A huge box full of Beefheart and Zappa memorabilia, CDs and DVDs from Freddy Bannister who promoted many of their 1970s tours and festivals in the UK. A similar box set has been available before but this one has been packed with even more bits and pieces. It’s a signed limited edition of 100 copies. The set includes: the book ‘There Must Be A Better Way’ – Freddie Bannister’s autobiography three full size posters of Knebworth Festivals facsimile of the Beefheart 1972 tour programme facsimile of the programme for the 1970 Bath Festival facsimile of the programme for the 1975 Knebworth Festival ‘The Spirit ofRead More →

NTS Radio recently broadcast ‘The Magic Behind Beefheart’, an hour long look at Don and the Magic Band’s career by Imogen Eason. A great selection of music, albeit brief extracts, keep the show moving along. It includes interviews with John French and Denny Walley talking about their time in the band, about Don and Frank Zappa and about playing the music again in the reunion Magic Band. It’s not clear when these interviews were done but presumably they must be a few years old and recorded before Denny left the band – (I’m guessing 2013). Take a listen here  Read More →

As the Magic Band begin their Farewell tour of the UK this excellent interview by John Martin has appeared on the Nottingham cultural website Leftlion to advertise their performance at the city’s Rescue Rooms on Sunday 12 November 2017. Read the interview Check out details of the Magic Band tour      Read More →

featuring Nona Hendryx and Gary Lucas interpreting a selection of Beefheart favourites   Sun Zoom Spark My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do I’m Glad The Smithsonian Institute Blues (or The Big Dig) Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles Suction Prints Sugar ‘N Spikes When Big Joan Sets Up Too Much Time When It Blows Its Stacks Tropical Hot Dog Night Publicity blurb: … a comprehensive overview of the man also known as Don Van Vliet’s towering legacy, re-imagined and infused with new blood by vocalist extraordinaire Nona Hendryx and avant-guitar legend Gary Lucas. The World ofRead More →

A Giraffe is Listening to the Radio is a collection of Beefheart songs recorded in rehearsal and performance during 1979 and 1980. Side A Electricity Moonlight on Vermont Doctor Dark The Spotlight Kid Nowaday’s a Woman’s Gotta Hit a Man Side B Owed T’Alex Clear Spot Grow Fins Lick My Decals Off, Baby Steal Softly Thru Snow Abba Zabba   Review Men & Volts recordings of Beefheart songs have become almost the stuff of legend, we knew they were out there but no one seemed to have heard them. Some cassettes and later some CDRs were made available discreetly but not released on a label.Read More →

Around July 2017 John French was invited to take part in the Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta in October to celebrate the music of Captain Beefheart with a collection of local musicians. This was an exciting opportunity for John to not only perform in the US but also to present some of Don’s songs with an extended band, horns, back-up singers and even a concert level theremin player! The Radar Station was unable to attend the show but we know someone who did and he has sent us this review of the event. Review by Patrick Grant Threadgill’s is a bar/restaurant/music venue in Austin, Texas havingRead More →

It’s 45 years since Don’s first UK art exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool and a special weekend of events has been organised to celebrate Don’s music and art as well as his influence on the city. From 10th – 12th November 2017 the events include: 10th November – The Magic Band perform at the Liverpool Philharmonic as part of their Farewell Tour 11th November – Digging Beefheart: a symposium exploring Beefheart as a ‘total artist’ Doped in Stunned Mirages: a Poetic Celebration of Don Van Vliet Fast N’ Bulbous: a Musical Celebration of Don Van Vliet – Gary Lucas and many local musiciansRead More →

John French will be playing a show at Threadgill’s in Austin, TX, October 7th, 2017 as part of the Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta. Here’s what John has to say about it: A four-piece band, 3 backup singers, and 4 horns! Whoa! Twelve people on stage during parts of this show. This will be sort of a “celebration” of Beefheart music. A one-hour show at the former location of Armadillo World Headquarters — where I played with Don in 1971 and also where “Bongo Fury” was recorded. It will be a pretty different experience for me. Oh, and one of the singers, Aileen Adler also will beRead More →

As a teaser for their forthcoming album The World of Captain Beefheart to be released in October Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx will be performing at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, New York City. Date: 20 September 2017, shows at 7pm and 9.30pm See the Joe’s Pub site for more info You may remember Gary and Nona teamed up in 2013 with the Metropole Orchestra in Amsterdam to present their take on some of Don’s work.Read More →

The excellent Beefheart tribute band Orange Claw Hammer are playing two gigs as part of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Check them out if you get a chance. See the poster below for details:Read More →

