I’m pleased to welcome a new contributor to the Radar Station. Sam Smyth has been running one of the better Beefheart pages on Facebook for several years now and has a good following. He has been producing some interesting content which I thought deserved a wider audience. Although Facebook does have its uses, when it comes to searching for relevant posts you have to wade through a lot of sludge to find the diamonds. I didn’t want Sam’s posts to get lost so I offered him the opportunity share his posts on the Radar Station as means of archiving them, and making them available toRead More →

In late October/early November 1969, a few days after playing at the Amougies Festival in Belgium, Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) and Frank Zappa plus Magic Band member Mark Boston (aka Rockette Morton) made an appearance at the famous London club The Speakeasy, joining the band Juicy Lucy on stage. They were also joined by Cream drummer Ginger Baker and played a set that included Willie The Pimp. Juicy Lucy later covered Willie The Pimp on their second album Lie Back and Enjoy It, released in 1970 (the back cover of that album is featured at the bottom of this post). This live performanceRead More →

On Friday November 13th 1970 Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band were scheduled to play a live show at the Berkeley Community Theatre in Berkeley, California. The supporting act for the show was to be the avant garde musical theatre troupe The Cockettes, who usually performed in drag. The Cockettes had planned to premiere their brand new show Pearls Over Shanghai. However, the show was cancelled completely after Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) had gone to see the troupe beforehand and was not impressed with what he saw, as recounted in this link: https://www.beatbooks.com/pages/books/38991/pearls-over-shanghai (sadly the original info on this link has disappeared) Pearls OverRead More →

Penguin Family Date: 1937 Size: 33cm high by 22cm wide. Thanks to Filipe for sharing this with us. As a sign of his friendship Rodrigues gave Filipe’s grandparents a sculpture of a family of penguins … the smaller one representing Filipe’s father who was about 10 years old at the time.   Horse’s Head Thanks to Judson Kemsley for sending us a photograph of this exquisite sculpture of a horse’s head. It is signed and dated 1953. Size: 33cm x 18cm x 10cm. Unknown medium. Koi Crap Date: 1951 Size: 26.5cm x 23cm Mask Date: 1953 Ape Date: unknown (possibly 1952) Cat Date: 1953 Size: 40cmRead More →

Here are copies of various documents and photographs relating to Agostinho Rodrigues that I have come across. Thanks to Ann Hallman and Corey George for sending me various items. Agostinho Rodrigues – Catalogue (19Mb pdf – note large size of file) A 31 page catalogue of sculptures and architectural features that Rodrigues was selling at the time. Probably late 1950s early 1960s. Apologies for the quality of some of the images but this is a very rare item. Agostinho Rodrigues Co – ‘Vidro’ Pamphlet (pdf) To quote from the pamphlet “Agostinho Rodrigues Co. introduces ‘Vidro’. A new glass product combining extreme strength and durability withRead More →

Publisher ‏: ‎ Sonicbond Publishing Date of Publication : 26 August 2022 Language : ‎ English Paperback‏ : ‎ 160 pages ISBN-10 : ‎ 1789522358 ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-1789522358 Dimensions : ‎ 14.96 x 1.24 x 20.57 cm Extract from blurb: Few Bands are as influential. The Beatles, The Fall, PJ Harvey and Tom Waits all pay homage, while The Magic Band have inspired a myriad of tribute bands and created a mythology like no other. This book sets the history of the band in context, analysing every track and interpreting the music with its poetic content. It is essential reading for diehard fans andRead More →

Tracklist Side One 1. Yellow Brick Road 2. Abba Zabba 3. Sure ‘Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do 4. Electricity 5. Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smokin’ Stones 6. Safe As Milk 7. Kandy Korn Side Two 1. Trust Us 2. Steal Softly Thru Snow 3. Click Clack 4. Golden Birdies 5. I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby Publicity Blurb Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band are showcased over 12 tracks recorded live for radio and TV. The material is sourced from two 1968 sessions for John Peel plus a 1972 appearance on Beat Club and features tracks from four different Beefheart LPs. Beat Club tracks are excellent soundRead More →

An interesting experiment has turned up on Youtube. Using AI software Ant 2 Man Bee has deconstructed the Trout Mask album. He’s taken each of the songs and isolated each individual track, breaking it down so you can hear Mark’s bass, John’s drums, Bill’s guitar, Jeff’s guitar and Don’s vocals separately. As Ant 2 Man bee explains: I was shocked at how good the neural net was after I tested using Sugar ‘n Spikes. While it isn’t perfect, it is still amazing how quickly the technology evolved when just a few years ago you couldn’t isolate instrumentations from whole songs without having a very goodRead More →

A look at the November 2022 Record Store Day release of a double vinyl set to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Clear Spot album. Tracklist Sides 1 and 2 as to be expected are the same as the original release. Side 3 Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man (Early Mix) Clear Spot (Rough Mix) [Instrumental] Crazy Little Thing (Rough Mix) [Instrumental] Dirty Blue Gene (Rough Mix) [Instrumental] Big Eyed Beans From Venus (Rough Mix) [Instrumental] Kiss Where I K’aint Side 4 Sun Zoom Spark (Rough Mix) [Instrumental] Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man (Rough Mix) [Instrumental] Little Scratch Low Yo Yo StuffRead More →

