“That’s right, The Mascara Snake!” The Radar Station was saddened to hear that Victor Hayden (aka The Mascara Snake) had died on 7th December 2018. His death was announced by Pamela Des Barres on her Facebook page. She had known Victor since high school and called him her ‘soulmate’. In recent years she had acted as agent for his artwork. However, she gave no details about the cause of his death but Steve Brewster contacted us to tell us the tragic news that Victor had been hit by a van ten days ago and never recovered. Victor was Don Van Vliet’s cousin. During the lateRead More →

Yes, it’s 50 years since the band’s second album, Strictly Personal, was released. It was October 1968 in the US and December 1968 in the UK. The recording of the follow-up to Safe As Milk had begun back in November 1967 not long after Jeff Cotton had joined the band to replace Jerry McGee. However, these recordings were destined to remain unissued for a few years and the band had a second go at recording the album in May 1968. It was these later  sessions that were to be eventually released by Blue Thumb in the US and Liberty in the UK as Strictly Personal.Read More →

Yes, it’s true the legendary guitarist of the Magic Band and MU has finally broken his silence. Although for years Jeff Cotton has kept a low profile, refusing interviews with Steve Froy for his Space Blues website and even for John French when he was compiling the sleeve notes for Grow Fins and writing his Through the Eyes of Magic book he has now agreed to talk to Samuel Andreyev. Samuel has already won the hearts of many Beefheart fans with his musicologist’s examination of the track Frownland and his video interviews with John French and Bill Harkleroad. Now he has managed to pull offRead More →

Since his heart surgery Mark Boston aka Rockette Morton, bassist extraordinaire for the Magic Band, has had to take things a bit easier so he has taken up creating art. His elaborate, swirling images of aliens, tubes and streamers are vibrant as well as full of colour and humour. These pieces are for sale. See below for more details. The Radar Station asked Mark a few questions to get the background on his move from musician to artist: Radar Station: Firstly, I think all your fans would like to know how your are healthwise these days. Rockette Morton:  The heart surgery was a success butRead More →

Robert Williams, the Beefheart drummer from 1977 to 1981, recently posted on his Facebook page that he has a serious medical condition that will require major brain surgery. Sadly he has been diagnosed with a Glioma brain tumor which will have to be removed. Fortunately the procedure will be covered by MediCal. However as Robert is self-employed he will be unable to work whilst in hospital and when recovering from the operation. To help him meet his living expenses during this stressful time his son has set up a gofundme page where you can donate something to help him. If you are able help pleaseRead More →

Kristine McKenna is an American music journalist who has written for Wet, NME, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other publications. Over the years she has often written about Don, having interviewed him a number of times she was trusted by him and became a friend of his. In 1987 she had Don take part in a phone-in programme with her on her late night KCRW show. Some of this show is included in ‘Electricity: Conversations With Captain Beefheart’ available as part of KCRW’s ‘Lost Tapes’ series. In this Kristine talks about her encounters with Don and alsoRead More →

Probably one of the busiest performers on the circuit, Gary Lucas is coming to the UK in May 2018 with a solo multi-media show entitled “An Evening with Gary Lucas : From Beefheart to Buckley and Beyond”. He will be playing solo except for one show when he will be joined by the legendary former singer from Can, Damo Suzuki! Check out the dates and venues below: Friday, May 4th Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool Saturday, May 5th The Cluny, Newcastle Sunday, May 6th St. Luke’s, Glasgow Tuesday, May 8th Florence Arts Centre, Egremont, Cumbria Thursday, May 10th FOCUS Wales​ 2018, Wrexham – Gary is performingRead More →

The remastered Trout Mask Replica is at last getting a vinyl release. It is in the capable hands of Jack White’s Third Man Records. Not only are they releasing the double vinyl album but also the mega-rare France-only single “Pachuco Cadaver / Wild Life”. Other bits and bobs are included in this package. Like all Third Man Records this will not be available in a store. You will have to sign up for a subscription on their website … and to get this Beefheart release (Vault Package #36) you’ll need to do it before 30 April 2018. The cost is $60 plus shipping. For moreRead More →

A great collection of photographs taken by Paddy Bergin at the 1975 Knebworth Festival are now available online and to buy. Some of these may already be familiar to fans but there are several here I’ve not seen before. Sadly they don’t include a good shot of the whole band onstage though. Check out Paddy’s GalleryRead More →

Don will be the subject of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Great Lives’ on Tuesday 3 April at 4:30 pm (BST). The programme will then be available online at the BBC iPlayer radio. He has been chosen by comedian Jim Moir, better known as Vic Reeves one half of the surreal and barking mad comedy duo Reeves and Mortimer. He will be accompanied by Beefheart biographer Mike Barnes. Should be well worth a listen. Find it here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09xjx30  Read More →

Gary Lucas will be presenting another of his Don Van Vliet tribute shows on Monday 22nd January 2018, 8pm at the City Winery, New York City. The performance will follow a similar format to previous events hosted by Gary and will feature screenings of rare video clips of Beefheart, projections of Don Van Vliet’s stunning paintings and drawings, live readings of his surrealist poetry, rare tracks and spoken word pieces, plus more surprises. This special evening will include a performance by Lucas’ latest ensemble The World of Captain Beefheart, which includes expert Beefheart practitioners Jesse Krakow on bass, Richard Dworkin on drums, Jordan Shapiro on keyboardsRead More →

A new book about Don’s work looking at his music, words and paintings. Currently only available in Italian. Published by Arcana Edizioni Price: € 25 Year: 2017 384 pages Contact: moderndance78@yahoo.it Publicity blurb: Captain Beefheart, born Don Vliet, is one of the most important and mythologized artists in the entire history of rock music. Starting from a solid blues basis and armed with a powerful voice worthy of Howlin ‘Wolf, in the Sixties he recorded, with his Magic Band, some of the most decisive works for the evolution of blues-rock, releasing in 1969, also thanks to the support of his friend Frank Zappa, the prodigiousRead More →

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 →