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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Pamela Des Barres has written a lengthy piece for the PleaseKillMe.com website about her great friend and soul mate, Victor Haydon (or Hayden is you prefer). Pamela writes well and this candid reminiscence is no exception. She reveals some of the demons that drove Victor, inspired his imagination and in some ways kept him at arms reach from the rest of the world. Very informative and enlightening. Read the article here – https://pleasekillme.com/victor-haydon/Read More →

Well, folks, the Art Tripp fest continues. Samuel Andreyev has now bagged another interview with a former Magic Band member. In this interview, which is nearly two hours long, Art talks about working with Frank Zappa, John Cage and Captain Beefheart. If you’ve seen the other interviews by Samuel then you know you’ll not want to miss this one. Check it out on YouTube – https://youtu.be/ugMep20elgQRead More →

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 →

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 →

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 →

“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 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 →