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.
The legendary house in which Trout Mask Replica was endlessly rehearsed is up for sale. For $849,900 you can own and (hopefully) preserve a property of considerable historical importance to all Beefheart fans. Why is it so important? This is the house where a poverty stricken Magic Band were kept under virtual house arrest while honing the impossibly intricate album Trout Mask Replica, and subjected to virtual brain washing sessions to “help” coax the unique music out of them. The music was written here; painstakingly transcribed by John French, taught to the band and many tracks on Trout Mask were even recorded here –
A box-set collection of Knebworth Festival-related memorabilia is available to accompany a book of memoirs by Knebworth organiser Freddy Bannister; including some Beefheart material. Frederick Bannister was the promoter of many of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s UK concerts in the 70s. He also organised the famous Knebworth Festivals at which not only Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa appeared but a host of other important acts too. Bannister has written his rock ‘n’ roll memoirs (which include quite a few Beefheart anecdotes) and has published them under the title ‘There Must Be A Better Way’. The book is available as part of a boxed
Foma Skilliton kindly alerted me to a website selling a small range of Beefheart t-shirts. I have no idea about the quality nor the legitimacy of the images (photographer’s royalties?) but since this is one of the most frequent questions I get asked I thought I’d pass along the info. The pictures on the site are quite poor quality, so please be warned. There are sharp images of the shirts themselves but they are very pixelated around the actual print on the shirt, looking like the image has just been superimposed over an image of a shirt. If you are tempted you can check them
Walt Michelson mailed with news of his 50 synesthesia-musicboxes. Each of these pays homage to a different musician. His Beefheart musicbox, Ant Man Bee Massacre in Beeftroutwinter, is currently on show at Galerie Otto Schweins in Köln. Which particular Beefheart music you hear when you look at it is, I suppose, entirely up to you. For further explanation see Dr Michelson’s email.
In his memoirs, the concert promoter Freddy Bannister tells his version of why Captain Beefheart formed a new Magic Band just to play Knebworth Festival in 1975. According to Bannister, Beefheart’s manager Herb Cohen was so impressed by the $15,000 fee offered for the performance that he replied, “We’ll put a band together even if it means my mother will have to play.” Be that as it may, the latest Knebworth memorabilia to be offered for sale by the Bannister family is a reproduction 1975 stagecrew tee shirt. “We weren’t very ‘merchandise’ oriented in those days and didn’t have any T shirts to sell to