many bands, in the world of music go through changes as their albums
progress, The Bonzos seemed to begin in the middle. When
"Gorilla" was being made, they were in the midst of changing
their musical stylings, their appearance, and indeed their band line-up as
To turn back the clock a few pages.... The
Bonzo Dog Dada Band, gained notoriety around 1966,playing in British Pubs.
At this point they were all fresh out of college, and playing, for the
most part, traditional jazz with vaudevillian on-stage antics. They
released two singles during this time: "My Brother Makes the Noises
For The Talkies/ I'm Going To Bring A Watermelon To My Girl Tonight"
and "Alley Oop/Button Up Your Overcoat". Neither made them any
more known.....but there were several imitators/similar acts: such as The
Alberts and The Temperance Seven, which caused record executives to take
notice. So in 1967,a song was recorded by studio musicians, the title
"Winchester Cathedral" by The New Vaudeville Band. It was an
instant hit.....even though there was no actual "Band". The Bonzos were
offered the chance to be "The New Vaudeville Band".....which
they flat out refused.....except Bob Kerr, whom took the bait, and some of
the Bonzos ideas. (Earning him the harsh detestement of Vivian
Stanshall & Legs Larry Smith). The Bad News: now
The Bonzo's were being mistaken for The New Vaudeville Band.... The Good
News: it caused them to venture into Rock as well as Traditional
Jazz.....to meld together, and create....(sounds of thunder) "GORILLA"!!!
From beginnings to album (even during the
album)....the band not only jettisoned , ousted, or simply lost
members...they went through a name change too! Starting out as The Bonzo
Dog Dada Band.....it was quickly changed to The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
(After members tired of explaining to the general public, what
"Dada-ism" was.). This album, was the only release to use the
name "Doo-Dah"....after this album, it was, is, and remains: The
Bonzo Dog Band! (cue Heavenly lighting.)
And as if this were not enough, The Band were
being noticed for there originality by the I.T.V., and offered the job of
Musical Entertainment on the children's television show, "Do Not
Adjust Your Set". The show, was slightly aimed at adults as well, and
the Bonzos were given a chance to perform their music "live",
and even appear in some of the sketches. The show lasted two seasons, and
was not only a stepping stone for The Bonzos, but future Monty Python
members: Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin & Terry Gilliam, as
well as comedian David Jason (the voice of "Danger Mouse").
This album is indeed the best starting point
for any excursion into The Bonzo Dog Band! The most known song is
"The Into. & The Outro.", played by radio disc jockeys
everywhere and used in adverts, it is a wonderfully crazy Introduction of
"The Band" which features many additional members such as Roy
Rogers & Adolph Hitler. The Band keeps to its roots with tracks like,
"Cool Britannia", "Jollity Farm" and "Mickey's
Son & Daughter". Vivian Stanshall, checks in with
some wonderful impressions, as Elvis ("Death Cab For Cutie"), as
Tony Bennett ("I Left My Heart In San Francisco"), and a very
realistic Julie Andrews! ("The Sound Of Music"). Neil
Innes does a wonderful take on 60's Pop girl groups with
"Piggy Bank Love", and shows a brilliant hand with
instrumentals, "Music For the Head Ballet". In what seems to be
an answer to Sgt. Pepper, The Band become quite militant with "The
Equestrian Statue". Keeping with their offbeat sense of humour, is
the delightfully frank, "I'm Bored!", and a salute to plastic
surgery, "Look Out There's A Monster Coming". Also, perhaps as a
commentary, "Jazz-Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold" a lovely
"group composition", in which all the lads get to strut there
various talents....and occasional, non-talents.
"Gorilla" was definitely NOT your
average release for 1967..... and if it shocked people, just imagine how
much more shocking they were to become as The Bonzos musical interests
expanded into psychedelia!! But alas...that is another donut.....
||October 1967 as "Gorilla"
by The Bonzo Dog Doo/Dah Band. (With booklet.)
Liberty Records (UK) -
||1975 as "Gorilla"
by The Bonzo Dog Band. (no booklet). (Orange sleeve)
Sunset Records (UK) -
||1980 as "Gorilla"
by The Bonzo Dog Band. (no booklet). (Black sleeve)
United Artist Records
(UK) - LBR1019
||1993 as "Gorilla"
by The Bonzo Dog Band. (CD).
1995 as "Gorilla"
by The Bonzo Dog Band. (CD).
