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 not
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 Wyndham
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.
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.
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 in
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!
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 a
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 them
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 My 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 Street
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 2010
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, I
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 her
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 view
Gary Lucas is bringing his Beefheart Symposium to Los Angeles two days before Don’s 70th birthday. During the symposium Gary will show rare footage of the band live, play unreleased tracks, and project slides of Don’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 also illustrate Don’s quirky and idiosyncratic methodologies and techniques on his guitar. So at 8pm, 13 January 2011 try to join Gary and ‘special guests’ at The Echoplex 1154 Glendale Boulevard Los Angeles 90026 Tickets: Seating – $15 adv; $17 dos / Standing –
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
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.