John French has created a 20 minute ‘Bucket List’ video update on various projects and preoccupations that are keeping him busy. He talks about various Trout Mask Replica related issues, drum videos, chasing royalties from his book and some Magic Band live albums that are in the pipeline. It’s well worth a look :
Great news ! Another Beefheart album gets the Record Store Day treatment by Rhino/Warner. For release on 20 April 2024 will be The Spotlight Kid (Deluxe Edition), which means a second disc of outtakes from those sessions is included. There will be 7000 copies on 140g ‘milky clear’ vinyl. The track list of the bonus disc is as follows : C1. THE WITCH DOCTOR LIFE (instrumental ) [5:27] C2. SEMI-MULTICOLORED CAUCASIAN (instrumental)* [4:37] C3. YOUR LOVE BROUGHT ME TO LIFE (instrumental) [3:11] C4. TWO RIPS IN A HAYSTACK/KISS ME MY LOVE [2:38] C5. HARRY IRENE [3:33] C6. BEST BATCH YET (TRACK) [VERSION 1] [2:18] C7.
An unexpected event – well, I didn’t see any adverts for it – was PJ Harvey’s appearance at Don’s art exhibition, Standing on One Hand, in London between November 2023 and February 2024. Polly read several of Don’s poems. Does anyone know which ones? She finished her set with a poem, Man Can’t Anticipate Cat, that Don had written especially for her about her cat called ‘Garden’. Polly and Don often spoke on the phone and she sent Don some photos of her with her cat. Don loved cats. A recording of the poem is available on YouTube :
Moris Tepper is releasing his seventh (?) album on 23 February 2024. This is his first for 14 years ! It’s called Building A Nest and is on his Candlebone label – www.candlebone.com It will be released initially on streaming platforms – Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music etc. but a physical CD will be available on 5 April. Here’s the first single, She Had To Run, from the album :
Cinematic. From his first words he sets it out, frame by frame. The situation whereby us folk gather in a circle stunned by the alien assault and preparing for the next wave of human annihilation. Possibly the circle of “earth people” is world leaders in a United Nations type emergency meeting, but it doesn’t really matter. The greatest existential challenge portrayed in fascinating drama- all in just a few words. Lyrically perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Over the years as I struggled to decipher the lyrics to some of his songs and grasp their meaning, I would have many moments of enlightenment and laugh aloud-did he identify
If you haven’t already bought a copy of Jeff’s recent excellent album The Fantasy of Reality then here’s your chance to pick up a copy of the double vinyl album at a special reduced price … plus it comes with a signed fine art print of Jeff. Check it out on the Burning Shed website – https://burningshed.com/jeff-cotton_the-fantasy-of-reality_double-vinyl?filter_name=jeff%20cotton&filter_sub_category=true
Gregg Brendian celebrates his 100th Progcast with a special interview with both Bill Harkleroad and Art Tripp. As well as a fascinating discussion of life in the Magic Band and Mallard there’s also some interesting excursions into the world of avant garde music in general. A great listen.
The Mosae Zappa – Overnight Sensation – event celebrating the music and life of Frank Zappa is taking place over the next weekend – Friday 24th – Sunday 26th November – at various venues across Landgraaf-Heerlen in the Netherlands. Special guest for Saturday 25th November is the ever busy Gary Lucas who will be performing at De Oefenbunker. Gary promises a set full of Beefheart music as well as showing scans of his art. Visit the Mosae Zappa website
Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Gallery are hosting an unusual Beefheart related exhibition from 11th November 2023 to 17th February 2024 called Rooms to Live. Rooms to Live is a collaborative piece by artists Derek Tyman and Andy Webster centred around two interrelated sculptural installations – Trout House Replica and So the Red Rose. As the name suggests, Trout House Replica recreates the interior of the Los Angeles Woodland Hills house where Beefheart dictated his legendary Trout Mask Replica album to the long suffering Magic Band. This space is being used throughout the exhibition as a performance space for musicians. As well as live performances
Tracklist Disc One Electricity Take Me To Your House / You’re Gonna Need Somebody I’m Gonna Boogalise You Baby Mirror Man Upon The My-O-My Full Moon Crazy Little Thing Improu Peaches Take Me To Your House / You’re Gonna Need Somebody This Is The Day Upon The My-O-My Disc Two Peaches Upon The My-O-My Hot Head Feel Like An Ashtray Heart Intro In French Nowadays A Woman Gotta Hit A Man Beast Batch Yet Dirty Blue Gene Safe As Milk Flavour Bud Living Bat Chain Puller Big Eyed Beans From Venus The above track list is as printed on the cover of this release, sadly
