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 –Read More →

Savage Pencil on Gary Lucas and Dracula

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.Read More →

Michael Traylor

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.Read More →

Gary Lucas and Najma Akhtar

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 hasRead More →

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 ofRead More →

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 byRead More →

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 moreRead 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 writtenRead More →

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 CreamRead More →

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 thenRead More →

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 →

Messin With The Kid - Benjamin Horrendous

I have great respect for anyone who attempts to cover any of Beefheart’s songs. So what do you say when someone decides to cover a whole Beefheart album! Well, that’s just what Benjamin Horrendous has done. Singlehandedly, he’s (in his own words) ‘messed’ with each song from The Spotlight Kid to come up with his own vision of this great album. Find out more about it at Benjamin’s site.Read 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 →

Safe As Milk promobox

Two of Beefheart’s earliest albums have been given the Japanese mini LP treatment. You can now get exact copies of the original Safe As Milk and Mirror Man vinyl albums but as compact discs. These are exquisite … you even get a mini version of the SAM bumper sticker and MM comes complete with the gatefold die-cut shattered mirror effect cover. Although the packaging replicates the original album the tracks on them are the remastered versions with the extra songs that were released in 1999.- so the sound quality is excellent. In fact, SAM sounds even better than the 1999 copy I have. These areRead More →

Fast N Bulbous Waxed Oop

We’ve just received an announcement about the Fast ‘N’ Bulbous performance scheduled for Tuesday, March 10th in New York. Fast ‘N’ Bulbous performs at (Le) Poisson Rouge Tuesday March 10th 2009. NOTE: GUITARIST GARY LUCAS HAS FALLEN ON THE ICE AND INJURED HIS ELBOW. HE IS EXPECTED TO MAKE A FULL RECOVERY, BUT WILL NOT BE ABLE TO APPEAR AT TUESDAY’S PERFORMANCE. HOWEVER FAST ‘N’ BULBOUS WILL STILL PERFORM AS SCHEDULED, AND PLAY MUSIC FROM THE NEW RECORD. GUITARIST PAT IRWIN (B52s, Raybeats. Eight-Eyed Spy) WILL FILL IN FOR GARY FOR THIS GIG. COME ON DOWN FOR A GREAT SHOW! Celebrating the release of theirRead More →

Captain Beefheart at The White House The next time you’re visting The White House please do have a glance at your hosts vinyl record collection. According to Rolling Stone magazine The White House Record Library includes at least one Captain Beefheart album, Trout Mask Replica. Whether The White House copy of Trout Mask has ever been played, or whether the collection has been added to since 1981 is not mentioned. Mighty Boosh and the £23,000 Van Vliet Noel Fielding of Mighty Boosh has reportedly bought his parents a painting on canvas by Don Van Vliet. The Sun newspaper writes that he paid £23,000 for theRead 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 →

Trout Mask Replica sleeve photo

..the secret, really, to understanding, to dwelling within, Trout Mask Replica is to make sure it’s the first record you ever hear.. Marcello Carlin wrote some excellent music appreciation in his now defunct blog. He dealt with subjects from Laura Nyro to Gnarls Barkley, but what he wrote about Trout Mask Replica at The Church of Me in April 2006 will be of most interest here. ..Trout Mask Replica is really a set of hallucinatory nursery rhymes, thus “Ella Guru” and “Sweet Sweet Bulbs” and “Sugar ‘N Spikes” somersault their way through mathematical rods and make you want to slide down banisters and pass theRead More →