Still of the Trout House from The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart

The Woodland Hills house on Ensenada Drive was the venue for the Magic Band’s endless rehearsals of Trout Mask Replica, and also where the Trout Mask Sessions on Grow Fins were recorded. Its inclusion at the Radar Station is a must! So many legendary stories surround this magical-looking building, which appeared to have been left to decay. Then in 2006 it was put up for sale, and in 2010 as well. Angel’s photographs of her & Chris’ trip to the Trout House John French’s response to these photographs … Stills of the Trout House from The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart See also: ConfluenceRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]March 2002, exclusive to beefheart.com[/alert_box] My first meeting with Don Van Vliet–whom I’ll just refer to as Beefheart–came on a rainy night about 12 hours before his wedding. It was November 1969; I was 19 years old. I was at my parent’s home in Northridge, California when the phone rang about 9:30 p.m. I thought it was my girlfriend whose house I had left an hour before. But it was my friend, Jan Jenkins. Jan had just been in a traffic accident while driving alone in Beefheart’s Volvo. She was not injured, but the Volvo had been towed. She needed a lift back toRead More →

Don Vliet's graduation photograph

Yes, it’s real. This is the graduation photograph listed for one Don Vliet in the high school yearbook at Antelope Valley High School, Lancaster, CA. Having jokingly claimed to have only spent half a day at kindergarten, this photograph would suggest otherwise. However, it is still possible that he did drop out as claimed. When I asked one person who was actually at school with both Don and Frank Zappa about this photograph, she replied: “Don dropped out sometime during his senior year and probably didn’t actually graduate. Knowing him, he probably found a way to don the cap and gown and get his pictureRead More →

Mode 7 Media Ltd

I have recently taken the plunge and become a freelance web designer and information architect. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and now the opportunity has arisen, I’m delighted. My new professional website is now live (though still a little rough around the edges) and available at www.mode7media.co.uk I’ve just published my first blog post there called Keep It Simple Smarty-Pants about the importance of simplicity on the web. If you or anyone you know needs the services of a freelance web designer / information architect please do get in touch, I’d be delighted to hear from you. Now that IRead More →

Don Van Vliet and Gary Lucas

Friday 8 April at the Knitting Factory Brooklyn. Featuring Gary Lucas “Ice Cream for Crow” video clip producer (and uncredited director) Ken Schreiber UK journalist Vivien Goldman CultureCatch.com’s Dusty Wright Fireparty’s own Brainpang avant-punk icon Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Film Society of Lincoln Center director Richard Pena Ramones/Iggy Pop manager Danny Fields vocalist Felice Rosser journalist Billy Altman pundit Byron Coley music and film critic Glenn Kenny poet Bob Holman and more Full info, tickets, etc at The Knit.  Hurry!  It’s tonight!Read More →

While touring in the UK in 1975, there was a concert we played in a medium sized hall somewhere lost in time, where a bus brought in a group of about 16 wheelchair-bound individuals.  After the concert ended, we were headed for our bus when Don stopped and watched as the handicapped individuals were tediously loaded one by one onto their bus.  Our bus driver, a bit impatient, called out that we could go, but Don refused to budge.  “I’m not leaving until they do.  They had the patience to go through all this trouble to come see me, and I’m going to show themRead More →

Anton Corbijn portrait of Don Van Vliet

We were very sorry to learn that Don Van Vliet passed away on Friday 17 December 2010 due to complications arising from multiple sclerosis. Tributes from friends, Magic Band members and fans have come thick and fast. Here are a few of them on beefheart.com and beyond: Steve’s initial beefheart.com post: Don Van Vliet 1941-2010 including many of your tributes My beefheart.com post: Don Van Vliet 1941-2010 including many of your tributes Art Tripp’s tribute to Don Bill Harkleroad’s tribute to Don John French’s tribute to Don – an absolutely lovely read, not to be missed Gary Lucas’s tribute to Don from The Wall StreetRead More →

Don’s gallery have announced that he died today. I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends and especially his wife Jan. We will miss you greatly, Don. Into the sun in my glider There’s a shadow beside her Up ‘n’ down through the blues Clouds give me my silent cues I’m up in my glider With a shadow beside her It begins to rain on her window pain Up in my glider There’s no shadow beside her Thundering ‘n’ lightning Gettin’ pretty frightenin’ I feel like an outsider Then the sun shows through ‘n’ right on cue There’s a shadow beside herRead More →

Savage Pencil on Gary Lucas and Dracula

Gary Lucas will be in London on Sunday 21 November to perform the UK premier of his new solo guitar score accompanying the 1931 Spanish-language “Dracula” at Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the London Jazz Festival. This event was just immortalized in a cartoon strip by the legendary Savage Pencil in the new issue of The Wire magazine: Click picture for large view. From The Wire issue 319 September 2010; reproduced by permission. More info about this event is available at Gary’s website, including reviews for the recent US premier of this show. Many thanks to Gary for the info.Read More →

WFMU

A postcard arrived through my door this morning from WFMU announcing their auction between 5 and 12 October promising “rare records, comics, art, useless ephemera and more!” One of the items on offer is a “signed print by Captain Beefheart” though I have no idea what this entails. It could be album artwork or it could be a print of a Don Van Vliet painting. All will become clear on 5th October at WFMU’s auction page. John Fahey fans will also be interested to learn that some of his artwork is similarly available. Oh, and some “Butthole Surfers toilet paper” too.Read More →

Trout House detail

Charlie Rosenkranz, the current owner of the Woodland Hills “Trout House” where the Magic Band lived and conceived Trout Mask Replica, emailed me today to say the house is on the market again. You can see the seller’s info online and it has some great interior shots which I’ve never seen before. My favourite is this detail of one of the doors: If you have a spare $325,000 and your enthusiasm for Trout Mask Replica knows no bounds, this would be an unbeatable bit of memorabilia. Charlie writes: It’s up for sale.  I injured myself several months ago and haven’t been able to work orRead More →

A new Tom Waits documentary DVD “Under The Influence” features interviews with John French (Magic Band drummer, arranger, latter-day front man and biographer).  Produced by Chrome Dreams (who also made Captain Beefheart Under Review a few years back)  the DVD dissects Waits’ varied influences and I think we can guess why Captain Beefheart’s right hand man was enlisted to help tell part of the story. Intriguingly there is an extra short on the DVD called “John French Spills The Beans” – perhaps just an extended interview. If you have any more info please do let me know or post it below.Read More →

Stephen Toman has just got in touch to alert me to his recent John “Drumbo” French interview which has just been published online.  Don’t miss it: lots of John’s thoughts about the Magic Band, the book, the reunion and far beyond. Many thanks, Stephen. John French’s book, Beefheart Through The Eyes Of Magic is available now from Amazon and elsewhere, don’t forget to buy your copy.Read More →