Innes was born in Danbury, Essex. He spent much of his childhood with his parents and older brother Iain in post-war Germany during his Scottish father’s military assignment as a warrant officer. He took piano lessons from age 7 to 14 and taught himself to play guitar. His parents were supportive of their sons’ interests. His father showed some artistic ability as well; he frequently drew and painted.
Innes later attended Thorpe Grammar School and the Norwich School of Art. Because Norwich lacked a particular art curriculum in which he was interested, he transferred to Goldsmiths, where he studied drama. At Goldsmiths he met Yvonne Catherine Hilton, whom he married on 3 March 1966. They have three sons, Miles (b. 1967), Luke (b. 1971), and Barney (b. 1977). They have two grandchildren.[1[2
Innes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art from Goldsmiths in 1966.[2[3 During the period of 1962 to 1965, Innes and several other art school students started a band which was originally named The Bonzo Dog Dada Band after their interest in the art movement Dada, but which was soon renamed the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (later shortened to The Bonzo Dog Band). Innes met Vivian Stanshall at the Central School of Art, where both studied drawing.[4 Together they wrote most of the band’s songs, including “I’m the Urban Spaceman”, their sole hit (produced by Paul McCartney and Gus Dudgeon under the collective pseudonym Apollo C. Vermouth), and “Death Cab for Cutie” (which inspired an American musical group of the same name), which was featured in The Beatles’ film Magical Mystery Tour. Innes won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Novel(ty) Song in 1968 for “I’m the Urban Spaceman”.
In the late 1960s, Innes appeared with the Bonzo Dog Band on both seasons of the UK children’s television series Do Not Adjust Your Set which also featured some future members of the Monty Python comedy team.
After the break-up of the Bonzo Dog Band, Innes joined with former Dog Band bassist Dennis Cowan, drummer Ian Wallace and guitarist Roger McKew to form The World, a band hoping for “more commercial” success with music ranging from rock to pure pop, yet still retaining some Doo-Dah flavour and even some of the humour. Unfortunately for them, by the time their sole album Lucky Planet was released in 1970, the members had already disbanded and were moving on to other projects.
GRIMMS and Monty Python
In 1973 Neil worked with Andy Roberts, Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, Mike McGear, Brian Patten, John Gorman, David Richards, John Megginson, Ollie Halsall, and Gerry Conway in the band GRIMMS, who released their self-titled album and Rocking Duck in 1973 followed by their last album Sleepers in 1976.[5
In the mid-1970s, Innes became closely associated with the TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He played a major role in performing and writing songs and sketches for the final series in 1974 (after John Cleese left). He wrote a squib of a song called “George III” for the episode “The Golden Age of Ballooning”, which was sung by The Flirtations, but billed onscreen as the Ronettes. He also wrote the song “When Does a Dream Begin?”, used in “Anything Goes: The Light Entertainment War”. He co-wrote the “Most Awful Family in Britain” sketch and played a humorous stilted guitar version of the theme song, The Liberty Bell March, during the credits of the last episode, “Party Political Broadcast”. He is one of only two non-Pythons to ever be credited writers for the TV series, the other being Douglas Adams (who co-wrote the “Patient Abuse” sketch, also featured in “Party Political Broadcast”).
He appeared on stage with the Pythons in New York City in 1976, performing the Bob Dylanesque “Protest Song” (complete with harmonica) on the album Monty Python Live at City Center. He was introduced as Raymond Scum. After his introduction he told the audience, “I’ve suffered for my music. Now it’s your turn.” In 1980 he travelled to the States with the Pythons again, subsequently appearing in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl. He performed the songs “How Sweet to Be an Idiot” and “I’m the Urban Spaceman”. He also appeared as one of the singing “Bruces” in the Philosopher Sketch and as a Church Policeman in that sketch.
Innes wrote original songs for the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, such as “Knights of the Round Table” and “Brave Sir Robin”. He appeared in the film as a head-bashing monk, the serf crushed by the giant wooden rabbit, and the leader of Sir Robin’s minstrels. He also had a small role in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky. His collaborations with Monty Python and other artists were documented in the musical film The Seventh Python (2008).
Rutland, the Rutles, and the Innes Book of Records
After Python finished its original run on UK television, Innes joined with Python’s Eric Idle on the series Rutland Weekend Television. This was a Python-esque sketch show based in a fictional low-budget regional television station. It ran for two series in 1975–76. Songs and sketches from the series appeared on a 1976 BBC LP, The Rutland Weekend Songbook. This show spawned The Rutles (the “prefab four”), an affectionate pastiche of The Beatles, in which Innes played the character of Ron Nasty, who was loosely based on John Lennon. Innes played Nasty in an American-made spin-off TV movie All You Need Is Cash, with Idle. The project also yielded the commercially successful soundtrack album The Rutles, released by Warner Bros..
