Film curator, writer and lecturer, Gerry Fialka, is interviewing John French as part of his ongoing series of MESS (Media Ecology Soul Salon) interviews: Echo Park Film Center 1200 N Alvarado St. (at Sunset Blvd.) Los Angeles Saturday 9 October 2010, starts 7pm Tickets: $5 The evening begins with a showing of the Crows Milk documentary about the Magic Band reunion. At 8pm Gerry will be talking to John French. This will be followed by the showing of the film of the 2003 Shepherds Bush show plus some of John’s home movies of Don. John will also be signing copies of his book. Sounds like
Here are some golden birdies, bits, bobs and doodads for your delectation: Moris Tepper has a new CD out called A Singer Called Shotgun Throat, a title suggested by Don apparently. Full details can be found on Moris’s website. For those manic collectors out there I’ve been trying to document all the Beefheart titles available as flexi discs. These are strange releases emanating from Russia and Poland. Check out what I’ve found so far on this Russian flexi discs page. If you’ve got others please let me know. YouTube continues to be a great source for hearing attempts at Beefheart covers. Here’s a selection of
Here’s a treat if you can make it to: The Magic Room Gallery 155 North Beacon Street, Brighton, Massachusetts 02135 On Friday 10 September 2010 – 8pm until 11.30pm Tickets: $20 Gary Lucas will be presenting a Captain Beefheart Symposium where he will will give a lecture and musical demonstration devoted to his mentor and childhood hero Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart. This will involve Gary showing rare video footage of the man and the band, delve into his complex artistic oeuvre as both a composer — by performing some of his fiendishly difficult solo guitar compositions live — and as a painter by
In 2010 some interesting articles began appearing on the Yahoo Associated Content website under the byline of Grant O’Neill. As they seem to have gone missing, or just hard to find, the author has agreed for copies to be posted here at the Radar Station. Grant is a pseudonym for Don Aldridge a guy from Lancaster who knew Don and many of the Magic Band back in the sixties. I spoke to him many years ago and part of that interview was printed in the ‘Steal Softly Thru Snow’ fanzine. Don Aldridge is an American ASCAP songwriter, author and publisher who has worked with a number
A new Tom Waits documentary DVD “Under The Influence” features interviews with John French (Magic Band drummer, arranger, latter-day front man and biographer). Produced by Chrome Dreams (who also made Captain Beefheart Under Review a few years back) the DVD dissects Waits’ varied influences and I think we can guess why Captain Beefheart’s right hand man was enlisted to help tell part of the story. Intriguingly there is an extra short on the DVD called “John French Spills The Beans” – perhaps just an extended interview. If you have any more info please do let me know or post it below.
DJ ShinyBeast at PhonicFM will be broadcasting a two hour Beefheart special on Tuesday 27 April 2010 between 8 am 10 pm BST. Tune in at the PhonicFM website. Thanks to Gordon for the tip-off.
Stephen Toman has just got in touch to alert me to his recent John “Drumbo” French interview which has just been published online. Don’t miss it: lots of John’s thoughts about the Magic Band, the book, the reunion and far beyond. Many thanks, Stephen. John French’s book, Beefheart Through The Eyes Of Magic is available now from Amazon and elsewhere, don’t forget to buy your copy.
I had a message from Claire from Brooklyn: A few months ago I was getting tattooed by Myles Karr at Three Kings Tattoo in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I asked him what his specialty was. “Anything weird.” he said. “Oh, so like, the cover of Captain Beefheart’s ‘Trout Mask Replica’?” I asked, referencing the first “weird” thing that came to mind His eyes widened. “YES. Anywhere you want it, as big as you want it.” In his excitement he quoted me a ridiculously cheap price. I couldn’t really pass up such an offer from one of Brooklyn’s finest tattooers…. So now I’m wearing my very own Replica
Beefheart’s one-time manager, Herb Cohen, has died aged 77. Cohen was a larger than life character, a hard nosed businessman who seemed to have a penchant for obscure talent. Not only did he have Don on his roster but he also managed Zappa, Tim Buckley, the GTOs, Wild Man Fischer and Tom Waits. Unfortunately his relationship with Zappa soured and they fell out in 1976 amidst a nasty legal wrangle which left Cohen with the rights to many of the albums released on the Straight label. None of these albums have had a decent release on CD … Lick My Decals Off Baby still awaits
Henry Kaiser kindly sent us the following info today: Groove Family Fundraiser for Breast Cancer presents Robben Ford & Renegade Creation Ultraviolet Licorice (featuring Bob Bralove, Henry Kaiser, John French (aka Drumbo), Dan Schwartz) Steve White and the Barstool Pidgeons & Jonathan McCuen Saturday April 17 at the majestic Ventura Theater 26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura, CA 93001 • 805-653-6489 Doors open at 7:00 • Show starts at 8:00 General Admission: $25.00 Many thanks to Henry for the tip-off. Henry says the current plan is for Ultraviolet Licorice to play for 90 minutes as the third of three acts. If you attend, please feel free to post a
