If you don’t already have a copy of John French’s (almost) definitive book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic, then here’s your chance as The Last Music Company are reprinting it. An essential read for any fan of Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band. It will be available from 23 April 2021 in Europe and from 2 September in the US in hardback and digital formats. If you having any doubts about getting a copy then read my review of it here : Review of Through The Eyes Of Magic Alongside the book they are also releasing a limited edition vinyl version of John’s excellentRead More →

Takes on more Captain Beefheart music. Song List Pachuco Cadaver Moonlight on Vermont Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man Low Yo Yo Stuff Semi Multicoloured Caucasian Abba Zaba When Big Joan Sets Up Suction Prints Alice In Blunderland Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop Kandy Korn Willie the Pimp (live) Tracks 1 – 11 recorded at The Clock Tower Studios, Edinburgh May 2019 & Jan/Mar 2020 Track 12 recorded live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh August 2019 Now here’s an album I’ve been waiting to hear. This is the follow-up to Orange Claw Hammer’s first outing Cooks The Beef which reworked a bunch of Beefheart tunes for the 21stRead More →

Wow, how about this cover version of Steal Softly Thru Snow! The Android Trio, Andy Niven, Eric Klerks and Max Kutner, are in fact from the last incarnation of the reunion Magic Band. It’s great to see that they learnt their lessons well from John Drumbo French and that they are keeping the Beefheart flame burning. Guest vocalist, Peter Niven’s vocals are throat-shredding and are closer to grindcore than Beefheart but, amazingly, it works. Check out the band on Bandcamp – https://androidtrio.bandcamp.com/Read More →

In 2020 Greg Bendian, who runs the ProgCast channel on YouTube interviewed Bill Harkleroad, aka Zoot Horn Rollo. They discuss details of his work on Trout Mask Replica, and Lick My Decals Off, Baby, as well as their collaboration on Bill’s excellent solo album, We Saw A Bozo Under the Sea. Greg played drums and vibes on Bill’s album.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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

During the pandemic lockdown Gary Lucas has been live-streaming performances on Facebook from home several times a week. In a special three part series of performances in June 2020 Gary featured a Beefheart tribute. If you missed those streams or don’t like wading through the morass that is Facebook then hurry on over to Gary’s website to catch videos of all three of his Beefheart shows. You will also find there a selection of paintings and drawings by Don Van Vliet from his personal collection, including the backstory behind each piece. And there’s more … Gary writes about his Top 5 Captain Beefheart albums whichRead More →

Here’s a brand new interview with Bill Harkleroad (aka Zoot Horn Rollo). It was done by phone for the Greek website, Hit Channel, by Thodoris Dimitroulas who manages to ask some different questions. No great revelations but still some interesting answers from Bill.   Interview: Zoot Horn Rollo (Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, solo)Read More →

——— Updated: 16 June If you missed the live session on 16 June, and if you didn’t, you can tune in again on Thursday 18 June and Saturday 20 June at the same time for a continuation of the symposium and some more of Gary’s great stories about being with Don. ——— During the lockdown Gary Lucas has been keeping himself busy by playing three half-hour concerts a week live on Facebook covering examples from all his musical interests. If you can, check it out and don’t forget to drop something in his Paypal account to help him out until he can get back outRead More →

UPDATED: 8th May 2020 Eric Gudas has written a fascinating article for the All About Jazz website about the making of Trout Mask Replica. He looks at it from a jazz viewpoint as that’s the audience he’s writing for so it makes for an interesting read. I don’t think there are many articles that have discussed the jazz connections of Don’s music. He draws heavily on the interviews done by Samual Andreyev with the members of the Trout band plus a lengthy interview he carried out with John  French. I am unable to link direct to the article (the site keeps changing its URL) soRead More →