The songs written by Innes so closely parodied the original source material that he was taken to court by the owners of The Beatles’ catalogue. Innes had to testify under oath that he had not listened to the songs at all while composing The Rutles’ songs, but had created them completely originally based on what he remembered various songs by The Beatles sounding like at different times. Ironically, Innes himself would go on to sue Beatles-influenced band Oasis over their 1994 song “Whatever”, as it directly lifted parts of its melody from Innes’s 1973 song “How Sweet to Be an Idiot”. This event was subsequently referenced in The Rutles song “Shangri-La” in their 1996 re-union album The Rutles Archaeology, itself a parody of The Beatles Anthology.
After Rutland Weekend Television, Idle moved to the United States, and Innes went on to make a solo series in 1979 on BBC television, The Innes Book of Records, which ran for three seasons and contained a few of Innes’ previous music compositions along with new ones written for the show.
During the 1980s, Innes delved into children’s entertainment. He played the role of the Magician in the live-action children’s television series Puddle Lane, made by Yorkshire Television for the ITV network.
He voiced the 1980s children’s cartoon adventures of The Raggy Dolls, a motley collection of “rejects” from a toy factory. The 65 episodes for Yorkshire Television included the characters Sad Sack, Hi-Fi, Lucy, Dotty, Back-to-Front, Princess and Claude.
He also composed the music for children’s television including Puddle Lane, The Raggy Dolls, The Riddlers and Tumbledown Farm. In the case of The Raggy Dolls, he also sang the theme tune.
In addition, he brought Monty Python’s Terry Jones’s fairy-tale book East of the Moon to television. He contributed all the stories and music on this production. He was involved with the enormously popular children’s show Tiswas, still popular enough to have its own website.
Different reunion concerts
At the time of The Beatles Anthology CDs, there was a revival of interest in The Rutles and a new album was released in 1996 entitled Archaeology.
In 1998, Innes hosted a 13-episode television series for ITV Anglia, called Away with Words, in which he travelled to different areas of Britain to explore the origins of well-known words and phrases.[6
Innes took part, along with the remaining Monty Python members, in the 2002 Concert for George, in memory of George Harrison.[7
Innes was occasionally heard (often as the butt of jokes) standing in as the pianist for the BBC Radio 4 panel game I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.[8
Innes toured the UK in 2006 and produced a new Bonzo CD as part of the Bonzo Dog Band’s 40th Anniversary tour. In 2008 he undertook the Neil Innes and Fatso 30th Anniversary tour,[9 playing predominantly Rutles numbers with a few Bonzos and Python items.
A film about Neil Innes called The Seventh Python[10 premiered at the Mods & Rockers Film Festival on 26 June 2008.[11
He occasionally guests on keyboards for the Comedy Store Players at the London Comedy Store.[citation needed
The Idiot Bastard Band
In late 2010, Innes announced the formation of ‘The Idiot Bastard Band’ a comedy musical collective featuring himself, Adrian Edmondson, Phill Jupitus, Simon Brint and Rowland Rivron.[12 The band debuted at The Wilmington Arms in London in December, playing a range of comedy songs old and new, with deliberately little rehearsal.
New concerts were scheduled in 2011. Jupitus was unable to attend due to prior commitments and was replaced by several special guests, including Paul
|1973||“How Sweet To Be An Idiot”/”The Age of Desperation”||United Artists UP 35495|
|1973||“Momma B”/”Immortal Invisible”||United Artists UP 35639|
|1974||“Re-cycled Vinyl Blues”/”Fluff on the Needle”||United Artists UP 356756|
|1974||“Lie Down and Be Counted”/”Bandwagon”||United Artists UP 35745|
|1975||“What Noise Annoys a Noisy Oyster”/”Oo-Chuck-A-Mao-Mao”||United Artists UP UP35722|
|1977||“Lady Mine”/”Crystal Balls”||Arista ARISTA 106|
|1977||“Silver Jubilee (A Tribute)”/”Drama on a Saturday Night”||Arista ARISTA 123|
|1978||“Protest Song”/”The Hard-To-Get”||Warner Brothers K 17182|
|1979||“Amoeba Boogie”/”Theme”||Polydor POSP 107|
|1979||“Kenny and Liza”/”Human Race”||Polydor 2059 207|
|1982||“Them”/”Rock of Ages”||MMC MMC 100|
|1982||“Mr. Eurovision”/”Ungawa”||MMC MMC 103|
|1984||“Humanoid Boogie”/”Libido”[15||PRT 7P 298/12P 298|
|2009||“Imitation Song”||Neil Innes Music|
|2014||“Rio” (with The Values)||East Central One/iTunes|
Whitehouse and Nigel Planer.Following the death of Simon Brint, the band performed a further tour in 2012.
Main article: Grimms
Born 23 February 1945 in Highgate, is a rock drummer, best known for his appearance as Barrington Womble (“Barry Wom”) in The Rutles, leading to his playing with Neil Innes’s band Fatso and appearing in the television film All You Need is Cash (1978).
Halsey was born in Highgate, North London and lived in North Finchley. He joined the London rhythm and blues band Felder’s Orioles in 1965, who released four singles on the Piccadilly Records label. In 1967 he became a member of Timebox from Southport, who later became Patto. With record producer Muff Winwood they released three albums. The band disbanded in 1973.
