John French has kindly sent along his account of the Magic Band’s recent UK tour. The Magic Band’s “mini-tour” went well. We stayed in Basingstoke, England at a friend’s house to rehearse. It worked out perfectly for us, as we were able to rehearse in the living room for three days. I had gone over a day earlier (November 24th) and sorted out the backline with Malcolm Mills, the owner of Proper Music, who put out my last CD and published my book. Malcolm let me stay at his beautiful home with him, his wife Miriam, and sister-in-law Hillary. Upon arrival, I realized I
The Magic Band played at The Scala in London on Wednesday night and blew its stacks, as has come to be the norm at their amazing reunion shows. A couple of videos are available on YouTube (thanks to Ben for pointing these out): Electricity Big Eyed Beans From Venus Ian Archer sent along a scan of the set list which he managed to get John Drumbo French to sign: Ian comments: [wp_quote]What a joyous occasion – great to see the guys looking so well and sounding as good as ever. The band seemed pleased to see us as well. The Floppy Boot stomped down and that
In addition to the Beefheart Symposia scheduled in Sweden and Copenhagen later this month, Gary Lucas brings his celebration of all things Beefheart to Liverpool, UK for two nights early next year at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall: Friday 20 January 2012 Saturday 21 January 2012 Read more about the symposia at Gary’s website. More details when we have them.Gary has also sent a link to a great article on researching the connection between Don Van Vliet and British rebel artist Wyndham Lewis by David Stoker, published in the journal of the Wyndham Lewis Society.Plus he also sent this link to some rare footage of Wyndham
The Magic Band are booked to play the famous Thekla in Bristol on 4 December. Update: This is in fact a replacement show due to the ATP Festival being rescheduled for March next year
The Radar Station is sad to hear of the passing of Gary Jaye in Roxboro, North Carolina. Our thoughts are with his family and friends Gary was the drummer with the Magic Band during 1976 and 1977. In his book John French recalls seeing Gary play at the Troubadour in 1976: [wp_quote]I was really impressed with [his] mastery of the beats and thought he was a great player.[/wp_quote]
Gary Lucas brings his celebration of Don’s life to Montreal, Canada as part of the Pop Montreal International Music Festival. It starts at midnight on 24 September at the unlikely venue of the Cinema L’Amour. Guests include Mary Margaret O’Hara , Dan Levitin, Chloe Lum, Jonathan Cummins plus others.
Some great news just in from Sundazed Records (thanks to Andy Bean for passing it on): *LIVE RECORDING OF THE LEGENDARY AND INNOVATIVE MAGIC BAND’S 2005 REUNION! Famously forged in a cauldron of intense artistic pressure, the Magic Band emerged as a group unlike any other in popular music. Under the tenacious tutelage of Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, this strikingly innovative unit took their music to unexplored places, creating a musical language all their own. Throughout the band’s chaotic history with Beefheart, drummer John “Drumbo” French served as the chief translator, deciphering the Captain’s often cryptic instructions into a discernable direction
John French has just confirmed these dates for a Magic Band tour at the end of the year: Wednesday 30 November – The Scala, London Friday 2 December – Button Factory, Dublin Saturday 3 December – The Kazimier, Liverpool Sunday 4 December – All Tomorrows Parties, Minehead Monday 5 December – The Pavilion, Falmouth Wednesday 7 December – The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham Thursday 8 December – The Irish Centre, Leeds
If you don’t get the chance to visit the exhibition – INK – of Victor Hayden (aka The Mascara Snake) artworks at the East Austin Art Gallery in Texas then you can get a look at some of them which are currently being sold on ebay by the gallery. Here’s the series of recent ink drawings being sold at a reasonable price and here’s some older more elaborate stuff for those with deeper pockets I blogged about this rare exhibition of Victor’s work last month.
Friday 8 April at the Knitting Factory Brooklyn. Featuring Gary Lucas “Ice Cream for Crow” video clip producer (and uncredited director) Ken Schreiber UK journalist Vivien Goldman CultureCatch.com’s Dusty Wright Fireparty’s own Brainpang avant-punk icon Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Film Society of Lincoln Center director Richard Pena Ramones/Iggy Pop manager Danny Fields vocalist Felice Rosser journalist Billy Altman pundit Byron Coley music and film critic Glenn Kenny poet Bob Holman and more Full info, tickets, etc at The Knit. Hurry! It’s tonight!
