Neil Innes

Neil is an English writer and performer of comic songs, best known for his collaborative work with Monty Python, and for playing in the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and later The Rutles. 

In the period 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 (often shortened to The Bonzo Dog Band). Innes, with Vivian Stanshall, 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 Novelty 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 future members of the Monty Python comedy team.

After the break-up of Bonzo Dog Band, Neil 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 a bit of the humour.

In the mid-1970s, Neil became closely associated with the TV series Monty Python's Flying Circus, and played a major role in performing and writing songs and sketches for the final series in 1974 (after John Cleese had left).

Neil wrote the songs for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and 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, and performed with the Pythons on stage, including at their legendary Hollywood Bowl concert. Because of these long-standing connections, Neil is often referred to as "the Seventh Python".

He appeared on stage with the Pythons in New York City in 1975, performing the Bob Dylanesque song "Protest Song" (complete with harmonica) on the album Monty Python Live at City Centre. 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 1982 he travelled to the States with the Pythons again, 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."

After Python finished its original run on UK television, Neil joined with Fatso and 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"), a Beatles parody band, in which Neil played the character of Ron Nasty. Incidentally the very first Rutles track to be recorded was "I Must Be In Love" which featured in the Rutland Weekend Television series and performed by Neil Innes and Fatso.

After Rutland Weekend Television, Idle relocated to the USA, and Neil went on to make a solo series on BBC television, The Innes Book of Records (punning on the Guinness Book of Records).

At the time of The Beatles Anthology CDs, there was a revival of interest in The Rutles and a new album was released entitled Archaeology.

Neil also took part in the 2002 Concert for George, in memory of George Harrison.

A film about Neil Innes called The Seventh Python is in post-production as of October 2007, and premiered at the Mods & Rockers Film Festival on June 26, 2008.