[alert_box type=”info”]This excellent interview was taken from the 1st May 1980 edition of Wet magazine. The photograph is by Leonard X and the drawing is by Don Van Vliet.[/alert_box] Captain Beefheart is a visionary / madman / genius who makes remarkably original music. A sculptor / painter / poet / philosopher of the primitive surrealist persuasion, Beefheart has never confined himself to the commonly accepted realm of possibilities. Perceiving the universe with magic and gleeful eyes, he tosses conventional approaches to language and music out of the window, and replaces them with an astonishing system of his own design. His startlingly irregular music marries ruralRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This interview is from the January 1979 edition of the New York Rocker. The informal chat covers topics such as New Wave, cleanliness, and Don’s selling of a vacuum cleaner to Aldous Huxley.[/alert_box] The stars are matter. We’re matter. What’s the diff, Zoot? Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, has emerged after six years of semi-retirement with a great album. Since the release of Clear Spot in late ’72, offerings from the Beefheart camp have been both infrequent and less than heartening. Even Van Vliet dismisses outright the two muffed Mercury albums, Unconditionally Guaranteed and Bluejeans and Moonbeams, and apart from guest shots onRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This curious oddity was a prank that first appeared in a Baltimore Maryland newspaper, The Sun, on 8th September 1973. The autographed version that you see below later appeared in an underground publication from 1985 called “DDC#040.002 #3”, published by “tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE”.[/alert_box] This was very kindly sent to me by Brainpang – many thanks to him for this bizarre curio. Joan Lobell is a Beefheart fan who, in 1973, thought it would be amusing to announce her engagement to none other than ‘Captain Don Van Vliet Beefheart, USAF’ in the local paper. Five years later she ended up meeting Don at a MagicRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from Creem Magazine, mid 1972. Many thanks to Andrew for the info about this piece.[/alert_box] WHAT DOES one say to a man who, at the age of three, used to talk with lions inside their cages? How does one cope with a greeting – ‘Haven’t I met you somewhere before’ ‘No, I don’t think so, actually.’ ‘Weren’t you at my concert last night? Weren’t you sitting up there (he points) in a group of seven in a box. That’s where I’ve seen you.’ It’s all very easy when one is talking to Captain Beefheart. My journalist’s paranoia which had beenRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This interview with Don Van Vliet was taken from the 19th March 1972 edition of Crawdaddy[/alert_box] “New York is a slow turtle with diarrhea” says Captain Beefheart, alias the Spotlight Kid, alias Don Van Vliet. The Anderson Theatre is in that area of New York now known as the Lower East Side. Once it was called The Last Village, when Flower Power sowed its stone fields with the waifs and strays and prophets of the New America. Even if it is no longer a cool ‘n groovy place to live, let alone hang out on a Saturday night, some Junior Entrepreneurs chose the AndersonRead More →

Refusal of leave to land report

On the 18th January 1968, The Magic Band were involved in a bizarre and humorous incident which resulted in their being refused entry to the UK and deported to Hanover. Here is the cover sheet and text of the official report – the text originally came from the Edinburgh Review no. 86. Refusal of Leave to Land (Remarks) Mr VLIET was detained in the approved detention quarters in the Queen’s Building from 1230 hours until 1700 hours. He had previously remained in the Arrivals Hall. Mr VLIET is the leader of an american “pop group” known as Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, which specialises in so-calledRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]It’s Albert Sica’s boat, The Octafish![/alert_box] She sits in a slip on a busy waterway in North Wildwood, NJ. (same slip since 1989). While I get many compliments on the name, no one has ever made the connection to Trout Mask… What gives, aren’t there any Beefheart fans that boat in the Altantic in South Jersey? – Albert SicaRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Tom Flackman kindly sent along a scan of the cover of the February 2001 issue of the Sweedish magazine, Vi.[/alert_box] [wp_quote] I’m Tom Flackman in Stockholm, Sweden, Beef-fan and assistant editor at “Vi Magazine”. I thought I should show you the cover of our latest issue. Yes, it’s a hommage à Captain Beefheart, but there’s nothing in this issue that’s connected to The Man. The cover is there to promote the food section (fish recipes…). But basically, it’s an esoteric blink to my Beefheart buddies. I was totally baffled when my boss said OK to this idea. [/wp_quote] – Tom FlackmanRead More →

