This is an interesting documentary release – From Straight to Bizarre: Zappa, Beefheart, Alice Cooper and LA’s Lunatic Fringe. It comes from Chrome Dreams who you may remember from the Captain Beefheart: Under Review DVD. The dvd documents Zappa’s attempt to control his recordings by setting up his own labels, Straight and Bizarre – while at the same time releasing music from LA’s freak scene which would otherwise have never made it to vinyl. Although it mentions all the albums released it concentrates on those by Alice Cooper, The GTOs, Wild Man Fischer, Jeff Simmons and, of course, our man Captain Beefheart. So for Beefheart fans there
This has already been mentioned in a previous post but I think it deserves one of its own… Yes, the Zappa Family Trust have finally decided to release the often bootlegged Original Bat Chain Puller from their Vault only 36 years after it was recorded. For the past 18 months Gail Zappa has been saying it was going to get a release. However, here at the Radar Station we’ve been wary of reporting it until it we were certain. But it does now look like it’s actually going to happen … it was announced on the anniversary of Don’s death and will be released on
Don Van Vliet died one year ago today. As much as we miss knowing he’s out there in person, his music and art are as alive as ever: The Magic Band have just concluded a triumphant UK tour (view the entire Nottingham show on YouTube and don’t miss Tony Fisher’s great photos), with more dates promised for next year and a new live release of a 2005 show out now. Gary Lucas continues to roll out his acclaimed Beefheart Symposia around the world (next up: Liverpool in January). Records continue to be released, reissued, remastered and rumours about an Original Bat Chain Puller release are not
There’s a few Beefheart items in the pipeline about to be released: An Ashtray Heart – this is a cd of indeterminate origin. It features a recording of the FM broadcast of the 17 January 1981 show in Vancouver. Additional tracks are from the ’71 Detroit Tubeworks video, 1980 Saturday Night Live and the 1975 Orange Claw Hammer with Zappa The expanded Safe as Milk gets yet another release … this time as a double vinyl from the Dutch label On Vinyl. Ozit have in their wisdom decided to release Merseytrout as a limited edition double vinyl. Still no sign of the original Bat Chain
Here’s a few Beefheart bootlegs that have been sighted recently. Follow the links for the usual Radar Station overview: A Whirlpool of Korn and Meat – an incredible eight discs in two volumes of all manner of goodies – volume one – volume two Muffin Man Goes To College – a two disc set of a show from the Bongo Fury tour The Nan True’s Hole Tapes Volume 2 – the latest offering from the lads at Ozit
Gary Lucas is bringing his Beefheart Symposium to Los Angeles two days before Don’s 70th birthday. During the symposium Gary will show rare footage of the band live, play unreleased tracks, and project slides of Don’s paintings and drawings, discuss the history of the group and many of the great musicians who came through the ranks of The Magic Band, and also illustrate Don’s quirky and idiosyncratic methodologies and techniques on his guitar. So at 8pm, 13 January 2011 try to join Gary and ‘special guests’ at The Echoplex 1154 Glendale Boulevard Los Angeles 90026 Tickets: Seating – $15 adv; $17 dos / Standing –
Gary Lucas will be in London on Sunday 21 November to perform the UK premier of his new solo guitar score accompanying the 1931 Spanish-language “Dracula” at Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the London Jazz Festival. This event was just immortalized in a cartoon strip by the legendary Savage Pencil in the new issue of The Wire magazine: Click picture for large view. From The Wire issue 319 September 2010; reproduced by permission. More info about this event is available at Gary’s website, including reviews for the recent US premier of this show. Many thanks to Gary for the info.
Michael Traylor, who shared the drum stool with John French during the recent Magic Band reunion tours, is featured in the latest issue of the US-based Classic Drummer Magazine. In an article entitled Artistic Adventurer Michael discusses the contrasting sytles of playing Beefheart Music with the Magic Band and playing with pop/rocker Tommy Tutone. Check the Classic Drummer website for more about the magazine.
Friday 17 September 7.30pm Transcender: Najma Akhtar & Gary Lucas + Parvathy Baul Tickets £15/20 Produced by the Barbican Concert at LSO St Luke’s, 161 Old Street London EC1V 9NG Two very different, but equally transporting, takes on Indian vocal traditions. Najma Akhtar’s music-making springs from a love affair with the Ghazal tradition of South Asian mystical poetry: here she teams up with legendary rock and blues guitarist Gary Lucas. Parvathy Baul is a young performer of ancient and hypnotic Baul songs. Akhtar has been at the forefront of the World Music scene for the last two decades. Born and raised in England she has
Here are some golden birdies, bits, bobs and doodads for your delectation: Moris Tepper has a new CD out called A Singer Called Shotgun Throat, a title suggested by Don apparently. Full details can be found on Moris’s website. For those manic collectors out there I’ve been trying to document all the Beefheart titles available as flexi discs. These are strange releases emanating from Russia and Poland. Check out what I’ve found so far on this Russian flexi discs page. If you’ve got others please let me know. YouTube continues to be a great source for hearing attempts at Beefheart covers. Here’s a selection of
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
DJ ShinyBeast at PhonicFM will be broadcasting a two hour Beefheart special on Tuesday 27 April 2010 between 8 am 10 pm BST. Tune in at the PhonicFM website. Thanks to Gordon for the tip-off.
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
Don walked/fell off the stage during the band’s performance at the Mt Tamalpais Fantasy Fair and Mountain Music Festival in 1967. This was supposed to have been a warm up for an appearance at the Monterey Festival but Don’s acid induced dive caused Ry Cooder to quit the band and their big opportunity to make a name for themselves was missed. Now, amazingly, some hitherto unknown photographs of the band’s (short) appearance have surfaced on YouTube. Sadly, Don’s dive isn’t captured in any of the shots, but they’re worth a look anyway. Thanks to Louis for the heads up on this. Update 12/03/2010: I’ve written
Skeletonbreath – the band at MySpace. Invincible Czars perform Upon the My-O-My at YouTube. Ty Segal performs Dropout Boogie at YouTube. Album review of Lemons at Pitchfork. Snow Patrol include a reworked Observatory Crest in their Late Night Tales compilation. The version Snow Patrol have chosen is not the original Bluejeans and Moonbeams cut but the A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond version which is prefaced by Eric Drew Feldman’s intro to Making Love To A Vampire With A Monkey On My Knee. Odd. Bob Dylan’s album Theme Time Radio Hour, Season 2 on Ace Records includes Ice Cream
Head of No. 6 Records Terry Tolkin recollected Captain Beefheart and Bob Krasnow in an interview with Warped Reality Magazine. Talking of gaps in the No.6 catalogue Tolkin said: The last one was a Captain Beefheart EP called Hoboism, a fantastic track left over from the Bat Chain Puller sessions. I had become quite friendly with Don Van Vliet through my years at Rough Trade and then especially Elektra. Elektra’s CEO was Bob Krasnow, the last of the great 1960’s A&R guys to run a major label……..I went out to Don’s house in Eureka, California. Kras had produced Beefheart’s Safe As Milk LP and then
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