In early / mid 2000 John French called on Radar Station visitors for some help writing his book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic… From: Steven Cerio Sent: Monday, January 17, 2000 12:48 PM Hi John love your work, here are a few possible questions for your book. With Don being an untrained musician, I would imagine his piano parts would suffice for melodic guidelines but how did he impart his rhythmic ideas to you? By singing, or actually playing the drums. Sometimes he would stomp on the floor or pat his legs. His rhythmic parts on piano were written as played. I just wroteRead 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: Robert Carey Sent: Monday, January 17, 2000 3:23 AM Sorry this is so long. But here goes. Most of the stuff I have read about the Trout Mask era band (e.g. your notes to the Grow Fins collection and Bill Harkleroad’s Lunar Notes) talk mostly about how hard it was to live and work with Don. That is interesting, but I think readers would also like to know more about the day to day life in the Trout Mask house.Read 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: Pierre Antaya Sent: Monday, January 17, 2000 3:32 PM I hope you and your family are doing well. My name is Pierre Antaya and I have been a CB&TMB fan for some thirty years. So much so that I am planning a Web site. The site will focus on the Beefheart alumni and entourage. If all goes well, it will go online sometime before the winter of 2001 and will be in three languages (French, German & English). Below areRead 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: The Artist Who May Become Known As John Ellis Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2000 3:21 PM We talked several years ago on the phone, which I enjoyed. Good luck with the book. I’ve noticed the song lyrics when published as poetry sometimes include different or extra lines, wondered if they were rewritten by Don or was this the form they were originally composed before they were altered to fit music? Van Vliet seldom had a set pattern for anything. IRead 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: Basil Storey Sent: Saturday, January 15, 2000 7:47 PM When the Trout Mask Replica music was played on stage, did the fans dance? Hardly ever. It seems like most folks would sit down and observe, but I’d be busting the damn bloody insanest body contortions. Were there any fans that made a particular impression on you? I rarely interacted with fans on tours. We were usually whisked in and out and seldom were able to actually talk with fans afterRead 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: Bruno Ghezzi Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2000 4:48 PM Hi Drumbo, I think that “Dachau Blues” is the only cut Don plays bass clarinet on; in fact, it is a twin bass clarinet workout in which both Don and Mascara Snake play bass clarinet. There is no other cut on Trout Mask Replica in which Don plays b.c. My question is: Is this true? Bruno, This is a tough one for me to answer as I wasn’t at the session.Read 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: Bob Jennings Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2000 1:11 PM I am especially interested in the design and manufacture of that “conga’ drum set Drumbo played at the Warehouse in New Orleans in 1971, but I am also interested in any of the equipment aspects of the Magic Band. Gear issues are always left out of biographies, but it would be cool to know what kind of guitars the Magic Band played in their Post-Szabo Archtop Period. Bob, Post-Szabo Archtop Period???Read 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: Cisco Garcia Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2000 3:59 AM How abusive was Don? I’ve read reports that claim he was very nice, and I’ve read reports that said he was an overbearing, abusive taskmaster. Please set the record straight. Cisco, I suppose that he was both. When I worked with him, he was for the most part an abusive taskmaster. The later Magic Band members, especially Eric Drew Feldman, have a completely different vision of Don. I believe the differenceRead 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: 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 →