A new exhibition of Don’s artworks opens on 16 November 2022 at the Michael Werner Gallery, 50 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, New York. the gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm. From the gallery’s press release: Michael Werner Gallery, East Hampton is pleased to present Don Van Vliet: Cold Furniture, an exhibition of paintings and works on paper … Art critic John Yau explains the way in which Van Vliet achieves mastery over sound, tone, word, and image through synchronous engagement with his senses: “Dream, sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch are inextricable aspects of his experience. For Van Vliet, one ofRead More →

Rhino are set to release a two disc clear vinyl of the Clear Spot album as part of Record Store Day Black Friday on 25th November 2022. This will be a limited edition of 8000 (according to the Rhino website) or 4500 (according to the Record Store Day site)! The original album has been recut from the original master tapes at Bernie Grundman Mastering, plus there is an additional LP of rare studio outtakes, alternate versions, and previously unreleased instrumental rough mixes from the Clear Spot sessions. At the time of writing no track list has been published which leaves us to speculate as toRead More →

Don is included as part of a group exhibition at the Kewenig Galerie, Bruderstrasse 10, Berlin from 9 September 2022 to 29 October 2022 curated by David Dorrell. This exhibition is described as: A survey of the interface between the worlds of the aural and the visual is presented by KEWENIG with ‘Paracusia: Of Sounds & Visions’, mapped through works from artists as diverse in approach as Helen Chadwick, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Kimsooja, Haroon Mirza, Chris Newman, Camille Norment, Sean Scully, Jeremy Shaw, Liliane Tomasko, Naama Tsabar, Don Van Vliet, and Marcelo Viquez. Paracusia seeks to trace the kaleidoscopic steps of this existential tango betweenRead More →

Released August 2022 on Madfish SMACD1214 (Double vinyl released November 2022) Radar Station Review by Steve Froy This is one review I thought I would never be writing but here we are. Jeff Cotton has released his first solo album after a 50 year break from the music business. Jeff had already been a professional musician for several years before joining Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band in late 1967. He would go on to achieve legendary status amongst fans for his guitar work on Mirror Man, Strictly Personal and Trout Mask Replica. On leaving the Beefheart band he launched another band that would becomeRead More →

As  a taster for his new album, The Fantasy of Reality, to be released on 12 August by Madfish, Jeff has produced this video for his ‘single’ from the album. The track ‘Does It Work For You’ is the opener to the album and features Jeff’s trademark slide guitar work. It’s a strong comeback by this talented musician. Preorder the album – https://jeffcotton.lnk.to/fantasyofreality Here’s a message from Jeff: Greetings and Aloha to all my music loving friends! The single, Does it Work for You, the first tune on my new album, “The Fantasy of Reality,” exemplifies the overall sentiment of this new work. I sincerelyRead More →

To say this is long awaited would be an understatement … Magic Band and Mu alumni Jeff Cotton, aka Antennae Jimmy Semens, announces his debut solo album The Fantasy of Reality – available on CD and digital on 12 August via Madfish. Pre-order/Save: https://JeffCotton.lnk.to/FantasyOfReality Trout Mask Replica cover designer Cal Schenkel returns to contribute to the internal artwork to continue the Captain Beefheart canon into the 2020s. Now blending together musical strands such as jazz, delta blues, Hawaiian and the avant-garde to create a melting pot of ideas, Jeff Cotton will astonish fans with his comeback.  Read More →

The great John Peel’s record and memorabilia collection is, sadly, in the process of being dismantled. On 14 June 2022 two hundred items will be auctioned by Bonhams, the London auction house, under the heading Live In Session. Property From The John Peel Archive There are a few Beefheart related items which are of interest. Firstly, there is An Acetate Recording Of The Album, Strictly Personal, described as : a double-sided, 12inch disc, with DCT Recorders Hollywood labels with typewritten recording details, some variations in track titles, in black, die-cut paper sleeve It has an auction estimate of £3000 – £4000 (Sold for £4462.50 inc. buyer’sRead More →

I’ve been sent information by Frederica Caliandro who hosts an Italian web radio series called ‘Art Around Music’. On Thursday 12th May 2022 at 6pm she will be presenting a show about Don: The fortnightly appointment with ART AROUND MUSIC by Ki Kal Federica Caliandro is with Don Van Vliet alias CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, a total and experimental artist. Musician, songwriter, sculptor and painter active through the seventies and eighties, disseminating art everywhere, as intriguing and hypnotic as chaotic and oblique. Appointment in streaming on https://webradio.admr-chiari.it or via the ADMR Rock Web Radio app From the site you can also download the podcasts of previous episodesRead More →

In May 1968 the band were touring Europe and they performed at the Palazzo della Sport as part of the Rome Pop Festival. The BBC filmed parts of the festival for a 40 minute programme which was broadcast in the UK. Sadly there’s less than a minute of footage showing the band in full flight with a recording of Sure Nuff N Yes I Do played over the top. It’s unknown if more of their performance was filmed and even if it was it has been long lost to the cutting room floor. What a film that could have been!     The full BBCRead More →