The Michael Werner gallery in New York has an exhibition on at the moment called ‘Black and White: Drawings for Summer’. It opened on the 14 July and will finish on 9 September. The exhibition features about 20 artists including George Baselitz, A R Penck, and Joseph Beuys. There is at least one piece by Don van Vliet – ‘untitled’ (1999) and is pictured here. More information.
Here are a few items which should have appeared here earlier. Sorry to have kept you waiting. Hank Grebe’s Beefheart photographs The recently issued Captain Beefheart compilation CD, The Buddah Years features a cover photograph of Don Van Vliet hunkering down in a corridor to chat with some fans. The story of the taking of that photograph can be found at Hank Grebe’s website, along with six pages of photographs of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band which Hank took over the years between 1971 and 1980. Beyond the Palers Some Procol Harum fans (Palers) have issued a double CD of Procol Harum cover versions
The legendary house in which Trout Mask Replica was endlessly rehearsed is up for sale. For $849,900 you can own and (hopefully) preserve a property of considerable historical importance to all Beefheart fans. Why is it so important? This is the house where a poverty stricken Magic Band were kept under virtual house arrest while honing the impossibly intricate album Trout Mask Replica, and subjected to virtual brain washing sessions to “help” coax the unique music out of them. The music was written here; painstakingly transcribed by John French, taught to the band and many tracks on Trout Mask were even recorded here –
Moris Tepper was an artist before he joined the Magic Band, and he still continues to paint and sculpt as well as play music. For those of you who are within striking distance of Los Angeles you might think about dropping in to see his latest exhibition. It’s called “New Paintings and Sculptures of Moris Tepper”, and is at MJ Higgins Fine Art, Los Angeles from June 24th-August 5th, 2006 All this info and more can be found at Moris’s website.
After over seven years of beaming it out from the Radar Station, I’ve finally decided to call it a day for our streaming radio show (only the radio show, the rest of the site is very much here to stay!). The web is now awash with music and far better radio shows and there just doesn’t seem to be any need for me to add to the hubbub any longer. It was a fairly innovative idea back in early 1999 when I first started broadcasting via the web – I wasn’t aware of any other fan sites which gave their visitors something to listen to
Anyone into downloading music legally but without the annoying restrictions that come with most online music services may be interested to know that several Beefheart and Beefheart-related albums are available on E-Music now. E-Music offers top quality mp3s free of all DRM restrictions – you can copy them, keep them, burn them to CD, transfer them to a portable, delete them and download them again all at no extra cost. It’s also very reasonably priced. You will currently find the following Beefheart related items on E-Music: Grow Fins (essential Beefheart rarities box set from Revenant) 21st Century Mirror Men (excellent reformed Magic Band live album)
Fast ‘N Bulbous, The Captain Beefheart Project, featuring Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston, have just announced a short European tour. Friday, Nov. 17th BimHuis, Amsterdam, Holland Saturday, Nov. 18th Taktlos Festival, Bern, Switzerland Tuesday, Nov. 21st Porgy and Bess, Vienna, Austria Thursday, Nov. 23rd Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana, Slovenia I’ll post more information here as I receive it. Update: 6 August 2006 Two London dates now added to the Fast ‘N’ Bulbous tour Wednesday, Nov. 15th Pizza on the Park, London Thursday, Nov. 16th Pizza on the Park, London Fast ‘N’ Bulbous, The Captain Beefheart Project featuring Gary Lucas and Phillip Johnston, with Richard Dworkin, Joe
The internet radio station, A3Radio, broadcasting from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is currently hosting a Captain Beefheart Anthology on Saturdays and Sundays at 22.00 local time. Chris Fici is the presenter. At the Australian public national radio station Triple J there is an archive of various fascinating Beefheart related audio clips which were used in a programme broadcast in January 2001. Interviews with Bill Harkleroad, Ry Cooder and Mike Barnes are among the goodies on offer. The Dutch station Concertzender has archived an hour long programme of Captain Beefheart music which was first broadcast on May 8th this year. Three tracks from Fast ‘n’ Bulbous: the