Ant-Bee, aka Billy James, has a new cd out. It’s called Electronic Church Muzik on Barking Moondog Records and includes guest appearances from many notable musicians. Former Magic Band members Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo), Mark Boston (Rockette Morton) and Jimmy Carl Black (Indian Ink) all make an appearance. Other well-known names include Jan Akkerman (Focus), Peter Banks (Yes/Flash), Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth (Gong), Michael Bruce (Alice Cooper), Napoleon Murphy Brock (Zappa), Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, Buzz Gardner, Motorhead (Mothers of Invention), Moogy Klingman (Todd Rundgren’s Utopia). Check out these videos: ‘Child of the Moon’ by Ant-Bee (1997) ‘The Girl With The Stars In
Here’s a rare event … Victor Hayden, aka The Mascara Snake, has an exhibition celebrating his work from the past 30 years. There is also an opportunity for the first time to buy one of the 150 drawings he has decided to let go for $150. Venue: East Austin Art Gallery 2235 East 6th Street Unit 105 Austin, TX 78702 Date: 16 March through April 2011 The opening night event, which Victor will be attending, is on 16 March and starts at 7pm (until 12am). Beer and wine will be served. A documentary is currently being filmed about Victor at the same time. In the
While touring in the UK in 1975, there was a concert we played in a medium sized hall somewhere lost in time, where a bus brought in a group of about 16 wheelchair-bound individuals. After the concert ended, we were headed for our bus when Don stopped and watched as the handicapped individuals were tediously loaded one by one onto their bus. Our bus driver, a bit impatient, called out that we could go, but Don refused to budge. “I’m not leaving until they do. They had the patience to go through all this trouble to come see me, and I’m going to show them
We were very sorry to learn that Don Van Vliet passed away on Friday 17 December 2010 due to complications arising from multiple sclerosis. Tributes from friends, Magic Band members and fans have come thick and fast. Here are a few of them on beefheart.com and beyond: Steve’s initial beefheart.com post: Don Van Vliet 1941-2010 including many of your tributes Graham’s beefheart.com post: Don Van Vliet 1941-2010 including many of your tributes Art Tripp’s tribute to Don Bill Harkleroad’s tribute to Don John French’s tribute to Don – an absolutely lovely read, not to be missed Gary Lucas’s tribute to Don from The Wall Street
My friend Art Tripp nailed it head to toe and I just can’t say it any better. Time erased all the injustices and I am left with all the incredible lessons learned. Such a rare and tremendously creative talent. I have to say it has taken me many years to recognize how truly rare a person he was. You have to be here awhile, or at least I did, to know Don Vliet’s don’t just happen. Don’s gone but look what he left us. Don’s gone and we’re next. Bill Harkleroad 19 December 2010
In 1984 Don and I had renewed our friendship for many years in north California after we’d both left the music biz. Our homes were only about a mile apart. He came to my office periodically for chiropractic treatment, and we’d also get together frequently just for laughs. In the late 1980’s he seemed to be developing some neurological symptoms which were resistant to cure from chiropractic adjustments. I told Don and Jan that he needed a consultation with a neurologist. He refused to go, and Jan was unable to convince him. Around 1992 he and I had a falling out. As a result, I
Gary Lucas is bringing his Beefheart Symposium to Los Angeles two days before Don’s 70th birthday. During the symposium Gary will show rare footage of the band live, play unreleased tracks, and project slides of Don’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 also illustrate Don’s quirky and idiosyncratic methodologies and techniques on his guitar. So at 8pm, 13 January 2011 try to join Gary and ‘special guests’ at The Echoplex 1154 Glendale Boulevard Los Angeles 90026 Tickets: Seating – $15 adv; $17 dos / Standing –
Gary Lucas will be in London on Sunday 21 November to perform the UK premier of his new solo guitar score accompanying the 1931 Spanish-language “Dracula” at Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the London Jazz Festival. This event was just immortalized in a cartoon strip by the legendary Savage Pencil in the new issue of The Wire magazine: Click picture for large view. From The Wire issue 319 September 2010; reproduced by permission. More info about this event is available at Gary’s website, including reviews for the recent US premier of this show. Many thanks to Gary for the info.
Charlie Rosenkranz, the current owner of the Woodland Hills “Trout House” where the Magic Band lived and conceived Trout Mask Replica, emailed me today to say the house is on the market again. You can see the seller’s info online and it has some great interior shots which I’ve never seen before. My favourite is this detail of one of the doors: If you have a spare $325,000 and your enthusiasm for Trout Mask Replica knows no bounds, this would be an unbeatable bit of memorabilia. Charlie writes: It’s up for sale. I injured myself several months ago and haven’t been able to work or
Michael Traylor, who shared the drum stool with John French during the recent Magic Band reunion tours, is featured in the latest issue of the US-based Classic Drummer Magazine. In an article entitled Artistic Adventurer Michael discusses the contrasting sytles of playing Beefheart Music with the Magic Band and playing with pop/rocker Tommy Tutone. Check the Classic Drummer website for more about the magazine.