Takes on more Captain Beefheart music. Song List Pachuco Cadaver Moonlight on Vermont Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man Low Yo Yo Stuff Semi Multicoloured Caucasian Abba Zaba When Big Joan Sets Up Suction Prints Alice In Blunderland Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop Kandy Korn Willie the Pimp (live) Tracks 1 – 11 recorded at The Clock Tower Studios, Edinburgh May 2019 & Jan/Mar 2020 Track 12 recorded live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh August 2019 Now here’s an album I’ve been waiting to hear. This is the follow-up to Orange Claw Hammer’s first outing Cooks The Beef which reworked a bunch of Beefheart tunes for the 21stRead More →

Available on Bandcamp the PRF Monthly Tribute Series is an ongoing project which challenges musicians to attempt covers of a particular band or artist.  The musicians are given a month to record songs by that band, or about that band, or in the style of the band. In September 2019 the 63rd in the series it was the turn of Captain Beefheart. Situations – Grown So Ugly (3:19) – this track races along as a straightforward rock song rather than following the blues of the original Doctor Coffee – Dropout Boogie (2:42) – a similar arrangement to the SAM track complete with waltz-style break butRead More →

Don would have been 80 years old today. To celebrate that milestone Gary Lucas has written a piece for the Please Kill Me website about the dysfunctional relationship between Don and Frank Zappa. Gary offers his take on the rivalry between to the two old friends and also looks at the recording of the last Beefheart album Ice Cream For Crow. Read the article – Don Van Vliet and Frank Zappa: Two Peas In A Misshapen Pod   Another album that gets mentioned in the article is Doc At The Radar Station which last year reached its 40th anniversary. Gary devoted three of his FacebookRead More →

Originally published in the Wall Street Journal December 19, 2010 Noted avant guitarist and composer Gary Lucas was a colleague and friend to Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, who died Friday. Calling him “the most compelling conceptualist I’d ever heard,” Lucas once told the Journal that Van Vliet had “taken the structure of the jazz and blues and rebuilt it like no one else had.” We asked him to record his thoughts about his mentor and friend. Don Van Vliet was an American maverick visionary genius who single-handedly changed the face of music we know it over a dozen uncompromising albums. HeRead More →

Has it really been that long? It has been even longer since he’d been really productive as an artist. He’d given up recording music completely to concentrate on painting but even that was denied to him as the MS he suffered from gradually took hold. It must have been frustrating for him as someone who had continually created, to whom it seemed to come so easily, always doodling in his drawing books, writing poems and lyrics, whistling, humming… He battled against the disease for as long as he could, some of his last drawings were no more than a few scribbled lines but they representedRead More →

As you may know Gary Lucas has been regularly busking via his Facebook page during the lockdown. He has already devoted a couple of those sessions to the music of Beefheart. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release Gary will be focusing on the album Doc At the Radar Station during his sessions on Tuesday 1st September, Thursday 3rd September and Saturday 5th September starting at 3pm EDT which is 8pm BST. Find Gary’s Facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836Read More →

In 1993 Gerry Pratt started publishing his amazing fanzine ‘Steal Softly Thru Snow’. It ran to only eight issues sadly but was an important source of information for many Beefheart fans in the days before the internet. Various problems caused its eventual demise and although it has now been superseded by websites such as this one (which owes a debt of gratitude to SSTS) copies are still highly sought after. It has always been an idea at the back of my mind to scan all the issues and make them available here on the Radar Station. This is a project that has been bubbling awayRead More →

During the pandemic lockdown Gary Lucas has been live-streaming performances on Facebook from home several times a week. In a special three part series of performances in June 2020 Gary featured a Beefheart tribute. If you missed those streams or don’t like wading through the morass that is Facebook then hurry on over to Gary’s website to catch videos of all three of his Beefheart shows. You will also find there a selection of paintings and drawings by Don Van Vliet from his personal collection, including the backstory behind each piece. And there’s more … Gary writes about his Top 5 Captain Beefheart albums whichRead More →

TROPICAL HOTDOG NIGHT: attention all Captain Beefheart fans!! Sorry for the short notice, but catch this if you can Tonight Sun. March 22nd Gary’s old friend Dutch producer and Zappa-Beefheart go-to-guy Co De Kloet is broadcasting a big chunk of “The World of Captain Beefheart” concert he mounted at the Paradiso Amsterdam a few years ago — featuring Gary and the 65-piece  Metropole Orkest, Nona Hendryx, Jolene Grunberg, Tom Trapp and others–on his national Dutch radio NPO program Co Live! The show begins tomorrow at 6pm UK time, 7pm Dutch time, 1pm EST. Listen live through this link: https://www.nporadio2.nl/so…/online-radio-luisteren/gedraaid Or you can find the show on their website: https://www.nporadio2.nl/soulenjazz/programmas And you can find the podcast here:Read More →

A beat by beat dissection of this song from Lick My Decals Off Baby. For the past few years musician Tony Malone and his Beefheart Project Toronto have been working on covers of many of Don’s songs from across all his albums. Their intention was to be respectful to the originals as possible but present them in a different way. To understand how to play the songs Tony had to deconstruct them by stripping them down to each beat, riff and rhythm. The band then learned their parts and reconstructed the song. To give an idea of the work involved in the original composition ofRead More →

