Here’s a treat if you can make it to: The Magic Room Gallery 155 North Beacon Street, Brighton, Massachusetts 02135 On Friday 10 September 2010 – 8pm until 11.30pm Tickets: $20 Gary Lucas will be presenting a Captain Beefheart Symposium where he will will give a lecture and musical demonstration devoted to his mentor and childhood hero Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart. This will involve Gary showing rare video footage of the man and the band, delve into his complex artistic oeuvre as both a composer — by performing some of his fiendishly difficult solo guitar compositions live — and as a painter by
A new Tom Waits documentary DVD “Under The Influence” features interviews with John French (Magic Band drummer, arranger, latter-day front man and biographer). Produced by Chrome Dreams (who also made Captain Beefheart Under Review a few years back) the DVD dissects Waits’ varied influences and I think we can guess why Captain Beefheart’s right hand man was enlisted to help tell part of the story. Intriguingly there is an extra short on the DVD called “John French Spills The Beans” – perhaps just an extended interview. If you have any more info please do let me know or post it below.
Stephen Toman has just got in touch to alert me to his recent John “Drumbo” French interview which has just been published online. Don’t miss it: lots of John’s thoughts about the Magic Band, the book, the reunion and far beyond. Many thanks, Stephen. John French’s book, Beefheart Through The Eyes Of Magic is available now from Amazon and elsewhere, don’t forget to buy your copy.
Beefheart’s one-time manager, Herb Cohen, has died aged 77. Cohen was a larger than life character, a hard nosed businessman who seemed to have a penchant for obscure talent. Not only did he have Don on his roster but he also managed Zappa, Tim Buckley, the GTOs, Wild Man Fischer and Tom Waits. Unfortunately his relationship with Zappa soured and they fell out in 1976 amidst a nasty legal wrangle which left Cohen with the rights to many of the albums released on the Straight label. None of these albums have had a decent release on CD … Lick My Decals Off Baby still awaits
Henry Kaiser kindly sent us the following info today: Groove Family Fundraiser for Breast Cancer presents Robben Ford & Renegade Creation Ultraviolet Licorice (featuring Bob Bralove, Henry Kaiser, John French (aka Drumbo), Dan Schwartz) Steve White and the Barstool Pidgeons & Jonathan McCuen Saturday April 17 at the majestic Ventura Theater 26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura, CA 93001 • 805-653-6489 Doors open at 7:00 • Show starts at 8:00 General Admission: $25.00 Many thanks to Henry for the tip-off. Henry says the current plan is for Ultraviolet Licorice to play for 90 minutes as the third of three acts. If you attend, please feel free to post a
I’ve just got my copy of John French’s beautiful massive tome and have been keenly devouring it in every spare moment. It’s also had some favourable coverage in the UK press this morning. Life Under Captain Beefheart’s Regime appears in The Times and makes the book sound as fascinating and revelatory as it appears to be from what I’ve read so far. If you spot any other interesting reviews or articles related the book please post links to them below. Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic goes on sale tomorrow.
