For many people on the first listen Trout Mask Replica just sounds awful. For those of us that grow to love it, it’s a masterpiece. If you don’t entirely get it yet, this 10 minute feature video from Vox nicely picks apart what’s going on and why so many of us consider it to be uniquely special. If you enjoy this and want something more in-depth then have a look at Samuel Andreyev’s analysis of Frownland and his extended conversation with John French.  Read More →

The Magic Band are now touring the UK and are playing a date in Germany see their site for links to buy tickets. 25 May 2014 Newcastle Upon Tyne – The Cluny 27 May 2014 Leeds – Brudenell Social Club 29 May 2014 Manchester – Band On The Wall 30 May 2014 Liverpool – Eric’s 31 May 2014 Aldershot – West End Centre 01 June 2014 Brighton – The Haunt 03 June 2014 Colchester – Colchester Arts Centre 05 June 2014 Bristol – The Fleece 06 June 2014 Hertford – Hertford Corn Exchange 07 June 2014 London – The Garage 08 June 2014 Tanworth InRead More →

Gary Lucas brings his Captain Beefheart Symposium to Mexico City on Sunday 1 December 2013 It takes place in the big public park at the Casa Del Lago at 1pm. During the symposium Gary Lucas will show rare archival footage of the band, spin unreleased tracks, project slides of Van Vliet’s paintings and drawings, discuss the history of the group and many of the great musicians who came through the ranks of The Magic Band, and illustrate Van Vliet’s quirky and idiosyncratic methodologies and techniques with a live solo guitar performance. More information is available at Gary Lucas’s website.Read More →

Gary Lucas will present a live show at Southbank Centre, London on Thursday 14 November at 7.45pm encompassing his collaborations with Jeff Buckley, Lou Reed and Captain Beefheart. The Southbank Centre sent us the following: World-class guitarist and Grammy-nominated songwriter Gary Lucas talks about his new book Touched By Grace: My Time with Jeff Buckley, and performs a solo set featuring songs from his musical collaborations with Jeff Buckley, Captain Beefheart and beyond in the intimate setting of the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre, London. His credits include co-writing and playing on his late musical partner Jeff Buckley’s anthems ‘Grace’ and ‘Mojo Pin’, from Jeff’s double platinumRead More →

A new Magic Band website announces a new Magic Band tour. The new site provides us with a suitably Magic web presence; my favourite bit being the archive of press reviews of many of the reunion shows. It’s a pleasing reminder that the reunion has been consistently booglarising us for over 10 years now, and the tone of the reviews is as equally thrilled and disbelieving in 2013 as it was in 2003. John French, Mark Boston and Denny Walley, along with their bandmates over the last decade, have achieved something truly remarkable. So get yourself out there if you can, witness an unforgettable show, revelRead More →

We have mentioned the Beefheart/Zappa Commemorative box set put together around Freddy Banister’s book “There Must Be A Better Way” a few times before, and its contents have been expanded recently again. The collection now also includes a CD of Frank Zappa’s Grand Wazoo at The Oval in 1972 and a Beefheart programme from the 1972 tour, making it a total of eight Beefheart CDs, four Zappa CDs, two DVDs, one book, one programme and assorted items of memorabilia …and the price remains £49.99. For more information, please see the Rock Music Memorabilia website and/or email info@rockmusicmemorabilia.comRead More →

Zappa.com have announced their intention to release the “definitive” Trout Mask Replica in May 2013; initially on CD but with a vinyl edition “coming soon”. Available for preorder now, Zappa.com states: The Legends of Lancaster (California) converge. Two albums Produced by Frank Zappa are registered with the National Preservation Board (Library of Congress). This is one. Note: We here at UMRK determined that the TMR Master was damaged somewhere in the years of its return orbit. The Vaultmeister created almost in its entirety a new Master from our own Vault safety copies. And as if that wasn’t enough chocolate for your Sunday sundae, we hadRead More →

