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,
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 glorious
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 burgeoning
This item has been updated with a new post, Even more treats at The Knit, 2 April 2008. Update – 9 March 2008 Wednesday 9th April at The Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard Street, New York City. Gary Lucas curates Beefheart Night at the Knit, a salute to the Music, Poetry and Art of Don Van Vliet, a/k/a Captain Beefheart. Proceedings beginning at 8:00pm with a screening of rare Beefheart videos and documentaries and the spinning of unreleased tracks. This is followed by a reading of Don Van Vliet’s poetry, and reminiscences by special guests including: Lee Ranaldo Alan Vega Roswell Rudd Kurt Loder
Gary Lucas wrote in with news of a splendid review of his new 12″ vinyl leftfield dance single ‘Purple Somersault’. The record is released under the name Wild Rumpus and also features DJ Cosmo. Kris Needs, writing at DMC Update.com described the track as: “….. a funked groove set up then sand-blasted by Gary’s guitar, which manages to recall anyone from Link Wray to the Misunderstood with a melody recalling Hendrix’s ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ ….. some of the most devastatingly-effective guitar pyrotechnics heard all year ….. the Beefheart connection rears in club-world and it is indeed magical.” Gary told me a little about
We received a mail from Michael Traylor about a new project which involves Mark Boston. Here it is: [wp_quote]Just a note to let you know that Rockette and I have been working on a studio CD with a blues artist name Roger “Hurricane” Wilson….the CD should be released some time in early summer.. Rockette played bass and I played drums and am producing the project…one notable point is that we are doing a new arrangement of Sure Nuff and Yes I Do…there is some fun material such as a version of Exodus originally recorded by the Ventures…stay tuned for updates and links to the CD
Is this the earliest surviving Captain Beefheart poster? The hand-painted graphic work on poster paper (12″x18″) was made to advertise a Captain Beefheart concert at San Fernando Valley State College in May 1965. Victor Hayden, the artist responsible, was later to join The Magic Band as The Mascara Snake. Pamela Des Barres says that she removed the poster from the wall of Cleveland High School and has recently found it in her attic. It is now for sale at eBay.
Coming Clean, a new album by Magic Band maestro and guitar-god Gary Lucas has been gathering hugely favourable reviews for Gary’s exemplary skills and for the killer line-up he has assembled for the current incarnation of his band Gods and Monsters. Among those appearing on the album, which was five years in the making, are Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers) on bass, Billy Ficca (Television) and Jonathan Kane (Swans) on drums, Jason Candler (Hungry March Band) on alto sax and Joe Hendel on trombone, with special guest vocalists David Johansen (New York Dolls). Reviewing this album, Rolling Stone called Gary, “one of the best and most
The recent Fast’n’Bulbous tour was a great success, by all accounts. Sold out concerts and very positive word of mouth make those of us who weren’t present a little jealous of those who were. However, help is at hand in the form of some video footage of Fast’n’Bulbous in action in Amsterdam on November 17th. Clips of When It Blows Its Stacks, Sugar ‘N Spikes, You Know You’re A Man and Tropical Hot Dog Night are now showing at YouTube. The full Amsterdam concert will be broadcast on Wednesday January 31st 2007 at 22:00 on Co de Kloet’s Studio 6 show, NPS (National Dutch radio).
How could anyone visiting this website resist hearing instrumental versions of the Captain’s songs played like a New Orleans marching band imbued with extra weirdness? Resist no longer, Fast’n’Bulbous: The Captain Beefheart Project is unleashed on London and six other European cities over the next few days. Led by former Captain Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas, Fast’n’Bulbous perform thrilling instrumental versions of the Beefheart canon. A tribute blazing with idiosyncratic precision and earthy abandon. Yes I know I’m paraphrasing the publicity material, but this is after all only a reminder of the information I posted here already in June and August. If you can offer a
I’ve just received the following message from Spencer Pope: Big Eyed Beans from Venus, the Athens GA based Captain Beefheart tribute band, are playing in Atlanta GA on November 16th. We will be joined by Rockette Morton and Denny Walley. The show is at the Five spot, starts at 9:30 and costs 7 dollars. Many thanks for the tip-off Spencer, if any beefheart.com visitors make it along to the gig please do post your comments here.
