A Giraffe is Listening to the Radio is a collection of Beefheart songs recorded in rehearsal and performance during 1979 and 1980. Side A Electricity Moonlight on Vermont Doctor Dark The Spotlight Kid Nowaday’s a Woman’s Gotta Hit a Man Side B Owed T’Alex Clear Spot Grow Fins Lick My Decals Off, Baby Steal Softly Thru Snow Abba Zabba   Review Men & Volts recordings of Beefheart songs have become almost the stuff of legend, we knew they were out there but no one seemed to have heard them. Some cassettes and later some CDRs were made available discreetly but not released on a label.Read More →

Around July 2017 John French was invited to take part in the Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta in October to celebrate the music of Captain Beefheart with a collection of local musicians. This was an exciting opportunity for John to not only perform in the US but also to present some of Don’s songs with an extended band, horns, back-up singers and even a concert level theremin player! The Radar Station was unable to attend the show but we know someone who did and he has sent us this review of the event. Review by Patrick Grant Threadgill’s is a bar/restaurant/music venue in Austin, Texas havingRead More →

It’s 45 years since Don’s first UK art exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool and a special weekend of events has been organised to celebrate Don’s music and art as well as his influence on the city. From 10th – 12th November 2017 the events include: 10th November – The Magic Band perform at the Liverpool Philharmonic as part of their Farewell Tour 11th November – Digging Beefheart: a symposium exploring Beefheart as a ‘total artist’ Doped in Stunned Mirages: a Poetic Celebration of Don Van Vliet Fast N’ Bulbous: a Musical Celebration of Don Van Vliet – Gary Lucas and many local musiciansRead More →

Song List Obeah Man (1966 Demo) Just Got Back From The City (1966 Demo) I’m Glad (1966 Demo) Triple Combination (1966 Demo) Here I Am I Always Am (Early 1966 Demo) Here I Am I Always Am (Later 1966 Demo) Somebody In My Home (1966 Live) Tupelo (1966 Live) Evil Is Going On (1966 Live) Old Folks Boogie (1966 Live) Call On Me (1965 Demo) Sure Nuff N Yes I Do (1967 Demo) Yellow Brick Road (1967 Demo) Plastic Factory (1967 Demo) Review If the song list appears familiar it’s because this is a straightforward copy of the first disc from the Grow Fins boxRead More →

Song List Electricity (1968 live) Sure Nuff N Yes I Do (1968 live) Rollin N Tumblin (1968 live) Electricty (1968 live) Yer gonna need somebody on yer bond (1968 live) Kandy Korn (1968 live) Korn ring finger (1967 demo) The title and contents of this release are a direct rip-off of disc two from the Grow Fins set but in traditional bootleg fashion has a bunch of incorrect information in the accompanying booklet. Although the correct venues are mentioned in the text they are not matched up with the correct songs. If you haven’t figured it out for yourself tracks one and two are from theRead More →

John French will be playing a show at Threadgill’s in Austin, TX, October 7th, 2017 as part of the Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta. Here’s what John has to say about it: A four-piece band, 3 backup singers, and 4 horns! Whoa! Twelve people on stage during parts of this show. This will be sort of a “celebration” of Beefheart music. A one-hour show at the former location of Armadillo World Headquarters — where I played with Don in 1971 and also where “Bongo Fury” was recorded. It will be a pretty different experience for me. Oh, and one of the singers, Aileen Adler also will beRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review of the 2017 exhibition ‘Works On Paper’ was published on The Quietus website 5 August 2017 [/alert_box] See original article Look At My Beef Art: Works On Paper By Don Van Vliet Adam Lehrer An exhibition at Michael Werner’s New York gallery looks at works on paper in watercolour, gouache, and coloured pencil, by American outsider icon Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart. Objectively critiquing the visual art works of a famous musician (or actor, or novelist, etc.) is no small order. How do you not immediately view the work through the lens of the music that you already know well andRead More →

As a teaser for their forthcoming album The World of Captain Beefheart to be released in October Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx will be performing at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, New York City. Date: 20 September 2017, shows at 7pm and 9.30pm See the Joe’s Pub site for more info You may remember Gary and Nona teamed up in 2013 with the Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam to present their take on some of Don’s work.Read More →

The excellent Beefheart tribute band Orange Claw Hammer are playing two gigs as part of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Check them out if you get a chance. See the poster below for details:Read More →

Updated: 6 November 2017 The news we posted a few months back that there would be no more Magic Band tours has, happily, proved to be completely wrong. John French decided that he didn’t want the Magic Band project just to fizzle out, he’d much rather have a proper Farewell Tour and that’s what he has painstakingly put together.  Sadly Mark Boston doesn’t feel well enough to commit to a lengthy tour so he’ll not be there, and Brian Havey who featured on the two last tours wasn’t available for this one so his duties (and others) will be covered by keyboard player Jonathan Sindelman. TheRead More →

Updated: 8 July 2017 An exhibition of art by Don is being held at Michael Werner’s New York Gallery. Titled Works on Paper it runs from 13 July to 9 September 2017. There will be about 60 pieces on show mostly ranging in price from $5,500 to $18,000 with a few exceptions at a higher price. There is no catalogue available. Michael Werner Gallery 4 East 77th Street New York, NY 10075 Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm www.michaelwerner.com/ Publicity blurb from the Gallery: Michael Werner Gallery, New York is pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper by Don Van Vliet. TheRead More →

