It’s amazing the things that suddenly appear as if from nowhere. R. Michael DeChellis was a photographer in Los Angeles at the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s. He photographed many of the groups playing live at that time. On the 31st March 1969 he as at the Aquarius Theater on Sunset Boulevard, which he knew as the Hullabaloo Club. On the large bill that night was Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band fresh from recording the staggering Trout Mask Replica album. Michael took a few photographs and we’re pleased to present them here on the Radar Station. Just a pity there aren’t more!Read More →

A few photographs have surfaced taken at the Trout Mask Replica band’s only live gig. This was at the Aquarius Theater in Los Angeles on 31st March 1969. Find out more about the Aquarius show. Thanks to R. Michael DeChellis for permission to post his photographs here on the Radar Station. You can get good quality copies at his website and while you’re there check the other bands’ photos too – http://www.rmdechellisphotography.com/?load=html Here are two of Don with his sax: And here in all his sartorial splendour is Jeff Cotton (aka Antennae Jimmy Semens):    Read More →

The Magic Band rehearsed for months to perfect their parts for the Trout Mask Replica album but they only once performed any of the album live together as a band. And that was on 31st March 1969 at the Aquarius Theater as part of a fund-raiser for the L.A. Free Clinic. The Mothers were also on the bill. The band had recorded the Trout Mask album at Whitney Studios earlier in the month so were well rehearsed and ready to go. The Earl Carroll Theatre on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles became the Hullabaloo Club in 1965 and was given a psychedelic makeover in 1968Read More →

Okay here’s a reminder of a few forthcoming Beefheart-related happenings: The Magic Band on tour John French will be leading The Magic Band for two shows next week: Thursday 14 July (Mark Boston’s birthday!) – Under The Bridge, Fulham, UK – underthebridge.co.uk Friday 15 July – Zappanale #27, Bad Doberan, Germany – www.zappanale.de Don Van Vliet Art Exhibition Flora, Fauna and Other Forms of Life opens on the 8 July at Michael Werner Gallery in London and remains on view until 17 September. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10AM to 6PM. For more information please contact the gallery at www.michaelwerner.com This is  a group exhibition which will includeRead More →

The Radar Station was sad to hear of the death on 2 June of Freddie Wadling. He was 64. Freddie was better known in his native Sweden as a poet, musician and vocalist emerging from the punk scene of the late 1970s. He played bass with Leather Nun, one of his bands that gained a higher profile and a reputation beyond the Swedish borders. For Beefheart fans Freddie came to notice as the vocalist of the Swedish Tribute Band with Morgan Agren, Jimmy Agren, Mats Oberg, Rolf Hedqvist and Denny Walley. They played  a couple of live shows in Sweden in 1995 to coincide with theRead More →

Ozit’s offering for 2016’s Record Store day vinyl bonanza. Song List Side One Moonlight On Vermont 3.58 Abba Zabba 3.46 Band Introduction 1.14 Orange Claw Hammer 3.34 Dali’s Car 1.36 When It Blows Its Stacks 4.20 My Human Gets Me Blues 3.14 Side Two Alice In Blunderland 4.02 Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smokin’ Stones 3.35 Gimme Dat Harp Boy 5.13 Electricity 4.12 I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby 5 .37 Notes Ozit blurb: Special edition 2000 units only in 180 gram orange vinyl gatefold sleeve. Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band returned to England with a new line up in 1975 to appear on the bill withRead More →

A three CD collection of instrumental tracks from Clear Spot and Lick My Decals Off, Baby plus a whole bunch of outtakes from The Spotlight Kid/Clear Spot era that didn’t make it onto the recent Reprise/Rhino boxset. Song List Disc 1 My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains (Inst.) Clear Spot (Inst.) Crazy Little Thing (Inst.) Dirty Blue Gene (Inst.) Big Eyed Beans From Venus (Inst.) Untitled Blues Jam (Inst.) Sun Zoom Spark (Inst.) Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man (Inst.) Low Yo Yo Stuff (Inst.) Circumstances (w/Vocal) Li’l Scratch #1 (w/Vocal) Li’l Scratch #2 (w/Vocal) Suzy Murder Wrist U Bean So Cinquo (ObensoRead More →

The Magic Band have booked two dates for a very short tour during Summer 2016. Thursday 14 July – Under The Bridge, Fulham, UK – underthebridge.co.uk  Friday 15 July – Zappanale #27, Bad Doberan, Germany – www.zappanale.de 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 →