Virgin Records has found in its vaults a previously undocumented film of Captain Beefheart in concert. A digital copy of the film has been produced to help promote Virgin’s six forthcoming Captain Beefheart CD releases. It isn’t very often that previously unseen film of Captain Beefheart in concert is released, so I’m especially happy to be able to report this news here. The film is captioned as having been made in London, though to my knowledge there was no film crew present for the London concerts at that time. I tracked down one of the directors of the film to ask him about it. He
Here are a few items which should have appeared here earlier. Sorry to have kept you waiting. Hank Grebe’s Beefheart photographs The recently issued Captain Beefheart compilation CD, The Buddah Years features a cover photograph of Don Van Vliet hunkering down in a corridor to chat with some fans. The story of the taking of that photograph can be found at Hank Grebe’s website, along with six pages of photographs of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band which Hank took over the years between 1971 and 1980. Beyond the Palers Some Procol Harum fans (Palers) have issued a double CD of Procol Harum cover versions
Fast ‘N Bulbous, The Captain Beefheart Project, featuring Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston, have just announced a short European tour. Friday, Nov. 17th BimHuis, Amsterdam, Holland Saturday, Nov. 18th Taktlos Festival, Bern, Switzerland Tuesday, Nov. 21st Porgy and Bess, Vienna, Austria Thursday, Nov. 23rd Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana, Slovenia I’ll post more information here as I receive it. Update: 6 August 2006 Two London dates now added to the Fast ‘N’ Bulbous tour Wednesday, Nov. 15th Pizza on the Park, London Thursday, Nov. 16th Pizza on the Park, London Fast ‘N’ Bulbous, The Captain Beefheart Project featuring Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston, with Richard Dworkin, Joe
The internet radio station, A3Radio, broadcasting from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is currently hosting a Captain Beefheart Anthology on Saturdays and Sundays at 22.00 local time. Chris Fici is the presenter. At the Australian public national radio station Triple J there is an archive of various fascinating Beefheart related audio clips which were used in a programme broadcast in January 2001. Interviews with Bill Harkleroad, Ry Cooder and Mike Barnes are among the goodies on offer. The Dutch station Concertzender has archived an hour long programme of Captain Beefheart music which was first broadcast on May 8th this year. Three tracks from Fast ‘n’ Bulbous: the
The Magic Band have been invited to broadcast live on Swedish TV4’s morning show on Tuesday 16th May. John French will be interviewed and the band will play two Captain Beefheart numbers. These will be made available on the net at TV4’s website shortly after the broadcast. The performance should be available there for several months. This TV appearance completes the schedule for the sadly curtailed Magic Band tour. The Danish concert was cancelled today while the Norwegian concert was cancelled about three weeks ago. Update: Tuesday 16th May The clips of The Magic Band live on Swedish television this morning are now archived at
Danish author, film-maker and cultural commentator Lars Movin telephoned Don Van Vliet for a chat about his work with music and painting. An edited transcript of their conversation later appeared in a short-lived Danish magazine. It is this interview which is the source of Don’s much quoted line, “It makes me itch to think of myself as Captain Beefheart. I don’t even have a boat.” ‘I don’t even have a boat – Calling the Captain, 30.1.91’, a video notebook by Lars Movin, is to be premiered at the Cinematheque at The Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen on May 23rd. Filming took place in summer 2005
Booking has just opened in Aarhus, one of the venues on The Magic Band’s 2006 Scandinavian tour. John French and Denny Walley, who are in the present line-up, were also members of The Magic Band when they toured Scandinavia in 1975 – which appears to be the last time that The Magic Band played in Scandinavia. More venues are expected to start booking very soon. The schedule is currently as follows, although additions and alterations are always possible. Tuesday, May 16th TV4, Sweden, live broadcast Friday, May 19th Opera House, Umeå, Sweden Saturday, May 20th Jazzclub Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden Sunday, May 21st Aarhus, Denmark CANCELLED
‘Wood’, the first new Mystery Band CD for ten years, will be released on the Poo-Bah Record Label on March 28th. Former Magic Band member Rick Snyder has been playing with The Mystery Band since 1988. The Mystery Band is led by the man responsible for arranging Rick Snyder’s audition with Captain Beefheart, Ace Farren Ford. Rick Snyder’s contemporary in The Magic Band, Moris Tepper, co-wrote one of the songs on the album, ‘Jesus On The Radio’, with Mystery Band member Gary Riley. Further information and generous helpings of soundbites are available at The Mystery Band ‘Wood’ page
I do not normally post information here without checking my facts. By doing so now I hope to save you some money and some grief. Adverts are now appearing for new copies of a ‘Lick My Decals Off, Baby’ CD. This album has been unavailable for too many years and is undoubtedly at the top of many people’s wish lists. My advice is to wait before you buy. According to one retailer, Rhino Records are to launch a Captain Beefheart Remaster CD and Vinyl Campaign in March and April. ‘Trout Mask Replica’, ‘Lick My Decals Off, Baby’, ‘Spotlight Kid’ and ‘Clear Spot’ will be issued
Don Van Vliet and Herb Bermann wrote the songs ‘Can Fever’ and ‘Bone Crazy’. The BMI website says so, and BMI should know. BMI keeps comprehensive records of the people who write, compose and publish songs. You’ll look in vain through the Beefheart catalogue to find ‘Can Fever’ and ‘Bone Crazy’. Even the most hardcore of Beefheart scholars have never heard these songs. So when these titles were found at BMI, years of general wonderment and speculation ensued. What might these songs be? With Herb Bermann as a co-writer, could ‘Can Fever’ and ‘Bone Crazy’ be missing songs from ‘Safe As Milk’? No demos or
A recording of The Magic Band playing Dropout Boogie has been released on a CD compliled by Matt Groening, All Tomorrow’s Parties Vol.3.1. (ATPRCD16) Recorded in concert during a lunar eclipse over Long Beach California in 2003, this track has not previously been made available. Other artists on the album include Deerhoof, Elliot Smith and Iggy and the Stooges. Sonic Youth perform the Simpson’s Theme and a Matt Groening poster is included in the package.
