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 →

Don lights a candle

Everyone here at The Radar Station wishes Don Van Vliet a very happy birthday today. We hope that visitors to this website will join us in raising a glass of Green Chartreuse, or some other luxurious beverage, in honour of an artist who continues to astound and impress, even in his retirement. Many happy returns, Don Van Vliet.Read More →

Wild Rumpus

Gary Lucas wrote in with news of a splendid review of his new 12″ vinyl leftfield dance single ‘Purple Somersault’. The record is released under the name Wild Rumpus and also features DJ Cosmo. Kris Needs, writing at DMC Update.com described the track as: “….. a funked groove set up then sand-blasted by Gary’s guitar, which manages to recall anyone from Link Wray to the Misunderstood with a melody recalling Hendrix’s ‘Third Stone From The Sun’ ….. some of the most devastatingly-effective guitar pyrotechnics heard all year ….. the Beefheart connection rears in club-world and it is indeed magical.” Gary told me a little aboutRead More →

Trout Mask Replica promo pack These poems by Don Van Vliet are from a Trout Mask Replica promo pack which was recently auctioned at eBay. I am uncertain whether there was originally a poem for John French as well, but as he was famously uncredited on the album this seems unlikely. Thanks to Gary L. for alerting me to these. Uncut manipulation Uncut magazine for November 2007 has a five page article about, “the men who made Trout Mask Replica and survived. Just…” John French, Bill Harkleroad, Mark Boston and Gary Marker were interviewed by David Cavanagh who paints a lurid picture of the making ofRead More →

Don Van Vliet Works On Paper

An exhibition entitled ‘Don Van Vliet Works On Paper‘ runs 27 October 2007 – 1 December 2007 at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with Michael Werner Gallery and includes Van Vliet works from the mid-1980s to the early 90s. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 27th from 6 to 9 pm. Further information can be found at David Kordansky Gallery’s website. David Kordansky Gallery, 510 Bernard Street, Los Angeles, CA. 90012 Tel. 323-222-1482 Fax. 323-227-7933Read 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 →

Had an email from Grant who plays in a Canadian band called The Surfdusters, and does a radio show on CJSF Radio. This Tuesday, August the 14th, he’s doing a show of Captain Beefheart covers from various singles and compilations. It’s on CJSF from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, Pacific time – listen if you can. I’ll give it a listen if I can convert Pacific time to British Summer Time…Read 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 →

Scary Go Round Trout Extract

Scary Go Round, John Allison’s long-running internet comic strip, has this week turned its attention to The Captain Beefheart Story. A warning caption states that this is a difficult and complex yarn and is not for weak minds. How true this is. The notorious deal made between Don, Frank Zappa and the cat-starved Arabs is described in more detail than I have ever encountered, while the quotations from Captain Beefheart’s lyrics can only have been sourced from previously unheard out-takes in the Zappa vaults. All that being as it might or might not be, this is a compelling account of a story which all tooRead More →

Zappa Strasse

According to Gary Lucas in a 1996 interview for Seconds magazine, Frank Zappa and Don Van Vliet’s last meeting was embarassing and distressing. Frank owned the rights to Bat Chain Puller, tracks from which Don wanted to use on Ice Cream for Crow. After some fruitless negotiation Don and Gary decided to confront Zappa face-to-face and ask for the use of the material. Zappa refused, saying, “Unless you buy all the masters back from me, it’s not worth it for me to split up the set. It won’t be worth that much out there in Beefheart-land.” Frank Zappa is generally acknowledged to have been aRead More →

Captain Beefheart and Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton & Captain Beefheart, a new record by Knights of Infinite Resignation was released this week on the Next Best Records label. The record was inspired by this picture of Paris Hilton holding a copy of Trout Mask Replica which you may remember we mentioned about a year ago. Since that time the image has been reproduced at countless websites and blogs. Screenshots of some of these reproductions were even used in a video. The photograph has been a source of much wonder and speculation, astonishment and disbelief, and not least mirth and dismay. Could Paris Hilton, icon of everything shallow, really appreciate theRead More →

A number of Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa albums and CDs have been donated for a charity raffle and signed by some of the musicians who recorded them. The raffle is in aid of the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). Kitty Tripp, organiser of the raffle, says that among those who have donated so far are John French (Drumbo), Mark Boston (Rockette Morton), Cal Schenkel, Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo), Denny Walley, Roy Estrada (Orejón), Jimmy Carl Black, Ed Mann and, of course, Art Tripp (Ed Marimba himself). There is no quality grading of the items to be won, so expect vinyl to be well playedRead More →

The Idler: Lie Back and Protest

The latest edition of The Idler magazine contains a nice piece about Captain Beefheart accompanying a series of quotes from the man himself. It’s only a smallish piece and many of the quotes may already be familiar to you, so just consider this a flimsy excuse to plug one of my favourite things. The Idler is undoubtedly the finest publication I have ever had the pleasure to read. Published approximately twice a year in colourful nice-smelling A5 soft-back book format it extols the virtues, pleasures and techniques of a more contemplative, less pointless existence. I’ve been an avid reader for almost all of my adultRead More →