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 →

This message has been received from Zappa.com by those who’d ordered a copy: [wp_quote]Dear Friends, Thank you very much for ordering Captain Beefheart’s Bat Chain Puller! This is to let you know that the manufacturing of this release has been delayed. We hope to be shipping the week of 13 February (maybe sooner). We are really looking forward to you having this wonderment in your anxious ears! xxx, the barfies [/wp_quote]Read More →

This is an interesting documentary release – From Straight to Bizarre: Zappa, Beefheart, Alice Cooper and LA’s Lunatic Fringe. It comes from Chrome Dreams who you may remember from the Captain Beefheart: Under Review DVD. The dvd documents Zappa’s attempt to control his recordings by setting up his own labels, Straight and Bizarre – while at the same time releasing music from LA’s freak scene which would otherwise have never made it to vinyl. Although it mentions all the albums released it concentrates on those by Alice Cooper, The GTOs, Wild Man Fischer, Jeff Simmons and, of course, our man Captain Beefheart. So for Beefheart fans thereRead More →

This has already been mentioned in a previous post but I think it deserves one of its own… Yes, the Zappa Family Trust have finally decided to release the often bootlegged Original Bat Chain Puller from their Vault only 36 years after it was recorded. For the past 18 months Gail Zappa has been saying it was going to get a release. However, here at the Radar Station we’ve been wary of reporting it until it we were certain. But it does now look like it’s actually going to happen … it was announced on the anniversary of Don’s death and will be released onRead More →

Don Van Vliet died one year ago today. As much as we miss knowing he’s out there in person, his music and art are as alive as ever: The Magic Band have just concluded a triumphant UK tour (view the entire Nottingham show on YouTube and don’t miss Tony Fisher’s great photos), with more dates promised for next year and a new live release of a 2005 show out now. Gary Lucas continues to roll out his acclaimed Beefheart Symposia around the world (next up: Liverpool in January). Records continue to be released, reissued, remastered and rumours about an Original Bat Chain Puller release are notRead More →