The Magic Band have booked two dates for a very short tour during Summer 2016. Thursday 14 July – Under The Bridge, Fulham, UK –  Friday 15 July – Zappanale #27, Bad Doberan, Germany – That’s all, folks, unfortunately! However, they might be back in the UK at the end of the year Photo by John Bentley    Read More →

Having been a fan for so many years it’s easy sometimes to think that you’ve seen just everything there is out there about Don and the band. But every now and then something new creeps unexpectedly out of the woodwork. Just recently two such things have come to light within the same week on ebay. The first is a stunning photo taken backstage at the Rome Pop Festival on 4th May 1968. Apparently this has survived as slide and has surfaced in Australia… And then there are the six photos below taken by the seller although he doesn’t remember where or when they were taken.Read More →

Updated: 16 April 2016 If you’re looking to hear some live Beefheart music then here’s your chance. The excellent Orange Claw Hammer are playing a couple of gigs in Scotland … which might go some small way to consoling those Scottish fans who didn’t get any shows on last year’s Magic Band tour. Orange Claw Hammer are superb musicians who play jazz-tinged arrangements of many Beefheart favourites. Mainly instrumental but there are some occasional vocals. Orange Claw Hammer are: Steve Kettley – Tenor & soprano saxes, vocal, melodica, jaw harp Stuart Allardyce – Guitar Dave Beards – Bass guitar Des Travis – Drums The gigs: 31 March 2016Read More →

The Beefheart Toronto Project is a group of Canadian musicians who are working together to record a number of  Don’s songs. Their statement of intent on their Facebook page says that they will: Cover one song from every Beefheart LP plus something each from the 1966 A&M sessions and the 1975 Zappa collaborations. We opted to include extra tracks from Trout & Decals because the music is so spectacular and ground breaking. The musical director of the Project is keyboardist/vocalist Tony Malone who used to front a band called Basketcase that recorded a version of Ashtray Heart back in 1994. The Project started as just a couple ofRead More →

Just when you’re waiting for a Magic Band DVD two turn up at the same time. If you saw the earlier posts you’ll know that John French set up two Indiegogo crowd-funding projects a few months back to finance the release of these two DVDs – Magnetic Draw and Singing Through You. Well, here they are: Singing Through You documents the band’s 10th anniversary gig at Under the Bridge, London in March 2013 plus it includes an interview John did at Rough Trade Records to promote his book about Beefheart. Read our short review of Singing Through You Magnetic Draw catches them a year later atRead More →

10th Anniversary concert live in London Song List My Human Gets Me Blues Low Yo Yo Stuff Diddy Wah Diddy Bass Solo (Hair Pie) Clouds intro into Golden Birdies When It Blows Its Stacks Hot Head Doctor Dark Drum Solo into On Tomorrow Alice In Blunderland Suction Prints Hair Pie (Bake 1) Steal Softly Thru Snow Owed T’Alex Click Clack Floppy Boot Stomp Moonlight On Vermont Big Eyed Beans From Venus Electricity Recorded at Under The Bridge, London on 16 March 2013 Notes From the sleeve notes: On their 10th anniversary The Magic Band celebrated by playing music of Captain Beefheart in front of aRead More →

This electrifying film is a front row ticket to the powerful avant garde blues sound of The Magic Band as they perform the music of Captain Beefheart live in concert. (Blurb on DVD cover) Song List First Set Clear Spot Abba Zaba Bass Solo When It Blows Its Stacks Golden Birdies Hot Head Nowadays A Woman’s Got To Hit A Man Ella Guru Pachuco Cadaver Kandy Korn Second Set On Tomorrow Suction Prints Hair Pie Bake 1 Steal Softly Thru Snow Grown So Ugly Owed T’Alex Mirror Man Sugar ‘N’ Spikes Big Eyed Beans From Venus Circumstances Electricity   Recorded live at the Engine Shed,Read More →

