Chadbourne was born in Mount Vernon, New York, but grew up in Boulder, Colorado. He started playing guitar when he was eleven or twelve, inspired by the Beatles and hoping to get the attention of girls. Although he was drawn to Jimi Hendrix and played in a garage band, he found rock and pop music too conventional. He gravitated to the avant-garde jazz of Anthony Braxton and Derek Bailey. Braxton persuaded Chadbourne to abandon his intention to enter journalism and instead pursue music. During the early 1970s, he lived in Canada to avoid military service in the Vietnam War. Returning to the United States, he moved to New York City in the mid 1970s and played free improvisation with Henry Kaiser and John Zorn. Around this time, he released his first album, Solo Acoustic Guitar. In the early 1980s, he led the avant-rock band Shockabilly with Mark Kramer and David Licht. Chadbourne explored other genres, playing with a Cajun band and a Russian folk band at a festival in Winnipeg. He mixed country, Western, and improvisation in the band LSD C&W. For many years he was in a duo with Jimmy Carl Black, who played drums for Frank Zappa. He has also worked with Han Bennink, Fred Frith, Elliott Sharp, and Charles Tyler. A solo album, Songs (Intakt, 1993), featured politically oriented originals, such as “Knock on the Door” and “Hello Ceausescu”, and covers, such as Nick Drake’s “Thoughts of Mary Jane”, and Floyd Tillman’s “This Cold War With You”. Chadbourne invented an instrument known as the electric rake by attaching an electric guitar pickup to a rake. He played a duet of electric rake and classical piano with Bob Wiseman on Wiseman’s 1991 album Presented by Lake Michigan Soda. He also played the instrument on a Sun Ra tribute album.
Songs by Eugene Chadbourne, 1993, Intakt on #neuguitars #blog #EugeneChadbourne
Intakt CD 026
‘Free improvised country & western bebop’. Folk and traditional songs by Tim Buckley, Phil Ochs, Wilie Nelson, Nick Drake … which will not escape unscathed if the cover versions are compared with the originals.
The guitarist, banjo player and singer Eugene Chadbourne says: “For me playing solo is the purest form of expression. The two solo CDs Strings and Songs give a representativ cross section of my work. In a way they go to the heart of my music.”
Eugene Chadbourne: “Imagine a world where Johnny Cash and Phil Ochs meet head on with Derek Bailey and you are getting close.”
Eugene Chadbourne about Songs: “I like the songs, they are very honest, very emotional.”
released January 1, 1993
Eugene Chadbourne: Guitar, Banjo, Dobro, Voice
Recorded April 27 and 29, 1992 at Radio Studio DRS Zürich, Switzerland.
Engineer: Peter Pfister. Cover art: Peter Fischli and David Weiss
Liner notes: Fredi Bosshard and Patrik Landolt. Produced and published by Intakt Records, Patrik Landolt