BGO Records (UK) -
CREDITED BAND MEMBERS:
Neil Innes, Rodney Slater, Roger Ruskin-Spear,"Leg" Larry Smith, Sam Spoons, & Vernon Dudley
MUSICIAN: Dave Clague. Hired by
producer Gerry Bron to fill in on bass, while Vernon was ill. Dave
contributed to the following tracks:
"Equestrian Statue", "Look Out There's A Monster
Coming", "The Intro & The Outro" and "Piggy Bank
Love". Eventually Dave played bass as replacement for Vernon, and
filled in for some of the "Do Not Adjust Your Set" episodes.
SONGS THAT DIDN'T
MAKE IT ON THE ALBUM: Among the Bonzo's repertoire at
this point were: "The Tiger Rag", "It Was A Great Party
Until Someone Found A Hammer", "When Yuba Played The Rumba On
The Tuba Down In Cuba", "I'm Glad That
I'm Bugs Bunny", "Crying In The Chapel", "Falling In
Love Again", "The Craig Torso Show", "The Laughing
Blues", "A Room With A View", "High School
Hermit", and "Love Is A Cylindrical Piano".
BAND MEMBERS THAT DIDN'T MAKE IT
ON THE ALBUM: Bob Kerr (Trumpet), Jim Chamberlain
(aka "Jim Strobes") ,Sidney "Big Sid" Nicholls
(Banjo), Leon "Lenny" Williams (Trumpet), Raymond Lewitt (Tuba),
and John Perry (Trombone).
The Fabs were big fans of the Bonzo's and even had them perform in
"The Magical Mystery Tour". "Death Cab For Cutie" is
the only song in the film, not by The Beatles. It is also a nice showcase
of Bonzo lunacy.
The Bonzos also attended The Beatles fancy dress party on December
21,1967,for the cast and crew of the film. Among the musicians playing
that night were, The Bonzos, The Chasers, The Symbols, The Dave Bartram
Quintet, and The McPeake Family. An enthusiastic George Harrison jammed on
stage with the Bonzo's, on saxophone. Neil Innes would later describe his
saxophone playing as "really dreadful". Also, being a costume
party,the Bonzo's dressed up too! Neil, fresh from an accident, and
arriving on crutches, was Tiny Tim. Vivian Stanshall arrived wearing a
clear plastic rain coat with rubber fried eggs stapled all over it. (
Presumably Vivian was The Eggman! )
So angered by his shameless departure were Vivian & Legs, they took a
few potshots at him on the album sleeve and booklet. On the back of the
album sleeve, there is a small picture of Bob Kerr's face, with the lower
half replaced by a woman's crotch. Inside the booklet, on the Sam Spoons
page, Sam is seen writing out various phrases. Quite prominent among them:
"I Will Not Speak To The Vaudevilles!"
THE SINGLE: "Equestrian
Statue" /"The Intro. & The Outro."(Liberty-LBF-15040)
"Big Shot" does not originally appear on the US version of this album, but was
added on when re-issued. (For no reason I can find). Its a very silly take
on detective films and Mickey Spillane books. (added to, Side 2, after
"Mickey's Son & Daughter").
Two members of the Band had stage names....much to everyone's
shock...."Sam Spoons" was a stage name for MARTIN ASH. Less
false was Vernon Dudley Bohay-Nowell. His real name is VERNON DUDLEY. The
Vivian's idea, to make him sound very posh! (Which it did!)
BOYS ON FILM:
In 1967 the Bonzos were popular enough to warrant an appearance in a Pathe
Film. (A series of newsreels shown in cinemas.). The Bonzos are shown
performing, "The Equestrian Statue", with Neil dressed a little
Sgt. Peppery.....also captured on film "The Head Ballet", which
words cannot possibly describe! (Among the other
"eccentricities" in this newsreel:
"Nurdling" and "Instant Paint On Sun Tan"...ah, the
SCANDAL IN BONZOLANDIA!!:
As if the appearance of Adolph Hitler were
not enough to ruffle some feathers.... The Bonzos were pressured into
re-recording "The Intro. & The Outro.". Originally among the
performers was a reference to British MP Quintin Hogg. ("And Now Just
Arriving, Quintin Hogg on piggy-grunt"). Mr. Hogg apparently
tightened a few screws in the right places, and Vivian Stanshall, went into the studio and re-recorded it. (It
is not known if any copies of the original version exist.)