Debauched nights in the late 90s led to a peculiar collection of songs, many recorded at about 5am somewhere or other. Realising there were a few gems in and amongst the dog shite Connor Hammel, Crawford Baxter and Buck Saunders started to polish the better tunes.
They engaged the services of Zak ‘Hairy’ Watts to write and narrate a story that weaves its’ way through an album entitled ‘The Monkey & The Whale’.
The Early Days (1996-2001)
It was 1996 when Crawford Baxter, Buck Saunders and Conner Hammel first stumbled across each other in a dental surgery in Weston Super Mare. Although Crawford and Buck were just embarking on corrective surgery for ‘crowded teeth’, Conner was months down the line and could offer light at the end of the tunnel.
The friends linked up musically and early classics such as ‘Pig’, ‘Frog’ and ‘There’s An Animal In The Room’ came spinning out of late night/early morning debauched sessions.
Originally the band was formed to satisfy a wedding booking where they mixed funk and soul covers with some of their own music, such as ‘Pig’ – which unfortunately offended the more unliberated wedding goers.
Brontosaurus got to grips with performing when drunk on free beer and enlisted sax legend Phil Tufnell and bass connoisseur Hilton Grove to help them out live.
The Monkey and the Whale (2001-2006)
Realising that they had spent far too much time creating music for their own amusement, Brontosaurus decided to ‘scrap the crap’ and polish off the good, unfinished tunes. Too bizarre simply on their own, the band engaged Zak Hairy Watts to link the tunes together with a piece of fine story writing and narration.
Five years later, the album, ‘The Monkey and the Whale’ was completed in 2006. The narrated story follows Ron’s quest to discover whether or not a monkey has ever touched a whale.
It features songs like ‘It Ain’t So Bad’, written in tribute to Paula Radcliffe when she took a crap on the roadside during the London Marathon.
The Up-Rising (2007)
The launch of the album sent the band spinning into a blur. Two tours were quickly planned, one in London for a night and one in the West Country for a night. Fans started to appear. Especially Japanese ones, along with a bloke called John Bevan.
The band tasted the sweet smell of success when they were commissioned by AQA to write a song called ‘Is AQA man or machine?’ which featured on a pretty crap compilation album. Music lovers were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite track, with the winning band hauling in a cash reward of £5000.
At the pace things were going at Brontosaurus expected to blow every other nomination out of the sky.
The Down (2008-2009)
Despite producing the only good song on the album, Brontosaurus lost out to an awful song by some other band. The band weren’t bitter but the rejection did shake the confidence of the musicians and led to a brief mental breakdown of Connor Hammel. During his time in Park Royal Mental Health Centre, London he received regular visits from Buck and Crawford who helped get him back on track and discharged in the spring of 2008.
This was followed by a prolonged period of contemplation. Although no break-up ever occurred, Brontosaurus became sort of dormant while band members steadied their feet.
“It was like stepping off a spinning roundabout. One minute we were spinning way to fast and the next we were wobbling trying to stand still. Crazy times” – Crawford, Smash Hits, November 2009
Connor took a five day trip to India went to an Indian Music Shop. He describes this experience as ‘terrestrial’. He has left Connor behind and now travels and performs under the name of Lapsong Suchang. Much in the same way that Cat Stevens became Yusuf Islam. Lapsong denies copying Cat Stevens or Prince and says that “the spirituality of music rose up from the earth and swallowed me whole. Connor liked meat. I do not”.
Buck went to Las Vegas.