Thanks to Kitty Marimba we’re able to get a look inside Art’s Magic Band Scrapbook. Well, it was actually Art’s mother, Jay, who took most of the photographs and put them in an album but it’s now in Art’s possession. Jay herself does appear in a couple of the photographs. I have done what I can to tidy up the scans and to enhance the faded colours of the original photographs. However, they are what they are  … but it’s a rare glimpse of life on the road with the Magic Band during 1971 and 1972 … I hope you enjoy them. To fit themRead More →

The Radar Station is pleased to present this fascinating article by Art Tripp, aka Ed Marimba, aka Ted Cactus, drummer and percussionist for both Zappa’s Mothers of Invention and Beefheart’s Magic Band. Here he gives his take on what it was like to work for both these very different musical geniuses. Thanks to Kitty Marimba for helping to make this happen. ————————————————————————————— Zappa vs. Beefheart: What Were They Really Like? by Art Tripp “Hi, Art, this is Dick Kunc here. I was telling Frank about you, and we’re wondering if you could come down to Apostolic Studios on Friday?” “Sure, Dick. What should I bring:Read More →

TROPICAL HOTDOG NIGHT: attention all Captain Beefheart fans!! Sorry for the short notice, but catch this if you can Tonight Sun. March 22nd Gary’s old friend Dutch producer and Zappa-Beefheart go-to-guy Co De Kloet is broadcasting a big chunk of “The World of Captain Beefheart” concert he mounted at the Paradiso Amsterdam a few years ago — featuring Gary and the 65-piece  Metropole Orkest, Nona Hendryx, Jolene Grunberg, Tom Trapp and others–on his national Dutch radio NPO program Co Live! The show begins tomorrow at 6pm UK time, 7pm Dutch time, 1pm EST. Listen live through this link: https://www.nporadio2.nl/so…/online-radio-luisteren/gedraaid Or you can find the show on their website: https://www.nporadio2.nl/soulenjazz/programmas And you can find the podcast here:Read More →

Whilst the Michael Werner Gallery has an exhibition devoted to Don’s paintings another of his works is also on display as part of a group exhibition. This exhibition is called “Valley of Gold: Southern California and the Phantasmagoric” and includes work by Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. According to the publicity from the gallery: Valley of Gold explores the aesthetic legacy of the European surrealists and others who worked with similar sensibilities on the art of Southern California. Examining the influence of this charged period, the exhibition traces how its effects percolated through later movements such as California abstraction, conceptual art, and Light and Space.Read More →

Updated: 4 March 2020 It’s been a while since there has been an exhibition of Don’s artwork. If you’re lucky enough you can catch this latest show called Don Van Vliet: Parapliers the Willow Dipped, Paintings 1967-1997 at Michael Werner’s Gallery in New York. Venue: Michael Werner 4 East 77th Street New York, NY 10075 Date: 31st January – 11th April (extended from original date of 31st March) Monday to Saturday 10am – 6pm There is also a pre-show reception on 30 January (6pm – 8pm) which will feature Nona Hendryx. Presumably Nona will be performing some of her Beefheart covers.   If you can’tRead More →

A beat by beat dissection of this song from Lick My Decals Off Baby. For the past few years musician Tony Malone and his Beefheart Project Toronto have been working on covers of many of Don’s songs from across all his albums. Their intention was to be respectful to the originals as possible but present them in a different way. To understand how to play the songs Tony had to deconstruct them by stripping them down to each beat, riff and rhythm. The band then learned their parts and reconstructed the song. To give an idea of the work involved in the original composition ofRead More →

The Radar Station was recently contacted by Travis Dean who told us he had a number of pieces of Victor Hayden’s artwork. As we’re always interested to see Victor’s art we asked him to send along some photos of his collection. So below for your delectation here are examples of two of Victor’s styles – the abstract swirl type and those with the strange figures that inhabit his paintings. Click on the thumbnails for larger images. What’s more Travis said he was looking to sell these. So if you’re interested you can contact him direct at travisdeanseattle@yahoo.com or +12536786630 Please note: The Radar Station hasRead More →

It’s good to see that some people have taken the time to acknowledge Trout Mask’s 50th anniversary. Here we have two online radio shows, both available on Mixcloud,  taking different approaches to celebrating the greatness of the band’s landmark album. Both are well worth a listen. Firstly we have the London based Resonance FM. The host discusses the album with Beefheart biographer, Mike Barnes and the show is described as: Freewheeling music series with Ivor Kallin. This week we celebrate fifty years since the release of Captain Beefheart’s Troutmask Replica, with special guest Mike Barnes, author of the seminal work on the good captain. ExpectRead More →

For many people on the first listen Trout Mask Replica just sounds awful. For those of us that grow to love it, it’s a masterpiece. If you don’t entirely get it yet, this 10 minute feature video from Vox nicely picks apart what’s going on and why so many of us consider it to be uniquely special. If you enjoy this and want something more in-depth then have a look at Samuel Andreyev’s analysis of Frownland and his extended conversation with John French.  Read More →

