Booking has just opened in Aarhus, one of the venues on The Magic Band’s 2006 Scandinavian tour. John French and Denny Walley, who are in the present line-up, were also members of The Magic Band when they toured Scandinavia in 1975 – which appears to be the last time that The Magic Band played in Scandinavia. More venues are expected to start booking very soon. The schedule is currently as follows, although additions and alterations are always possible. Tuesday, May 16th TV4, Sweden, live broadcast Friday, May 19th Opera House, Umeå, Sweden Saturday, May 20th Jazzclub Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden Sunday, May 21st Aarhus, Denmark CANCELLEDRead More →

‘Wood’, the first new Mystery Band CD for ten years, will be released on the Poo-Bah Record Label on March 28th. Former Magic Band member Rick Snyder has been playing with The Mystery Band since 1988. The Mystery Band is led by the man responsible for arranging Rick Snyder’s audition with Captain Beefheart, Ace Farren Ford. Rick Snyder’s contemporary in The Magic Band, Moris Tepper, co-wrote one of the songs on the album, ‘Jesus On The Radio’, with Mystery Band member Gary Riley. Further information and generous helpings of soundbites are available at The Mystery Band ‘Wood’ pageRead More →

Ivor Cutler died on Friday. He will be very much missed in this household and I’m sure many people who found something invaluable in Beefheart will also have found something invaluable in Ivor Cutler. The following obituaries have appeared in the mainstream UK press so far: The Guardian The Guardian’s Culture Vulture blog entry The Telegraph The Times The BBC Andy Kershaw’s tribute – Andy’s show this Sunday night will feature a classic Peel session from February 1979. I still have some unused tickets for what would have been his last appearance here in Brighton about 4 years ago. The concert was postponed due toRead More →

Not strictly Beefheart related, but I thought I’d let you know that WFMU’s fund-rasing marathon is now on and I’d urge any of you who ever enjoy WFMU to support the station and make a donation to keep them going another year. If any of you haven’t ever enjoyed WFMU then it’s about time you started. It’s entirely listener-supported, no advertising, no government grants and so they play exactly what they want to play – the broadest range of specialist, adventurous, odd and downright fun music available anywhere in the world. Beefheart related items from the WFMU archive: The Golden Birdies comic 2002 Don VanRead More →

The Radar Station is very proud to present the first part of an extensive telephone interview with Don Van Vliet’s early writing partner, Herb Bermann. This partnership has been such a mystery for the last four decades that many have postulated that he didn’t even exist. Herb Bermann would like to happily confirm that he does exist and has spoken exclusively to Derek Laskie about his work with Don Van Vliet. Herb’s interview reveals a wealth of previously unpublished detail about the early history of Captain Beefheart and may well be the most historically significant item yet on beefheart.com for those trying to unravel theRead More →

Our Beefheart discussion list, The Fire Party is now fully functional once more, come and join us. We’ve had a few technical problems over the last few weeks since the whole website and list moved to a new host and these have now been resolved thanks to much help from Conor McMahon – thanks Conor. The Fire Party is a lively group consisting of Magic Band members past and present, various young and old farts at play, the informed and the curious, and has the finest collective taste in music this side of funeral hill. Short of the Sheriff of Hong Kong himself, if youRead More →

I do not normally post information here without checking my facts. By doing so now I hope to save you some money and some grief. Adverts are now appearing for new copies of a ‘Lick My Decals Off, Baby’ CD. This album has been unavailable for too many years and is undoubtedly at the top of many people’s wish lists. My advice is to wait before you buy. According to one retailer, Rhino Records are to launch a Captain Beefheart Remaster CD and Vinyl Campaign in March and April. ‘Trout Mask Replica’, ‘Lick My Decals Off, Baby’, ‘Spotlight Kid’ and ‘Clear Spot’ will be issuedRead More →

Don Van Vliet and Herb Bermann wrote the songs ‘Can Fever’ and ‘Bone Crazy’. The BMI website says so, and BMI should know. BMI keeps comprehensive records of the people who write, compose and publish songs. You’ll look in vain through the Beefheart catalogue to find ‘Can Fever’ and ‘Bone Crazy’. Even the most hardcore of Beefheart scholars have never heard these songs. So when these titles were found at BMI, years of general wonderment and speculation ensued. What might these songs be? With Herb Bermann as a co-writer, could ‘Can Fever’ and ‘Bone Crazy’ be missing songs from ‘Safe As Milk’? No demos orRead More →

A recording of The Magic Band playing Dropout Boogie has been released on a CD compliled by Matt Groening, All Tomorrow’s Parties Vol.3.1. (ATPRCD16) Recorded in concert during a lunar eclipse over Long Beach California in 2003, this track has not previously been made available. Other artists on the album include Deerhoof, Elliot Smith and Iggy and the Stooges. Sonic Youth perform the Simpson’s Theme and a Matt Groening poster is included in the package.Read More →

