Neil Innes, of Rutles, Monty Python and Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band fame, plays Seattle's Triple Door.
You may know him as Ron Nasty, the John Lennon-esque character in the Beatles parody, “The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash.” Or as the cherub-faced troubadour who sings of all the shortcomings of Sir Robin the-Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Launcelot in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Or as the self-professed (and nonexistent) “Urban Spaceman” from the Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band hit of 1968.
His name is Neil Innes. And while he may not be a household name (a recent documentary about him, “The Seventh Python,” bills itself as a look at “Neil’s life and work and avoidance of fame”), he’s kept some truly stellar musical-comedic company in the movies, on TV and onstage for close to 50 years.
That includes an appearance with the Bonzos, as they’re affectionately known, in the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” (he’s in the band that plays “Death Cab for Cutie” in the strip-club scene), plus countless collaborations with various Python members.
The Beatles connection goes deep: Innes is the songwriter behind “The Rutles” and its sequel “Archaeology” (a takeoff on the Beatles’ “Anthology” series). Indeed, some fans argue that the tunes he’s penned for “the pre-Fab Four” — including “Ouch!” (spoofing “Help!”) and “Love Life” (“All You Need Is Love”) — rival the Fab Four’s own originals.
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His latest project is a tour of the U.K. and U.S. that includes plenty of reminiscence along with the songs. As Innes quips, “I’ve reached that age where it’s almost impossible not to have done a lot.”
He’ll tell you all about it Monday night at Seattle’s Triple Door.
Innes is quite the raconteur, and his memories include one of crossing paths with the Beatles at Abbey Road in 1966, where he and the Bonzos were recording a novelty ditty called “My Brother Makes the Noises for the Talkies” and the Beatles were working on “I Want to Tell You” (from “Revolver”).
“Of course,” he remembers thinking. “They record here, too!”
New items in Innes’ arsenal include “Imitation Song,” a piano-ballad nod to John Lennon’s “Imagine” that skewers a reality-TV era that’s more ersatz than imaginative, and “Friends at the End of the Line,” about the phone calls you get with increasing dread later in life as your friends begin to pass away.
The late Vivian Stanshall, eccentric frontman for the Bonzos, is fondly recalled. And medleys from the Bonzo, Rutles and Monty Python songbooks are part of the show.
Innes has a downright labyrinthine website where you can hear recordings, watch videos, read song lyrics and generally wallow in all things Innes-ian: www.neilinnes.org.
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com