[alert_box type=”info”]In early / mid 2000 John French called on Radar Station visitors for some help writing his book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic…[/alert_box] From: Duncan Lockerbie Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2000 10:59 PM Just how into drugs was Don? Was he really psychic? Duncan, Short questions with answers far too big for here, this will all be covered in the book. In the early days, Don was into “grass” a lot. He also experimented with LSD a lot and had a lot of associated mental problems when I joined the band directly related to his abuse of this chemical substance. Don had aRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]In early / mid 2000 John French called on Radar Station visitors for some help writing his book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic…[/alert_box] From: Robert Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2000 6:16 AM John – do you guys now or then feel any kind of sense of lost opportunity playing in rock music? what I’m kind of saying is that the jazz players that played with the old greats like Parker and especially Miles Davis all went on to bigger and better things once they left/fired. I always thought there just didn’t seem to be anywhere else to go for the magic band members,Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]In early / mid 2000 John French called on Radar Station visitors for some help writing his book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic…[/alert_box] From: Joe Ashworth Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2000 11:09 AM How did you create those incredible rhythms on TMR (Sugar n Spikes, Ant Man Bee, My Human Gets Me Blues, Frownland most notably) and what input did Don have exactly? Joe, Thanks for your questions. One song at a time: “Ant Man Bee”, this was totally a Don Van Vliet drum beat and the only one he ever actually played repeatedly on the set. I’m talking not only about theRead More →

In early / mid 2000 John French called on Radar Station visitors for some help writing his book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic… From: Eric Clark Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2000 8:48 PM Greetings John, I have played a long time myself and respect what you do. Please talk about how the drum parts were developed. How much “freedom” you had within the framework of what you were given. And about the tuning of your drums, choice of cymbals etc. Were these things that you controlled or were others instrumental (oops and ouch for the pun) in directing the drumming and drum production. HowRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]In early / mid 2000 John French called on Radar Station visitors for some help writing his book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic…[/alert_box] Introduction by John French As I began to write my book, Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic, the question plaguing my mind was: “What do Beefheart fans really wish to know?” One and a half years ago, Graham Johnston was kind enough to accept questions on his website to supply me with the answer to that question. I found that the questions themselves, many answered in the book, deserved acknowledgement in their own right and so I suggested to GrahamRead More →

In 2000 John French, aka Drumbo, was writing his account of his time in the Magic Band, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic. The author called on Radar Station visitors to send him their questions and suggestions for the book, to ensure that he included the details that you wanted to know. Many of you responded to this appeal and John French passed on his sincere thanks. Many of the questions were of a very specific nature and couldn’t be easily covered in the format of a biographical book. Since they were also very interesting questions well worth addressing, John suggested that his answers couldRead More →

John French’s long-awaited exhaustive account of his time working with Don Van Vliet was published in 2010 by Proper Music Publishing. Purchase Buy the hardback from amazon.co.uk Buy the hardback from amazon.com Related items John French answered Radar Station visitors’ questions while writing the book – highly recommended reading! Press release from Proper Music Publishing Twelve page PDF of extracts and promotional material from Proper Music Publishing Trailer for the book by Elaine Shepherd Reviews The Radar Station’s review by Steve Froy The Fringe Magazine review Brief review in The Guardian Help us out If anyone is able to complete or update any of theRead More →

The ultimate book about Captain Beefheart written by the man who spent more time with him than most. Published in hardback. 880 pages, including 16 pages of amazing photographs, many published for the first time. Includes reminiscences from key members of The Magic Band and The Mothers Of Invention. Cover price £19.95. Out 11/01/2010. Distributed by Music Sales. ISBN 9780956121219 Few names carry such formidable mystique and rabid cult status as Captain Beefheart, who led various lineups of his Magic Band to make some of the most startling, ground-breaking albums of the last century. In 1982, he retired to concentrate on painting, leaving the mythologyRead More →

A 1993 poetry reading CD was included in the Stand Up To Be Discontinued exhibition book and later reproduced in the Pearls Before Swine book. It included readings of the following poems: Fallin’ Ditch The Tired Plain Skeleton Makes Good Safe Sex Drill Tulip Gill At the time, many found the recording shocking and upsetting. This was the first time Don Van Vliet had been widely heard in public since 1982’s Ice Cream For Crow and the intervening 11 years had clearly not been kind. He sounded far older than his 52 years and rumours of illness seemed to have confirmation. Today, I think theyRead More →

A 50s B-movie horror called Big Eyed Beans From Venus? Could it be true? Well, no actually. Many thanks to Steve Bisette who conceived the cartoon for granting permission to feature it here. Steve writes: ‘That’s from a story I drew back in 1977 for Larry Shell’s underground comic 50’s FUNNIES; the art for the poster itself was by Joe Ragusa, a fellow cartooning school student, who collaborated with me on an overview of fake monster movies entitled “Forgotten Fears of the Fifties!”.’ Excerpted with the permission of SpiderBaby Grafix, from the comic book story “Forgotten Fears of the Fifties!” copyright 1978, 1999 Stephen R.Read More →

Not sure when this little collection was distributed but as it has the Straight logo and address we can presume it was as a promotion for the first release. Was it only sent out to the press, radio or who? It’s a collection of five handwritten poems, one for each member of the band included in an envelope that carries a great typed quote from a disc jockey. Significantly Drumbo is again left out (as he was on the credits of the original release). Update: John French was shown these poems and he immediately recognised the writing, it’s Jeff Cotton’s who often acted as ‘scribe’Read More →

You can view the information on the site by year, and find out what Don Van Vliet was up to at particular times of his life including music recording, performing, painting, interviews, exhibitions and important life events. It’s far from complete and only contains links to the info on the site, rather than offering a comprehensive timeline. As the site’s content continues to grow, the timeline will become more complete. 1941 1951 1958 1962 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995Read More →