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Author Topic:  Neil Innes - RIP
Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 30 Dec 2019 11:03 am    
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What a dreadful shock it is to learn that my old colleague Neil Innes - of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band/Rutles fame - passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on December 29th, 2019.

I toured and recorded with Neil many times and have so many potent and precious memories of our time together. Here's that oft-repeated view of us with George Harrison - Neil's the 'other' acoustic guitarist here. Neil wasn't even a staunch proponent of steel guitar but, once he found that he had one in his band, he used it to full advantage!



Here's another shot - this 'still' can be seen in the Rutles film: "All You Need is Cash" as this band was, in fact, the very original 'Rutles'.




Rest in peace, Neil - you were a unique talent and the world's a poorer place today.
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RR
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Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 30 Dec 2019 12:12 pm    
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Thought of you immediately when I read the news.
I am fortunate that a large number of my Facebook friends are sharing tributes to Mr. Innes. It would be a drag to be in the midst of boring, humorless people.
Sorry for your personal loss, Roger.
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Gerry Hogan

 

From:
Burghclere, Hampshire, England
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2019 12:54 am    
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I, too, thought of you, Roger, when I heard the news! It is a tragic loss.

Gerry
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2019 1:40 am    
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Sad news, indeed. A very funny guy and a very talented musician. Those Rutles songs were more Lennon/McCartney than the real thing...
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Jeff Harbour


From:
Western Ohio, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2019 4:59 am    
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I always enjoyed his parts in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as Sir Robin's head Minstrel and as the guy who gets squashed by the wooden rabbit. He also wrote many of the songs in the movie. No doubt a very versatile guy!
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2019 8:41 am     Re: Neil Innes - RIP
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Roger Rettig wrote:
Neil wasn't even a staunch proponent of steel guitar but, once he found that he had one in his band, he used it to full advantage!

How did he find out? Cool
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2019 8:45 am    
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I think I have GH to thank for 'promoting' steel in Neil's eyes. At rehearsal for 'The Pirate Song' George's eyes lit up when he saw my ZB and it became a 'must have' on that song. It was a bit of a signature-sound after that.

But to answer your question, Jim, I seem to recall that he tripped over it.
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Bob Blair


From:
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2019 9:59 am    
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My condolences Roger - he was a brilliant man.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2019 2:36 pm    
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Condolences...I had a dream two nights ago that involved me being at a live show of the Pythons, and there were some funny moments, but one of the inaccuracies was when Eric Idle came onstage and sang "Bravely bold Sir Robin..." and I woke up thinking, that wasn't Eric Idle, that was Neil Innes! Hours later I read that he passed on. An odd coincidence.

I loved him in the Rutles particularly (I was going through a huge phase in the late 90s as a teenager obsessed with both the Beatles and Python and they were a hilarious combination of the two...still have the VHS somewhere around here). He was a gifted singer and songwriter, and while artists writing parodies rarely get a lot of credit for their creative work from a musical perspective, he wrote some wonderful songs on that project!
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Craig Stock


From:
Westfield, NJ USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2019 5:14 pm    
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My condolences too, Roger, big fan of the Python and The Rutles ,Dirk McQuickly , Barry Wom (sp), but all English humor and music in general. Glad to know you were part of that great time in culture of which I grew up on.

RIP Neil!
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Roy Heap


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 1 Jan 2020 12:29 am    
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The lost of a very talented man. RIP Neil.
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Russ Tkac


Post  Posted 3 Jan 2020 6:49 pm    
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Condolences Roger AKA Cheese and Onions!
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2020 6:37 pm    
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Godspeed Neil!

He was funny just standing there in front of the camera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pJfDKQY-KY


Fee-Fi-Fo-Fom
I smell the blood of an asylum...

Some of you Roger in the above collage.
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2020 7:29 pm    
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Just a glimpse or two.

He was a clever chap.
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RR
(Real men play 'Day'!)


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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 4 Jan 2020 7:34 pm    
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I've been staying away from Gone Home mostly. Very sorry to hear about Neil. Huge talent, my condolences to his friends and family, and you Roger.
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John Norris


From:
Peterson Strobe Tuners, Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2020 5:49 am    
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My condolences, Roger, I was a big Beatles & Python fan and snapped up the album as soon as it was released.
We're losing a lot of good people Sad
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 8 Jan 2020 6:46 am    
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I appreciate all the personal notes of sympathy. Neil was a good friend and, even though it had been five years since I saw him, I always felt that he and I had a special relationship.

Our last venture together was when the old 'Fatso' alumni were herded together for a UK tour in 2008. Back in the '70s - when Neil and Eric Idle first considered the 'Rutles' idea - we were utilized as a 'test-bed' 'PreFab Four' and performed some of Neil's very clever Beatles pastiches on the then-current 'Rutland Weekend Television' series. My memory's a bit hazy but I believe that's also when George Harrison came on-board with his enthusiastic support for the entire Beatles 'spoof' notion.

The preparations for the 2008 tour (two weeks at Neil's East Anglia home and at a Cambridge rehearsal facility) initially included all our 'comedy' items from our '70s gigs as Neil Innes & Fatso. It was odd, but some of them, while they used to 'bring the house down' on the University circuit thirty-plus years earlier, just didn't strike us as funny any more. One after another the items were dropped from our song-list - our old version of the Shadows' 'Apache' along with inept choreography (The Shadows used to feature synchonized leg-kicks as they played), my parody of Elvis' 'All Shook Up' (anyone less like Presley or more devoid of sex-appeal than Yours Truly would be hard to imagine) and my 'impassioned' steel-guitar rendition of 'Edelweiss' from 'The Sound of Music' during which I'd affect to be so emotionally involved with my performance that, with my eyes screwed shut, I'd get more and more sharp as I involuntarily got higher and higher up the fretboard. By the end I was at least two-and-a-half steps higher than my starting key - and that was with no modulations!

But no. They were spontaneous stunts back in the day and resurrecting them felt contrived and silly. At that point we (the band) became mere accomplices to Neil and we were Rutle stooges. We did retain a couple of musical gems - as we'd done all those years ago, we included our (rather good, we still think) cover of Poco's 'You'd Better Think Twice' and Billy Bremner - always famous for his stunning takes on Little Richard's vocals - suggested his version of Jackie Wilson's 'Reet Petite'. I still get goose-bumps recalling Billy's vocal on that song!

The tour was a marginal success but a vivid reminder that, as tempting as it can be, you 'can't go back'.

I got paid okay (I'd had to come from the US - D-10 Emmons and all!) and so too, I think, was Billy (he lived in Sweden at the time) but for Neil it was, I'm afraid, a massive tax write-off in the end.

What fun we had, though!
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RR
(Real men play 'Day'!)


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Micky Byrne


Post  Posted 14 Jan 2020 2:29 am    
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Yes R.I.P. Neil......also nice to see Billy Bremner on his trusty Telecaster.

Micky Byrne
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