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 →

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 →

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 →

It’s almost 40 years since Don played the Troubadour in Los Angeles… and far too long since the Magic Band have played in the US. At long last a venue has had the commonsense to book the band so some of our American cousins can see what they’ve been missing. The date of the show is Monday 7th April. Find out more on the Troubadour’s Facebook page for the gig.Read More →

Gary Lucas brings his Captain Beefheart Symposium to Mexico City on Sunday 1 December 2013 It takes place in the big public park at the Casa Del Lago at 1pm. During the symposium Gary Lucas will show rare archival footage of the band, spin unreleased tracks, project slides of Van Vliet’s paintings and drawings, discuss the history of the group and many of the great musicians who came through the ranks of The Magic Band, and illustrate Van Vliet’s quirky and idiosyncratic methodologies and techniques with a live solo guitar performance. More information is available at Gary Lucas’s website.Read More →

Dutch radio presenter and Beefheart fan, Co de Kloet, will be hosting a special Beefheart Night on 17 November 2013. You don’t have to be in the Netherlands to listen to it as it can be heard online in his show CoLive – www.radio6.nl/colive/ – from 20.30 till 2300 hrs. The Beefheart Night show will include: 1. the full “World of Captain Beefheart” show performed on 17 February at Amsterdam’s Paradiso by Gary Lucas with the Metropole Orchestra and special guest, Nona Hendryx 2. an interview with Gary Lucas 3. excerpts of “I Have a Cat” – a phone interview Co did with Don to whichRead More →

A new Magic Band website announces a new Magic Band tour. The new site provides us with a suitably Magic web presence; my favourite bit being the archive of press reviews of many of the reunion shows. It’s a pleasing reminder that the reunion has been consistently booglarising us for over 10 years now, and the tone of the reviews is as equally thrilled and disbelieving in 2013 as it was in 2003. John French, Mark Boston and Denny Walley, along with their bandmates over the last decade, have achieved something truly remarkable. So get yourself out there if you can, witness an unforgettable show, revelRead More →

Following on from his involvement with the Magic Band reunion, Fast ‘n’ Bulbous and the series of Symposia Gary Lucas continues his celebration of Don’s music with his latest project “The World of Captain Beefheart”. This is based on the show of the same name performed featuring Nona Hendryx (LaBelle, Talking Heads) and several Dutch singers at Amsterdam’s Paradiso in February 2013 with the 65 -piece Metropole Orchestra, which was produced by Dutch radio presenter and Beefheart fan, Co de Kloet. All the musicians involved in the new project – Gary Lucas, Nona Hendryx, Jesse Krakow, Eric Slick and Jordan Shapiro –  have busy schedules so they willRead 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 →

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 →

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 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 →

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 →