What is SSTS? The essential Beefheart fanzine. The “one & only” Beefheart fanzine for collectors. Totally dedicated to preserving the memory of the legendary Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band by devoting each meticulously researched issue of the long running fanzine to documenting in chronological order The Magic Band’s global musical legacy, preserved on glorious vinyl throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s (& on into the 90s with their reissued metal counterparts!) and of course keeping you all updated on “What’s Shakin’ in Vlietland!” APOCALYPSO FANZINES has delved into each period of The Magic Band’s recording history in almost religious detail starting with StealRead More →

Published by Babylon Books ISNB: 0 907188 03 6 Many thanks to Steve Froy for the cover scans. Overview by Graham Johnston: This book is a collection of numerous press interviews, reviews, photographs, articles, poems, drawings, lyrics, and any other bit or bob about the Captain. It’s a splendid collection and well worth buying if you happen to find a copy anywhere and fancy a nose through the critics’ view of the history of Captain Beefheart.Read More →

Published by Kawabata Press 1st edition published in 1987 2nd edition published in 1989 ISBN: 0 906110 61 0 Many thanks to Steve Froy for all the cover scans. Overview by Graham Johnston Captain Beefheart: The Man & His Music is a serious and entertaining attempt at telling the story of the Magic Band from Don and Frank’s first meeting to Ice Cream For Crow and Don’s retirement from the music industry, though it does contain considerably more music than man. It includes a section of quotes, a look at his painting exhibitions, Magic Band line-ups, discography, live-tape and bootleg discography, Beefheart trivia, a MagicRead More →

Published by Cantz Paperback £21.95 1993 ISBN 3-9801320-2-1 Hardback Limited Edition (1500) with CD £32.50 1993 ISBN 3-9801320-3-X Deluxe Slip Cased Limited Edition (120) with original etching £180.00 1994 136 pages with 70 colour plates Contents: Don van Vliet in Bielefeld: Andreas Beaugrand Animals and Black Ladies: Karsten Ohrt Don van Vliet – The Painting: Jessica Rutherford “Stand Up To Be Discontinued”. On Don van Vliet as Painter and Musician: Paolo Bianchi Pearls before Swine. Ice Cream for Crow. On the Relationship between Music and Painting in Captain Beefheart’s Work: Luca Ferrari Captain Beefheart: Diedrich Diedrichsen Don van Vliet: Roberto Ohrt Fur Don van Vliet:Read More →

A tribute to the art of Captain Beefheart Published by Sonic Books Price unknown 1996 118 pages plus CD Contents: Introduction. Pointed at the Moon, Looked at the Finger. The Past Sure Is Tense. A pocket history of Captain Beefheart Fast ‘n’ Bulbous. A modest attempt to savage Don Van Vliet’s music Old Fart At Play. Reprint of 1983 ‘Heavy Metal’ interview with Lou Stathis Ten Poems by The Captain Beefheartiana (collection of aphorisms) Walking with Rembrandt. Short notes for an analysis of the paintings of Don Van Vliet Discography, June 1996 Exhibitions Bibliography 8 photographs 10 paintings 4 drawings Overview by Steve Froy SonicRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]A legendarily poor attempt at telling the Beefheart story through the analysis of all his released songs.[/alert_box] Published by Agenda ISBN 1 899882 25 1 Price £5.99 July 1996 86 pages Synopsis from the back of the book The enduring story of an innovator, an artist in oils, a sculptor in soap, a poet, and a creative musician. Don Van Vliet was to change his name to Captain Beefheart and then invent by altering the blues, a new modern music. A cult following which paralleled the music of his good friend Frank Zappa, with whom he wrote a screen-play in their high school days.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was first published in Resonance magazine (London Musicians’ Collective). Many thanks to Ed for sending me this and granting permission to feature it. This is his ‘controversial’ look at the book Lunar Notes which takes a less-than favourable view of the personality of Don Van Vliet.[/alert_box] LUNAR NOTES; ZOOT HORN ROLLO’S CAPTAIN BEEFHEART EXPERIENCE Bill Harkleroad with Billy James 151 pp, illustrated SAF Publishing Ltd 1SBN 0 94671921 7 £11.95 ONE OF THE GREAT MUSICAL MINDS OF THE late 20th century, Don Van Vliet was a greedy, violent, spiteful, manipulative, self-important, lazy, cowardly control freak with a taste for flashy cars, hardRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review for Bill Harkleroad and Billy James’ book was written by Andy Gill and appeared in the December 1998 edition of Mojo Magazine.[/alert_box] AS ZOOT Horn Rollo, Don Van Vliet’s most faithful lieutenant in The Magic Band, Bill Harkleroad was one of the most influential guitarists in rock music, though as this memoir makes clear it was always a labour of love, first and foremost. Not only did he have to suffer the bizarre whims of Beefheart’s absurd regime but, as he reveals here, he ultimately received “no money whatsoever” from any of the albums he played on. Harkleroad admits this was probablyRead More →

An insider’s story. Published by SAF Publishing Ltd ISBN 0 946719 21 7 Price £11.95 1998 151 pages 16 photographs Synopsis from the back cover: Bill Harkleroad joined Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band at a time when they were changing from a straight ahead blues band into something completely different. Through the vision of Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) they created a new form of music which many at the time considered atonal and difficult, but which over the years has continued to exert a powerful influence. Beefheart re-christened Harkleroad as Zoot Horn Rollo, and they embarked on recording one of the classic rock albums ofRead More →

