Has it really been that long? It has been even longer since he’d been really productive as an artist. He’d given up recording music completely to concentrate on painting but even that was denied to him as the MS he suffered from gradually took hold. It must have been frustrating for him as someone who had continually created, to whom it seemed to come so easily, always doodling in his drawing books, writing poems and lyrics, whistling, humming… He battled against the disease for as long as he could, some of his last drawings were no more than a few scribbled lines but they representedRead More →

On his Facebook page John French further tries to explain what happened with the recording of the legendary ‘It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper’ album.   After writing an 864-page book, “Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic,” in which I tried my best to accurately “set the record straight” on many of the myths and misunderstandings that have collectively swirled and snowballed down the hill of legends into the confused form-a-heap ( yes, I’m using that phrase from Bill’s Corpse from TMR) it is today, I still find the number one thing people seem to keep scattering misinformation about is Strictly Personal,Read More →

Hoboism (1976) Bat Chain Puller (2012 release) Well it’s not that ‘n its not this ‘n its hobo not zen, zright now , hoboism yeah its not jazz n its not jizzum not that n its not this n its pure and simple railroadism railroadism Grab a book take a look Put it in your pocket in case she look stop, reach, short smoke grab on n haul the wood rope Got a chauffer way up front He’s free he melts the night for me put the thing next to me Give me a drink man well I fell asleep n when I land, wellRead More →

Some Captain Beefheart songs have made there way onto the big screen. Blue Collar Jack Nitzsche score featuring Don’s vocals on “Hard Workin’ Man”. Released: 1978 A gritty crime drama directed by Paul Schrader based around workers on the Detroit assembly lines. See full Radar Station info     The Big Lebowski Contains “Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles” Released: 1998 The excellent crime comedy from the Coen Brothers       Remember A Day Contains “Zig Zag Wanderer” and “Low Yo Yo Stuff” Released: 2003 Obsessed fan/stalker movie starring Darryl Read as a reclusive ex-rock star. Loosely (and sometimes very closely) based on Read More →

This is a list of ‘Various Artists’ compilations and samplers that have included individual Captain Beefheart songs. Benefit Albums 2003 US Where We Live: Stand For What You Stand On on Higher Octave/Delabel/EMI This is a benefit album with proceeds going to the environmental organisation Earthjustice which campaigns for the Universal Right to Clean Air & Clean Water This is a significant release because it includes the first recorded work by Don since the poems that appeared on the 1993 Stand Up To Be Discontinued CD. It’s not a new song, nor is it ‘proper’ recording as such. It’s a 35 second version of HappyRead More →

Publicity Without a doubt the most challenging artist of the rock era, the man formerly known as Don Van Vliet still retains an almost biblical dedication amongst the ever-increasing fanbase of ‘those who get it’. You either do or you don’t; the good Captain doesn’t attract the casuals! Captain Beefheart – Under Review is a two hour documentary film tracing the roots and history of this iconic musical legend. Featuring rare live and studio performances of Beefheart, interspersed with contributions from virtually all members of The Magic Band – along with a panel of esteemed experts.The film also features rarely seen promo films, interview footageRead More →

Now here’s a thing … a whole podcast about the Trout Mask Replica album … and not just one podcast but one podcast for EACH track. This is being bought to you by the Prince Track by Track Podcast set up by Darren Husted (see below for more information about the origin of this podcast series). Darren asked some friends if they’d be interested in creating a podcast for a favourite album and Joel Bakker suggested Trout Mask. Joel then set about convincing assorted Beefheart fans to choose a track, and with him hosting recorded their discussion about the track, the album, how they gotRead More →

As you may know Gary Lucas has been regularly busking via his Facebook page during the lockdown. He has already devoted a couple of those sessions to the music of Beefheart. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release Gary will be focusing on the album Doc At the Radar Station during his sessions on Tuesday 1st September, Thursday 3rd September and Saturday 5th September starting at 3pm EDT which is 8pm BST. Find Gary’s Facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836Read More →

Song List Drink Paint Run Run Seam Crooked Sam (version 2) Dirty Blue Gene (version 1) Sun Zoom Spark (version 3) Kiss Me My Love Funeral Hill (version 1) Harry Irene (jazzy guitar version) Open Pins Dual & Abdul Semi-Multicolored Caucasian (version 2) Balladino Clear Spot (instrumental) Circumstances I’m Gonna Booglarize You, Baby (instrumental) Low Yo Yo Stuff (instrumental) Semi-Multicolored Caucasian (version 1) Little Scratch (version 2) Recorded at Record Plant Studios Los Angeles, CA, October / November 1971 Radar Station Overview According to the sleeve notes “… this collection finally brings together in one place the previously unreleased outtakes from Spotlight Kid …”. Indeed itRead More →

There is an excellent article by Sean Kitching on The Quietus website marking 40 years since the release of Doc at the Radar Station. It includes insights about the recording of Don’s penultimate album from new interviews with Gary Lucas and Eric Drew Feldman. Read the article here – The Best Batch Yet? Captain Beefheart’s Doc At The Radar Station RevisitedRead More →

Just unearthed from Gary Lucas’s archives: A phone interview Gary conducted with Don Van Vliet broadcast on Yale University’s radio station WYBC FM January 18th 1972 three days before Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s show at Yale University’s Woolsey Hall January 21st 1972. Gary was Music Director of WYBC at the time, and had seen Beefheart’s first gig in NYC at Ungano’s the year before, a show which changed his life–as after witnessing that concert he vowed that if he ever did anything in music professionally, his number one priority would be to join Beefheart’s Magic Band–which he eventually did in 1980. This interviewRead More →

Yet another interview with John French. This time it’s with Joe Wong from the Trap Set which is a weekly podcast and terrestrial radio show about the lives of drummers. Amazingly John manages to keep it interesting by recalling ever more detail of his time with the Magic Band. You can hear it here :  Read More →

Song List My Human Gets Me Blues Interstellar Overdrive A very rare bootleg single released in Japan. It’s a 10 inch metal acetate and it’s believed there may only be 20 copies of it in circulation! Side One runs at 45 rpm and included Frank Zappa introducing Don and the Magic Band to the festival crowd at Amougies, Belgium in October 1969 before they storm into ‘My Human Gets Me Blues’. Side Two, running at 33 rpm, features Pink Floyd playing ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ at the same festival with Frank joining them on guitar. Releases 201? acetate on Magic Market MM-10-A/BRead More →

In 1993 Gerry Pratt started publishing his amazing fanzine ‘Steal Softly Thru Snow’. It ran to only eight issues sadly but was an important source of information for many Beefheart fans in the days before the internet. Various problems caused its eventual demise and although it has now been superseded by websites such as this one (which owes a debt of gratitude to SSTS) copies are still highly sought after. It has always been an idea at the back of my mind to scan all the issues and make them available here on the Radar Station. This is a project that has been bubbling awayRead More →

A&M Days Published March 1993 Note: The original printed version of this issue had several blank pages where images were missing. I have reinstated them and have taken the liberty to replace some of the other images with better colour versions where possible. Click on the image for a larger version.Read More →

Delta Fusion Published September 1993 Note:  I have added an image that was missed off the original printing and have taken the liberty to replace some of the other images with better colour versions where possible. Click on the image for a larger version.    Read More →