Steve Brewster writes about the opening lines “Baby Percy told Elixir Sue / Listen to me baby / I’m gonna tell it to you”: Don was referring to a common product in the USA in the 1950s – Percy Medicine and their mascot “Baby Percy”. I’m sending a photo of the box for the stuff that clearly shows who Baby Percy is.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Bluejeans and Moonbeams[/alert_box] I’ve been hoping on Monday’s Some-how’s and moon days Sundays and some days Never seen the sun days I’m trying and always And running in between Bluejeans and Moonbeams Bluejeans and Moonbeams I’ve been working I’ve been loving Under ‘neath the moon stone sky I know there’s many thing I’ve never seen Blue Jeans and Moonbeams Mondays and moonbeams Bluejeans and Moonbeams Bluejeans and Moonbeams I’ve been hoping on Monday’s Some-how’s and moon days Sundays and some days Never seen the sun days I’m trying and always And running in between Bluejeans and Moonbeams Bluejeans and Moonbeams I’ve beenRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Bluejeans and Moonbeams[/alert_box] Further than we’ve gone The stars sing a song Together That only lovers can hear Come up close to me lover Under heavens beautiful cover We’re here at last Open up And let our love appear Further than we’ve gone The stars sing a song Together That only lovers can hear Come up close to me lover Under heavens beautiful cover Open up And let our love appear (1974) Kindly transcribed by Jory.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Bluejeans and Moonbeams[/alert_box] While the city was busy We wanted to rest She deiced to drive up to Observatory Crest We just saw the concert and heard all the best We went on a ride We got outside The sand was hot She wanted to dance We went ’round and ’round at Observatory Crest Thought we saw flying saucers and all of the rest Pawns in high Spain from Observatory crest While the city was busy We wanted to rest She deiced to drive up to Observatory Crest We just saw the concert and heard all the best So the only thingRead More →

Rolled Roots Gnarled like Rakers

A new exhibition of drawings by Don Van Vliet is about to open at Galerie Michael Werner in Trebbin, Germany. The exhibition runs from 21 January 2013 until 22 March 2013 at: Galerie Michael Werner Märkisch Wilmersdorf Alte Parkstraße 3c 14959 Trebbin Tel: +49 33731 32010 Fax: +49 33731 32012 Email: galeriewerner@michaelwerner.de I’ll update this post as soon as I have more information. If you attend the exhibition, please do tell us about it!Read More →

All ready for the 72nd anniversary of Don Van Vliet’s birth, I am delighted to present an all new Radar Station website. Apart from the content (much of which has been expanded, revised and brought up to date but in essence remains the same) it’s entirely new: new design, new structure, new way of doing things. I do hope you like it. It’s been the product of about 18 months of incessant clicking whenever I have been able to around work, family and general life stuff. The new site currently contains a massive 2,610 items which perhaps helps to explain just why it’s taken meRead More →

Paperback : 300 pages No publisher Published 2012 Overview by Steve Froy The title pretty much says it all about this book. This is a collection of around 40 articles, reviews and interviews about and with Don van Vliet over nearly five decades. From the 1966 ‘Great Gnome Biography’ press kit by Derek Taylor to the text of Bono’s chat on the phone with Don in 2001 (don’t let put off you though!). Originally published in music magazines, some well known and others more obscure, all of the pieces are available on this website or on others around the net but they’ve now been convenientlyRead More →

A number of musicians have played on various Beefheart albums but have not necessarily been members of the Magic Band. They have been session players brought in to provide a particular instrument or sound. Here’s a brief list of who they were, what Beefheart albums they contributed to and other albums they may have released. The Blackberries backing vocals on Clear Spot A trio of female backing vocalists for hire who seem to have been busy doing session work during the 1970s, often 2 or 3 sesions a day. The mainstay of the group was former Ikette Venetta Fields. A number of other girls wereRead More →

Robert was still in high school when he first met Don and became his roadie for a week in Boston during the Tragic Band days. At one particular club they played Dr John was auditioning drummers and Robert put on a display of what he could do. Although he didn’t get the gig with Dr John he seems to have impressed Don. When Robert moved out to California he managed to get Don’s phone number and spoke to him for hours on end. One day Ed Mann, Zappa’s percussionist called him to let him know Don was auditioning drummers. And as Robert told us: WhenRead More →