On a UK TV quiz show not so long ago this question was asked: Which singer released a Christmas compilation album called Christmas From The Heart? a. Captain Beefheart b. Neil Young c. Bob Dylan I still can’t help chuckling about this, the thought of Don releasing something called Christmas From The ‘Heart … ho ho ho, hoy hoy hoy… The closest he ever got to a Christmas song was with There Ain’t No Santa Claus On The Evenin’ Stage on The Spotlight Kid album and that was more likely to put an end to any festive celebrations than encourage them! There is one other songRead More →

It is with great sadness that I heard of Gary’s passing yesterday, 8 December. His family announced he had died following a massive stroke. Gary ‘Magic’ Marker was a good friend of Don van Vliet’s in the early 1960s around Los Angeles. He helped produce the Safe As Milk album and for a time played bass with the Magic Band but wasn’t interested in it as a permanent gig. I befriended him online about 20 years ago and he was always happy to talk about his Beefheart experiences and his time in the music world generally. He had a great fund of stories, was a greatRead More →

Another Magic Band tour has just ended and there are still many fans across the UK with silly smiles on their faces. The band were on top form and there was a good turn out at most of the venues which is great news considering this tour nearly didn’t happen. The first problem for the band came with Denny Walley deciding to quit so that he could follow his own musical path concentrating on the Zappa side of his repertoire. This was a big blow to the band (and us fans) as Denny’s guitar playing is something special and with no other ex-Magic Band guitarists willing toRead More →

The first limited edition of this great little book, The Mystery Man of The Magic Band,  sold out pretty quickly but Brass Tacks Press have just published a second edition. Check out my original review So if you missed it first time around here’s your chance to get a copy – visit Brass Tacks Press website. This edition is not limited. It has a new foreword by actor Alec Baldwin who was a friend of Herb’s during his later Hollywood years. The rest of the text is the same apart from one additional endnote from Herb about the lyrics for Dirty Blue Jean. Cover Photo byRead More →

Avalon Ballroom San Francisco 1966 plus bonus tracks Song list Down In The Bottom 02:39 Don’t Start Me Talkin’ 02:16 The Sun Is Shining 02:41 Tupelo 04:23 Somebody In My Home 02:53 Old Folks’ Boogie 03:22 St. James Infirmery 06:18 Evil (Is Going On) 02:36 Harp Instrumental 03:15 Somebody In My Home 02:40 Sure ‘Nuff ‘N’ Yes I Do 02:06 Call On Me 03:04 Yellow Brick Road 01:33 Plastic Factory 02:55 Sure ‘Nuff ‘N’ Yes I Do 02:47 Yellow Brick Road 02:54 Abba Zaba 03:36 Kandy Korn 04:24 John Peel Interview 13:50 Notes Publicity blurb: Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band had supported Love atRead More →

Gary Lucas will be hosting his Captain Beefheart Symposium at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Sunday29th November 2015. It starts at 8pm in the Music Room. Gary has been presenting these Symposium events since 2011 as a tribute to his former friend and mentor, Don van Vliet. They take the form of various live music performances and readings, reminiscences from Gary about his time with Don and The Magic Band. Don’s art is also discussed and unreleased music played. Special guests for this Liverpool event are: Mike Barnes, music writer and author of the excellent biography of Beefheart Bryan Briggs of Liverpool’s Bluecoat Gallery, theRead More →

The songs that inspired the man Song list: Slim Harpo – I’m A King Bee Lightnin Slim – My Starter Won’t Work Richard Berry – Louie Louie Clarence Gatemouth Brown – Midnight Hour Howlin Wolf – Somebody In My Home Bo Diddley – Diddy Wah Diddy Ornette Coleman – Eventually Robert Johnson – Terraplane Blues Blind Willie Johnson – You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond Johnny Guitar Watson – Hot Little Mama One String Sam – I Need A Hundred Dollars Jimmy Reed – Little Rain Muddy Waters – Rollin N Tumblin (Part 1) Al Simmons With Slim Green And The Cats From FresnoRead More →

