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 please
Probably one of the busiest performers on the circuit, Gary Lucas is coming to the UK in May 2018 with a solo multi-media show entitled “An Evening with Gary Lucas : From Beefheart to Buckley and Beyond”. He will be playing solo except for one show when he will be joined by the legendary former singer from Can, Damo Suzuki! Check out the dates and venues below: Friday, May 4th Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool Saturday, May 5th The Cluny, Newcastle Sunday, May 6th St. Luke’s, Glasgow Tuesday, May 8th Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, Cumbria Thursday, May 10th FOCUS Wales 2018, Wrexham – Gary is performing
Pamela Des Barres has recently posted a couple of photos on her Facebook site that visitors to the Radar Station might like to see. Apparently she came across one of Victor Hayden’s original paintings in her garage. Not just any painting … this one was the original artwork for the Bluejeans and Moonbeams album cover. Miss Pamela acts as an agent for Victor’s artwork and she is considering what to do with this painting, in other words the best way of selling it. The album itself may well not be the most popular in Don’s discography but the cover was wonderfully strange. John French recalls
We recently posted about composer Samuel Andreyev’s Youtube analysis of the album Trout Mask Replica. A fascinating piece if you haven’t watched it yet. On the back of piece we were able to put Samuel in contact with John French and he has now posted an excellent video interview with John on Youtube lasting an hour and forty five minutes. In the interview they discuss John’s time in the Magic Band (unsurprisingly), concentrating on the time in the Trout House and the making of TMR. Take a look here: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od0_LRNlE5A]
Thanks go to Patrick Grant for sharing some great pictures of the original Captain Beefheart and instigator of the group – Alex Snouffer. Alex, also known as ‘Butch’, is here shown in some photographs from 1955 and 1957 taken for the Antelope Valley High School Yearbook. This High School was attended by several of the original members of the band. Alex tended to mix with the ‘bikers’ of the area and was known as someone not to mess with.
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 great
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 by
The Mystery Man from The Magic Band. Yes, indeed, here’s something to look forward to. Due to be published around 8 June Beefheart’s co-songwriter, Herb Bermann tells his story about the songs and how they came to be written. It also includes an introduction from John French and an interview with Herb conducted by the Radar Station’s former newshound Derek Laskie. Available from the publisher and I have been told that they will only be selling one copy per person. Published by Brass Tacks Press, this is what they have to say about the book: THE MYSTERY MAN FROM THE MAGIC BAND: Captain Beefheart collaborator’s
Here are two recent interviews with John ‘Drumbo’ French which are worth checking out. The first can be found at the No Apologies Blog, a Christian oriented blog: https://noapologiesallowed.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/naa-interview-with-john-drumbo-french-the-beefheart-drummer/ This is a text interview where John mainly talks about his Christian faith. However there is plenty of other stuff to keep the Beefheart fan interested. (Thanks to Joshua for contacting the Radar Station about his interview with John). The second interview is a 30 minute audio piece at The Trap Set which focuses on talking to drummers. “Joe Wong talks to John “Drumbo” French about blazing a singular path with Captain Beefheart, slipping under the
Four new tracks released online. It’s been a while since Bill Harkleroad released any new music. Not since 2001, in fact, when We Saw A Bozo Under The Sea was issued. He has just resurfaced, along with a revamp of his website, with four new instrumental tracks each one based on a mask sculpture by Roger Evers. An interesting concept! – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – The Radar Station asked Bill a few questions about this new music: Can you tell us some more about the masks and the artist who created them?
