I’m very sad to say that my old friend and fellow Beefheart fan Paul Brown has passed away. Paul was probably THE Beefheart fan, a fervent collector and the most knowledgeable of all things Beefheartian that I have ever known, he always knew what was shakin’ in Vlietland. He was a great mate, kind and generous and a good laugh. Many longtime fans will have probably come across Paul at some point and others will have benefited in one way or another, even if they don’t know about it, by his involvement in collecting all things Beefheart. I first met him back in the days
Thanks to Kitty Marimba we’re able to get a look inside Art’s Magic Band Scrapbook. Well, it was actually Art’s mother, Jay, who took most of the photographs and put them in an album but it’s now in Art’s possession. Jay herself does appear in a couple of the photographs. I have done what I can to tidy up the scans and to enhance the faded colours of the original photographs. However, they are what they are … but it’s a rare glimpse of life on the road with the Magic Band during 1971 and 1972 … I hope you enjoy them. To fit them
A great collection of photographs taken by Paddy Bergin at the 1975 Knebworth Festival are now available online and to buy. Some of these may already be familiar to fans but there are several here I’ve not seen before. Sadly they don’t include a good shot of the whole band onstage though. Check out Paddy’s Gallery
A huge box full of Beefheart and Zappa memorabilia, CDs and DVDs from Freddy Bannister who promoted many of their 1970s tours and festivals in the UK. A similar box set has been available before but this one has been packed with even more bits and pieces. It’s a signed limited edition of 100 copies. The set includes: the book ‘There Must Be A Better Way’ – Freddie Bannister’s autobiography three full size posters of Knebworth Festivals facsimile of the Beefheart 1972 tour programme facsimile of the programme for the 1970 Bath Festival facsimile of the programme for the 1975 Knebworth Festival ‘The Spirit of
It’s amazing the things that suddenly appear as if from nowhere. R. Michael DeChellis was a photographer in Los Angeles at the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s. He photographed many of the groups playing live at that time. On the 31st March 1969 he as at the Aquarius Theater on Sunset Boulevard, which he knew as the Hullabaloo Club. On the large bill that night was Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band fresh from recording the staggering Trout Mask Replica album. Michael took a few photographs and we’re pleased to present them here on the Radar Station. Just a pity there aren’t more!
Having been a fan for so many years it’s easy sometimes to think that you’ve seen just everything there is out there about Don and the band. But every now and then something new creeps unexpectedly out of the woodwork. Just recently two such things have come to light within the same week on ebay. The first is a stunning photo taken backstage at the Rome Pop Festival on 4th May 1968. Apparently this has survived as slide and has surfaced in Australia… And then there are the six photos below taken by the seller although he doesn’t remember where or when they were taken.
We have mentioned the Beefheart/Zappa Commemorative box set put together around Freddy Banister’s book “There Must Be A Better Way” a few times before, and its contents have been expanded recently again. The collection now also includes a CD of Frank Zappa’s Grand Wazoo at The Oval in 1972 and a Beefheart programme from the 1972 tour, making it a total of eight Beefheart CDs, four Zappa CDs, two DVDs, one book, one programme and assorted items of memorabilia …and the price remains £49.99. For more information, please see the Rock Music Memorabilia website and/or email email@example.com
If you haven’t got a copy of the Beefheart/Zappa Commemorative box set put together around Freddy Banister’s book “There Must Be A Better Way” then there are perhaps further reasons to get a copy. Two more stealth recordings of Frank Zappa concerts have now been added to the set: 1970 Frank Zappa at the Bath Festival and 1978 Frank Zappa at the Knebworth Festival. This makes it a total of 10 CDs (7 Captain Beefheart and 3 Frank Zappa), plus the T shirt and poster which are still included … and the price remains £49.99.