Well the only time I ever saw Don was at Knebworth around 1974/5 when they used to have those outdoor festivals in the summer. Remember? I was watching with some friends, having never previously heard any of his stuff at all. I can plainly remember John Peel coming on and introducing Don this way: ‘here he is: the guvnor!’, clearly remembered even though I was undergoing an artificially-induced religious experience… I was scared to death. The only way I could survive was to lie down between the legs of a mate’s girlfriend for an hour or so, while the man did his set and IRead More →

I have been a Beefheart fan for about 30 years now and have many stories I could tell about how I feel and about collecting his music etc., but will save all that for another time. One story I would like to tell, though: I saw The Captain at Irving Plaza in NYC the day after John Lennon was killed (12/9/80.) The crowd was in a melancholy mood, waiting for the show to start. When the Captain finally hit the stage, he began the show with an improvised soprano sax solo, which lasted for a few minutes. When it was over, he bent over theRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]First encounters with Trout Mask Replica…[/alert_box] I must admit – Captain Beefheart’s music is an acquired thang. But once you acquire it – there’s no turning back, as the devout will tell you. When I first bought Trout Mask Replica (on the day of its release!), it was merely because at the time I thought anything Zappa was involved with – directly or indirectly, HAD to be good (little did I know). I brought it home and was appalled that there was not only one, but two records full of a hideous confused barrage of garble. This was the untrained ear’s interpretation. I couldn’tRead More →

I am writing to you from my home in Colorado around midnight. I have been a longtime Cap’n B fan (since 1972) when I first had my reality changed by way of Lick My Decals Off. I was only 15 at the time and living in Brooklyn, NY, where I was born and raised. It was my brother who first introduced me to the Magic Band. What remains to this day as some of the coolest things I have ever witnessed are the concerts. I had heard, from my brother and his crew, fabulous stories of the live Magic Band. How Rockette Morton would doRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Steve on the lonely life of the Beefheart fan.[/alert_box] Why do I like Beefheart? Hmmm……. not easy to answer. Maybe I should start with ‘how’… I think my story will be echoed by other fans in the UK. In 1966/67 the music scene exploded. Although those years are parodied or ridiculed by many they were critical in the freeing of music and it is difficult to explain how radically things were changed. The frontrunners – The Beatles and The Stones – were experimenting with new sounds, but the most exciting music seemed to be coming from the American West Coast. Weird music played by bandsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Robert writes about seeing The Magic Band in the Netherlands, and meeting Don.[/alert_box] I first got to know about Captain Beefheart through the music of Frank Zappa. I didn’t know what to do with this strange music. The story of the Simpsons guy, Matt Groening, is very accurate. I had exactly the same experience: I got Trout Mask Replica on tape and it all sounded very messy, as if there were no different songs on the album. My recording was of a German Straight pressing which had no song seperation – confusing. Then, in November 1980 the Captain was coming to the Netherlands. AtRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Voot Zombo writes about the Magic Band’s peculiar percussion.[/alert_box] While standing outside the theatre waiting to get in to see Beefheart just after the release of The Spotlight Kid, the road crew was bringing the band’s equipment in through the side alley door. My friend and I were checking out the Magic Band’s drum cases and were confused by what was stenciled on them in large letters: CAUTION – LIQUID DRUM SET. What the hell is a liquid drum set? Finally, after sitting through too many opening bands (including The Pure Food and Drug Act with Harvey Mandell and Sugar Cane Harris on electricRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Here Jack Keck tells just why this song means so much to him….[/alert_box] Hi, I’m a civil servant in the greater Detroit area. I am married and have a son who is 13 years old. My first exposure to Captain Beefheart was when I heard “The Clouds are full of Wine…” on the radio (It was on WABX for anybody who may be familiar with Detroit radio on the late sixties-early seventies). I did not think much of it at the time. Maybe a year or so later, (about summer, 1973) I was at the house of some friends listening to records. One ofRead More →