[alert_box type=”info”]Dennis recalls the time when Don would regularly pop by to visit.[/alert_box] In 1981, a friend and I were shopping for spirits at a “liquor supermarket” in Lancaster, California by the name of “Liquor Barn” (My friends name is Matt Livingston, and as far as I know, he lives in Palmdale, CA currently.) We were searching for the cheapest bottle of vodka we could find, when suddenly I heard a VERY LOW VOICE ask: “Is there really a difference between expensive and inexpensive vodkas?” Of course, he was talking to himself. My friend Matt spotted him instantly, and whispered “That’s Captain Beefheart….” We struckRead More →

Captain Beefheart has definitely functioned as the guru for me. I was always on the lookout for something strange, something different. Not just a different kind of music, but a different kind of experience. All great artists transmit a genuine form of experience by allowing the creative potential and energy of their consciousness to be shared with others. Only the purist artist does it for free. What I am talking about is freedom. Beefheart’s music, art, words and presence for me has always been a great experience of the reality of freedom. You don’t need to take drugs in order to experience the infinite. JustRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Dominic is struck by the Captain for the first time…[/alert_box] Here is my recollection of my first listening to the Spotlight Kid. (the artist- not that particular album! hehehee) In 1973 and at the age of 16, I went to New York from my hometown of St. Louis to see Jethro Tull perform ‘A Passion Play’ at The Garden and the Nassau Colluseum with a New Jersey couple, Ron Lorman and Lisa who were students at Webster College that I had met at the Tull shows here two weeks earlier. *shwew* One night between shows we were hanging at thier apartment when he handsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]An example of the Captain’s often enormous hospitality from Danny Houston.[/alert_box] There used to be a great club in Glasgow, Scotland called The Maryland, and the owner Willie Cuthbertson (one of the great unacknowledged heroes of Scottish Rock) brought Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band up to play at a place called the Kelvin Hall. This venue was famous already in the halls of rock n roll fame as the site of the Kinks first “Live” album. Because we knew Willie he promised to take us back stage to meet the Captain before the concert. We were all massive Beefheart fans – there wereRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]D. Whitney Quinn witnesses a stage invasion at a Magic Band gig.[/alert_box] I have had the pleasure of seeing Beefheart at least a dozen times between 1972 and 1980, starting with “Clear Spot” line-up. The first time I saw him he was headlining at a theater-in-the-round in Phoenix, Arizona in 1973, and Little Feat was the opening act. It was a rather bizarre venue – the moving stage did a full revolution every five minutes, so although all the seats were close the perspective kept changing. After Little Feat put on a superb show, there was a lull between sets, and then suddenly, some… GUYSRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Eric tells his story of a meeting with the Captain and how he came to be the proud owner of a Don Van Vliet sketch.[/alert_box] Some of the finer points of this tail may be a little out due to memory loss… but this is the gist of it: It was the Clear Spot tour in the UK in ’73. We had seen it in Liverpool, where we all lived, and his next venue was Preston at the Preston Guild Hall. One of our gang was a guy called Tony, he was a rather slim Irish character with a larger than life personality. HeRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Bob pays tribute to the Captain’s music, but offers a dissenting voice about the paintings…[/alert_box] I discovered Don Van Vliet through a demo album of Frank Zappa’s music. The first album I heard was “Trout Mask Replica,” and I was taken with the freedom of the lyrics he creates as well as the looseness of the musical conception, without sacrificing a certain kind of rigor. His punning and word-play reminded me of James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, a bit of e. e. cummings. You could make your own associations. The music reminded me of a kid with an ear who has no training, sitting downRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Scott recalls his parents’ reaction to the Magic Band’s Saturday Night Live appearance.[/alert_box] In 1980, as a 15-year old I had been reading Lester Bangs’ articles about Captain Beefheart in “Musician” magazine (which turned out to be amazingly accurate and descriptive), and was quite interested to learn more about what this supposedly amazing music sounded like. However, I didn’t have the money to actually buy the records – and believe me, noone else in Sparta, Illinois had them to loan to me. One night I was interested to notice in our T.V. Guide that Beefheart was playing on that night’s “Saturday Night Live”, aRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Many thanks to Simon for sending his friend’s poetic tribute along.[/alert_box] you fucked with language like no fucker had done before you turned a three minute noise into a ribcage and tuned the bones to different scales with a genius lifted tuning fork the greatest composer of the 21st century not bad for a man whose greatest work was done in Trout Mask Replica but a replica of what if anything? the river fishes swim on land and kill all the humans and i fail to notice. i am crucified above an altar of dead desert reptiles a church in the shape of yourRead More →

