Roger Ruskin Spear

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Roger Ruskin Spear
Roger Ruskin Spear in the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, 1968.
Born (1943-07-29) 29 July 1943 (age 80)
Musical career
GenresRock, pop
Instrument(s)Brass instruments
Member ofBonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

Roger Ruskin Spear (born 29 June 1943[1] in Hammersmith, London) is an English sculptor, multimedia artist and multi-instrumentalist (saxophones, clarinet, piano, guitars, percussion) who was a member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Spear is the son of the satirical artist and lecturer Ruskin Spear.


Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band[edit]

After Spear dissolved his jazz band New Jungle Orchestra at the end of 1964, he joined the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. He wrote such songs as "Shirt",[2] "Tubas in the Moonlight" and "Trouser Press".[3][4] He is known for his robot creations,[2] and the theremin part in "Noises for the Leg", amongst other tunes.

Later works[edit]

After the Bonzos parted company, Spear was a member of the short-lived band biGGrunt, with Vivian Stanshall. He also toured with his solo show "Roger Ruskin Spear and his Giant Kinetic Wardrobe" (a.k.a. "Giant Orchestral Wardrobe"). In 1979 Spear formed Tatty Ollity with Dave Glasson (a former member of Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band), Sam Spoons and Dave Knight. The band released a single, "Punktuation", on Rough Trade. In 1982 Spear took part in The Cut Price Comedy Show, a weekly confection of corny sketches and ironic end-of-the-pier jokes. Produced by ITV region TSW and screened on the then-new Channel 4, it ran for ten programmes and was then dropped.[5]

In 1985 Spear and Dave Glasson formed The Slightly Dangerous Brothers, producing a single, "Let's Talk Basic", with a video featuring some of Spear's robot creations. In 1991 Spear played saxophone in Vivian Stanshall's show Rawlinson Dog Ends at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London. Spear had also played on Stanshall's album Teddy Boys Don't Knit (1981 Charisma CAS 1153).

Spear appeared on albums such as Go Man Gorman (1977), a solo outing for John Gorman of The Scaffold. Spear was also a member and co-founder of Bill Posters Will Be Band.

Until 2014, Spear performed regularly with Three Bonzos and a Piano,[6] which is made up of Rod Slater and Sam Spoons, both former members of the Bonzo Dog Band, together with Dave Glasson on piano and, often, Andy Roberts – formerly of The Liverpool Scene and The Scaffold – on guitar.

Spear later played with an amalgamation of Bill Posters and Bonzo musicians called BonzoBills,[7] involving Sam Spoons, Biff Harrison, Dave Glasson, Megs Etherington, Chris Lowe and Jim Heath (a former member of Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra).

In addition to his musical activities, Spear taught 3D design part-time at the Chelsea College of Art.

Personal life[edit]

Spear is the son of the satirical artist and lecturer Ruskin Spear (1911-1990).


Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band[edit]


Title Year
Gorilla 1967
The Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse 1968
Tadpoles 1969
Keynsham 1969
Let's Make Up and Be Friendly 1972
Pour l'Amour des Chiens 2007


A-Side B-Side Year
My Brother Makes the Noises for the Talkies I'm Going to Bring a Watermelon to My Girl Tonight 1966
Alley Oop Button Up Your Overcoat 1966
Equestrian Statue The Intro and The Outro 1967
I'm the Urban Spaceman The Canyons of Your Mind 1968
Mr. Apollo Ready-Mades 1969
I Want to Be with You We Were Wrong 1969
You Done My Brain In Mr Slater's Parrot 1970
Slush Music From Rawlinson End 1972
Slush Slush 1972
Slush King of Scurf 1972
No Matter Who You Vote For, The Government Always Gets In No Matter Who You Vote For, The Government Always Gets In 1992


Title Release Type Year
Rebel Trouser Extended play 1971
Electric Shocks Long Play 1972
Unusual Long Play 1973
Electric Shocks Plus Compact Disc 2002


  1. ^ "Roger Ruskin Spear Songs, Albums, Reviews, Bio & More". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie (29 March 2010). "Roger Ruskin Spear: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Songs about musical instruments". BBC. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2006.
  4. ^ Glancey, Jonathan (29 August 2007). "Classics of everyday design No 27". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2006.
  5. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | The CUT PRICE COMEDY SHOW". 20 August 2011. Archived from the original on 20 August 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  6. ^ "three bonzos and a piano, etc". Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Bonzo Bills set to wow audiences at the Bull's Head". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2021.