[alert_box type=”info”]This review for all the Beefheart discs issued in 1999 (Grow Fins, Dust Blows Forward, Safe As Milk and The Mirror Man Sessions) was taken from the 27th June 1999 Philadelphia Inquirer. Many thanks to Chris Previti for sending it along.[/alert_box] Oh, the yin and yang of it all. At the exact moment the music industry is overrun with homogenized teen harmonisers, along comes a grizzled, determinedly weird voice from the deep vault, bellowing a sloppy counterattack to all that manufactured cheer. It’s Captain Beefheart, superhero of the surreal, right on cosmic cue. More than 35 years after Beefheart (the nom de rock ofRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]My review for Buddha’s two classic Beefheart albums repackaged, re-mastered and ready to take off into the wind.[/alert_box] It was with some excitement that I first heard about these re-releases, perfectly timed to coincide with what appears to be a significant increase in interest in the magic music of the Magic Band from both music consumers and the industry itself. Just as we are all about to Grow Fins and feast upon a host of previously unreleased music from Revenant, here are two Magic Band classics which, although hardly wilting anyway, have benefited from having a serious breath of fresh air breathed into them.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From March 1999’s Ice Magazine came the following news, kindly sent to me by Brian Beuchaw and Uwe Krueger.[/alert_box] BMG-owned Buddha Records will debut in the spring with expanded, newly remastered reissues of such out-of-print works as Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band’s Safe as Milk and Mirror Man, Nilsson’s John Lennon-produced Pussy Cats, Graham Parker’s The Mona Lisa’s Sister and Daryl Hall’s Sacred Songs. All will be fleshed out with CD bonus tracks, some of them previously unreleased. Like Sony’s Legacy imprint, Buddha – with a new spelling to boot – will have access to its parent company’s vaults, but will focus onRead More →

Compiled by Jasper Leach. Jasper acknowledges that this listing contains inacuracies. If you can help with any further info or corrections, please let us know. All songs (unless noted differently): Produced by Richard Perry and Robert Krasnow Engineered by Hank Cicalo/Gary Marker Arranged by Don Van Vliet “Sure ‘Nuff” and “Grown So Ugly” arranged by Ry Cooder Recorded at RCA Studios, Hollywood, CA, April 1967 All words and music by Don Van Vliet and Herb Bermann Note from Jasper: This is probably one of the most inaccurate lists I’ve compliled. It has been reported by many band members that studio musicians were brought in byRead More →

Recording details Date – April 1967 Studio – Sunset Sound, Hollywood; RCA Studios, Hollywood Producer – Richard Perry, Bob Krasnow Engineer – Hank Cicalo, Gary Marker Musicians Don Van Vliet – vocals, harmonica, bass marimba Ry Cooder – guitar, bass Alex St Clair Snouffer – guitar, backing vocals Jerry Handley – bass John French – drums, backing vocals Doug Moon – guitar (Sure Nuff only) Milt Holland – percussion Russ Titelman – guitar Taj Mahal – percussion Sam Hoffman – theremin unknown horn players, harpsichord player and harpist. See Leach’s Listings for a¬†thorough guide to who did what on Safe As Milk, compiled for theRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]The following text is from the “Repertoire” release of Safe As Milk, sent to Justin Sherill by Elijah Popov.[/alert_box] Captain Beefheart Under the philosophy that “life is art and art is life” (CREAM), DON VAN VLIET alias CAPTAIN BEEFHEART went down as one of the most dazzling personalities in rock history. This stubborn musician, painter and sculptor, whose voice ranged seven and a half octaves, allowed his extraordinary creativity run totally free, to the extent that categorisation attempts of any kind simply bounced off his productive genius. “Delta blues, avantgarde jazz and rock & roll” (ROLLING STONE) entwined themselves to become a twentieth-century musicRead More →

