Eugene Chadbourne (January 4, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York) is an American improvisor, guitarist and banjoist. Highly eclectic and unconventional, Chadbourne’s most formative influence is free jazz.
He has also been a reviewer for Allmusic and a contributor to Maximum RocknRoll.
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.
Chadbourne has worked with numerous artists including John Zorn, Fred Frith, Derek Bailey, Han Bennink, Carla Bley Band, Paul Lovens, Toshinori Kondo, 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.
While in Canada in the 1970s, he produced and hosted a radio program on Radio Radio 104.5 Cable FM in Calgary, Alberta. His show was notorious for obscure and remarkable music. Radio Radio is now the last quasi-pirate station in Canada.
Chadbourne also fronted Shockabilly (1982–1985) with Mark Kramer (bass/organ) and David Licht (drums), releasing four eclectic albums.
Chadbourne has resided in Greensboro, North Carolina since 1981.
Chadbourne is referenced in the popular anime series Bleach. Sado tells Ichigo Kurosaki that, although he hasn’t heard of any of the people Ichigo mentioned in their conversation about “Chad” names, he has at least heard of Eugene Chadbourne.