A handwritten poem and drawing on the back of a concert poster can be yours for $3500. Don gave this to writer Bill Bentley after an interview at the Armadillo Headquarters in 1975 during the Bongo Fury tour. It’s not so much a poem as a collection of Don aphorisms … many of which will be familiar to most fans. Check it out on the Record Mecca website. So, if anyone’s considering buying me a Christmas present this year, look no further. Thanks be to brainpang for the heads up.
I know there’s a few other collectors of Don’s exhibition catalogues out there. So I thought you might be interested to know that a friend of the Radar Station has decided to sell his collection on ebay. He’s just put nine catalogues up there – view the items ps: I’m happy to let you know about this because I’ll not be bidding as I have these already!
The UK music magazine, Mojo, has recently published a 140+ page Frank Zappa special in their ‘Ultimate Collectors Edition’ series. Well worth checking out this has several pages about Don and Frank’s relationship including new interviews with Gary Lucas and Art Tripp. If you’re looking for an unusual Zappa/Beefheart related Christmas present then look no further. Check out the Frank and Don finger puppets. However, if you have a bit more cash to splurge then how about the ultimate Christmas present … one of Don’s original oil paintings! Apparently the Michael Werner Gallery in New York have ‘Black Doily‘ for sale at 40,000USD. This 1992
A postcard arrived through my door this morning from WFMU announcing their auction between 5 and 12 October promising “rare records, comics, art, useless ephemera and more!” One of the items on offer is a “signed print by Captain Beefheart” though I have no idea what this entails. It could be album artwork or it could be a print of a Don Van Vliet painting. All will become clear on 5th October at WFMU’s auction page. John Fahey fans will also be interested to learn that some of his artwork is similarly available. Oh, and some “Butthole Surfers toilet paper” too.
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
For all you collectors out there here’s a nice box set based around Freddy Bannister’s book. Freddy promoted many of Beefheart’s early 70’s tours as well as organising the famous Knebworth festivals. Apart from the book there’s some great Beefheart photographs, facsimilies of festival programmes and flyers … plus extra special bonuses of some prime Beefheart concerts. Find out more
A new collection of shirts from New York design house Rotter and Friends features several variations on the Trout Mask Replica cover. Here modelling one of them are Gustav Ejstes from the Swedish band Dungen and Susannah Lipsey designer for Windy Freda. All of the shirts from the collection can be seen and ordered at Rotter and Friends website where there is even a video showing how well the shirts perform to Zig Zag Wanderer. Photo taken by Jeaneen Lund.
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,
A number of Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa albums and CDs have been donated for a charity raffle and signed by some of the musicians who recorded them. The raffle is in aid of the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). Kitty Tripp, organiser of the raffle, says that among those who have donated so far are John French (Drumbo), Mark Boston (Rockette Morton), Cal Schenkel, Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo), Denny Walley, Roy Estrada (Orejón), Jimmy Carl Black, Ed Mann and, of course, Art Tripp (Ed Marimba himself). There is no quality grading of the items to be won, so expect vinyl to be well played
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.
Here’s a snapshot of another old Captain Beefheart photograph from Miss Pamela’s collection. The original was taken by Pamela des Barres herself in 1965. Pamela was unsure of the name of the other band member pictured here but the esteemed authorities at The Fire Party write that this is almost certainly drummer Vic Mortensen who played with The Magic Band in that year. Vic may also have been the (uncredited) writer of Call On Me. Pamela is offered prints of this photograph from a limited edition she produced for sale at eBay.
This photograph of Don Van Vliet meeting his old friend Pamela des Barres was taken at what must have been one of Don’s last public appearances. The occasion was the opening of Don’s exhibition at the Fred Hoffman Gallery, Santa Monica on 31 July 1990. There’s presently a unique chance to acquire a copy of this photograph, along with a catalogue from that exhibition, from the collection of Pamela des Barres herself. Pop over to eBay and read all about it. Pamela tells me that Victor Hayden, The Mascara Snake, is staying with her this week and will sign the catalogue for the winning bidder.