Gary Lucas In-depth Biography
When he was nine, Gary Lucas' dad suggested he take up playing the guitar. Although he followed his dad's suggestion, Lucas focused more on the French horn that he played for his elementary school band and continued to play, until getting kicked out of his high school's band. Lucas then focused wholly on the guitar, and played in various groups throughout the '60s. As a campus station music director during his second year at Yale, Lucas saw Captain Beefheart in concert and immediately wanted to play with Beefheart's unique band more than anything. Shortly thereafter, he interviewed and got to know Beefheart.
Lucas soon performed as a soloist in the European premiere of Bernstein's Mass (From the Liturgy of the Roman Mass) (1973), and after graduating from college, moved to Taipei for two years. During that time, he led a locally popular group, the O-Bay-Gone-Band, until a chaotic 1976 show broke out into a brawl that seriously injured many people. Upset, Lucas promptly returned to the States, hooked back up with Beefheart, and was finally invited to join the band. He appears on Doc at the Radar Station, and was a full member of the group by the Ice Cream for Crow album. After Beefheart retired in the early '80s to pursue painting, Lucas couldn't imagine topping his experience of playing in a group he considered the number one avant-garde rock band in the world, so he switched over to the production end of music, producing albums by Peter Gordon and Tim Berne, among others.
In 1988, Lucas returned to live performance with a highly acclaimed solo set at N.Y.C.'s Knitting Factory, and continued to play shows and tour for more than a decade to follow. Shortly after his return, he collaborated with longtime friend Walter Horn on a score for The Golem (a 1920 German Expressionist film) as a commission for the 1989 Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival. That same year, Lucas formed his rock band Gods and Monsters. Over time, the band's lineups included Jeff Buckley and Matthew Sweet. By 1999, the Gods and Monsters' lineup was in trio form with ex-Swans drummer Jonathan Kane and former Modern Lovers bassist Ernie Brooks; the LP Improve the Shining Hour appeared in early 2000. In addition to Gods and Monsters and various solo projects, Lucas formed the Du-Tels in 1994, a psychedelic folk duo with Peter Stampfel. In 2008 he joined with jazz and blues vocalist Dean Bowman to form Chase the Devil, and the duo explored the spiritual and secular roots of the blues without sounding too revivalist, releasing the self-titled Chase the Devil on Knitting Factory in 2010. ~ Joslyn Layne & Steve Leggett, Rovi