Some great news for UK fans. For the first time in too many years there is going to be a proper exhibition of Don’s art work. Called ‘Don Van Vliet : Standing on one Hand’ this is an exhibition of paintings from the 1980s and 1990s. Venue : Michael Werner Gallery, 22 Upper Brook Street, London W1K 7PZ Date: 23 NOVEMBER 2023 – 3 FEBRUARY 2024 (Private View: 22 November, 6-8pm) (Note : it will be closed between 22 December 2023 and 2 January 2024) Curated by Charlie Fox., the Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. From the Michael Werner Gallery press release :
To mark the album’s 45th anniversary Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) is being given a special release for Record Store Day 2023 on Rhino/Warner Records. Released on vinyl (just black as far as I can see) and cut from the original master tapes this will be a double album package. Disc One is the original album as released in 1978. The more interesting part of this release is Disc Two which features twelve demos, rough mixes and alternate versions recorded at the Shiny Beast sessions but have not been officially available before. The track list for Disc Two is : C1 Suction Prints (Demo) [Instrumental]
Gary Lucas will be presenting his Beefheart Symposium show in the Netherlands in July. Date : Friday 7th July 2023 Venue : The Royal Cinema, Heerlen, Netherlands The Symposium will include “lots of guitar, rare clips and Don Van Vliet’s beautiful art”. There will also be additional special feature. Gary will be playing live his score accompanying Orson Welles’s rare silent surrealist classic ‘Too Much Johnson’. More info here – https://filmhuisdespiegel.nl/programma/1604/orson-welles-captain-beefheart/?fbclid=IwAR2euGlMTDvlbpYBgNury8o1jfyoUyg1NIwgQDrgRAdlPGCQlp_jSpFQPic
Our favourite Beefheart tribute band, Orange Claw Hammer, have a number of live shows booked. You can check them out reworking the music of Captain Beefheart for the 21st Century on the following dates : 2023 Fri 7th July, 8pm. The Old Hairdresser’s, 27 Renfield Lane, Glasgow. Fri 14th July, 11am. Zappanale (Exhibition Hall), Bad Doberan, Germany. Sat 15th July, 8pm. Zappanale (Mystery Stage), Bad Doberan, Germany. Sat 19th Aug, 8pm. Edinburgh Fringe, Bannerman’s, 212 Cowgate Fri 25th Aug, 8pm. Edinburgh Fringe, Bannerman’s, 212 Cowgate 2024 Sun 25th Feb, 8pm. Backstage at the Green Hotel, Kinross.
The CD version has been long out of print but Rhino have announced the re-release of I’m Going To Do What I’m Gonna Do as a two disc vinyl album for Record Store Day 2023. The first time on vinyl this will be a limited edition of 5000 to be released on 22 April 2023 with a price tag of 39.98USD. At the time of writing it is not clear whether copies will be able from non-US outlets. Originally released back in 2000 in the Rhino Handmade Series this album is of the excellent 1978 My Fathers Place, NY show which was widely bootlegged back
I’m pleased to welcome a new contributor to the Radar Station. Sam Smyth has been running one of the better Beefheart pages on Facebook for several years now and has a good following. He has been producing some interesting content which I thought deserved a wider audience. Although Facebook does have its uses, when it comes to searching for relevant posts you have to wade through a lot of sludge to find the diamonds. I didn’t want Sam’s posts to get lost so I offered him the opportunity share his posts on the Radar Station as means of archiving them, and making them available to
Publisher : Sonicbond Publishing Date of Publication : 26 August 2022 Language : English Paperback : 160 pages ISBN-10 : 1789522358 ISBN-13 : 978-1789522358 Dimensions : 14.96 x 1.24 x 20.57 cm Extract from blurb: Few Bands are as influential. The Beatles, The Fall, PJ Harvey and Tom Waits all pay homage, while The Magic Band have inspired a myriad of tribute bands and created a mythology like no other. This book sets the history of the band in context, analysing every track and interpreting the music with its poetic content. It is essential reading for diehard fans and
Tracklist Side One 1. Yellow Brick Road 2. Abba Zabba 3. Sure ‘Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do 4. Electricity 5. Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smokin’ Stones 6. Safe As Milk 7. Kandy Korn Side Two 1. Trust Us 2. Steal Softly Thru Snow 3. Click Clack 4. Golden Birdies 5. I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby Publicity Blurb Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band are showcased over 12 tracks recorded live for radio and TV. The material is sourced from two 1968 sessions for John Peel plus a 1972 appearance on Beat Club and features tracks from four different Beefheart LPs. Beat Club tracks are excellent sound
An interesting experiment has turned up on Youtube. Using AI software Ant 2 Man Bee has deconstructed the Trout Mask album. He’s taken each of the songs and isolated each individual track, breaking it down so you can hear Mark’s bass, John’s drums, Bill’s guitar, Jeff’s guitar and Don’s vocals separately. As Ant 2 Man bee explains: I was shocked at how good the neural net was after I tested using Sugar ‘n Spikes. While it isn’t perfect, it is still amazing how quickly the technology evolved when just a few years ago you couldn’t isolate instrumentations from whole songs without having a very good