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.Read More →

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 2016Read More →

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 ofRead More →

Just when you’re waiting for a Magic Band DVD two turn up at the same time. If you saw the earlier posts you’ll know that John French set up two Indiegogo crowd-funding projects a few months back to finance the release of these two DVDs – Magnetic Draw and Singing Through You. Well, here they are: Singing Through You documents the band’s 10th anniversary gig at Under the Bridge, London in March 2013 plus it includes an interview John did at Rough Trade Records to promote his book about Beefheart. Read our short review of Singing Through You Magnetic Draw catches them a year later atRead More →

On a UK TV quiz show not so long ago this question was asked: Which singer released a Christmas compilation album called Christmas From The Heart? a. Captain Beefheart b. Neil Young c. Bob Dylan I still can’t help chuckling about this, the thought of Don releasing something called Christmas From The ‘Heart … ho ho ho, hoy hoy hoy… The closest he ever got to a Christmas song was with There Ain’t No Santa Claus On The Evenin’ Stage on The Spotlight Kid album and that was more likely to put an end to any festive celebrations than encourage them! There is one other songRead More →

It is with great sadness that I heard of Gary’s passing yesterday, 8 December. His family announced he had died following a massive stroke. Gary ‘Magic’ Marker was a good friend of Don van Vliet’s in the early 1960s around Los Angeles. He helped produce the Safe As Milk album and for a time played bass with the Magic Band but wasn’t interested in it as a permanent gig. I befriended him online about 20 years ago and he was always happy to talk about his Beefheart experiences and his time in the music world generally. He had a great fund of stories, was a greatRead More →

Another Magic Band tour has just ended and there are still many fans across the UK with silly smiles on their faces. The band were on top form and there was a good turn out at most of the venues which is great news considering this tour nearly didn’t happen. The first problem for the band came with Denny Walley deciding to quit so that he could follow his own musical path concentrating on the Zappa side of his repertoire. This was a big blow to the band (and us fans) as Denny’s guitar playing is something special and with no other ex-Magic Band guitarists willing toRead More →

The first limited edition of this great little book, The Mystery Man of The Magic Band,  sold out pretty quickly but Brass Tacks Press have just published a second edition. Check out my original review So if you missed it first time around here’s your chance to get a copy – visit Brass Tacks Press website. This edition is not limited. It has a new foreword by actor Alec Baldwin who was a friend of Herb’s during his later Hollywood years. The rest of the text is the same apart from one additional endnote from Herb about the lyrics for Dirty Blue Jean. Cover Photo byRead More →

Gary Lucas will be hosting his Captain Beefheart Symposium at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Sunday29th November 2015. It starts at 8pm in the Music Room. Gary has been presenting these Symposium events since 2011 as a tribute to his former friend and mentor, Don van Vliet. They take the form of various live music performances and readings, reminiscences from Gary about his time with Don and The Magic Band. Don’s art is also discussed and unreleased music played. Special guests for this Liverpool event are: Mike Barnes, music writer and author of the excellent biography of Beefheart Bryan Briggs of Liverpool’s Bluecoat Gallery, theRead More →

Update: 15 Oct 2015 I have been told by the gallery that there is only one of Don’s paintings in the exhibition and that one is Beezoo Beezoo ———————————————– A few of Don’s paintings are included in a group exhibition at Michael Werner’s London gallery. Called ‘Body Shop’ the exhibition explores ” depictions of the human figure in painting and sculpture”. There may only be two of Don’s pieces showing. One of which is probably ‘The Navy Blue Vicar’ as it is pictured on the exhibition invite (see below). The ‘Body Shop’ exhibitions runs from 30 September  to 5 December 2015 at Michael Werner GalleryRead More →

Well, here’s news that’s going to annoy a few people, especially some of those who recently bought the Sun Zoom Spark package. Rhino Records are now releasing the ‘remastered’ versions of Lick My Decals Off Baby, The Spotlight Kid, and Clear Spot as separate CD albums. No news on vinyl versions as yet. Lick My Decals Off, Baby features an 8 page book with original lyrics The Spotlight Kid features lyrics and a 4 panel poster fold book (folds into a CD size square), keeping the original LP back cover intact on the inside Clear Spot – no information about this The Sun Zoom SparkRead More →

