Uncle Bonsai

Embracing the lighthearted and the outrageous, Uncle Bonsai were formed in Seattle in 1981 by three former Bennington College students: Andrew Ratshin, Ashley Kristen, and Arni Adler. A guitar and three-part vocal outfit, they specialized in singing songs like "Penis Envy" and "Cheerleaders on Drugs" with incongruously angelic voices. During their initial eight-year existence, Uncle Bonsai released three albums: A Lonely Grain of Corn, Boys Wants Sex in the Morning, and Myn Ynd Wymyn, the last two being live recordings. During that time, the bandmembers developed a strong grassroots base in Seattle. In 1988, after a major recording deal fell through, they temporarily split up. Ratshin went on to pursue a solo career under the name Electric Bonsai Band and released four LPs (I Am Joe's Eyes, But I'm Happy Now, Lounging in the Belly of the Beast, 20 Seconds of Pleasure) over the next ten years.

In 1998, Uncle Bonsai reunited and recorded a live set, released as Doug the following year. The studio album Plain Brown Wrapper also arrived in 1999, and another live album, Apology, followed in 2001. After another hiatus, Kristen left the group in 2007 and was replaced by Patrice O'Neill, then also a member of the Mel Cooleys with Ratshin. The trio issued The Grim Parade, a collection of live and studio recordings, in November 2010. Continuing to make music together, if intermittently, Uncle Bonsai returned with The Family Feast in 2017. ~ Marcy Donelson & Leon Jackson

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