In 1972 Halsey played drums on the Lou Reed album Transformer and recorded as a session musician on albums including Mind Your Own Business by Henry McCullough (1975), Back to the Night by Joan Armatrading (1975), Bullinamingvase by Roy Harper (1977), Woman in the Wings by Maddy Prior (1978) and Mail Order Magic by Roger Chapman (1980). He toured with others including Joe Cocker, The Scaffold, Grimms, Chris Jagger, Neil Innes, Viv Stanshall, Joe Brown.
He appeared on the Channel 4 show ‘What The Pythons Did Next’ on 1 January 2007, discussing what it was like to work with Eric Idle. In April 2008 he appeared at the Rutles thirty year reunion in Los Angeles, where the four original band members played together again
You can also view John Halsey’s IMDB here
He was a bassist for pop / alternative band World Party and was the original Paul for the March – 1980 launch of the Beatles tribute band – The Bootleg Beatles.
With Rowland Rivron and Richard Vranch he made up the core team for BBC 2 –musical Comedy show Jammin which won a Silver Sony Comedy Award in 2004.
He played bass with The Flight of the Conchords on their 2005 Radio 2 series.
In 2006 he joined Neil Innes and the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band for their U.K. tour as lead guitarist, taking lead vocals for a handful of numbers and recording as a member of the band on their first album in 36 years, Pour l ’ Amour des Chiens. As a session guitarist / bassist / drummer / keyboardist and vocalist, he has performed with many different artists such as Eurythmics / Stevie Wonder / Ringo Starr / Joe Cocker / Robbie Williams.
He also briefly wrote with the late Viv Stanshall from the Bonzo Dog Band.
In November 2002 he perfomed with Jim Lea , former bass guitarist of Slade, at his one – off Jim-Jam gig at the Robin- 2 in Wolverhampton when Jim Lea played lead guitar.
The gig has gone down as the loudest show in the clubs history.
Songwriter / Singer / Instrumentalist / Producer / Performer / Teacher
Versatile songwriter, singer and producer of original pop, rock, ballad and roots music.
Rock N Roll pianist and lead singer with the Phil Jackson Rock N Roll Band. Performing throughout the UK – Reviving music of the 1950s pioneers.
Piano/Keyboardist/Vocalist with The Rutles touring band.
Lead & Backing Vocals / Piano / Keyboards / Guitars / Drums / Ukulele
Credits & Experience
The Rutles & The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band –
Performing Piano, keyboards & vocals with Neil Innes in 2010, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and throughout the UK with the Rutles from 2015 onwards. Highlights including performances at the London O2 and The Bonzo Dogs 50th anniversary shows.
10 years experience performing instruments and vocals on many original and cover recordings for songwriters and artists.
Including sessions with Milton Mcdonald (guitarist with Take That, Jeff Lynne’s ELO) and B J Cole (Britain’s pre-eminent pedal steel guitarist).
Original work –
Radio airplay of original solo work and with originals band ‘The B Goodes’ in the UK (BBC Radio 2/BBC Radio 6 Music), Europe and the United States.
Recordings Include, Jingles for BBC Radio, a Christmas single ‘The Christmas Waltze’ and several album projects.
Piano Teaching & Performance –
20 years experience performing piano for events, functions and restaurants, including piano and vocals with The Phil Jackson Rock N Roll Band. Emulating the raw energy of Jerry Lee Lewis and other major acts of the 1950’s.
Teaching piano and keyboards, one to one. Covering all ages, many styles and ABRSM graded work.
Ken grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. At a young age, his passion for music led him to begin teaching himself how to play guitar, drums, bass, piano, and just about any other instrument he could talk his parents into buying. He learned mostly by ear, figuring out how to play songs from his pop and rock record collection. Over the years, his interest in folk, jazz-rock fusion, Hindustani Indian classical, and world music has blended with his pop/rock foundation, and he is always searching for new music to listen to and learn from. Music is just about the only thing Ken is quite so passionate about.
Since childhood, Ken has been a keen fan of The Beatles and Monty Python, so it is no wonder he instantly became a devoted fan of the music of the Rutles when the film was first shown on television in 1978. In the mid-1990s, years after wearing out his Rutles 8-track tape and vinyl, he was lucky enough to meet Neil Innes, but he never dreamed that he would ever be playing guitar with Neil and The Rutles. He has been a member of The Rutles since their very first tour in 2001. Many of his happiest moments on stage have been with Neil, who gave Ken his “Rutling” nickname.
Ken has released one solo record of rock and pop songs called “Venus de Milo, Please Raise Your Hand,” but he prefers to be part of a band. He has been a part of many bands and recording projects ranging from rock and pop to free improvisation and ambient/electronic. One band Ken was in that has fans around the world is vonFrickle, an all-instrumental rock band that were impressive musically and visually. Perhaps the most interesting band he wrote music and performed with, vonFrickle inspired Ken to reach for the limits of his musical ability and creativity, and he is proud of the records they created in their nearly ten years together before they returned to their home planets several years ago. http://www.vonfrickle.com/
Ken is currently working on writing songs for another solo record. He is also recording and performing with several bands back home in Illinois including a Beatles acoustic trio and Hallucinato, an ambient/electronic rock duo that plays completely improvised music.