A critical overview of the artistic output of Don Van Vliet. W C Bamberger, a one-time member of the Fire Party (the Radar Station’s Beefheart discussion list), has published a book focussing on the vision and message contained within the work of Don Van Vliet, including his paintings, poems and songs. Author: WC Bamberger Title: ‘Riding Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh: On The Arts Of Don Van Vliet’ ISBN: 0-917453-35-2 Small Press Distribution 1341 7th St. Berkeley CA 94710 USA Synopsis from the back of the book Riding Some Kind Of Unusual Skull Sleigh looks at the phases of Van Vliet’s musical career throughRead More →

Published by Agenda Published in 2000 ISBN: 1 899882 11 1 Overview by Graham Johnston I am about to write about a book that I haven’t read. I doubt that the author would mind too much, however, as I suspect that he hasn’t given his book much thought either. After having read Steve’s review for it below, I doubt whether I’d cross the street to get a copy even if Mr Brooks himself was giving them away with a free bag of magic beans stuck to every cover. This untrustworthy tome is published by the same company that brought us the laughably lame Fast &Read More →

Captain Beefheart by Mike Barnes, second edition

UK second edition Publisher: Omnibus / Music Sales Limited Date of publication: November 2004 ISBN: 1844494128 Dimensions: 210 x 135mm soft back Extent: 400 pages Price: £16.95 Order: Amazon.co.uk Mike Barnes has made considerable updates to this new edition but confusingly the book has been published with the same cover as the first edition (apart from the addition of a John Peel quote) and no obvious indication that changes have been made. This second edition was reprinted in 2009 with a different quote, this time from ‘Mojo’ magzine, on the front cover. A competition was run to win copies of the UK second edition – see the fiendish questions and the detailed answersRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article is an extract from Mike Barnes’ biography of Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart, published by Quartet Books, 2000.[/alert_box] ISBN 0 7043 8073 0 You can order this book from Amazon.co.uk or any good UK book sellers. ‘Everything they did I had ’em do. I mean I’m a director. I don’t wanna boast or anything like that, but I am an artist. And the thing is that sometimes artists are considered horrible after they direct something. Y’see those guys, they fell too far into my role, and then they didn’t like me after that. It happens in theatre and everything. But I can’tRead More →

In recent years it seems that every aspiring writer capable of pressing keys on a word processor has felt obliged to publish their attempt at telling the Captain Beefheart story. Many of these writers have skilfully bypassed the entire research stage and plunged headlong and brain-free into the telling of a story that they know little about, occasionally with hilariously half-baked results. Those of us who have gained a perverse enjoyment from these humdrum handbooks should prepare themselves for a severe disappointment – Mike Barnes can not only write, but he also knows what he’s talking about. Facetiousness aside, this is a marvellous read. CaptainRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review for the Beefheart biography was written by Julian Cowley and was taken from the July 2000 edition of The Wire.[/alert_box] As a small child, Don Vliet (the Van came later) collected hair from his Persian cat and moulded it into the likenesses of other animals. By the age of 13, he’d completed the mammals of North America and Africa, and had developed a special fondness for ayes-ayes, dik-diks and other strange lemurs. Then he moved onto fish. Mike Barnes acknowledges early on in his book the refined capacity of Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet’s magical persona, to embellish accounts of his ownRead More →

Published by Subterraneous Archives Press Pickpocket Poets Series #1 Price unknown 2000 28 pages plus 4 page insert Contents: Poems: The Stars Are Matter Odd Jobs Gil A Tin Peened Reindeer Tulip I Like The Way The Doo Dads Fly One Nest Rolls After Another Bleeding Golden Ladder Infra-Grams Brown Star You Should Know By The Kindness Of Uh Dog The Way Uh Human Should Be Lick My Decals Off Baby Doped In Stunned Mirages The Smith That Clear Out Stars (sic) Seam Crooked Sam Rockette Morton Winged Eel Fingerling Zoot Horn Rollo Ed Marimba Untitled A Christmas Card From Don van Vliet Three MonthsRead More →

Published by Rhino Handmade/Artist Ink Editions ISBN 0 7379 0284 1 Deluxe Slip Case (23.5cm x 32.5cm x 7cm) Limited Edition (1500) with original signed print. Individually numbered $500 2004 Contents: Signed Coloured Etching (20cm x 27cm) 2 Books (both 19cm x 25cm) – “Splinters” (96 pages) & “Riding Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh” (88 pages) One is a collection of photos, lyrics, artworks, cuttings plus the text of the pieces on the accompanying CD. The other includes an essay by Ben Watson and 60 colour plates of Don’s paintings and drawings. – See full list of artwork CD – “Riding Some Kind of UnusualRead More →

Contents: The Book – Riding Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh The Paintings Untitled (1967) Green Tom (1976) Flame and Speckled Chemistry (1976) Poinsettia (1976) Untitled (1977) Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1984) Avah Creen (1984) Red Shell Bats (1984) Egyptian Toss Up (1984) Pet Surprises pet surprising Pet (1984) Royal Hind Doer (1985) Pig Erases Statue in Passing (1985) Sixteen Chrome (1985) A Woman a Dog Walked By (1985) Fur on the Trellis and Just Up into the Air (1985) Measures Balance (1985) Two Rips in a Haystack (1985) Riding Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh (1986-87) China Pig (1986-87) The Navy BlueRead More →

Published by Ozit-Morpheus 2005 Thanks to Andy Bean for the cover scan Overview The cover may look familiar, which is not surprising because this is pretty much a straight copy of the first edition of the Lives & Times booklet. It’s smaller (about 6″ x 9″), with a glossy cover. Apparently it is a ‘limited addition’ (sic). A few extras have been added. There are four pages on Zappa inserted in the middle of the book (two pages from the Zappa Reprise press statement of 1971 or thereabouts, a cartoon, and a bad drawing). There are a few extra pages inserted of photos, flyers, ticketRead More →