All ready for the 72nd anniversary of Don Van Vliet’s birth, I am delighted to present an all new Radar Station website. Apart from the content (much of which has been expanded, revised and brought up to date but in essence remains the same) it’s entirely new: new design, new structure, new way of doing things. I do hope you like it. It’s been the product of about 18 months of incessant clicking whenever I have been able to around work, family and general life stuff. The new site currently contains a massive 2,610 items which perhaps helps to explain just why it’s taken meRead More →

If you’re in Portland, Oregon on Thursday 17 January take a trip out to Belmont Station “Portland’s Premier Beer Store and Bier Cafe”. In one of their regular beer tasting evenings you’ll be able to sample a Captain Beefheart Beer. Here’s how they describe it: Captain Beefheart is a collaborative brew between Jason McAdam of Burnside Brewing and Alex Ganum of Upright, both of whom can be described as meat enthusiasts. In their own words: “The idea behind Captain Beefheart was to create a complex beverage with savory flavors rooted in the kitchen. We started with a malty copper colored base and added Turkish bayRead More →

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

The World of Captain Beefheart is a special concert featuring Gary Lucas with the 60 piece Metropole Orchestra performing symphonic Beefheart. Date: Sunday 17th February 2013 Venue: the main hall of Amsterdam’s Paradiso Special guest vocalist for the night is legendary Nona Hendryx (pictured below with Gary), who is also a big Beefheart fan. This event has been put together by Co de Kloet (the Dutch radio presenter who did the last lengthy interview with Don on the phone in the early 90’s). It will be broadcast live on Co’s radio show on national Dutch radio, NTR. It is also being filmed for possible broadcast. ViewRead More →

Updated: 26 Jan 2013 Woo hoo! Yes, prepare to be booglarized again … the guys are back in the UK for another tour. So far the following dates have been set up: March 2013 1 – Concorde 2, Brighton 2 – Arts Centre, Colchester 4 – The Fleece, Bristol 5 – Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton 6 – The Continental, Preston 7 – Band On The Wall, Manchester 9 – Arches, Glasgow 10 – HMV Picture House, Edinburgh 11 – The Cluny, Newcastle upon Tyne 13 – Erics, Liverpool 14 – The Duchess, York 15 – Sub89, Reading 16 – Under The Bridge, Fulham, London ForRead More →

If you haven’t got a copy of the Beefheart/Zappa Commemorative box set put together around Freddy Banister’s book “There Must Be A Better Way” then there are perhaps further reasons to get a copy. Two more stealth recordings of Frank Zappa concerts have now been added to the set: 1970 Frank Zappa at the Bath Festival and 1978 Frank Zappa at the Knebworth Festival. This makes it a total of 10 CDs (7 Captain Beefheart and 3 Frank Zappa), plus the T shirt and poster which are still included … and the price remains £49.99.Read More →

The Pittsburgh City Paper blog has a lovely item about some unusually literate graffiti: On a Liberty Avenue pole, near the Bloomfield Bridge, somebody has carefully pencilled the lyrics to Captain Beefheart’s “Orange Claw Hammer.” A tribute to the late musician? Or just bored waiting for the bus? Is it still there? If you’re in the vicinity please send us a snap. View Bloomfield Bridge in a larger mapRead More →

There’s a new book available which has compiled over 40 written pieces about, and interviews with Don. It’s called ‘A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond’. In this online world it’s a refreshing retro artefact. Read my short reviewRead More →

I’ve had some enquiries about whether there’s a vinyl version of the recently remastered Bat Chain Puller. As far as I can make out the Zappa Family Trust will not be releasing one … many Zappa fans have already been upset by the absence of vinyl versions of Mothers and Frank titles so it’s nothing personal towards us Beefheart followers. Inevitably though, bootleggers have stepped in to fill the gap. So, there is now a (white) vinyl version of Bat Chain Puller available. It’s dubbed from the remastered CD and sporting artwork based on it too. It’s even claiming to be a zappa.com Vaulternative release …Read More →

