Han Bennink and Cuong Vu are among the other faculty members. Han and I play a local punk dive, then there is also a Me and Paul duo and a string of Aki Takase Fats Waller Project shows at jazz festivals in Medicine Hat, Victoria, Ottawa and Toronto.

New Directions in Appalachian Music reconvenes at the Nickelsdorf festival on the Austrian/Hungarian border. I then play a series of solo shows: Vienna, Budapest and a small village festival for filmmakers. I eat lamb goulash out of a large boiling cauldron; once again a local band plays Creedence covers.

I spent a few days with Jimmy Carl Black and then we go to the north of Germany to play the annual festival organized by members of Faust, held on the guitarist’s farmhouse in the tiny village of Schiphoorst. This is simply a blast!

With only two weeks to rest, I am exhausted by the time Chadfest starts in New York City. Mark Ribot decides not to show up for the planned performance of John Zorn’s Fencing, so Zorn and I do a duo instead. I present a series of events over the next two weeks climaxing in Jimmy arriving and playing with me over three nights with guests Tony Trischka, Thomas Heberer and Brian Jackson. Sacred Insects of Ancient Egypt is performed with a great group featuring Barry Mitterhof on mandolin, Jessica Pavone on viola, Mary Halverson on electric guitar, Evan Gallagher on electronics and percussion and Stephanie Rearick on piano. Different versions of the Chadbourne Baptist Church and New Directions in Appalachian Music perform. I also duet with Lukas Ligeti. Interestingly enough, the worst attendance is for an evening of John Zorn’s solo music written for me, the Book of Heads and Dominoes. Zorn and I go into the studio and begin work on what he projects as a three CD set of me playing the Book of Heads.

The “Think 69” American leg moves through North Carolina, Massachusetts, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Maryland, Washington DC, Michigan and let’s not forget Ontario, where I rode the trains for free as a “senior companion.”

The final and best news of the year has been the revival of my home studio. I got a 24 track Tascam hard disc recorder with which I have created what I feel are two of my finest recordings, Horror Part 10: Concert Band Massacre by Evil Spell and Country Boobs. For the latter I collaborated with Molly and Lizzie at a length and detail not even approached when they were young ‘uns. For the former I made use of a stack of local recordings of the Greensboro Grimsley High School concert band pressed in the ‘60s; I found them with a pile of sides I bought for $20 at an estate sale.

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2008: In Progress...

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Education

1965 Whittier Elementary School, Boulder, Colorado.

1966-1968 Casey Junior High School, Boulder Colorado

1968-69 Boulder High School, Boulder,. Colorado.

Chadbourne removed himself from the education system shortly after this to begin working as an office boy for the Calgary Herald. He has returned to educational institutions many times since then to present lectures, workshops and special presentations. He has lectured on avant garde music at the Alberta College of Art, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, York University, Toronto; McGill University, Montreal; Columbia University, New York City; Cal Arts, California; Davis University, California; Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan and many others. He also presented classes for children ranging in age from nursury school up through high school in both public and private schools, usually on a volunteer basis through classes attended by one of his children.


Publications

In addition to various highlights mentioned in the text, Chadbourne has been featured on nearly 100 commercially released albums and compact discs, the lion’s share his own projects. He is also a frequent guest as sideman on avant-garde, jazz, country and rock projects and has appeared on many compilations released throughout the world.

Draft Dodger (1995) Ridgeway Press, Michigan

Bye Bye DDR (1997) Ridgeway Press, Michigan

I Hate the Man That Runs This Bar (Mixbooks) (1997)

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 Copyright © 2008 by Eugene Chadbourne. All rights reserved.
 Revised: 08/11/13 22:37:22 -0500.