Three Bonzos and a Piano looking forward to summer of gigs
"Wooden, I should say, shouldn’t I?" answers pianist Dave Glasson with a chuckle in response to the question "How does it feel to be ‘the piano’ in Three Bonzos and a Piano?" - a band which grew out of the ashes of those 60s loons the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.
Speaking ahead of the group’s London launch of their new album Bum Notes, Glasson is in a chipper mood and looking forward to a summer of plum gigs. "We’re playing the Rhythm Festival for the third time," he says, " and we’ve got Camp Bestival in Dorset and Bestival on the Isle of Wight. I would say, predominantly, our normal audience is people who remember the Bonzos but, with the festivals, we’re getting the chance to play in front of a younger crowd, so that’s really good."
Refining his musical chops over the years in bands such as Spencer’s Washboard Kings, and Bonzo offshoots Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band, Tatty Ollity and the Slightly Dangerous Brothers, Glasson is obviously no stranger to the dada leanings required and seems an obvious choice as the band’s piano player - with ex-Dog Band members Rodney Slater, Roger Ruskin Spear and Sam Spoons making up the foursome.
He’s also responsible for recording duties on Bum Notes - with artwork that doffs its cap to the famous Blue Note jazz label - at his home studio in Brighton. So, with the band members scattered across the country, was it difficult to get everyone together for recording sessions? "Impossible," says Glasson. "We’ve also got Andy Roberts on guitar so there was never five us in the room at one time. The most there has ever been was me and one other! We decided with this new album we wouldn’t have a deadline, we’d just let it go on until we had enough songs - and before we knew it we had about 15 tracks. So we thought ‘there’s plenty here for two albums really’ but we ended up with 18 tracks [on the album]."
With songs such as I Find Tyres Exciting, The Cairo Two-Step and The In-tray and the Out-tray (a nod to Doo Dah classic The Intro and the Outro from their debut album Gorilla) this is no normal musical ride - but who wants that? A stand out track is the Glasson-penned Holey Cheeses (of Nazareth) - a title that gets funnier the more you say it. "That track’s going to get us banned in the States by the Christian fundamentalists," laughs Glasson. "But if you analyse it, I’m actually singing the praises of the Holey Cheeses!"
Three Bonzos and a Piano play the Half Moon, Lower Richmond Road, Putney, on Sunday, July 22, 8pm. Visit halfmoon.co.uk or call 020 8780 9383 for details.