Track list: Diddy Wah Diddy Who Do You Think You’re Fooling Moonchild Frying Pan Here I Am I Always Am Album overview from Graham Johnston Originally recorded in 1965, this mini-album features the biggest, rumblingest tightest rhythm and blues tunes ever, and contains a few pleasing suggestions of what would follow. Open Up A Case Of The Punks! Colin B. Morton sent along the following cutting from the very first issue of Sniffin’ Glue 1976 (this has since been reprinted in a 20-issue bound coffee table edition), which gives “Diddy Wah Diddy” a big seal of approval. I’m not sure I entirely agree with theRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article originally appeared in the December 1982 edition of Musician magazine. It focuses on the making of the Ice Cream For Crow video, and includes an interview with Don conducted at that time.[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet was born in Glendale California on January 15 1941, the Only child of Glenn and Sue Van Vliet. Don began showing artistic talent at a very young age, but Glenn and Sue were none too keen on the prospect of having an artist in the family (“‘Cause you know, all artists are faggots,” is how Don explained their rationale), so they moved to the Mojave Desert, anRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article and interview was taken from the May/June 1981 issue of Music & Sound Output[/alert_box] In 12 albums spread out over 13 years, Captain Beefheart has created a body of work that breaks most every rule in American music and results in something that couldn’t possibly be anything but American music. Hey, man, take a look at these,” Captain Beefheart exclaims, holding some slides up to the bare bulb in his dressing rooms at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan. “These are some pictures!” Taken by a local freelancer, the slides show Beefheart standing at the microphone, blowing his soprano sax. “These were takenRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from Creem, March 1981, Vol. 12 No. 10. Many thanks to our man in Mexico City, Jesus Quintero for kindly scanning this article and sending it to me.[/alert_box] *May 1970. High School kids in my living room. Singing. “Hot and slimy weenie, knocking at my door/Hot and slimy weenie, crawling ‘cross the floor/Hot and slimy weenie/hot and slimy weenie/hot and slimy weenie… WHERE ARE YOU NOW?!?” The tape still exists, us mindlessly wailing away over the same bass pattern with our 1970 rock band equipment, seconds later me grabbing the microphone and reciting the words to “The Blimp” from TroutRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This excellent introductory article to the work of Don Van Vliet first appeared in April 1981’s Down Beat.[/alert_box] “My music is terribly personal,” Don Van Vliet says, his eyes fixed intently on me. “I think any artist is that way. I think there’s a lot of people out there that are kidding about art. I mean, literally kidding.” Van Vliet speaks in a soft, slow Southern California drawl that sounds nothing at all like the raw, rasping bellow he usually affects when he’s singing under the name Captain Beefheart. But his intensity is the same, and he is every bit as captivating, clever, charmingRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This originally appeared in the December 1980 edition of New York Rocker, later reproduced in the Stand Up To Be Discontinued book. Photographs by Laura Levine.[/alert_box] Whatever the relationship between the music of Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) and new wave, it must be more than coincidence that after fifteen years as a largely ignored but legendary eccentric, he is making music that is as strong and strange as any he has ever made, and is receiving more recognition than ever before. Captain Beefheart has always represented the final frontier of rock weirdness, but his vintage records were only taken seriously by a fewRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from the 27th November 1980 issue of Rolling Stone.[/alert_box] After 16 years and a dozen albums, the world has finally caught up with Don van Vliet. IT’S A DOGSHIT DAY ON West Forty-second Street, the neon-choked main drag of Manhattan’s cheap-thrills district. As the daily midmorning traffic jam congeals into an unmoving mass, Don Van Vliet peers out a drizzle-streaked car window at the shuffling tribe of hookers, hustlers and head cases that clogs the sidewalks, then squints up at the lewd movie marquees looming above: SLAVES OF THE CANNIBAL GOD. SUGAR BRITCHES. THAT’S PORNO! Reeling out into the street,Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This piece was taken from Creem magazine of April 1979[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet has just spent the last fifteen minutes wandering around the conference room at Warner Brothers’ New York headquarters, investigating the possibilities of undoing the corporate environment. He has painstakingly adjusted and readjusted the dimmer switch until the lighting in the room matches the twilight outside, and he has also managed to pry open one of those standard office building windows, the kind that no one who works in places like this ever even gets near for fear that if they do try and get some fresh air in, some alarm willRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article / interview was taken from Trouser Press, Vol. 6, No. 2, February 1979. many thanks to Don Trubey for scanning and sending it along.[/alert_box] “Beefheart was a major influence on Devo as far as direction goes. Trout Mask Replica… there’s so many people that were affected by that album that he probably doesn’t even know about, a silent movement of people.” — Devo, quoted in Search & Destroy #3, 1977 I have been a staunch admirer of Captain Beefheart since 1970. The singular nature of his music, and the joy, excitement and mystery that are an inextricable part of it, are soRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This interview was taken from the March 1978 edition of Future Magazine. It is riddled with errors (Muhabbi? Denny Waller?) so don’t rely too heavily on anything they say, but is very entertaining nonetheless. A big thank you to Don Trubey and MJ Stevens for sending it along.[/alert_box] As we approached Captain Beefheart for an interview he was remarking to a small gathering of fans seeking photos “I wish I was an octopus, I really do though. I mean, could you imagine standing there octopied like that. No, I mean man, that’s beautiful, really… I love dolphins, and octopus…” We met the Captain [DonRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article appeared in the 3rd July 1975 edition of Rolling Stone magazine. Many thanks to Mikael Djurvall for sending along the excellent photograph.[/alert_box] PASSAIC, NEW JERSEY – Captain Beefheart, rock’s sometime genius, had just finished a show with Frank Zappa, with whom he’s touring after the end of their longtime feud. Slumped backstage at the Capitol Theatre, he scratched his shaggy head and slowly related the latest bizarre turn in his odd life. “I said some silly things,” Beefheart noted, “because I’m a spoiled brat and I don’t understand business to the degree that Frank does. I probably felt neglected. I’ll admit it…Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article appeared in September 1974, although the source is unknown. It focuses very favourably on the so-called ‘Tragic Band’ era, and includes a couple of the contradictory statements which Don has made about this time.[/alert_box] Beefheart has been called a genius and that is unfortunate. Geniuses for the most part are people who die poor and unrecognised only to then receive attention (No, this is not Jim Crotchetey we’re talking about). For the most part geniuses are not rock stars and if they are they’re the type who don’t tour and only come out of seclusion every few years to record an albumRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article and interview was taken from ZigZag 34, Vol 3 N0. 10, November 1973.[/alert_box] The article is introduced by the ZigZag editor, Connor McKnight. Many thanks indeed to Michael H for sending this along. In September of 1970, I moved into a new flat in Bayswater. It has about it an air of what indifferent novelists invariably call faded gentility. All our neighbours seemed very old and very quiet, but it was still a nice place. Now one evening when I was sitting on the toilet, of all things, a faint trace of musk wafted through the door, and upon closer listening itRead More →