Dr. Chad checks the piano at the Western Front. Photo by Allan MacInnis
Okay, so here's LOTS of advance notice for discriminating freaks: Eugene Chadbourne, the Doctor Himself, is returning to Vancouver to do a tenure at the VCMI as part of the next jazz festival, in, uh, the summer. Certain dates seem tentative but see the House of Chadula site for more! Dr. Chad is known for determinedly veering all about a musical map that extends from whacked-out (but often strangely lyrical) avant-garde banjo explorations and/or Bach interpretations (again for banjo) to covers of popular songs that range from the unquestionably sincere (Tim Buckley, or Phil Ochs' "Knock on the Door," say) to the more irreverent-seeming (Michael Jackson's "Beat It," for instance, done live when he was last in town... or, dig, download Shockabilly doing "Are you Experienced?" or "A Hard Day's Night.") I am not sure where to locate the Johnny Paycheck, Roger Miller, and Merle Haggard covers on the sincere-to-irreverent-seeming spectrum and at some point you just gotta stop and enjoy it, 'cos he clearly is. And he claims he isn't an ironist, so... uh... Anyhow, some serious psychedelic guitar murk - "soup" -- tends to swirl up out of the delirium, too, often accompanied by a vocal style that owes at least a little to Looney Tunes. Documentary about him as a younger man on Youtube, here, plus -- ooh! -- footage of him playing in Warsaw in 2006, using what appears to be the same guitar seen above! I must check this out! (Oh, hey, there's a song I don't even know - "Feelgood music for fucked up people?" Indeed! Oh, wait, there's SHOCKABILLY FOOTAGE!) LOTS of Dr. Chad on Youtube. Must investigate.