Ozit have released another Beefheart 2CD set. This time it’s a recording of the last live show ever played by Don and the band – the 31st January 1981 show at the Golden Bear. As usual with Ozit an opportunity has been missed. Find more info in our bootleg section here – http://www.beefheart.com/datharp/albums/boots/captainslast.htm
The Magic Band have been invited to broadcast live on Swedish TV4’s morning show on Tuesday 16th May. John French will be interviewed and the band will play two Captain Beefheart numbers. These will be made available on the net at TV4’s website shortly after the broadcast. The performance should be available there for several months. This TV appearance completes the schedule for the sadly curtailed Magic Band tour. The Danish concert was cancelled today while the Norwegian concert was cancelled about three weeks ago. Update: Tuesday 16th May The clips of The Magic Band live on Swedish television this morning are now archived at
Danish author, film-maker and cultural commentator Lars Movin telephoned Don Van Vliet for a chat about his work with music and painting. An edited transcript of their conversation later appeared in a short-lived Danish magazine. It is this interview which is the source of Don’s much quoted line, “It makes me itch to think of myself as Captain Beefheart. I don’t even have a boat.” ‘I don’t even have a boat – Calling the Captain, 30.1.91’, a video notebook by Lars Movin, is to be premiered at the Cinematheque at The Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen on May 23rd. Filming took place in summer 2005
Art Tripp has spoken exclusively to the Radar Station about his time in the Magic Band. From the astounding Lick My Decals Off Baby to the lacklustre Unconditionally Guaranteed, to the shortlived Mallard and his return for Shiny Beast Art offers a fascinating insight into the the recording of these albums and tells stories of life on the road and playing live. Read the full interview.
The new documentary DVD is out today and, although I’m yet to see it, the pre-release reviews have got me salivating. See reviews at: Idiotbastard (scroll right down to the videos section) Video Watchdog Entertainment Weekly You can also view a short 1.6mb clip at MVD featuring a segment of the Cannes Beach performance. Update 26/04: See our Derek’s review for beefheart.com in which he goes into much more detail about his misgivings for this project than those expressed in the comments within this post. Order Captain Beefheart Under Review from Amazon.co.uk Order Captain Beefheart Under Review from Amazon.com
A box-set collection of Knebworth Festival-related memorabilia is available to accompany a book of memoirs by Knebworth organiser Freddy Bannister; including some Beefheart material. Frederick Bannister was the promoter of many of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s UK concerts in the 70s. He also organised the famous Knebworth Festivals at which not only Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa appeared but a host of other important acts too. Bannister has written his rock ‘n’ roll memoirs (which include quite a few Beefheart anecdotes) and has published them under the title ‘There Must Be A Better Way’. The book is available as part of a boxed
The second part of Derek Laskie’s interview with Herb Bermann, legendary writing partner of Don Van Vliet in the early days of the Magic Band is now available and is just as fascinating as part one. At one point Herb expresses his annoyance with something written about him in Mike Barnes’ biography of Don Van Vliet. I’m puzzled by his suggestion that Barnes should “do his homework” – I’d like to stress on the writer’s behalf that this is clearly a very well researched biography. Herb Bermann features only very briefly in the story which, despite his momentous contribution to one of my all time
A compilation CD, called The Buddah Years, has just been released based on the remastered Safe As Milk and Mirror Man Sessions albums. The good Captain also appears on a new compilation called Creative Outlaws – U.S. Underground 62-70. An interesting collection that includes The Fugs, The Stooges, Blue Cheer, The Great Society, Country Joe & The Fish, Tim Rose, Tiny Tim, and Lothar & The Hand People amongst others. The idea of the album is that the tracks are supposed to represent the preoccupations and ideals of the 1960s counterculture. The Beefheart track included is ‘Dachau Blues’ – an odd selection I would have
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 CANCELLED
‘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’ page
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 to