Eugene Chadbourne is an American improvisor, guitarist and banjoist. Highly eclectic and unconventional, Chadbourne’s most formative influence is free jazz.
Chadbourne started out playing rock and roll guitar, but quickly grew bored with the form’s conventions. He then studied other genres, including blues, country, bluegrass, free jazz, and noise—eventually synthesizing all those heterogeneous influences into a unique style of his own. He was also influenced early on by the experimental stylings of Captain Beefheart and the Mothers of Invention. A notable solo album, Songs (Intakt 026: 1993), features politically oriented originals, such as “Knock on the Door” and “Hello Ceausescu”, and covers, such as Nick Drake’s “Thoughts of Mary Jane”, and Floyd Tillman’s “This Cold War With You”.
Chadbourne invented an instrument known as the electric rake, made by attaching an electric guitar pickup to an ordinary lawn rake. He plays a duet of electric rake and classical piano with Bob Wiseman on Wiseman’s 1991 Presented By Lake Michigan Soda.
Chadbourne has worked with numerous artists including John Zorn, Fred Frith, Derek Bailey, Han Bennink, Carla Bley Band, Paul Lovens, Toshinori Kondo, Kommissar Hjuler und Frau, Camper Van Beethoven, Jello Biafra, Turbonegro, They Might Be Giants, Sun City Girls, Violent Femmes, Aki Takase, Walter Daniels, Kevin Blechdom, Biff Blumfumgagnge, Zu and Jimmy Carl Black.