It’s good to see that some people have taken the time to acknowledge Trout Mask’s 50th anniversary. Here we have two online radio shows, both available on Mixcloud,  taking different approaches to celebrating the greatness of the band’s landmark album. Both are well worth a listen. Firstly we have the London based Resonance FM. The host discusses the album with Beefheart biographer, Mike Barnes and the show is described as: Freewheeling music series with Ivor Kallin. This week we celebrate fifty years since the release of Captain Beefheart’s Troutmask Replica, with special guest Mike Barnes, author of the seminal work on the good captain. ExpectRead More →

Liverpool’s Bluecoat Gallery continue their support of all things Beefheart with a special event to mark Trout Mask Replica’s 50th anniversary. Beefheart biographer Mike Barnes will be leading a discussion about the album and artist Derek Tyman will be creating a scale model of the Trout House! Bluecoat Artistic Director Bryan Biggs chairs the event, which continues Bluecoat’s relationship to Beefheart, from his first ever exhibition of paintings at the venue in 1972 to a special weekend in 2017 that explored him as a ‘total artist’ who embraced music, art, writing and performance. The event is on Sunday 16th June 2019. For more details andRead More →

There are not many opportunities these day to hear Don’s music played live but luckily there are a few musicians out there keeping the flame alive. Here’s a couple of chances to experience this music live, one in the US and one in the UK. UPDATE: Gary has contacted us to say that the Cutting Room gig has had to be POSTPONED. We will post details when it is rescheduled. Gary Lucas is presenting his THE WORLD OF CAPTAIN BEEFHEART show featuring legendary soul diva Nona Hendryx (Labelle) on vocals. You can catch this in NYC at The Cutting Room 44 East 32nd St onRead More →

Don will be the subject of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Great Lives’ on Tuesday 3 April at 4:30 pm (BST). The programme will then be available online at the BBC iPlayer radio. He has been chosen by comedian Jim Moir, better known as Vic Reeves one half of the surreal and barking mad comedy duo Reeves and Mortimer. He will be accompanied by Beefheart biographer Mike Barnes. Should be well worth a listen. Find it here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09xjx30  Read More →

Gary Lucas will be presenting another of his Don Van Vliet tribute shows on Monday 22nd January 2018, 8pm at the City Winery, New York City. The performance will follow a similar format to previous events hosted by Gary and will feature screenings of rare video clips of Beefheart, projections of Don Van Vliet’s stunning paintings and drawings, live readings of his surrealist poetry, rare tracks and spoken word pieces, plus more surprises. This special evening will include a performance by Lucas’ latest ensemble The World of Captain Beefheart, which includes expert Beefheart practitioners Jesse Krakow on bass, Richard Dworkin on drums, Jordan Shapiro on keyboardsRead More →

NTS Radio recently broadcast ‘The Magic Behind Beefheart’, an hour long look at Don and the Magic Band’s career by Imogen Eason. A great selection of music, albeit brief extracts, keep the show moving along. It includes interviews with John French and Denny Walley talking about their time in the band, about Don and Frank Zappa and about playing the music again in the reunion Magic Band. It’s not clear when these interviews were done but presumably they must be a few years old and recorded before Denny left the band – (I’m guessing 2013). Take a listen here  Read More →

featuring Nona Hendryx and Gary Lucas interpreting a selection of Beefheart favourites   Sun Zoom Spark My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do I’m Glad The Smithsonian Institute Blues (or The Big Dig) Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles Suction Prints Sugar ‘N Spikes When Big Joan Sets Up Too Much Time When It Blows Its Stacks Tropical Hot Dog Night Publicity blurb: … a comprehensive overview of the man also known as Don Van Vliet’s towering legacy, re-imagined and infused with new blood by vocalist extraordinaire Nona Hendryx and avant-guitar legend Gary Lucas. The World ofRead More →

A Giraffe is Listening to the Radio is a collection of Beefheart songs recorded in rehearsal and performance during 1979 and 1980. Side A Electricity Moonlight on Vermont Doctor Dark The Spotlight Kid Nowaday’s a Woman’s Gotta Hit a Man Side B Owed T’Alex Clear Spot Grow Fins Lick My Decals Off, Baby Steal Softly Thru Snow Abba Zabba   Review Men & Volts recordings of Beefheart songs have become almost the stuff of legend, we knew they were out there but no one seemed to have heard them. Some cassettes and later some CDRs were made available discreetly but not released on a label.Read More →

Around July 2017 John French was invited to take part in the Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta in October to celebrate the music of Captain Beefheart with a collection of local musicians. This was an exciting opportunity for John to not only perform in the US but also to present some of Don’s songs with an extended band, horns, back-up singers and even a concert level theremin player! The Radar Station was unable to attend the show but we know someone who did and he has sent us this review of the event. Review by Patrick Grant Threadgill’s is a bar/restaurant/music venue in Austin, Texas havingRead More →

It’s 45 years since Don’s first UK art exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool and a special weekend of events has been organised to celebrate Don’s music and art as well as his influence on the city. From 10th – 12th November 2017 the events include: 10th November – The Magic Band perform at the Liverpool Philharmonic as part of their Farewell Tour 11th November – Digging Beefheart: a symposium exploring Beefheart as a ‘total artist’ Doped in Stunned Mirages: a Poetic Celebration of Don Van Vliet Fast N’ Bulbous: a Musical Celebration of Don Van Vliet – Gary Lucas and many local musiciansRead More →