Updated: 6 November 2017 The news we posted a few months back that there would be no more Magic Band tours has, happily, proved to be completely wrong. John French decided that he didn’t want the Magic Band project just to fizzle out, he’d much rather have a proper Farewell Tour and that’s what he has painstakingly put together.  Sadly Mark Boston doesn’t feel well enough to commit to a lengthy tour so he’ll not be there, and Brian Havey who featured on the two last tours wasn’t available for this one so his duties (and others) will be covered by keyboard player Jonathan Sindelman. TheRead More →

Updated: 8 July 2017 An exhibition of art by Don is being held at Michael Werner’s New York Gallery. Titled Works on Paper it runs from 13 July to 9 September 2017. There will be about 60 pieces on show mostly ranging in price from $5,500 to $18,000 with a few exceptions at a higher price. There is no catalogue available. Michael Werner Gallery 4 East 77th Street New York, NY 10075 Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm www.michaelwerner.com/ Publicity blurb from the Gallery: Michael Werner Gallery, New York is pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper by Don Van Vliet. TheRead More →

Is it really 50 years since I first heard the Safe As Milk album? Well, yes it is and I still play it regularly. It still sounds fresh and exciting although probably not quite as ‘weird’ as it originally sounded to me all that time ago. Hey, Beefheart soon got much weirder but Safe As Milk is still one hell of a debut album. Not only was it a debut album but it was the first release on a brand new label, Buddah, set up by Kama Sutra Records. They must have had some faith in the band back then. It’s a pity the MtRead More →

Pamela Des Barres has recently posted a couple of photos on her Facebook site that visitors to the Radar Station might like to see. Apparently she came across one of Victor Hayden’s original paintings in her garage. Not just any painting … this one was the original artwork for the Bluejeans and Moonbeams album cover. Miss Pamela acts as an agent for Victor’s artwork and she is considering what to do with this painting, in other words the best way of selling it. The album itself may well not be the most popular in Don’s discography but the cover was wonderfully strange. John French recallsRead More →

We recently posted about composer Samuel Andreyev’s Youtube analysis of the album Trout Mask Replica. A fascinating piece if you haven’t watched it yet. On the back of piece we were able to put Samuel in contact with John French and he has now posted an excellent video interview with John on Youtube lasting an hour and forty five minutes. In the interview they discuss John’s time in the Magic Band (unsurprisingly), concentrating on the time in the Trout House and the making of TMR. Take a look here: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od0_LRNlE5A]Read More →

Thanks go to Patrick Grant for sharing some great pictures of the original Captain Beefheart and instigator of the group – Alex Snouffer. Alex, also known as ‘Butch’, is here shown in some photographs from 1955 and 1957 taken for the Antelope Valley High School Yearbook. This High School was attended by several of the original members of the band. Alex tended to mix with the ‘bikers’ of the area and was known as someone not to mess with.    Read More →

Don’s last lengthy interview was by phone with Dutch radio presenter Co de Kloet. Recorded in 1993 and broadcast on Co’s show on the Dutch National Station NPS. Gary Lucas set the interview to music which he had composed. This was originally broadcast on Co’s show in 2008 and it has just been released by Okaymusic. It can be bought as a download only – get it from iTunes, Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk Gary and Co also performed this live at the BimHuis in Amsterdam in 2012 and again at the Zappanale in Bad Doberan Germany.Read More →

Have you ever wanted to a closer look at how the music was Trout Mask Replica works, how the different parts interlock and work with each other? The Radar Station has been contacted by Samuel Andreyev, a composer and music analyst who studied at the Paris Conservatoire. Samuel has a YouTube channel in which he analyses key 20th- and 21st-century compositions by composers such as Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky, Earle Brown  and discusses (mainly) classical music in general. In his latest YouTube posting Samuel has analysed the opening track of Trout Mask Replica, the daunting Frownland. He breaks the track down into its component parts using formalRead More →

Updated 25 May 2017 The excellent Beefheart tribute band Orange Claw Hammer have recently  released a CD of some of their takes on Don’s music. See Steve Froy’s review of it here ———————————————————– And as there will be no Magic Band UK tour this year and you’d like to hear some live Beefheart music then you should check out Orange Claw Hammer  who have the following gigs lined up for 2017:   Friday 27 January 2017 – Duke’s Bar, Glasgow, 8pm. Free entry. Thursday 9 February – Speakeasy, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh. 8pm. £3 + special one day only CD discount Thursday 30 March – The Continental,Read More →

2016 has been a bad news year for all sorts of reasons … unfortunately here’s some more of the same… On 15 December John French posted this on The Magic Band Facebook page: I have decided not to pursue any more tours. There is precious little demand these days, and not enough offers to actually support any group. I have sincerely enjoyed the actual tours, but the five to six months leading up to them is filled with tedious details. Too much time is spent on the business and not enough on the music. Since I founded the whole project in 2002, the difficulty levelRead More →