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 →

Alison Mosshart of The Kills has again been committing her thoughts about Captain Beefheart to the media. This time, in The Independent, she fantasizes about Captain Beefheart dueting on Harry Irene with Kim Gordon, Moe Tucker on drums and Guy Picciotto on guitar. He sounds haunting, forceful, confident and humorous, of the future and of the past, all wrapped up in one whip of the tongue. The Black Keys version of Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles will appear on a new compilation of classic songs taken from Warners back catalogue and covered by present-day Warners artists. Covered, A Revolution in Sound: Warner Bros.Read More →

Mikko Kapanen, lead singer and guitarist of Helsinki, Finland based “psychedelic hard rock” band Spektriis wrote in. The band is currently finishing up work on its debut album which they are hoping to have released some time in the first half of 2009. “The reason I’m telling this,” Mikko wrote, “is that we had the immense pleasure of getting Bill Harkleroad to record a guitar solo for one of the tracks. We have uploaded five out of the ten tracks on the album to our MySpace profile at http://www.myspace.com/spektriis including the track in question, called “Black Hole Eyes”. We made a point of not mentioning Harkleroad’s participationRead More →

Drumbo’s publicity people at Proper Records have recently been trickling information and soundbites from his new album City of Refuge, due for release on November 10th. This is of course the album which features five former Magic Band members – John French himself, Bill Harkelroad, Mark Boston, Greg Davidson and John Thomas. Now for the first time Proper Records has posted an entire track from the album. Get So Mean can be heard at a new page at Proper Records website, where you can also download some high resolution photographs and read the press release for the CD. At John French’s MySpace page there areRead More →

It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper

It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper was intended to be the name of the second Captain Beefheart album, a double album recorded late in 1967. This album never saw the light of day, which has given rise to not a little speculation and discussion among fans of Captain Beefheart. Tracks from the original sessions have been used on several re-release and compilation albums, but until now no record company has attempted to reconstruct It Comes To You In A Plain Brown Wrapper as an album in its own right. On July 22nd, Sundazed Records will do just that, when they release aRead More →

Rhino release a downloadable Beefheart sampler In a flurry of no publicity at all, Rhino Records have released their first scratchproof Captain Beefheart album. It is available only as a download. Rhino Hi-Five: Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band is a compilation of five tracks recorded between 1969 and 1978. It includes two live cuts and what Rhino describe as a remastered LP version of the song Bat Chain Puller. Bat Chain Puller was remastered to its sonic advantage for Virgin/EMI’s 2006 Captain Beefheart re-release CDs. The live tracks are from Rhino’s limited edition Beefheart CD, My Father’s Place. The other two tracks are takenRead More →

It has been a while since we last had news of a performance from Big Eyed Beans from Venus, the Athens, GA based Captain Beefheart tribute band. This week there are two. This Thursday, May 22nd, sees them play at Lenny’s in Atlanta, “This we be the most awesome show yet heard by man or woman alike,” as Lenny’s website informs us. On Friday, May 23rd, Big Eyed Beans from Venus turn up at their old floppy boot stomping ground in Athens, Caledonia Lounge. I’m told that the set list will be mainly compositions from Trout Mask Replica and earlier. At Southern Shelter you canRead More →

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 gloriousRead More →

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 burgeoningRead More →

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 LoderRead More →

During the filming of The Magic Band DVD Mark Boston (Rockette Morton) remarked that the music of Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band was, “like bluegrass only weirder”. Mark Boston’s potential epithet sprang into my head last night when I read an article by Danny Barnes, the former Bad Livers frontman, and guitarist and banjo-player of blue-grass, alt-rock-country, jazz-frisell, and various other genres. In his essay, Danny describes his take on what Don Van Vliet achieved in his recording of Trout Mask Replica. Danny is particularly interested in Captain Beefheart’s synthesis of different musical and sonic elements and he points out some potentially exciting musicalRead More →

In June of 2007 I read a plug for “I Wanna Find Me A Woman That’ll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go” in Kyle Gann’s blog. The composer Art Jarvinen had used Don Van Vliet’s composition to illustrate an article which he had written about metametrics. This aroused my interest because it didn’t strike me that Captain Beefheart was a normal point of reference in the contemporary new classical music or conservatoire world. My feeling was, that in that milieu, Beefheart was more of a footnote than an example. If he was used as an example, wouldn’t he exemplify a particular professor’sRead More →

If you went to the 1972 Bickershaw festival you probably have great memories of it. There were some excellent bands playing and the Beefheart set was supposed to have been particularly inspiring. For years an audience recording of the performance has been circulating and despite it’s sound quality failings you can still hear that the band were on top form. This recording has now been released commercially by Ozit. What do we think of it … what do you think? Read the full reviewRead More →

Hobo

Several home-made versions of Captain Beefheart numbers have been posted at nearby websites in the past few days. EvilFactman’s work in progress, Big Dummy, is at iCompositions. The vocals are not so far included. Matt LeGroulx’s versions of Hobo Chang Ba, Hot Head and One Red Rose That I Mean along with a Sugar ‘N Spikes (which is also waiting for its vocal track) are at his MySpace page. Matt says that Rockette Morton helped him out with cds of the individual guitar, bass and drum parts to make it easier for him to figure them out.Read More →

Lewis Taylor’s slightly sought-after version of Trout Mask Replica has hitherto been available on the web only in dribs and drabs . This weekend it is downloadable in its entirety, along with a mish-mash of other Lewis Taylor rarities at Okayplayer. [now removed]  Lewis Taylor retired from the music industry in 2006. Findlay Brown, on the other hand, released his first recordings in 2006. One of the A-sides of his second single was the Captain Beefheart song ‘I’m Glad’. The Guardian described his live rendition of this song as a “luminous ballad“, while The Times heard it as “Johnny Cash-borrowing“. I’m Glad is downloadable atRead More →

Lick My Decals Off, Baby is simply not a composition which readily lends itself to being performed. So when I found Puttanesca’s video of one of their Lick My Decals Off, Baby rehearsals at their MySpace page I wrote to ask them to send me all sorts of obsessively interesting details about it. Weba Garretson, the group’s vocalist, promptly responded with an an engaging account of their work on the piece and included a scan of part of the transcription they used (click on the image for a readable version). [wp_quote]Decals is an evolving process for us. The version on the CD is similar toRead More →

Herb Bermann, the legendary poet who wrote most of Captain Beefheart’s Safe As Milk lyrics (and some more) appears on a new DVD recently recorded at a poetry reading at Beyond Baroque. Good-Bye to the Rodeo Grounds is a sort of momento of one of the last artist communities in Los Angeles, evicted to make way for a state park. In his interview for this website Herb talked about this, and of course about his involvement with Captain Beefheart. The DVD is available from Custom Flix or Amazon. There are several excerpts from it at YouTube, including an 8 minute sequence of Herb Bermann readingRead More →

Film of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band performing Diddy Wah Diddy and Who Do You Think You’re Fooling was broadcast on Dick Clark’s television show Where The Action Is on 24th May 1966. Shot on location at a Californian beach Captain Beefheart’s sexy glowering beatsters played their music to an audience of gyrating valley girls and boys. This film is a joy to watch, so now that it has been pulled from YouTube for being used without permission we can only hope that Dick Clark Productions, Inc., the copyright owners, have plans to let their film be more widely seen elsewhere. Since this pieceRead More →