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.
The following press release about the publication of John’s long awaited book has just come to our notice: John “Drumbo” French: Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic The ultimate book about Captain Beefheart written by the man who spent more time with him than most. Published in hardback 880 pages, including 16 pages of amazing photographs, many published for the first time. Includes reminiscences from key members of The Magic Band and The Mothers Of Invention. Cover price £19.95. Out 11 January 2010 Few names carry such formidable mystique and rabid cult status as Captain Beefheart, who led various lineups of his Magic Band to
John French has confirmed that The Magic Band will perform at All Tomorrows Parties’ Ten Years Of ATP Festival in December. In mails to us this week he has given some details of the line-up and the expected content of the set. John has also confirmed that more live shows are being planned and that several albums of live recordings from the 2005 tours will be released in various formats. This is what John wrote: About 6 weeks ago, Barry Hogan unexpectedly sent me an email inviting The Magic Band to play at their tenth anniversary Festival. I was very happy to accept on behalf
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.
The Radar Station just been told that John French’s book is still on course for a Spring 2010 release … although the exact date has yet to be confirmed. However, what’s new is that Proper has decided that it’ll now publish Through the Eyes of Magic as ONE BIG book instead of the two volumes they had originally planned. This probably make more financial sense. It also means we’ll get the whole book without the danger of the second volume never seeing the light of day! They’ve also promised that no editing will be done to make it fit one volume … which is good
As you’re probably already aware the Radar Station has the largest collection of images of Don’s artwork on the web and we continue to add to it whenever we can. As we’re obsessives we don’t want to miss out on the other doodles and sketches of his that turn up all over the place so we’ve started trying to capture these all in one place too. Take a look at the Pictures, photos, bits & bobs page and check the Assorted sketches by Don section which includes a great piece of grafitti on a wall of the Armadillo as well as photos of Don displaying
You can now follow beefheart.com on Twitter and get all of our Up Sifter updates and anything else Beefheart-related which we decide to shunt your way. Find us and follow us: @CaptBeefheart. We also have an RSS feed available too if you prefer. I also have my own personal Twitter account – @prawntot – so feel free look me up and say hi. I tend to use it more to see what others are up to than to tell the world when my left buttock cheek needs a scratch so there’s not much going on there apart from the occasional passing tumbleweed. Perhaps you like
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 are
A new collection of shirts from New York design house Rotter and Friends features several variations on the Trout Mask Replica cover. Here modelling one of them are Gustav Ejstes from the Swedish band Dungen and Susannah Lipsey designer for Windy Freda. All of the shirts from the collection can be seen and ordered at Rotter and Friends website where there is even a video showing how well the shirts perform to Zig Zag Wanderer. Photo taken by Jeaneen Lund.
An extract from Barney Hoskins’ new biography of Tom Waits has appeared at The Quietus. It deals with the change in Waits’ music which happened at the time of his marriage to Kathleen Brennan, and Swordfishtrombones the album which resulted. Here Hoskins skates over the vexed question of Captain Beefheart’s influence on Waits: Waits has even claimed he’d never really listened to Captain Beefheart before meeting Kathleen – that, despite being signed by Beefheart’s manager Herb Cohen and supporting the Captain’s mentor Frank Zappa on tour, he was oblivious to the gruff-voiced Dadaist genius born Don Van Vliet. Where the bruising ‘Heartattack and Vine’ hinted
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 young
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 present
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’s
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 soon
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 hands
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 their
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 the
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 film
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 musical