Don Van Vliet’s works will be shown in a special exhibition entitled “DON VAN VLIET: BEATLE BONES N` SMOKING STONES Paintings and Drawings from the late Seventies and Eighties”. There are 12 paintings and 11 drawings included in this exhibition. Two are shown here and some others are visible on the link below. The exhibition begins September 5, 2015 and runs through to October 24, 2015 at Michael Werner Kunsthandel in Köln, Germany.     Striped Light & Meaty Blond People Danced At The End Of The Hall Yellow and White © Estate of Don van Vliet, Courtesy Galerie Michael Werner Märkisch Wilmersdorf, Cologne & New YorkRead More →

Updated: 5 November 2015 The Magic Band are touring again during November this year. These are the confirmed venues: 4 November 2015 – The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham 5 November 2015 – Band On The Wall, Manchester 7 November 2015 – The Continental, Preston 8 November 2015 – The Kazimier, Liverpool 10 November 2015 – The Greystones, Sheffield 11 November 2015 – Brudenall Social Club, Leeds 12 November 2015 – The Studio, Hartlepool 13 November 2015 – Arts Centre, Norwich 15 November 2015 – Arts Centre, Colchester 16 November 2015 – Robin 2, Wolverhampton 17 November 2015 – The Fleece, Bristol 18 November 2015 – Winter Gardens,Read More →

Update: 15 Oct 2015 It was touch and go there for a while with this project going right to the wire but it’s good to see that it has been fully funded. Great work from all the fans who contributed! ——————————————————- With one Indiegogo crowdfunding project successfully completed the band have set up another one! This time it’s for another DVD called Singing Through You which is a recording of the 2013 show at London’s Under The Bridge. A fine venue and by all accounts a very fine show. The release of this on DVD has been talked about for a while now, and hopefully itRead More →

Updated: 3 Sept 2015 Great news – after only 4 days this has already reached its target! ——————————————————- John French has started a crowdfunding project on Indiegogo to finance the release of The Magic Band’s latest DVD. Called Magnetic Draw this is a two disc set which includes, on one disc the concert performed at “The Engine Shed” Lincoln, UK on 23 May 2014, and on the other interviews with all the band members. All monies raised will go to the production of the DVD, and more importantly all profits will go directly to all the Magic Band members who have taken part. Here’s  a chance for allRead More →

Regular visitors to the old Radar Station will remember the fairly large bootleg section we had and have probably been wondering what happened to it. Well, it fell through the cracks during the move… I’ve been rummaging around and have redone all the information we used to have. I’ve updated it, added new entries and some new images. I’ve also created a new A-Z listing to make it easier for you to track down a particular item. All the Beefheart and the Zappa/Beefheart bootlegs are now listed in one place plus the section has been renamed “Unofficial releases” to include all those ‘grey area’ releases thatRead More →

The Mystery Man from The Magic Band. Yes, indeed, here’s something to look forward to. Due to be published around 8 June Beefheart’s co-songwriter, Herb Bermann tells his story about the songs and how they came to be written. It also includes an introduction from John French and an interview with Herb conducted by the Radar Station’s former newshound Derek Laskie. Available from the publisher and I have been told that they will only be selling one copy per person. Published by Brass Tacks Press, this is what they have to say about the book: THE MYSTERY MAN FROM THE MAGIC BAND: Captain Beefheart collaborator’sRead More →

Catching up on three remastered CDs and a couple of vinyl boots. The Japanese seem to follow their own odd agenda of releasing Beefheart albums. However, when they do it’s usually worth checking out, especially when they remaster anything. And that’s what we have here. Lick My Decals Off, Baby At the back of 2014 (yes, I know, but I’ve only just got hold of a copy) they released a remastered version of ‘Lick My Decals Off, Baby‘. It’s packaged in a jewel case with booklet containing lyrics in English and Japanese. It has been remastered by Ryuichi Tanaka (Mixer’s Lab) at Warner Music Mastering. This isRead More →

Here are two recent interviews with John ‘Drumbo’ French which are worth checking out. The first can be found at the No Apologies Blog, a Christian oriented blog: https://noapologiesallowed.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/naa-interview-with-john-drumbo-french-the-beefheart-drummer/ This is a text interview where John mainly talks about his Christian faith. However there is plenty of other stuff to keep the Beefheart fan interested. (Thanks to Joshua for contacting the Radar Station about his interview with John). The second interview is a 30 minute audio piece at The Trap Set which focuses on talking to drummers. “Joe Wong talks to John “Drumbo” French about blazing a singular path with Captain Beefheart, slipping under theRead More →