On 23 July 1993 Dutch radio presenter Co de Kloet recorded a wonderfully relaxed Don for this telephone interview for the ‘Supplement’ programme Radio 4 in Holland. Co has been a great advocate for Don and his music as well as Frank Zappa. Don’s voice is weak but his mind is still sharp. It’s a great interview.Read More →

Zappa talks about the Captain Beefheart/Grunt People movie, Donnie Vliet and Grown So Ugly and Don’s carved werewolf head. I think the date, 1969, is correct and it seems to have been recorded as a radio show. If anyone has more detail about when, where etc., please let us know.Read More →

A winter night in January 1981 I drove up to Reseda in Los Angeles to see Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band at the Country Club. It was a fantastic concert and Don and the band were flying. At the time I was working for the Danish Radio as a freelancer and I asked a guy at the door if Don would be available for an interview. To my surprise he came out and told me to meet Don at a Denny’s restaurant across the street. And there he came in his stage-clothes, very nice and we talked as you can hear here. After theRead More →

Available on Bandcamp the PRF Monthly Tribute Series is an ongoing project which challenges musicians to attempt covers of a particular band or artist.  The musicians are given a month to record songs by that band, or about that band, or in the style of the band. In September 2019 the 63rd in the series it was the turn of Captain Beefheart. Situations – Grown So Ugly (3:19) – this track races along as a straightforward rock song rather than following the blues of the original Doctor Coffee – Dropout Boogie (2:42) – a similar arrangement to the SAM track complete with waltz-style break butRead More →

Released January 29th 2021 through NYC’s Knitting Factory Records, Gary Lucas’s 40 year career is celebrated with this 36 track 2CD set. The first CD concentrates on songs recorded with Gary Lucas’s art-rock psychedelic supergroup Gods and Monsters. The second CD is devoted to Solo, Rarities and Collaborations. Drawing on a wealth of material – including rare and previously unreleased tracks — the deluxe double disc package offers ample evidence of this maverick artist’s trailblazing and unique career — going back to his earliest appearances on record and stage with Captain Beefheart in the early 80’s, which put Gary on the musical map … to hisRead More →

Don would have been 80 years old today. To celebrate that milestone Gary Lucas has written a piece for the Please Kill Me website about the dysfunctional relationship between Don and Frank Zappa. Gary offers his take on the rivalry between to the two old friends and also looks at the recording of the last Beefheart album Ice Cream For Crow. Read the article – Don Van Vliet and Frank Zappa: Two Peas In A Misshapen Pod   Another album that gets mentioned in the article is Doc At The Radar Station which last year reached its 40th anniversary. Gary devoted three of his FacebookRead More →

Originally published in the Wall Street Journal December 19, 2010 Noted avant guitarist and composer Gary Lucas was a colleague and friend to Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, who died Friday. Calling him “the most compelling conceptualist I’d ever heard,” Lucas once told the Journal that Van Vliet had “taken the structure of the jazz and blues and rebuilt it like no one else had.” We asked him to record his thoughts about his mentor and friend. Don Van Vliet was an American maverick visionary genius who single-handedly changed the face of music we know it over a dozen uncompromising albums. HeRead More →

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 →