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 →

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 →

In addition to the Beefheart Symposia scheduled in Sweden and Copenhagen later this month, Gary Lucas brings his celebration of all things Beefheart to Liverpool, UK for two nights early next year at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall: Friday 20 January 2012 Saturday 21 January 2012 Read more about the symposia at Gary’s website. More details when we have them.Gary has also sent a link to a great article on researching the connection between Don Van Vliet and British rebel artist Wyndham Lewis by David Stoker, published in the journal of the Wyndham Lewis Society.Plus he also sent this link to some rare footage of WyndhamRead More →

Van Goo play some spiritedly excellent cover versions of various Trout Mask Replica songs. They don’t often do it live but they will be performing on Saturday 8 October at 10pm. You can find them at Freddie’s Bar, 627 5th Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn NY or get a taster on YouTube.Read More →

Gary Lucas brings his celebration of Don’s life to Montreal, Canada as part of the Pop Montreal International Music Festival. It starts at midnight on 24 September at the unlikely venue of the Cinema L’Amour. Guests include Mary Margaret O’Hara , Dan Levitin, Chloe Lum, Jonathan Cummins plus others.Read More →

Don Van Vliet and Gary Lucas

The Bowery Poetry Club in New York is the venue for another Beefheart tribute concert. Gary Lucas will be heading the event but it’s not one of his Symposium shows. This is going to be a musical tribute covering all albums from Safe As Milk to Ice Cream For Crow. It’s on Saturday 4 June, starts at 8pm and costs only $10 (all proceeds to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society). Check out the Bowery website for more details about who else will be performing. It’s also going to be streamed on the web.Read More →

Robyn Hitchcock

Graham’s already tweeted about this but I thought I’d pull it together into the blog. Robyn Hitchcock is running round the country with a Captain Beefheart tribute … he’s performing the Clear Spot album in its entirety with his Imaginary Band. The dates and venues are: 3 June – London The Garage 4 June – Cheltenham Wychwood Festival 5 June – Bath Spiegeltent 26 June – Glastonbury Festival Hitchcock is a great Beefheart fan and you can watch an interview with him on the Wychwood Festival site where he talks about Don and his other influences. He’s already covered a few of Don’s songs inRead More →

Don Van Vliet and Gary Lucas

Friday 8 April at the Knitting Factory Brooklyn. Featuring Gary Lucas “Ice Cream for Crow” video clip producer (and uncredited director) Ken Schreiber UK journalist Vivien Goldman CultureCatch.com’s Dusty Wright Fireparty’s own Brainpang avant-punk icon Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Film Society of Lincoln Center director Richard Pena Ramones/Iggy Pop manager Danny Fields vocalist Felice Rosser journalist Billy Altman pundit Byron Coley music and film critic Glenn Kenny poet Bob Holman and more Full info, tickets, etc at The Knit.  Hurry!  It’s tonight!Read More →

It took a while for the main music mags to react to Don’s death because of their advanced editorial deadlines. Here are some of them that have produced tributes of significance: Record Collector #385 February 2011 In their ‘Not forgotten’ obituary section Kris Needs (former Zigzag editor) has written a very good piece. It is only one page but it packs a lot in The Word #96 February 2011 An eight page spread, ‘A fish out of water’, that has some good points with Mark Ellen looking at his art as well as his music but also disappoints (the David Hepworth piece) by perpetuating aRead More →

While touring in the UK in 1975, there was a concert we played in a medium sized hall somewhere lost in time, where a bus brought in a group of about 16 wheelchair-bound individuals.  After the concert ended, we were headed for our bus when Don stopped and watched as the handicapped individuals were tediously loaded one by one onto their bus.  Our bus driver, a bit impatient, called out that we could go, but Don refused to budge.  “I’m not leaving until they do.  They had the patience to go through all this trouble to come see me, and I’m going to show themRead More →

Anton Corbijn portrait of Don Van Vliet

We were very sorry to learn that Don Van Vliet passed away on Friday 17 December 2010 due to complications arising from multiple sclerosis. Tributes from friends, Magic Band members and fans have come thick and fast. Here are a few of them on beefheart.com and beyond: Steve’s initial beefheart.com post: Don Van Vliet 1941-2010 including many of your tributes Graham’s beefheart.com post: Don Van Vliet 1941-2010 including many of your tributes Art Tripp’s tribute to Don Bill Harkleroad’s tribute to Don John French’s tribute to Don – an absolutely lovely read, not to be missed Gary Lucas’s tribute to Don from The Wall StreetRead More →

My friend Art Tripp nailed it head to toe and I just can’t say it any better. Time erased all the injustices and I am left with all the incredible lessons learned. Such a rare and tremendously creative talent. I have to say it has taken me many years to recognize how truly rare a person he was. You have to be here awhile, or at least I did, to know Don Vliet’s don’t just happen. Don’s gone but look what he left us. Don’s gone and we’re next. Bill Harkleroad 19 December 2010Read More →

In 1984 Don and I had renewed our friendship for many years in north California after we’d both left the music biz. Our homes were only about a mile apart. He came to my office periodically for chiropractic treatment, and we’d also get together frequently just for laughs. In the late 1980’s he seemed to be developing some neurological symptoms which were resistant to cure from chiropractic adjustments. I told Don and Jan that he needed a consultation with a neurologist. He refused to go, and Jan was unable to convince him. Around 1992 he and I had a falling out. As a result, IRead More →

Don’s gallery have announced that he died today. I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends and especially his wife Jan. We will miss you greatly, Don. Into the sun in my glider There’s a shadow beside her Up ‘n’ down through the blues Clouds give me my silent cues I’m up in my glider With a shadow beside her It begins to rain on her window pain Up in my glider There’s no shadow beside her Thundering ‘n’ lightning Gettin’ pretty frightenin’ I feel like an outsider Then the sun shows through ‘n’ right on cue There’s a shadow beside herRead More →

We’re very saddened to hear that Don has passed away. He has succumbed to complications with the multiple sclerosis that he’s been suffering with for many years. Our thoughts go out to Jan. The world has lost a unique individual. Update: 11am 19/12/2010 I have been too upset to write much as yet so have just been watching all the wonderful tributes coming into our blog here and elsewhere across the web. I do hope Don, and Jan, were aware of the great love and respect in which they are held. Don’s music has been my companion since 1967. Safe As Milk changed my viewRead More →