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. The
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. The
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 Mt
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 recalls
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]
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.
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.
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 formal
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,
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 level
The former Beefheart producer and label boss has died. The Radar Station was sorry to hear of the death on 11 December 2016 of Bob Krasnow at the age of 82. His name is well known by Beefheart fans for his involvement with the albums Safe As Milk, Strictly Personal and Mirror Man. During the late 1950s and early 1960s Krasnow ran the San Francisco based labels King Records and Loma Records. In 1966 he became vice-president for Kama Sutra Records and was instrumental in setting up their subsidiary Buddah Records label. It was at this point that he signed Captain Beefheart and His Magic
The title says it all really. The Radar Station now has a presence on Facebook. Find us at: https://www.facebook.com/CaptainBeefheartRadarStation/ We will be using the Facebook page as a way of advertising this website and its contents. Any new blog postings (except this one!), new pages added or updates made will be linked to from there. We shall also highlight some of the great material we have on the website that you might have overlooked, some of the more unusual items of information tucked away in the furthest reaches of the site… It will be another way for you to keep up to date with what
On the train on the way home from the Magic Band gig at Under The Bridge I was browsing through one of the free newspapers that can be found littering the carriages these days. I got to page 51 of the London Evening Standard and I did a double-take. There, under the ‘City Spy’ column was a photo of Don on stage from 1972. How bizarre is that? Was a fan on the paper desperate for an excuse to get a picture of Don in the paper? Is Tim Martin’s tongue well and truly stuck in his cheek?
It’s amazing the things that suddenly appear as if from nowhere. R. Michael DeChellis was a photographer in Los Angeles at the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s. He photographed many of the groups playing live at that time. On the 31st March 1969 he as at the Aquarius Theater on Sunset Boulevard, which he knew as the Hullabaloo Club. On the large bill that night was Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band fresh from recording the staggering Trout Mask Replica album. Michael took a few photographs and we’re pleased to present them here on the Radar Station. Just a pity there aren’t more!
Okay here’s a reminder of a few forthcoming Beefheart-related happenings: The Magic Band on tour John French will be leading The Magic Band for two shows next week: Thursday 14 July (Mark Boston’s birthday!) – Under The Bridge, Fulham, UK – underthebridge.co.uk Friday 15 July – Zappanale #27, Bad Doberan, Germany – www.zappanale.de Don Van Vliet Art Exhibition Flora, Fauna and Other Forms of Life opens on the 8 July at Michael Werner Gallery in London and remains on view until 17 September. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10AM to 6PM. For more information please contact the gallery at www.michaelwerner.com This is a group exhibition which will include
The Radar Station was sad to hear of the death on 2 June of Freddie Wadling. He was 64. Freddie was better known in his native Sweden as a poet, musician and vocalist emerging from the punk scene of the late 1970s. He played bass with Leather Nun, one of his bands that gained a higher profile and a reputation beyond the Swedish borders. For Beefheart fans Freddie came to notice as the vocalist of the Swedish Tribute Band with Morgan Agren, Jimmy Agren, Mats Oberg, Rolf Hedqvist and Denny Walley. They played a couple of live shows in Sweden in 1995 to coincide with the
The Magic Band have booked two dates for a very short tour during Summer 2016. Thursday 14 July – Under The Bridge, Fulham, UK – underthebridge.co.uk Friday 15 July – Zappanale #27, Bad Doberan, Germany – www.zappanale.de That’s all, folks, unfortunately! However, they might be back in the UK at the end of the year Photo by John Bentley
Having been a fan for so many years it’s easy sometimes to think that you’ve seen just everything there is out there about Don and the band. But every now and then something new creeps unexpectedly out of the woodwork. Just recently two such things have come to light within the same week on ebay. The first is a stunning photo taken backstage at the Rome Pop Festival on 4th May 1968. Apparently this has survived as slide and has surfaced in Australia… And then there are the six photos below taken by the seller although he doesn’t remember where or when they were taken.
Updated: 16 April 2016 If you’re looking to hear some live Beefheart music then here’s your chance. The excellent Orange Claw Hammer are playing a couple of gigs in Scotland … which might go some small way to consoling those Scottish fans who didn’t get any shows on last year’s Magic Band tour. Orange Claw Hammer are superb musicians who play jazz-tinged arrangements of many Beefheart favourites. Mainly instrumental but there are some occasional vocals. Orange Claw Hammer are: Steve Kettley – Tenor & soprano saxes, vocal, melodica, jaw harp Stuart Allardyce – Guitar Dave Beards – Bass guitar Des Travis – Drums The gigs: 31 March 2016
The Beefheart Toronto Project is a group of Canadian musicians who are working together to record a number of Don’s songs. Their statement of intent on their Facebook page says that they will: Cover one song from every Beefheart LP plus something each from the 1966 A&M sessions and the 1975 Zappa collaborations. We opted to include extra tracks from Trout & Decals because the music is so spectacular and ground breaking. The musical director of the Project is keyboardist/vocalist Tony Malone who used to front a band called Basketcase that recorded a version of Ashtray Heart back in 1994. The Project started as just a couple of