18 Mississippi Delta blues, free jazz and brooding swamp boogie songs which inspired the legendary artist   Song list: 1. Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightning 2. Muddy Waters – She’s Alright 3. Bo Diddley – Diddy Wah Diddy 4. John Coltrane – Bakai 5. Thelonius Monk – Monk’s Dream 6. The Nutmegs – Story Untold 7. The Turbans – When You Dance 8. Mississippi Fred McDowell – 61 Highway 9. Blind Willie Johnson – John The Revelator 10. Big Joe Williams – Providence Help The Poor 11. Howlin’ Wolf – Moanin’ At Midnight 12. Cecil Taylor – Song 13. Ornette Coleman – Invisible 14. MuddyRead More →

A selection of tracks that helped mould the avant-garde sounds of Beefheart including some from The Man himself. Song list: 01. Intro [The Birth of Captain Beefheart] 02. New Minglewood Blues – Noah Lewis Jug Band 03. The Lion – Duke Mitchell 04. Didddie Wa Diddie – Blind Blake 05. Mope-Itty Mope – The Boss-Tones 06. New Black Snake Blues (Part One) – Victoria Spivey & Lonnie Johnson 07. New Black Snake Blues (Part Two) – Victoria Spivey & Lonnie Johnson 08. Best Batch Yet – Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band 09. His Majesty the Policeman – Lord Buckley 10. Rubber Dolly Rag –Read More →

The Meridian Arts Ensemble is a classical brass quintet from the US (sort of Kronos Quartet for brass music). Channel Records CCS 8195 © 1995 (CD).   Song list: Igor Stravinsky: 01. Fanfare for a New Theatre Frank Zappa: 02. Peaches En Regalia 03. Let’s Make the Water Turn Black 04. Oh No 05. Igor’s Boogie 06. Eat That Question 07. Echidna’s Arf Kenny Wheeler 08. Song for Someone Captain Beefheart: 09. Ice Rose 10. A Carrot Is as Close as a Rabbit Gets to a Diamond 11. When I See Mommy, I Feel Like a Mummy 12. Apes-Ma 13. Dropout Boogie 14. Suction Prints MiltonRead More →

Play written by Ko van den Bosch and staged by the Dutch theatre company NNT (Noord Nederlands Toneel). Performed: April 2010 – Theater de Machinefabriek, Groningen December 2011 – Bellevue, Amsterdam Performers: Frank Lammers – actor and singer Wouter Planteijdt – guitarist (Sjako!) Dolf Planteijdt – guitarist (Morzel Pronk, producer of The Ex) Joost Buis – trombone, lap steel guitarist (Astronotes and guest musician with The Ex) René van Barneveld, aka Tres Manos – guitarist (The Urban Dance Squad) Richard Heijerman – drummer (Morzel Pronk and Sjako!) – a short promo for the 2010 performance Song list: Suction Prints Ah Feel Like Ahcid / Love Lies BatRead More →

  Released: 2005 Label: De Bonte Koe Records BKR003 Song list: 1. Frownland 2. A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond 3. Blabber ‘n’ Smoke 4. Wedding Dress Song/Handsome Cabin Boy 5. To The Beach/Swim In Paint 6. Lumpy Gravy 7. Orange Claw Hammer 8. Gimme A Pepsi 4 9. The Thousandth And Tenth Day Of the Human Totem Pole 10. Broadway Bookie Wookie 11. Gimme A Pepsi 3 12. Honolulu 13. Bothering Heights 14. Doctor Dark 15. Alice In Blunderland 16. The Great Horse Massacre 17. Boo 18. I Took Her ‘n’ I Shook Her 19. Apes Ma 20.Read More →

  Song list: 1. I’m Gonna Booglarise Ya, Baby 2. White Jam 3. Blabber ‘n Smoke 4. When It Blows Its Stacks 5. Alice in Blunderland 6. The Spotlight Kid 7. Click Clack 8. Grow Fins 9. There ain’t no Santa Claus on the Evenin’ Stage 10.Glider Overview by Steve Froy Benjamin Horrendous will already be known by many as a member of the Beefheart tribute band, The Fourfathers, who have privately released a number of albums of Beefheart covers interspersed with some of their own material. However, this time Ben has decided to go solo, just him and guitar (and some foot stomping on Alice) and to giveRead More →