John French, Magic Band Reunion

We’ve had an email from Magic Band guitarist Eric Klerks with details about up-coming live dates, mostly Europe but also one at ATP New York. September: 23- ATP Festival ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’, Pier 36, NYC 28- Button Factory, Dublin, Ireland 29- Club Zanzibar, Liverpool, UK 30- Picturedrome, Holmfirth, UK October: 3- Kesselhaus, Berlin, Germany 4- Amager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark 6- Parkteatret, Oslo, Norway 7- Blues Garage, Hannover, Germany 10- Theaterhaus, Stuttgart, Germany 11- Exil, Zurich, Switzerland 13- 4AD, Diksmuide, Belgium If you attend, please send us your reports, photos, videos and anecdotes.Read More →

The September issues of two UK music mags will be of interest to Beefheart  fans: MOJO #226 features Mark Boston (Rockette Morton) in the ‘Hello Goodbye’ section where he tells Mike Barnes about joining the Magic Band in 1968 and quitting in 1974. UNCUT #184 has a six page feature called Dropouts Boogie. John Robinson has spoken to 14 former Magic Band members to form the basis of this piece … from founding member Jerry Handley, through the Tragic Band to Cliff Martinez from the final incarnation.Read More →

The Pittsburgh micro-brewery, East End Brewing Company, have recently produced a new beer called Blabber & Smoke. It’s a Rauchbier type lager. If it tastes as good as the label looks then you’re in for treat – If anyone gets to try some please let us know what it tastes like. It’s not the first brew to be inspired by Beefheart. I know of two others – the bottled beer Old Fart and the draught China Pig. Do you know of any others?  Read More →

It’s always good to see new Beefheart related items appearing. Footage The UK company Voiceprint Records  have announced a new addition to their ‘Lost Broadcasts’ series of DVDs due for release on 18 June 2012: [wp_quote] On the 12th April, in the middle of the European leg of the tour Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band stopped off at the Beat Club studios in Bremen to film a session for later transmission. Of the four song session filmed that day only one track has ever been broadcast. The band at that time included: Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet), vocals, harp. Rockette Morton (Mark Boston), guitar/bass.Read More →

Not exactly news … I’ve just been a bit slow blogging about this release which many of you will already know about. As part of this year’s Record Store Day Sundazed released a fantastic double vinyl 7″ of the band’s first two A&M singles. For more images and information about this see the Radar Station reviewRead More →

I’ve finally put a review of Bat Chain Puller up on the site. If you haven’t bought a copy yet and are unsure about whether to or not … read it! If you’ve already read it (it’s been up for a few days) then take another look as I’ve just added an intriguing update about the version of Hobo-Ism that’s on the album. Although I ordered the album from Barko Swill when it was originally announced I’m still waiting on my copy! Guess they must have sent it by snail mail (literally!) So I bought another from the very friendly G & S Music whoRead More →

The Magic Band will be back in the UK in March (for a mini tour), in Japan in April and New Jersey in September, playing at an ATP event in each of the three countries. So far the following venues have been confirmed: 7 March 2012 – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth 9 March 2012 – The Phoenix, Exeter 11 March 2012 – ATP Festival, Minehead 12 March 2012 – The Robin, Bilston, Wolverhampton 13 March 2012 – The Continental, Preston 14 March 2012 – The Duchess, York 14 April 2012 – ATP Festival, Tokyo POSTPONED – hoping to reschedule later in 2012 21-23 September – ATPRead More →

John French has kindly sent along his account of the Magic Band’s recent UK tour. 
The Magic Band’s “mini-tour” went well. We stayed in Basingstoke, England at a friend’s house to rehearse.   It worked out perfectly for us, as we were able to rehearse in the living room for three days.  I had gone over a day earlier (November 24th) and sorted out the backline with Malcolm Mills, the owner of Proper Music, who put out my last CD and published my book.  Malcolm let me stay at his beautiful home with him, his wife Miriam, and sister-in-law Hillary. Upon arrival, I realized IRead More →

Some fascinating footage has appeared on YouTube from 1969. Is it something not seen before or is it a much better version of the Trout Promo footage that has been doing the rounds for many years? (that was so dark it was almost impossible to make anything out). It appears to show Don and the band (Mark, John, Bill and Jeff) cavorting about and generally acting daft. The quality is not great – it’s dark (all black and white), the camera keeps moving and some of the film has been treated to look negative … … but even so it’s well worth watching. It wasRead More →