These photographs show The Magic Band playing at ‘Ten Years of ATP’, a music festival in Minehead, on Sunday 13th December. Click on the images to enlarge them. In the annotated set list keen followers of The Magic Band will spot some interesting differences between this concert and previous appearances. The Magic Band MySpace page contains lots of interesting information including brief biographies of new members Eric Klerks and Craig Bunch and some notes which John French wrote about recent Magic Band rehearsals. Samples from a recording of a previous Magic Band show, one of three scheduled to be released in February on Vinyl, CD,
Grammy Award winning producer, engineer and mixer Greg Ladanyi died in a fall from a stage in Cyprus in September. He was 57. His first job as an engineer was with Captain Beefheart. In 2005 Greg Ladanyi described working with Captain Beefheart on Bluejeans and Moonbeams. It was the most bizarre, twisted experience for me. This was before I was an engineer and before I went to the Sound Factory. I was the business side of Stronghold Studios, and my partner, Al Thomas, owned the studio. I found the job, brought them in, and they paid us $5,000 for studio time. We spent the money
The following press release about the publication of John’s long awaited book has just come to our notice: John “Drumbo” French: Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic The ultimate book about Captain Beefheart written by the man who spent more time with him than most. Published in hardback 880 pages, including 16 pages of amazing photographs, many published for the first time. Includes reminiscences from key members of The Magic Band and The Mothers Of Invention. Cover price £19.95. Out 11 January 2010 Few names carry such formidable mystique and rabid cult status as Captain Beefheart, who led various lineups of his Magic Band to
John French has confirmed that The Magic Band will perform at All Tomorrows Parties’ Ten Years Of ATP Festival in December. In mails to us this week he has given some details of the line-up and the expected content of the set. John has also confirmed that more live shows are being planned and that several albums of live recordings from the 2005 tours will be released in various formats. This is what John wrote: About 6 weeks ago, Barry Hogan unexpectedly sent me an email inviting The Magic Band to play at their tenth anniversary Festival. I was very happy to accept on behalf
The graphic designer and photographer Tom Wilkes died on 28 June from a heart attack. He was 69. Most well known to Beefheart fans for his work on the Safe As Milk album he was involved in the design of many, many others. For more detailed obituaries check out the LA Times and the Independent. Thanks to ‘anonymous’ for the heads up about this sad news.
The Radar Station just been told that John French’s book is still on course for a Spring 2010 release … although the exact date has yet to be confirmed. However, what’s new is that Proper has decided that it’ll now publish Through the Eyes of Magic as ONE BIG book instead of the two volumes they had originally planned. This probably make more financial sense. It also means we’ll get the whole book without the danger of the second volume never seeing the light of day! They’ve also promised that no editing will be done to make it fit one volume … which is good
We received a mail from John French who recently went back to the house where Trout Mask Replica was created. I thought beefheart.com might be interested in a picture of Ian McArthur, my Scottish friend, and I up by the “Trout House” as I call it. We visited the place on February 3rd and as you can see, it was a beautiful day. The present owner was aware of the house’s history and kind enough to take this picture and send it to me. The house was built on the middle lot of three adjoining lots that was part of the original property. The present
I’m afraid we’ve had bad news about the publication of John French’s book. It’s now no longer going to be published this June. Proper Records have not taken the decision lightly. But as this was their first foray into the world of book publishing they have now realised that a book cannot be turned around as quickly as a CD and marketed effectively in that short time. Ultimately they want to do what’s best for John and his book … but it’s still a bummer none the less! The book’s now likely to be published next year. We’ll bring you news, of course, as soon
For several years here on the Radar Station we’ve been telling you that Drumbo has written a book about his time with the Magic Band called ‘Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic’. It’s taken him a while to finish it and, at last, we can finally say there’s not much longer to wait. Proper Records (who released his recent solo album) have taken on the publication of this two volume masterpiece and plan to release Volume One on 1 June 2009. They’ve set up some ‘teaser’ pages and a few more teasers too. For more information … and a review (when we get are hands
John French’s new album City of Refuge has been gathering some very good reviews, as well as attracting the inevitable comparisons to Captain Beefheart albums. The Independent review commented, 12 new songs voiced by Drumbo himself in full Beefheart pastiche mode. How can it work? Reasonably well, as it goes, given the absence of the Cap himself. Guitars cut and thrust, time signatures jerk around and the songs stand up for themselves. Uncut magazine’s full page piece about Drumbo’s album included this, Does it add up to more than left-overs from a bygone era? If nothing else City of Refuge strikes a blow for musical
Jimmy Carl Black died this weekend. He was seventy years old. Art Tripp, one of the few other musicians to have played with both Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, sent the following message: I hardly know what to say about the demise of the great Jimmy Carl Black. I Emailed Roy Estrada that the world just won’t seem the same without The Indian. He was one of those rare guys who lit up the whole room when he walked in. When you met Jim you liked him; and he was your friend for life. Jim was basically a good ole Texas boy with a little