Announcements that three of Don Van Vliet’s former associates are being honoured have recently been made. Mo Ostin, former head of Warner, is cited by the President of The Recording Academy as, “a true pioneer of the contemporary music era whose life’s work has had a profound impact on the artists he has helped develop and the fans around the world who have benefited from their inspired creativity.” One of these artists was Captain Beefheart and many people believe that Captain Beefheart’s best work was indeed done during his Warner-Reprise tenure. On February 8th, after the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards, Mo will be presented withRead More →

BBC 6Music broadcast an archive interview last week from 1980, conducted by David Hepworth. Don was in bullish mood – not at his wittiest or most charming in my humble opinion, desperately asserting himself as a legitimate composer and artist and lashing out at those who he saw as a threat. Genius, without doubt, but not a very genial one on this occasion. Nevertheless, it’s classic Beefheart and Michael Alderson has very kindly, painstakingly transcribed the whole thing for you. Many thanks to him for his trouble, and to Marc Riley’s Mint for making the air-time to broadcast it. Incidentally, this week’s archive interview onRead More →

Here is a cover scan of the forthcoming documentary DVD Captain Beefheart Under Review which is in the final editing stage and will be available in March ’06, on the Chrome Dreams record label. The film traces Beefheart’s entire career and uses rare footage and contributions from numerous Beefheart associates and Magic Band members. Contributors include John French, Mark Boston, Moris Tepper, Elliot Ingber, Ira Ingber, Jerry Handley, Doug Moon, Eric Drew Feldman, Gary Marker and Gary Lucas.Read More →

Michael Traylor, the Magic Band drummer, has sent a link to his new website. If, like me, you have difficulty opening http://www.swampmonk.com/ then try this link instead http://www.swampmonk.com/home.html Check out his picture gallery for some photographs of The Magic Band on tour.   Update (Sept 2012): this site now seems to be defunctRead More →

Today is Don Van Vliet’s 65th birthday. All of us here at beefheart.com would like to send Don our sincere congratulations and very best wishes. Today’s world of contemporary music would be a hollower place without him and, let’s face it, this website would be a whole lot less interesting too. Poet, artist, raconteur, visionary, musician, environmentalist, genius and booglariser extraordinaire, we salute you!Read More →

John French sent us news of the death of Alex Snouffer, aka Alex St Claire, guitarist, drummer and a founder member of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. John wrote, “I talked with Jerry Handley, who was probably the closest to Alex. Jerry just lost his Dad and Alex was at the funeral a couple of weeks ago. We reminisced about the early bands that were the forerunners of the Magic Band. ” Steve Froy’s full obituary for Alex Snouffer was added to this site on 9 January.Read More →

BBC radio’s 6Music will be airing an archived Don Van Vliet interview this weekend on Sunday 8th January on Marc Riley’s Mint. I don’t know yet which interview it is exactly, but you can listen live online at 10pm (GMT) or whenever you want to via the “listen again” facility for up to one week after broadcast. Many thanks to Simon Pardoe for the tip off. I usually try to listen to Marc Riley’s shows anyway as they are always entertaining and he is a big Beefheart fan. You might have to endure an occasional tune by Coldplay but there is always tonnes of goodRead More →

After I’d posted Leon Rubenhold’s story about the time he played with Captain Beefheart (see the entry for 07 December here), Leon sent another mail detailing the first time he came across Don and The Magic Band. Here is what Leon wrote: [wp_quote]Thanks for posting my Beefheart experience story. Unfortunately there are no photos or tapes of the time spent with him. Actually my first encounter with Beefheart happened when I was sixteen. In Los Angeles in the 60’s there was an event held for a number of years called the Teenage Fair held in Hollywood at the Palladium on Sunset Blvd. In 1966 IRead More →

The whole beefheart.com site is currently moving from one host to another. Everything will still be available exactly where you’re used to finding it here at beefheart.com (and beefheart.org too) but you may notice a few technical glitches as we settle into our new home and get everything working again behind the scenes. I will post a comment here when I’m sure everything is working again. In the meantime, thanks for your patience.Read More →

Back in October, Norm Wheeler wrote in with his notice of a Captain Beefheart film show which took place in Austin, Texas. Owing to some technical malfunction or other I did not receive his mail until very recently. Anyway, such is the Texan interest in Captain Beefheart that the same film show is being held again tonight at the same venue  so I thought it would be appropriate to let you read Norm’s mail as a sort of preview to tonight’s event. [wp_quote]Last night (2005-10-10) the 1997 BBC documentary The Artist Formerly Known as Captain Beefheart was shown at the “Alamo Drafthouse Downtown” in Austin,Read More →

The idiotbastard mailed to let me know that the January edition of Guitar and Bass magazine contains an article about Captain Beefheart. I have not yet seen this but I’ve been told by somebody else that the title is Secrets of Beefheart Songwriting. Just what secrets are revealed, I wonder?Read More →