The Wire

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Listen: Eugene Chadbourne tracks

May 2015

Stream three tracks by the American improviser Eugene Chadbourne, featured in this month's Invisible Jukebox

David Keenan meets Eugene Chadbourne in Glasgow during the Scottish leg of his European tour, in The Wire 376: "Eugene Chadbourne's protean approach to songcraft and free improvisation across guitar, banjo, vocals and modified electric rake came out of a radical engagement with the possibilities presented by combining 1960s rock and psychedelic music with jazz, bluegrass and country and western tunes. Born in New York and brought up in Boulder, Colorado, Chadbourne spent most of the 1970s in Calgary in Canada in order to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War. On his return to New York he became an integral part of the new music scene centred on John Zorn, founding the private press label Parachute to release his own recordings as well as those of Zorn and Henry Kaiser. Between 1982–85 he was the leader of Shockabilly, a trio with bassist Mark Kramer (who founded the Shimmy Disc label) and David Licht on drums, who named themselves after Chadbourne’s description of their music to a bemused promoter who thought he was booking a rockabilly group. Although still a committed improvisor and interpreter of free jazz and jazz standards, Chadbourne’s later career saw him embrace more fully the role of an itinerant singer-songwriter, touring extensively with his unique brand of radically retooled cover versions, country songs and seditious humour. As well as collaborations with everyone from saxophonist Frank Lowe and percussionist Han Bennink through groups like Sun City Girls, They Might Be Giants and Camper Van Beethoven, he has released hundreds of CD-Rs, all of which are available direct via his House Of Chadula with a lifetime replacement guarantee. In 2014 he self-published Dreamory, a collection of diaries and dream notebooks that date back to his early teens."

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