Due to some small changes at Blogger, we’ve had to change the address of our blog. It’s now available at: http://blog.beefheart.com/ or http://upsifter.blogspot.com/ (both point to the same blog) via an RSS feed on Twitter @CaptBeefheart If you’re reading this you’ve already found our slightly new location but please do take a moment to update bookmarks and links if necessary. Thanks. At the time of writing none of your comments are appearing on the blog but I hope to have them all back again presently. Our Twitter feed @CaptBeefheart contains all the posts to this blog and occasional other morsels as well. You also welcome
For all you collectors out there here’s a nice box set based around Freddy Bannister’s book. Freddy promoted many of Beefheart’s early 70’s tours as well as organising the famous Knebworth festivals. Apart from the book there’s some great Beefheart photographs, facsimilies of festival programmes and flyers … plus extra special bonuses of some prime Beefheart concerts. Find out more
Don walked/fell off the stage during the band’s performance at the Mt Tamalpais Fantasy Fair and Mountain Music Festival in 1967. This was supposed to have been a warm up for an appearance at the Monterey Festival but Don’s acid induced dive caused Ry Cooder to quit the band and their big opportunity to make a name for themselves was missed. Now, amazingly, some hitherto unknown photographs of the band’s (short) appearance have surfaced on YouTube. Sadly, Don’s dive isn’t captured in any of the shots, but they’re worth a look anyway. Thanks to Louis for the heads up on this. Update 12/03/2010: I’ve written
I’d like to offer a sincere big thank you to Derek, our erstwhile news editor, for all his help and close attention to detail over the last few years. He’s conducted an impressive Big Dig through anything with even a faint whiff of Beefheart about it and brought us some really interesting and illuminating stories. Who could forget Derek’s interview with Herb Bermann; a character so mysterious in the Beefheart universe that many have even posited he didn’t exist? Derek tracked him down, interviewed him and delivered the results to you here at beefheart.com I’m sure Derek will still pop up here occasionally in the
I’ve just got my copy of John French’s beautiful massive tome and have been keenly devouring it in every spare moment. It’s also had some favourable coverage in the UK press this morning. Life Under Captain Beefheart’s Regime appears in The Times and makes the book sound as fascinating and revelatory as it appears to be from what I’ve read so far. If you spot any other interesting reviews or articles related the book please post links to them below. Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic goes on sale tomorrow.
According to The Guardian, The Jockey Club’s chief executive, Simon Bazalgette was recently interviewed in the racecard at Cheltenham. Bazalgette said that his four ideal dinner guests would be “Richard Feynman, Vaseley (sic) Kandinsky, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Captain Beefheart.” Cal Schenkel is offering beautiful archival quality Giclée Prints of his acrylic on paper study of the Trout Mask Replica album cover artwork, 2009, hand-signed. 13x13in Personalized at no extra charge–specify inscription when ordering. See ralf.com Old Skool Hooligans have a selection of Captain Beefheart t-shirts for sale. Be quick if you want to see the video of Captain Beefheart’s telephoned contribution to American Bandstand
Skeletonbreath – the band at MySpace. Invincible Czars perform Upon the My-O-My at YouTube. Ty Segal performs Dropout Boogie at YouTube. Album review of Lemons at Pitchfork. Snow Patrol include a reworked Observatory Crest in their Late Night Tales compilation. The version Snow Patrol have chosen is not the original Bluejeans and Moonbeams cut but the A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond version which is prefaced by Eric Drew Feldman’s intro to Making Love To A Vampire With A Monkey On My Knee. Odd. Bob Dylan’s album Theme Time Radio Hour, Season 2 on Ace Records includes Ice Cream
The other day, I was grinding and polishing a stony meteorite (as one does), and after polishing, there, leering out from the polished surface, was the captains face. I know this sounds rather like those names of Allah found in aubergines and such, but I’ll get a friend to photo this and send you the image in case you might want to put it on your site – it really is quite astonishing. The image is best viewed small on the screen, about 10 cm x 10 cm, otherwise the detail obscures the image. The meteorite is a piece of one called NWA869. Thanks to
The 12-year old anti-hero of Josh Lieb’s new book for young adults is a Captain Beefheart fan. I point to my beloved Captain Beefheart, a musician so brilliant, so evil, he drove his own band insane. He would not let let them eat. He would not let them sleep. He would not let them leave his house. He made them wear dresses (and they were not girls). He stripped them of their very names and subjected them to hours and hours of abusive group therapy session. When a dejected and desperate member of the band managed to escape the Captain’s clutches, Beefheart snatched him off