Is it really 50 years since I first heard the Safe As Milk album? Well, yes it is and I still play it regularly. It still sounds fresh and exciting although probably not quite as ‘weird’ as it originally sounded to me all that time ago. Hey, Beefheart soon got much weirder but Safe As Milk is still one hell of a debut album. Not only was it a debut album but it was the first release on a brand new label, Buddah, set up by Kama Sutra Records. They must have had some faith in the band back then. It’s a pity the MtRead More →

One of those real collectors’ items for the Beefheart fan. Track List Side One Electricity (version 4) Electricity (version 5) Plastic Factory (version 2) Grown So Ugly (version 3) Where There’s Woman (version 2) Side Two Yellow Brick Road (version 2) Aba Saba [sic] (version 2) Autumn’s Child (version 2) Sure Enough[sic] (version 2) At some point during the recording of Safe As Milk, an acetate was pressed with various versions of some of the album’s songs. Was it for the band or the producers .. or someone else? Were these tracks seen as the (almost) finished versions and committing them to disc was one way of helping makeRead More →

The sound quality of Safe As Milk is something that has been discussed in one way or another quite a bit over the years. Why does it sound the way it does and which release is the best version available? Some (but not all) of the issues can be traced back to the way the album was recorded in the first place. Ry Cooder and Gary Marker have both been critical about the way Bob Krasnow and Richard Perry took the recording out the superior eight track Sunset Sound Studios and moved it to the four track RCA Studios to the detriment of the overall soundRead More →

Before the recording of the Safe As Milk album there was a studio session where a number of demos were recorded produced by Gary Marker which became known as the Safe as Milk Demos, or the Buddah Takes or the Disneyland Demos. March [?] 1967 Original Sound Studios, Los Angeles, California Producer: Gary Marker Track List Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do Yellow Brick Road Plastic Factory Electricity Abba Zaba (Follow links above to hear the songs on Youtube) The story behind the demos The band finally left the desert and moved to Los Angeles, to a rented place off Armor Road in Laurel Canyon, inRead More →

The Safe As Milk baby featured in the 27 May 1967 edition of Cashbox: … and in the 17 June 1967 edition of Billboard; This version has the ‘Beware!’ caption added. From World Countdown, June 1967: Here’s another advertisement from World Countdown, July 1967: One side of the inner sleeve of the album plus the lyrics to two songs, Sure Nuff ‘N’ Yes I Do and Zig Zag Wanderer have been crammed together for this ad. From World Countdown, August 1967: Note the presence of Ry Cooder’s replacement, Gerry McGee (second from the left), who played with the Magic Band for only two live shows and did not appear onRead More →

Pamela Des Barres has recently posted a couple of photos on her Facebook site that visitors to the Radar Station might like to see. Apparently she came across one of Victor Hayden’s original paintings in her garage. Not just any painting … this one was the original artwork for the Bluejeans and Moonbeams album cover. Miss Pamela acts as an agent for Victor’s artwork and she is considering what to do with this painting, in other words the best way of selling it. The album itself may well not be the most popular in Don’s discography but the cover was wonderfully strange. John French recallsRead More →

Published by Verlag Gachnang & Springer ISBN 3-906127-15-X Price varies 1987 96 pages Contents: Paintings: It’s Like A White Onion-Fleshed Pumpkin, 1985 Copper Diver, 1985 Pig Erases Statue in Passing, 1985 Ghost Gait, Ghost Gait, 1985 Bromboline Frenzy, 1985 Night Nitrate, 1985 Red Cloud Monkey, 1985 Rolled Roots Gnarled Like Rakers, 1985/6 Whalebone Farmhouse, 1986 Check Bif, 1986 Carp Catcher, 1986 Garden Lion, 1986 With Twinkling Lights and Green Sashes, 1986 Crepe and Black Lamps, 1986 Sea Wig, 1986 Candle Powered Rodeo Ghosts, 1986 Poems: My Human Gets Me Blues Pachuco Cadaver Orange Claw Hammer The Dust Blows Forward ‘n The Dust Blows Back OldRead More →

Song List: Hair pie: bake 1 Hair pie: bake 2 Jam one Hobo chang ba (take one) Hobo chang ba (take two) Dachau blues Old fart at play Pachuco cadaver Sugar N’ spikes jam two Sweet sweet bulbs Frownland (take one) Frownland Ella guru She’s too much for my mirror Steal softly through snow My human gets me blues (take one and cut) My human gets me blues (take two) When big joan sets up (take one) When big joan sets up (take two) Jam three China pig Blimp Herb Overdub Septic tank Jam four Jam five Jam six Publicity blurb: The Captain had aRead More →

We recently posted about composer Samuel Andreyev’s Youtube analysis of the album Trout Mask Replica. A fascinating piece if you haven’t watched it yet. On the back of piece we were able to put Samuel in contact with John French and he has now posted an excellent video interview with John on Youtube lasting an hour and forty five minutes. In the interview they discuss John’s time in the Magic Band (unsurprisingly), concentrating on the time in the Trout House and the making of TMR. Take a look here:Read More →