Announcements that three of Don Van Vliet’s former associates are being honoured have recently been made. Mo Ostin, former head of Warner, is cited by the President of The Recording Academy as, “a true pioneer of the contemporary music era whose life’s work has had a profound impact on the artists he has helped develop and the fans around the world who have benefited from their inspired creativity.” One of these artists was Captain Beefheart and many people believe that Captain Beefheart’s best work was indeed done during his Warner-Reprise tenure. On February 8th, after the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards, Mo will be presented with
Here is a cover scan of the forthcoming documentary DVD Captain Beefheart Under Review which is in the final editing stage and will be available in March ’06, on the Chrome Dreams record label. The film traces Beefheart’s entire career and uses rare footage and contributions from numerous Beefheart associates and Magic Band members. Contributors include John French, Mark Boston, Moris Tepper, Elliot Ingber, Ira Ingber, Jerry Handley, Doug Moon, Eric Drew Feldman, Gary Marker and Gary Lucas.
Michael Traylor, the Magic Band drummer, has sent a link to his new website. If, like me, you have difficulty opening http://www.swampmonk.com/ then try this link instead http://www.swampmonk.com/home.html Check out his picture gallery for some photographs of The Magic Band on tour. Update (Sept 2012): this site now seems to be defunct
John French sent us news of the death of Alex Snouffer, aka Alex St Claire, guitarist, drummer and a founder member of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. John wrote, “I talked with Jerry Handley, who was probably the closest to Alex. Jerry just lost his Dad and Alex was at the funeral a couple of weeks ago. We reminisced about the early bands that were the forerunners of the Magic Band. ” Steve Froy’s full obituary for Alex Snouffer was added to this site on 9 January.
After I’d posted Leon Rubenhold’s story about the time he played with Captain Beefheart (see the entry for 07 December here), Leon sent another mail detailing the first time he came across Don and The Magic Band. Here is what Leon wrote: [wp_quote]Thanks for posting my Beefheart experience story. Unfortunately there are no photos or tapes of the time spent with him. Actually my first encounter with Beefheart happened when I was sixteen. In Los Angeles in the 60’s there was an event held for a number of years called the Teenage Fair held in Hollywood at the Palladium on Sunset Blvd. In 1966 I
Back in October, Norm Wheeler wrote in with his notice of a Captain Beefheart film show which took place in Austin, Texas. Owing to some technical malfunction or other I did not receive his mail until very recently. Anyway, such is the Texan interest in Captain Beefheart that the same film show is being held again tonight at the same venue so I thought it would be appropriate to let you read Norm’s mail as a sort of preview to tonight’s event. [wp_quote]Last night (2005-10-10) the 1997 BBC documentary The Artist Formerly Known as Captain Beefheart was shown at the “Alamo Drafthouse Downtown” in Austin,
The idiotbastard mailed to let me know that the January edition of Guitar and Bass magazine contains an article about Captain Beefheart. I have not yet seen this but I’ve been told by somebody else that the title is Secrets of Beefheart Songwriting. Just what secrets are revealed, I wonder?
Some previously overlooked performances by Don Van Vliet have recently been documented by Bill Lantz, one of the world’s foremost Zappa-ologists. In September 1975 The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra was put together to present a series of orchestral pieces written by Frank Zappa. Michael Zearott was the conductor and Frank produced and recorded most of these shows. Forty musicians were assembled by Zappa with help from Earle Dumler and Mike Altschul. One of the orchestra members was Don Van Vliet who played soprano saxophone. If anyone has access to recordings from this project we’d be very interested to hear them. View the full story. Thanks