Liverpool’s Bluecoat Gallery continue their support of all things Beefheart with a special event to mark Trout Mask Replica’s 50th anniversary. Beefheart biographer Mike Barnes will be leading a discussion about the album and artist Derek Tyman will be creating a scale model of the Trout House! Bluecoat Artistic Director Bryan Biggs chairs the event, which continues Bluecoat’s relationship to Beefheart, from his first ever exhibition of paintings at the venue in 1972 to a special weekend in 2017 that explored him as a ‘total artist’ who embraced music, art, writing and performance. The event is on Sunday 16th June 2019. For more details andRead More →

May 11 – June 8, 2019 • Fast & Bulbous: The Art of Victor Hayden, curated by Anthony Ausgang Lisa Derrick Fine Arts will be presenting Fast & Bulbous, an exhibition of drawings and paintings by Victor Hayden (1948-2018), aka The Mascara Snake, with an opening reception May 11, 2019, from 6pm to 9pm. The gallery is located at 961 Chung King Road, in Los Angeles Chinatown. Victor was an ephemeral member of The Magic Band (Don and he were cousins). He contributed both art and music to Trout Mask Replica and  also painted the artwork on the cover of the band’s 1974 release BluejeansRead More →

There are not many opportunities these day to hear Don’s music played live but luckily there are a few musicians out there keeping the flame alive. Here’s a couple of chances to experience this music live, one in the US and one in the UK. UPDATE: Gary has contacted us to say that the Cutting Room gig has had to be POSTPONED. We will post details when it is rescheduled. Gary Lucas is presenting his THE WORLD OF CAPTAIN BEEFHEART show featuring legendary soul diva Nona Hendryx (Labelle) on vocals. You can catch this in NYC at The Cutting Room 44 East 32nd St onRead More →

One of the great pieces of footage showing the band at full throttle is their performance of I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby on the German TV music programme Beat Club back in 1972. Then in 2012 The Lost Broadcasts DVD revealed footage form the complete studio session – a couple more run throughs of Booglarize plus versions of Click Clack (twice), Golden Birdies, Steal Softly Thru Snow and Rockette Morton’s Bass Solo. Amazing picture and sound quality! Now, the Beat Club YouTube channel has revealed even more footage from that session. Sadly there are no more songs. But what we do have here is theRead More →

“That’s right, The Mascara Snake!” The Radar Station was saddened to hear that Victor Hayden (aka The Mascara Snake) had died on 7th December 2018. His death was announced by Pamela Des Barres on her Facebook page. She had known Victor since high school and called him her ‘soulmate’. In recent years she had acted as agent for his artwork. However, she gave no details about the cause of his death but Steve Brewster contacted us to tell us the tragic news that Victor had been hit by a van ten days ago and never recovered. Victor was Don Van Vliet’s cousin. During the lateRead More →

Yes, it’s 50 years since the band’s second album, Strictly Personal, was released. It was October 1968 in the US and December 1968 in the UK. The recording of the follow-up to Safe As Milk had begun back in November 1967 not long after Jeff Cotton had joined the band to replace Jerry McGee. However, these recordings were destined to remain unissued for a few years and the band had a second go at recording the album in May 1968. It was these later  sessions that were to be eventually released by Blue Thumb in the US and Liberty in the UK as Strictly Personal.Read More →

Yes, it’s true the legendary guitarist of the Magic Band and MU has finally broken his silence. Although for years Jeff Cotton has kept a low profile, refusing interviews with Steve Froy for his Space Blues website and even for John French when he was compiling the sleeve notes for Grow Fins and writing his Through the Eyes of Magic book he has now agreed to talk to Samuel Andreyev. Samuel has already won the hearts of many Beefheart fans with his musicologist’s examination of the track Frownland and his video interviews with John French and Bill Harkleroad. Now he has managed to pull offRead More →

Since his heart surgery Mark Boston aka Rockette Morton, bassist extraordinaire for the Magic Band, has had to take things a bit easier so he has taken up creating art. His elaborate, swirling images of aliens, tubes and streamers are vibrant as well as full of colour and humour. These pieces are for sale. See below for more details. The Radar Station asked Mark a few questions to get the background on his move from musician to artist: Radar Station: Firstly, I think all your fans would like to know how your are healthwise these days. Rockette Morton:  The heart surgery was a success butRead More →

Robert Williams, the Beefheart drummer from 1977 to 1981, recently posted on his Facebook page that he has a serious medical condition that will require major brain surgery. Sadly he has been diagnosed with a Glioma brain tumor which will have to be removed. Fortunately the procedure will be covered by MediCal. However as Robert is self-employed he will be unable to work whilst in hospital and when recovering from the operation. To help him meet his living expenses during this stressful time his son has set up a gofundme page where you can donate something to help him. If you are able help pleaseRead More →

Kristine McKenna is an American music journalist who has written for Wet, NME, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other publications. Over the years she has often written about Don, having interviewed him a number of times she was trusted by him and became a friend of his. In 1987 she had Don take part in a phone-in programme with her on her late night KCRW show. Some of this show is included in ‘Electricity: Conversations With Captain Beefheart’ available as part of KCRW’s ‘Lost Tapes’ series. In this Kristine talks about her encounters with Don and alsoRead More →