Skip to Content

Ginger Geezer: The Life of Vivian Stanshall by Lucian Randall and Chris Welch []



“You got a light, mac? No…but I’ve got a dark brown overcoat.”
Vivian Stanshall, sousaphone player, ukulele maestro and vocalist extraordinaire, practicer of elaborate practical jokes, rubber ears sporter and snake owner, certainly lived up to the oft dubbed title as the “great British eccentric”. Oh, and he lived on a boat.
He and his colleagues from the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band created the most wonderfully silly, chaotic and beautiful music know to man by melding 1930’s jazz and novelty numbers, psychedelic rock, Python-esque comedy and Beatles arrangements. To my knowledge, this group is the only group to list wah-wah rabbits as an instrument on a recording. Stanshall shared most of the lead vocal duties with Neil Innes (later found in the Rutles), but it was the former who was the expert frontman and instigator of this riffraff outfit.
Stanshall’s biography delves into the life of this complicated character before and after his run with the Bonzos. Fame, family life, alcoholism, brilliant radio projects (including “Rawlinson’s End”), madcap stunts and the slow decline of spirit helps makes Ginger Geezer paint a mighty confounding portrait. Viv wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Tagged: , , ,