PJ Harvey’s new album A Woman A Man Walked By, recorded with long-time musical collaborator John Parish, features former Magic Band member Eric Drew Feldman on keyboards. John Parish and PJ Harvey are both Captain Beefheart fans and significant musical similarities to the work of Captain Beefheart have been noted by most reviewers. Even the publicity material for the album at PJ Harvey’s MySpace page flags the Beefheart connection. In a video at Island Records website John and Polly can be heard talking about their musical influences. Polly explains how she first came to appreciate Captain Beefheart: I’d heard Beefheart when I was really youngRead More →

John French and Ian McArthur at the Trout House

We received a mail from John French who recently went back to the house where Trout Mask Replica was created. I thought beefheart.com might be interested in a picture of Ian McArthur, my Scottish friend, and I up by the “Trout House” as I call it. We visited the place on February 3rd and as you can see, it was a beautiful day. The present owner was aware of the house’s history and kind enough to take this picture and send it to me. The house was built on the middle lot of three adjoining lots that was part of the original property. The presentRead More →

Mike Barnes sorts out U2 at Mojo: In the late 1990s, while researching my biography of Captain Beefheart, I was amused by accounts of when Bono tried to lure the Captain out of retirement in the early ’80s. With typical dismissiveness Beefheart would disingenuously ask friends: “Man, who is this Bongo?” Beefheart had become ill and a complete recluse, and my requests to speak to him were all declined. Hence my horror, in 2002, when I saw the cover of MOJO’s April issue proclaim: “Beefheart Speaks… To Bono.” Bongo’s part in the phone conversation felt contrived, over-verbose, as if he was trying to match Beefheart’sRead More →

I’m afraid we’ve had bad news about the publication of John French’s book. It’s now no longer going to be published this June. Proper Records have not taken the decision lightly. But as this was their first foray into the world of book publishing they have now realised that a book cannot be turned around as quickly as a CD and marketed effectively in that short time. Ultimately they want to do what’s best for John and his book … but it’s still a bummer none the less! The book’s now likely to be published next year. We’ll bring you news, of course, as soonRead More →

Beefheart Through The Eyes Of Magic by John French

For several years here on the Radar Station we’ve been telling you that Drumbo has written a book about his time with the Magic Band called ‘Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic’. It’s taken him a while to finish it and, at last, we can finally say there’s not much longer to wait. Proper Records (who released his recent solo album) have taken on the publication of this two volume masterpiece and plan to release Volume One on 1 June 2009. They’ve set up some ‘teaser’ pages and a few more teasers too. For more information … and a review (when we get are handsRead 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 →

Vliet interview tape in Zappa archive

A video tour of Frank Zappa’s hoard of audio, film and video treasures has been made available at YouTube. Bearing a marked similarity to bonus material on the Frank Zappa – Classic Albums – Apostrophe And Over-Nite Sensation release, this tantalising tease of a film shows only the packaging and the formats of the recordings, not the contents. At about four minutes in, the presenter casually flicks his wrist to reveal a package apparently entitled Vliet Interview. Closer inspection however reveals that the word Vliet has been scored out, and in a seemingly different hand the word Interview has been inserted. Later in the filmRead 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 →

Congratulations to Sandy Dillon and Ray Majors on their recent wedding, which took place on an antique carousel on the seedier side of the beach in East Overshoe. At their reception they entertained the guests by singing Captain Beefheart’s ‘This Is The Day’, Ray on guitar and Sandy playing piano. Sandy Dillon has often performed ‘This Is the Day’ and I would have liked to have linked here to the BBC video of a full Sandy Dillon concert which includes this song. That recording, made in 2001 at The Ocean in Hackney for Radio 3’s ‘Mixing It’ programme, seems no longer to be available atRead 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 →

Jimmy Carl Black died this weekend. He was seventy years old. Art Tripp, one of the few other musicians to have played with both Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, sent the following message: I hardly know what to say about the demise of the great Jimmy Carl Black. I Emailed Roy Estrada that the world just won’t seem the same without The Indian. He was one of those rare guys who lit up the whole room when he walked in. When you met Jim you liked him; and he was your friend for life. Jim was basically a good ole Texas boy with a littleRead More →

I seem constantly to be linking here to Gary Lucas website because of the seemingly endless Captain Beefheart related information to be found there. At his tour page, for example, you can check out how the 2009 Fast ‘n’ Bulbous tour is shaping up. Three European concerts of Captain Beefheart compositions are so far listed for March – in Holland, Czech Republic and France. There will be more news of that tour later I’m sure. Gary recently mentioned at his blog that the only punk/new wave band checked by Captain Beefheart/Don Van Vliet as being any good was Throbbing Gristle, which was news to me.Read More →

Two more entries have appeared at John French’s blog.The third and final part of his story about his new album City of Refuge is supplemented with news about his new band which will soon be touring to promote the album. Go to his MySpace page for all the details. City of Refuge will be released in Europe on November 10th and in North America on November 18th. Meanwhile, Sebstian Palmer got in touch to promote an interview he did with John ‘Drumbo’ French during the 2005 tour of the reformed Magic Band. He has made it available at Sounds From the Funky Goat.Read More →

The Smithsonian Institution investigates the meeting of pop culture and palaeontology in a new blog at its website. In one of the first entries Captain Beefheart’s song The Smithsonian Institute Blues (or the Big Dig) has its skeleton made good by a dinosaur expert. For all you need to know about La Brea Tar Pits and what they contain see the entry Dinosaur Blues at Smithsonian.com‘s blog Dinosaur Tracking.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 →

That Don Van Vliet’s compositions are danceable is without question. Two German comedians, Ulan & Bator, have formalised that pleasure by getting close to a diamond (or a rabbit) at YouTube. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8qS9RpSL-c]Read More →