John Leon "Bunk" Gardner (born May 2, 1933, Cleveland, Ohio, United states) is an American musician who most notably played for Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention until the group disbanded in 1969. He plays woodwinds and tenor sax.
Gardner started playing music at the age of seven by taking piano lessons. When he was a teenager he started playing the tenor sax. In 1959 he played with Bud Wattles & his Orchestra's album Themes from the Hip. Later he played with Joanna & the Playboys in 1962. By late 1966 Gardner had joined Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, playing woodwinds and tenor sax. Success came along for the Mothers with top chart albums Absolutely Free and We're Only In It For The Money. In late 1968 his brother Buzz Gardner joined the Mothers until the group disbanded a year later. Gardner played with Menage A Trois with Buzz and John Balkin. Later he recorded with Geronimo Black and the Grandmothers.
In 1980, Gardner and some of the members from the Mothers of Invention reunited to form the Grandmothers, recording a few albums and reuniting again in 2002. Gardner has done a few projects with Don Preston, a band member of the Mothers, by making a few albums and tours together.
Gardner also plays flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, and bass and soprano saxes.
Gardner and his wife Bonnie married in 1977 and have two daughters. Don Preston remains Gardners' close friend. In 2010 he recorded his autobiography (audiobook) "The Bunk Gardner Story" (featuring Don Preston), in Arthur Barrow's lotek studio, produced by Jon Larsen for Zonic Entertainment.