From 1969 with Don, possibly in London. Hear it!
Zappa talks about the Captain Beefheart/Grunt People movie, Donnie Vliet and Grown So Ugly and Don’s carved werewolf head. I think the date, 1969, is correct and it seems to have been recorded as a radio show. If anyone has more detail about when, where etc., please let us know.
Here you will find streaming audio files which make up a full interview which took place in California, July 1969, between Don Van Vliet and Meatball Fulton. Divided into 5 parts, each part is just over 20 minutes long for your convenience. You may occasionally hear sentences abruptly clipped due to the original tape running out in the machine recording the conversation. I doubt there is a more complete audio version of this interview available anywhere. This is a fascinating interview, with Don making a startling succession of inspired observations about music, art, drugs, literature, human society, nature etc etc. I tip my hat to
In late 1970 Bob Chorush recorded this lengthy interview with Don. It formed the basis for an article by Bob that was published in Coast Vol. 12 #4 April 1971. A few years ago Bob sent me his original tapes of the interview. They have since escaped into the wild
Just unearthed from Gary Lucas’s archives: A phone interview Gary conducted with Don Van Vliet broadcast on Yale University’s radio station WYBC FM January 18th 1972 three days before Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s show at Yale University’s Woolsey Hall January 21st 1972. Gary was Music Director of WYBC at the time, and had seen Beefheart’s first gig in NYC at Ungano’s the year before, a show which changed his life–as after witnessing that concert he vowed that if he ever did anything in music professionally, his number one priority would be to join Beefheart’s Magic Band–which he eventually did in 1980. This interview
Recorded and broadcast live in 1972 by a DJ entirely unable to cope with Don, and who could really blame him? Hear it!
By Michael Tearson – hear it! This interview was recorded for the radio station WMMR in (probably ) February 1972. Tearson was a pioneer underground radio DJ and had been a fan for some time. His first radio show for WXPN back in 1967 was called “Beefpower” in honour of the Captain. The text of the interview along with a short commentary by Tearson was published in Terminal #19 – June 1985
An interview with Don on the Boston radio station WBCN.
Welcome to my very favourite item here at the Radar Station. It’s a streaming audio interview broadcast on the John Peel show on the 24th April 1973. Fourteen minutes long, it is less of an interview than a friendly chat. John Peel states at the beginning that he is notoriously bad at interviewing people, but this is one of the best interview I have ever heard with the Captain and really captures his sense of fun. This tape was sent to me by Peter Cooney, many thanks indeed. Click to hear the show.
This lecture took place at the Gifford Auditorium, Syracuse, 23rd April 1975. Don is fairly quiet throughout the lecture; when asked a direct question he gives not so much oblique answers as abstract statements beamed into his brain from who-knows where. When asked to talk a little about Trout Mask Replica, Don instead quotes sections from Sam With The Showing Scalp Flattop. Unmissable, but not particularly helpful. Frank Zappa, who does the vast majority of the talking, makes considerably more sense with his genuinely insightful ruminations on the workings of the music industry. Lecture part 1(44 minutes 26 seconds) Lecture part 2 (44 minutes 48 seconds)
If you can cope with the interviewer’s ego then this is pretty entertaining – hear it!
In late 1978 Don was touring to promote the release of Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller). At the end of October or beginning of November he called in at the studios of KROQ Pasadena for an interview with Darryl Wayne and to answer questions from fans over the phone. Wife Jan is also in attendance and can be heard speaking to Don briefly. (Note: the information given on YouTube is mostly incorrect. The correct date and album details are given above and can be confirmed by Don’s mention of Richard Redus as being in the touring band.) Take a listen:
Recorded in December 1980 music writer Dave Di Martino talks with Don
In November 1980 whilst Don was in London as part of his UK tour with the Magic Band, music journalist David Hepworth recorded this short interview with him.
A winter night in January 1981 I drove up to Reseda in Los Angeles to see Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band at the Country Club. It was a fantastic concert and Don and the band were flying. At the time I was working for the Danish Radio as a freelancer and I asked a guy at the door if Don would be available for an interview. To my surprise he came out and told me to meet Don at a Denny’s restaurant across the street. And there he came in his stage-clothes, very nice and we talked as you can hear here. After the
18th October 1987 interview with Don’s friend Kristine McKenna. Hear it!
Kristine McKenna is an American music journalist who has written for Wet, NME, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other publications. Over the years she has often written about Don, having interviewed him a number of times she was trusted by him and became a friend of his. In 1987 she had Don take part in a phone-in programme with her on her late night KCRW show. Some of this show is included in ‘Electricity: Conversations With Captain Beefheart’ available as part of KCRW’s ‘Lost Tapes’ series. In this Kristine talks about her encounters with Don and also
On 23 July 1993 Dutch radio presenter Co de Kloet recorded a wonderfully relaxed Don for this telephone interview for the ‘Supplement’ programme Radio 4 in Holland. Co has been a great advocate for Don and his music as well as Frank Zappa. Don’s voice is weak but his mind is still sharp. It’s a great interview.
This 30 minute interview by phone with Bill Harkleroad was recorded by Waldemar Hepstein on 28 November 1999 for the Norwegian student radio station For-Sort Kanal in Oslo.
Jerry was the emcee at the Jimmy Carl Black benefit on 7 December 2008 at which John French was debuting his new band Drumbo. Jerry has posted this great interview in five parts, recorded while John was still waiting for his book to be published. The link below will take you to the first part of the interview. Scroll down the page for the other parts. https://anchor.fm/jerry-d-ford/episodes/Rare-interview-with-John-DRUMBO-French-of-Captain-Beefhearts-Magic-Band-et5sd8