I was a sixteen year old Gong freak – an affliction I still bear now – days would go by as I would entertain my friends with the floating ambient prog that was the Radio Gnome Trilogy. They preferred the less subtle strains of Ozzy era Black Sabbath (can’t knock that) and the post Nirvana grunge explosion. Strangely enough they were not overly taken with the sound. They were even more resistant to my Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman records (although my old R’n’B and soul ones were all right). I couldn’t stand Pearl Jam and the such like and I started to find myselfRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Richard Rainey on his first encounters with the Magic Band.[/alert_box] I went to school in England in ‘67-‘68, and discovered the John Peel show on the BBC on Sunday afternoons. I figured I had pretty good taste at the time, with my favorite groups being the Who, Beatles, Kinks, Cream, Doors, Love, Jimi, et al. And oh yes, don’t let me forget the greatest, baddest of all, the true Mother of all Bands, the STONES! So, one Sunday after finishing my studies and knocking off a few righteous hits of some really potent, pungent black Afghani, I turned on the radio.. JESUS CHRIST! WhatRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Tom Ellis’ story of a wasted opportunity.[/alert_box] I have been listening since Safe As Milk, and fondly remember my days in the sixties when I worked quite hard to become comfortable with a trio of artists – Beefheart, Ornette and the AACM – a time that was highly rewarding and from which my musical tastes continue to grow. I can honestly say I was the only surfer in North Florida then listening to this stuff, and it isolated me from most of my friends who were getting into Hendrix and other stuff. My other great love is Paul Butterfield, about whom I have writtenRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Joe Henderson writes about a surreal moment at a Magic Band gig.[/alert_box] I was interested in something I saw in one of the links from this site–a photo from one John Petraitus taken of a Zappa/Beefheart concert in Bloomington, Illinois, May, 1975. My girlfriend and I were at the next show (or the one before?) in St. Louis. It’s been so long ago that I don’t remember much about the concert, but one thing will always stick out for me. When the show finally began (after an interminable set by the band Styx featuring their unconvincing evocation of Jimi Hendrix with a psychedelic versionRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Bruce Kirschbaum told us his tale of woe in 1999.[/alert_box] The only time I remember Beefheart having played L.A. was, (I believe), in late 1979 or early 1980 at a gig at the Whiskey. Naturally, I was there. Several months later, I’m writing for some piece of crap “hip, late-nite comedy show” called “Fridays”. After the show one night, the lady who does publicity for the program, (I think she’s currently Arnold Schwarzenegger’s P.R. person), suggests we go to Canter’s for something to eat (a famous local all night deli). I hardly even knew this woman, but since I had vague hopes of maybeRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Charles Gee tells his superb story about his meeting with the Captain at the 1972 Bickershaw Festival. Highly recommended reading.[/alert_box] In 1972 I lived in Manchester. Not that far from Bickershaw, so when the festival arrived a group of us decided we would be fools not to go. We arrived on Friday evening and put our tent up outside the concert perimeter and went in. My recollections of the groups who were on Friday night are not vivid. I remember being impressed by Doctor John, as he threw his sparkly dust into the evening sky, but that’s about it. Saturday was much more memorable.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Melvin de Snoids recounts his live exposure to Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band in 1970.[/alert_box] The first time I saw Captain Beefheart was in 1970 [1971 – Graham] at the Paramount Theatre in Portland, Oregon, shortly after the Lick My Decals, Baby album came out. My band-mates and I were sitting front-row, centre, along with our friend Matt Groening, who had introduced us to Beefheart via the Trout Mask Replica LP. First, Ed Marimba came out to a lone microphone that was center-stage, in front of the closed curtains. He was wearing the full-blown evening-suit with tails that he wore on the DecalsRead More →

I’m very pleased to present an excellent musical tribute to the Captain by Bulbous Boy Slim aka Andy Throat. These two tunes were constructed solely from Trout Mask Replica samples (along with a heavy dose of patience) with very pleasing results. Andy is probably very bored at work as you read this, and he would love to hear your comments. Contact him at andy_throat@hotmail.com with your offers of sex, insults or anything in between. Many thanks to Andy for passing these along. Sugar Fart Atomiser by Bulbous Boy Slim (2,458K) Samples from: Old Fart At Play (vocal) Sugar ‘N’ Spikes (everything else) Blimp N Bass byRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the Stand Up To Be Discontinued exhibition book.[/alert_box] In the early 1970s the voice of Don Van Vliet, alias Captain Beefheart, was a signal and a proof that something else is possible -that nothing has to stay the way it is. His music came out of a space in which the power of existing laws was broken. It expanded the framework of the imaginable, for the members of a generation whose own attitudes and ideas embodied a radical aspiration, but who had let their own lives be defined by a set of descriptions and signs over which they had virtually no control.Read More →