Here’s something special for you all. The first full length interview with one of the original Magic Band members, bass player Jerry Handley. Jerry has been very generous with his time to answer a whole heap of questions I asked him plus he sent me some previously unseen photographs of the early Magic Band to be included with the interview. So what are you waiting for? Read the interview
Okay, so why am I reviewing a book about Jeff Buckley here on the Radar Station? Well, it’s written by Gary Lucas who had, and still continues to have, a big part to play in the music of Don Van Vliet, and I think, should interest a lot of Beefheart fans. Jawbone Press : London 2013 Paperback 318 pages 22 Illustrations Originally published in Italy in Italian this is an updated English version of Gary’s story of his “time with Jeff Buckley”, in which he wants to correct the many previously published errors about their relationship and to counter the attempts at airbrushing him out
It’s almost 40 years since Don played the Troubadour in Los Angeles… and far too long since the Magic Band have played in the US. At long last a venue has had the commonsense to book the band so some of our American cousins can see what they’ve been missing. The date of the show is Monday 7th April. Find out more on the Troubadour’s Facebook page for the gig.
Gary Lucas brings his Captain Beefheart Symposium to Mexico City on Sunday 1 December 2013 It takes place in the big public park at the Casa Del Lago at 1pm. During the symposium Gary Lucas will show rare archival footage of the band, spin unreleased tracks, project slides of Van Vliet’s paintings and drawings, discuss the history of the group and many of the great musicians who came through the ranks of The Magic Band, and illustrate Van Vliet’s quirky and idiosyncratic methodologies and techniques with a live solo guitar performance. More information is available at Gary Lucas’s website.
Gary Lucas will present a live show at Southbank Centre, London on Thursday 14 November at 7.45pm encompassing his collaborations with Jeff Buckley, Lou Reed and Captain Beefheart. The Southbank Centre sent us the following: World-class guitarist and Grammy-nominated songwriter Gary Lucas talks about his new book Touched By Grace: My Time with Jeff Buckley, and performs a solo set featuring songs from his musical collaborations with Jeff Buckley, Captain Beefheart and beyond in the intimate setting of the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre, London. His credits include co-writing and playing on his late musical partner Jeff Buckley’s anthems ‘Grace’ and ‘Mojo Pin’, from Jeff’s double platinum
A new Magic Band website announces a new Magic Band tour. The new site provides us with a suitably Magic web presence; my favourite bit being the archive of press reviews of many of the reunion shows. It’s a pleasing reminder that the reunion has been consistently booglarising us for over 10 years now, and the tone of the reviews is as equally thrilled and disbelieving in 2013 as it was in 2003. John French, Mark Boston and Denny Walley, along with their bandmates over the last decade, have achieved something truly remarkable. So get yourself out there if you can, witness an unforgettable show, revel
The Magic Band have been added to the line-up of the All Tomorrow’s Parties ‘End Of An Era Part 2’ festival curated by ATP and Loop. The event takes place at Pontins, Camber Sands, England from the 29th November-1st December 2013. More info about the event and tickets are available at the ATP website.
The World of Captain Beefheart is a special concert featuring Gary Lucas with the 60 piece Metropole Orchestra performing symphonic Beefheart. Date: Sunday 17th February 2013 Venue: the main hall of Amsterdam’s Paradiso Special guest vocalist for the night is legendary Nona Hendryx (pictured below with Gary), who is also a big Beefheart fan. This event has been put together by Co de Kloet (the Dutch radio presenter who did the last lengthy interview with Don on the phone in the early 90’s). It will be broadcast live on Co’s radio show on national Dutch radio, NTR. It is also being filmed for possible broadcast. View
Updated: 26 Jan 2013 Woo hoo! Yes, prepare to be booglarized again … the guys are back in the UK for another tour. So far the following dates have been set up: March 2013 1 – Concorde 2, Brighton 2 – Arts Centre, Colchester 4 – The Fleece, Bristol 5 – Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton 6 – The Continental, Preston 7 – Band On The Wall, Manchester 9 – Arches, Glasgow 10 – HMV Picture House, Edinburgh 11 – The Cluny, Newcastle upon Tyne 13 – Erics, Liverpool 14 – The Duchess, York 15 – Sub89, Reading 16 – Under The Bridge, Fulham, London For
The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn hosts a Beefheart night on Monday 29 October. Featuring Gary Lucas and Philip Johnson’s Fast N Bulbous and also Beefheart tribute act Doctor Dark. Tickets are $20, available no the door or from the Knitting Factory website.