Roger Ruskin Spear

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Roger Ruskin Spear (in the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, 1968)

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.


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 leg – in "Noises for the Leg", amongst other tunes.

After the Bonzos parted company, Spear was part 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, former member of Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band, Sam Spoons and Dave Knight. They 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) and has 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 former Bonzos Rod Slater and Sam Spoons, together with Dave Glasson (on piano); they were also often supported on guitar by Andy Roberts (formerly of The Liverpool Scene and The Scaffold).

He 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 (an ex-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 before retiring.


Spear is the son of satirical artist and lecturer Ruskin Spear.

Solo discography[edit]

  • Rebel Trouser EP. (UK) UP 35221, 1971.
  • Electric Shocks LP. United Artists (UK) UAG 29381, 1972.
  • Unusual LP. United Artists (UK) UAS 29508, 1973.
  • Electric Shocks Plus CD. DJC (i.e. Dave Clague) DJC005, 2002. Contains Electric Shocks and Rebel Trouser.


  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.