Eugene Chadbourne

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Eugene Chadbourne
Eugene Chadbourne.jpg
Chadbourne performing in 2003
Background information
Born (1954-01-04) January 4, 1954 (age 67)
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
Genres Avant-garde jazz, free jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, critic
InstrumentsGuitar, Banjo
Years active1976–present

Eugene Chadbourne (born January 4, 1954) [1] is an American jazz guitarist and music critic.


Life and career

Eugene Chadbourne in Aarhus, Denmark, 2015 Eugin-chadbourn.jpg
Eugene Chadbourne in Aarhus, Denmark, 2015

Chadbourne was born in Mount Vernon, New York, but grew up in Boulder, Colorado. [1] He started playing guitar when he was eleven or twelve, inspired by the Beatles [2] and hoping to get the attention of girls. [3] 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. [2] Braxton persuaded Chadbourne to abandon his intention to enter journalism and instead pursue music. [3]

During the early 1970s, he lived in Canada to avoid military service in the Vietnam War. [2] [4] 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 an unconventional rockabilly band named Shockabilly [2] [3] with Mark Kramer and David Licht. [5]

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. [2] [3] For many years he was in a duet with Jimmy Carl Black, who played drums for Frank Zappa. He has also worked with Han Bennink, Fred Frith, Elliott Sharp, and Charles Tyler. [3]

A notable 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. [6] 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.


With Noël Akchoté

With Evan Johns

With Henry Kaiser

With John Zorn


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  1. 1 2 Hightower, Laura; DeRemer, Leigh Ann; Avery, Laura (2001). Contemporary musicians. Volume 30: profiles of the people in music. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Group. pp. 37–9. ISBN   978-1-4144-1313-6. OCLC   527366085.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Ankeny, Jason. "Eugene Chadbourne". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 43. ISBN   978-1-61713-023-6.
  4. Kennedy, Gary W. (2001). "Chadbourne, Eugene". In Root, Deane L. (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians . Oxford University Press.
  5. Green, Jim; Robbins, Ira; Gehr, Richard. "Shockabilly". Trouser Press . Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  6. "Welcome to the FREE STATE of Marginal Arts" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2014-09-17.