I have just received the following statement for the site from John French: Well, all good things must come to an end as they say… After a lot of painful deliberation, we decided to no longer pursue the Magic Band reunion project. There are a lot of reasons, but rather than going on about booking agents not collecting deposits, promoters who didn’t pay, fraudulent contracts etc., I thought it would be a good idea just to say “thanks” to some of the people who made things possible. Pre – 2003 Graham Johnston (beefheart.com founder, great friendship and support) Derek Laskie (webmaster, beefheart.com) Steve Froy (very
Here are a few items which should have appeared here earlier. Sorry to have kept you waiting. Hank Grebe’s Beefheart photographs The recently issued Captain Beefheart compilation CD, The Buddah Years features a cover photograph of Don Van Vliet hunkering down in a corridor to chat with some fans. The story of the taking of that photograph can be found at Hank Grebe’s website, along with six pages of photographs of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band which Hank took over the years between 1971 and 1980. Beyond the Palers Some Procol Harum fans (Palers) have issued a double CD of Procol Harum cover versions
Moris Tepper was an artist before he joined the Magic Band, and he still continues to paint and sculpt as well as play music. For those of you who are within striking distance of Los Angeles you might think about dropping in to see his latest exhibition. It’s called “New Paintings and Sculptures of Moris Tepper”, and is at MJ Higgins Fine Art, Los Angeles from June 24th-August 5th, 2006 All this info and more can be found at Moris’s website.
Fast ‘N Bulbous, The Captain Beefheart Project, featuring Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston, have just announced a short European tour. Friday, Nov. 17th BimHuis, Amsterdam, Holland Saturday, Nov. 18th Taktlos Festival, Bern, Switzerland Tuesday, Nov. 21st Porgy and Bess, Vienna, Austria Thursday, Nov. 23rd Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana, Slovenia I’ll post more information here as I receive it. Update: 6 August 2006 Two London dates now added to the Fast ‘N’ Bulbous tour Wednesday, Nov. 15th Pizza on the Park, London Thursday, Nov. 16th Pizza on the Park, London Fast ‘N’ Bulbous, The Captain Beefheart Project featuring Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston, with Richard Dworkin, Joe
The Magic Band have been invited to broadcast live on Swedish TV4’s morning show on Tuesday 16th May. John French will be interviewed and the band will play two Captain Beefheart numbers. These will be made available on the net at TV4’s website shortly after the broadcast. The performance should be available there for several months. This TV appearance completes the schedule for the sadly curtailed Magic Band tour. The Danish concert was cancelled today while the Norwegian concert was cancelled about three weeks ago. Update: Tuesday 16th May The clips of The Magic Band live on Swedish television this morning are now archived at
Art Tripp has spoken exclusively to the Radar Station about his time in the Magic Band. From the astounding Lick My Decals Off Baby to the lacklustre Unconditionally Guaranteed, to the shortlived Mallard and his return for Shiny Beast Art offers a fascinating insight into the the recording of these albums and tells stories of life on the road and playing live. Read the full interview.
The second part of Derek Laskie’s interview with Herb Bermann, legendary writing partner of Don Van Vliet in the early days of the Magic Band is now available and is just as fascinating as part one. At one point Herb expresses his annoyance with something written about him in Mike Barnes’ biography of Don Van Vliet. I’m puzzled by his suggestion that Barnes should “do his homework” – I’d like to stress on the writer’s behalf that this is clearly a very well researched biography. Herb Bermann features only very briefly in the story which, despite his momentous contribution to one of my all time
Booking has just opened in Aarhus, one of the venues on The Magic Band’s 2006 Scandinavian tour. John French and Denny Walley, who are in the present line-up, were also members of The Magic Band when they toured Scandinavia in 1975 – which appears to be the last time that The Magic Band played in Scandinavia. More venues are expected to start booking very soon. The schedule is currently as follows, although additions and alterations are always possible. Tuesday, May 16th TV4, Sweden, live broadcast Friday, May 19th Opera House, Umeå, Sweden Saturday, May 20th Jazzclub Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden Sunday, May 21st Aarhus, Denmark CANCELLED
‘Wood’, the first new Mystery Band CD for ten years, will be released on the Poo-Bah Record Label on March 28th. Former Magic Band member Rick Snyder has been playing with The Mystery Band since 1988. The Mystery Band is led by the man responsible for arranging Rick Snyder’s audition with Captain Beefheart, Ace Farren Ford. Rick Snyder’s contemporary in The Magic Band, Moris Tepper, co-wrote one of the songs on the album, ‘Jesus On The Radio’, with Mystery Band member Gary Riley. Further information and generous helpings of soundbites are available at The Mystery Band ‘Wood’ page