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 moneyRead More →

Beefheart Through The Eyes Of Magic by John French

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 toRead More →

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 behalfRead More →

Safe As Milk: Pye

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.Read More →

Beefheart Through The Eyes Of Magic by John French

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 goodRead More →

John French and Ian McArthur at the Trout House

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 presentRead More →

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 soonRead More →

Beefheart Through The Eyes Of Magic by John French

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 handsRead More →

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 musicalRead More →

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 littleRead More →

Two more entries have appeared at John French’s blog.The third and final part of his story about his new album City of Refuge is supplemented with news about his new band which will soon be touring to promote the album. Go to his MySpace page for all the details. City of Refuge will be released in Europe on November 10th and in North America on November 18th. Meanwhile, Sebstian Palmer got in touch to promote an interview he did with John ‘Drumbo’ French during the 2005 tour of the reformed Magic Band. He has made it available at Sounds From the Funky Goat.Read More →

Mikko Kapanen, lead singer and guitarist of Helsinki, Finland based “psychedelic hard rock” band Spektriis wrote in. The band is currently finishing up work on its debut album which they are hoping to have released some time in the first half of 2009. “The reason I’m telling this,” Mikko wrote, “is that we had the immense pleasure of getting Bill Harkleroad to record a guitar solo for one of the tracks. We have uploaded five out of the ten tracks on the album to our MySpace profile at http://www.myspace.com/spektriis including the track in question, called “Black Hole Eyes”. We made a point of not mentioning Harkleroad’s participationRead More →

Drumbo’s publicity people at Proper Records have recently been trickling information and soundbites from his new album City of Refuge, due for release on November 10th. This is of course the album which features five former Magic Band members – John French himself, Bill Harkelroad, Mark Boston, Greg Davidson and John Thomas. Now for the first time Proper Records has posted an entire track from the album. Get So Mean can be heard at a new page at Proper Records website, where you can also download some high resolution photographs and read the press release for the CD. At John French’s MySpace page there areRead More →

Some time ago Barry’s Imaginary Publisher produced a poster to be used as a prop in the documentary film, Freak Out in Cugamonga. There is a short illustrated article about the making of the poster, Captain Beefheart vs. The Grunt People, at moonbug.org. Copies of the poster are now available from Cafe Press, priced at $19.99.Read More →

Jimmy Carl Black Benefit Concerts A benefit concert for former Mother of Invention and Magic Band member Jimmy Carl Black has been arranged for November 9 at Bridge House in London. Jimmy recently underwent an operation for lung cancer in Germany and the proceeds from this event will go towards his expenses. Among those appearing will be Zappa and Beefheart cover band The Muffin Men and Zappacademic writer Ben Watson. Tickets cost £20. The Muffin Men are contributing to several other JCB benefit gigs. The first of these is Stockport For Jimmy – Indian Aid on Sunday October 26, 4-8pm, Bakers Vaults, on the MarketRead More →

Gary Lucas and Don Van Vliet – I Have A Cat ‘I Have A Cat’, the broadcast of Don Van Vliet’s last lengthy interview in 1993, combined with Gary Lucas’ specially commissioned guitar score recorded earlier this year, will receive its world premiere on Wednesday, September 3rd, 10pm to midnight Dutch time, on NPS Radio 6. Also in Holland, in March 2009, will be Fast ‘N’ Bulbous, The Captain Beefheart Project, featuring Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston. Two dates have so far been announced at Gary Lucas’ website, more are to be arranged. John French’s City of Refuge It was in 2005 that we firstRead More →

John French, the legendary Magic Band drummer, has bought a new set of drums and hopes soon to be playing them on tour. We await an announcement about the name and line-up of John’s new band (this will not be a Magic Band tour). In the meantime John has let us know that after over twenty years of musical partnership with his Rogers Holiday drums he has decided that now is the time to let them go. Here is your chance to become the proud possessor of a genuine piece of Magic Band / O Solo Drumbo / Crazy Backwards Alphabet / French, Frith, Kaiser,Read More →

Beefheart Night at New York’s Knitting Factory on April 9th has prompted many eye-witness accounts, photographs, and audio and video files from the event. Here are links to some of them. David Lynch reads Pena Robyn Hitchcock & Gary Lucas perform Sure ‘Nuff ‘N’ Yes I Do Glenn Kenny’s account Photographs from Prefix Mag / Lori Baily Gary Lucas’s blog Monday April 14, 2008 ‘An Inspired Evening of Beefheartiana’ by Steve Holtje As soon as Culture Catch’s film of the event is released, we’ll link to it here. Peter Warner wrote this review of the evening: For the Love of Don… And what a gloriousRead More →

Beefheart Night at The Knit, the April 9th tribute to Captain Beefheart in New York, promises to have even more treats and surprises than we listed at Up Sifter here on February 23rd. There are so many more treats and surprises in fact, that Fast ‘N’ Bulbous: The Captain Beefheart Project’s performance of Don Van Vliet compositions has been put back from 10.00 to 11.00 to fit them all in. Fast ‘N’ Bulbous, incidentally, will be previewing some arrangements from a planned second CD, as well as playing material from their first CD. Among the additional speakers to have been added to the already burgeoningRead More →