This item has been updated with a new post, Even more treats at The Knit, 2 April 2008. Update – 9 March 2008 Wednesday 9th April at The Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard Street, New York City. Gary Lucas curates Beefheart Night at the Knit, a salute to the Music, Poetry and Art of Don Van Vliet, a/k/a Captain Beefheart. Proceedings beginning at 8:00pm with a screening of rare Beefheart videos and documentaries and the spinning of unreleased tracks. This is followed by a reading of Don Van Vliet’s poetry, and reminiscences by special guests including: Lee Ranaldo Alan Vega Roswell Rudd Kurt Loder
The latest edition of The Idler magazine contains a nice piece about Captain Beefheart accompanying a series of quotes from the man himself. It’s only a smallish piece and many of the quotes may already be familiar to you, so just consider this a flimsy excuse to plug one of my favourite things. The Idler is undoubtedly the finest publication I have ever had the pleasure to read. Published approximately twice a year in colourful nice-smelling A5 soft-back book format it extols the virtues, pleasures and techniques of a more contemplative, less pointless existence. I’ve been an avid reader for almost all of my adult
A new exhibition of 15 of Don Van Vliet’s paintings opens today and runs until 6 July at the Anton Kern Gallery in New York. There is a catalogue of the exhibition and it includes a preface by Polly Harvey. More information, a press release and nine paintings from the exhibition can be viewed at the Anton Kern Gallery website along with a press release. How I would love to attend – if you make it to the exhibition please do let us all know by posting a report to this blog.
Don is 66 today and so we would like to wish him felicitations, congratulations and commendations for many happy and healthy returns. All of us here at beefheart.com would like to express our thanks to Don for his great art which will never be forgotten as long as there’s a fly’s eye to see it with. Our smiles are most certainly stuck. If you need a soundtrack for your evening, there can be only one choice – break out the urine coloured lights and sing along to “Happy Birthday.”
I’ve received a note from Mike Bugbee who provided us with his excellent eye-witness account of Don and Jan’s wedding a few years ago. He’s got a book coming out soon (unrelated to the wedding) and Michael Bugbee is the author of a soon-to-be-published novel, Notes from Hotel Misterioso, from Mline Books. The official publication date is April 1, 2007, but beginning in January 2007 prepublication copies are available through www.mlinebooks.com, $14.95 U.S. or $17.95 Canadian plus shipping. Inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t read Mike’s wedding account yet, you really should – it is one of my very favourite items here on beefheart.com and
I’ve just received the following message from Spencer Pope: Big Eyed Beans from Venus, the Athens GA based Captain Beefheart tribute band, are playing in Atlanta GA on November 16th. We will be joined by Rockette Morton and Denny Walley. The show is at the Five spot, starts at 9:30 and costs 7 dollars. Many thanks for the tip-off Spencer, if any beefheart.com visitors make it along to the gig please do post your comments here.
I have just received the following statement for the site from John French: Well, all good things must come to an end as they say… After a lot of painful deliberation, we decided to no longer pursue the Magic Band reunion project. There are a lot of reasons, but rather than going on about booking agents not collecting deposits, promoters who didn’t pay, fraudulent contracts etc., I thought it would be a good idea just to say “thanks” to some of the people who made things possible. Pre – 2003 Graham Johnston (beefheart.com founder, great friendship and support) Derek Laskie (webmaster, beefheart.com) Steve Froy (very
A nice feature about Captain Beefheart has just gone online in one of The Guardian’s podcasts. Beefheart fan Jon Dennis chats to John Harris (author of the Guardian’s recent Mission: Unlistenable) about how best to get into Beefheart and why people should bother. Their conclusion? Leave Trout Mask Replica to the hardcore weirdos, Clear Spot is one of the greatest albums ever recorded and everyone should be listening to it. It’s hard to disagree. I have often felt that our tendency to bang on about Trout Mask Replica as a pinnacle of artistic achievement in music (which I think it is) has probably done Beefheart
Arthur Lee died on Thursday. Guardian article Guardian obituary Independent obituary Luckier in Love than later in life BBC news item Your tributes at the BBC Arthur Lee videos on YouTube Needless to say it’s a very sad day here at beefheart.com. It’s hard to grasp that the charismatic, vital and seemingly unstoppable performer that re-emerged five years ago on a determined mission to raise the profile of his great music has gone and there are no more shows. No more “Seven And Seven Is” encores, no more spine tingles caused by a solitary tambourine tap tap tapping the intro to “Little Red Book”, no
It’s not quite a full theme, but certainly enough sound files to “annoy your colleagues, family and friends” to quote Simon Pardoe who created them. The Beefheart sound files are available at Simon’s website.
