Some time ago Barry’s Imaginary Publisher produced a poster to be used as a prop in the documentary film, Freak Out in Cugamonga. There is a short illustrated article about the making of the poster, Captain Beefheart vs. The Grunt People, at moonbug.org. Copies of the poster are now available from Cafe Press, priced at $19.99.Read More →

Some of Don Van Vliet’s drawings are now on show at Michael Werner Gallery in New York until October 25. An exhibition there, called Series Drawings, juxtaposes historic and contemporary works on paper by artists including Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Aaron Curry, André Derain, Peter Doig, Jean Fautrier, Jörg Immendorff, Per Kirkeby, Markus Lüpertz, Henri Michaux, A.R. Penck, Francis Picabia, Sigmar Polke, Eugen Schönebeck, Louis Soutter and Don Van Vliet. Michael Werner, 4 East 77th Street, New York, NY 10075 Tel: +1 212 988 1623 Fax: +1 212 988 1774 info@michaelwerner.comRead More →

Jimmy Carl Black Benefit Concerts A benefit concert for former Mother of Invention and Magic Band member Jimmy Carl Black has been arranged for November 9 at Bridge House in London. Jimmy recently underwent an operation for lung cancer in Germany and the proceeds from this event will go towards his expenses. Among those appearing will be Zappa and Beefheart cover band The Muffin Men and Zappacademic writer Ben Watson. Tickets cost £20. The Muffin Men are contributing to several other JCB benefit gigs. The first of these is Stockport For Jimmy – Indian Aid on Sunday October 26, 4-8pm, Bakers Vaults, on the MarketRead More →

Last night’s broadcast of Don Van Vliet’s 1993 interview with Co de Kloet, with musical accompaniment recorded in 2008 by Gary Lucas, can be heard until 10th September at the Dutch radio station NPS website [no longer available]. The programme is two hours long. Tom Waits, says Don, “.. had the nerve to think he could sing like me.”Read More →

As ‘Daffy Duck’s Rhapsody’ faded out, Bob Dylan introduced the next record on his Theme Time Radio Hour – Birds Mel Blanc did a lot of voices – our next artist just did one – but it’s a heck of a voice. Don Van Vliet was born in Glendale, California – he stopped performing in the 80s to focus on his painting. He’s a really good painter but I wish he’d made more records. [tangent about the Corvids – crows and rooks etc] Here’s a song that goes as straight as the crow flies – Captain Beefheart and Ice Cream for Crow. Bob had previouslyRead More →

Gary Lucas and Don Van Vliet – I Have A Cat ‘I Have A Cat’, the broadcast of Don Van Vliet’s last lengthy interview in 1993, combined with Gary Lucas’ specially commissioned guitar score recorded earlier this year, will receive its world premiere on Wednesday, September 3rd, 10pm to midnight Dutch time, on NPS Radio 6. Also in Holland, in March 2009, will be Fast ‘N’ Bulbous, The Captain Beefheart Project, featuring Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston. Two dates have so far been announced at Gary Lucas’ website, more are to be arranged. John French’s City of Refuge It was in 2005 that we firstRead 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 →

John French, the legendary Magic Band drummer, has bought a new set of drums and hopes soon to be playing them on tour. We await an announcement about the name and line-up of John’s new band (this will not be a Magic Band tour). In the meantime John has let us know that after over twenty years of musical partnership with his Rogers Holiday drums he has decided that now is the time to let them go. Here is your chance to become the proud possessor of a genuine piece of Magic Band / O Solo Drumbo / Crazy Backwards Alphabet / French, Frith, Kaiser,Read 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 →

Alex Waterhouse-Hayward took this photograph of Don Van Vliet wearing a Harris Tweed jacket in Vancouver during the last days of the final Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band tour in January 1981. Two more of Alex’s photographs of Don can be seen at Alex’s website. I particularly like the concert shot which shows Don in eyeball to eyeball contact with a member of the audience who had had too much to think. Many thanks to Alex Waterhouse-Hayward for allowing us to reproduce his photograph here. Hot Head at the High School Talent Show A spirited rendition of Hot Head was recently performed at DaphneRead 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 →

Recent music links Here I Am I Always Am played by The Black Keys at SXSW 2008 in Houston on March 12th. Andy Haas (former Martha and the Muffins saxophonist, now better known through his work and associations with the NY downtown music scene) offers an unusual and reflective version of Abba Zabba (two minute sample here) on Radio I-Ching’s new CD, The Fire Keeps Burning, available from CD Baby. Another Abba Zabba involving several other NY downtown musicians performing as Fast ‘n Bulbous was recorded at WFMU in 2004. Here it is at YouTube. Benjamin Horrendous has just put up 4 Beefheart covers, andRead More →

Earlier this year eleven works on paper by Don Van Vliet were exhibited at Galleria dell’Arco, Palermo, Sicily. The exhibition was called ‘Zig Zag Wandering’. Here are all eleven works. Sizes vary from 28 x 21 cm to 148 x 122 cm. Some works are available for sale from the gallery. Galleria dell’Arco Via Siracusa 9 Palermo Tel / fax +39091 6261234 http://www.dearco.it/ info@dearco.itRead More →

The Times divided music fans into two camps in today’s paper: critics who love music which nobody else likes (trouts, named after you know what) and those who love music which the critics don’t like (bats, named after a multi-million selling album by Meatloaf). Read the full article, Music critics love albums that the public hates, on the Times website, should you so desire.Read 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 →

Unknown painting from Zigzag Wandering exhibition 7

Don Van Vliet’s first Italian exhibition opened last night in Palermo, Sicily. The show, ‘Zig Zag Wandering‘, is being held at Galleria dell’Arco until 15 February 2008. Four reproductions of pictures from the exhibition are shown at Galleria dell’Arco’s website. Galleria dell’Arco Via Siracusa 9 Palermo Tel / fax +39091 6261234 www.dearco.it info@dearco.it Thanks to Roberto for mailing me with news of this show.  Read More →

Frank Freeman plaque

Frank Freeman’s Dancing Club in Kidderminster was one of the venues to which John Peel drove Captain Beefheart during his British tour in 1968. Recordings from this venue can be heard on the Grow Fins boxed set. Get Your Kicks on the A456 by John Combe is a book about the venue and the acts which appeared there. It is available online only, in pdf format, from http://www.kidderocks.com/. In 2006 a blue plaque to Frank Freeman (pictured) was set up at the location of his club in Mill Street. Among those paying homage at the unveiling was Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant, whose BandRead More →