The legendary house in which Trout Mask Replica was endlessly rehearsed is up for sale. For $849,900 you can own and (hopefully) preserve a property of considerable historical importance to all Beefheart fans. Why is it so important? This is the house where a poverty stricken Magic Band were kept under virtual house arrest while honing the impossibly intricate album Trout Mask Replica, and subjected to virtual brain washing sessions to “help” coax the unique music out of them. The music was written here; painstakingly transcribed by John French, taught to the band and many tracks on Trout Mask were even recorded here –
After over seven years of beaming it out from the Radar Station, I’ve finally decided to call it a day for our streaming radio show (only the radio show, the rest of the site is very much here to stay!). The web is now awash with music and far better radio shows and there just doesn’t seem to be any need for me to add to the hubbub any longer. It was a fairly innovative idea back in early 1999 when I first started broadcasting via the web – I wasn’t aware of any other fan sites which gave their visitors something to listen to
Anyone into downloading music legally but without the annoying restrictions that come with most online music services may be interested to know that several Beefheart and Beefheart-related albums are available on E-Music now. E-Music offers top quality mp3s free of all DRM restrictions – you can copy them, keep them, burn them to CD, transfer them to a portable, delete them and download them again all at no extra cost. It’s also very reasonably priced. You will currently find the following Beefheart related items on E-Music: Grow Fins (essential Beefheart rarities box set from Revenant) 21st Century Mirror Men (excellent reformed Magic Band live album)
The new documentary DVD is out today and, although I’m yet to see it, the pre-release reviews have got me salivating. See reviews at: Play.com Idiotbastard (scroll right down to the videos section) Entertainment Weekly Video Watchdog CMJ Music First Cult Clash You can also view a short 1.6mb clip at MVD featuring a segment of the Cannes Beach performance. Update 26/04: See our Derek’s review for beefheart.com in which he goes into much more detail about his misgivings for this project than those expressed in the comments within this post. Order Captain Beefheart Under Review from Amazon.co.uk Order Captain Beefheart Under Review from Amazon.com
A box-set collection of Knebworth Festival-related memorabilia is available to accompany a book of memoirs by Knebworth organiser Freddy Bannister; including some Beefheart material. Frederick Bannister was the promoter of many of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s UK concerts in the 70s. He also organised the famous Knebworth Festivals at which not only Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa appeared but a host of other important acts too. Bannister has written his rock ‘n’ roll memoirs (which include quite a few Beefheart anecdotes) and has published them under the title ‘There Must Be A Better Way’. The book is available as part of a boxed
The second part of Derek Laskie’s interview with Herb Bermann, legendary writing partner of Don Van Vliet in the early days of the Magic Band is now available and is just as fascinating as part one. At one point Herb expresses his annoyance with something written about him in Mike Barnes’ biography of Don Van Vliet. I’m puzzled by his suggestion that Barnes should “do his homework” – I’d like to stress on the writer’s behalf that this is clearly a very well researched biography. Herb Bermann features only very briefly in the story which, despite his momentous contribution to one of my all time
Ivor Cutler died on Friday. He will be very much missed in this household and I’m sure many people who found something invaluable in Beefheart will also have found something invaluable in Ivor Cutler. The following obituaries have appeared in the mainstream UK press so far: The Guardian The Guardian’s Culture Vulture blog entry The Telegraph The Times The BBC Andy Kershaw’s tribute – Andy’s show this Sunday night will feature a classic Peel session from February 1979. I still have some unused tickets for what would have been his last appearance here in Brighton about 4 years ago. The concert was postponed due to
Not strictly Beefheart related, but I thought I’d let you know that WFMU’s fund-rasing marathon is now on and I’d urge any of you who ever enjoy WFMU to support the station and make a donation to keep them going another year. If any of you haven’t ever enjoyed WFMU then it’s about time you started. It’s entirely listener-supported, no advertising, no government grants and so they play exactly what they want to play – the broadest range of specialist, adventurous, odd and downright fun music available anywhere in the world. Beefheart related items from the WFMU archive: The Golden Birdies comic 2002 Don Van
The Radar Station is very proud to present the first part of an extensive telephone interview with Don Van Vliet’s early writing partner, Herb Bermann. This partnership has been such a mystery for the last four decades that many have postulated that he didn’t even exist. Herb Bermann would like to happily confirm that he does exist and has spoken exclusively to Derek Laskie about his work with Don Van Vliet. Herb’s interview reveals a wealth of previously unpublished detail about the early history of Captain Beefheart and may well be the most historically significant item yet on beefheart.com for those trying to unravel the
Our Beefheart discussion list, The Fire Party is now fully functional once more, come and join us. We’ve had a few technical problems over the last few weeks since the whole website and list moved to a new host and these have now been resolved thanks to much help from Conor McMahon – thanks Conor. The Fire Party is a lively group consisting of Magic Band members past and present, various young and old farts at play, the informed and the curious, and has the finest collective taste in music this side of funeral hill. Short of the Sheriff of Hong Kong himself, if you