[alert_box type=”info”]This article was written by James Sullivan and appeared in 6th June 1999’s San Francisco Chronicle to coincide with the releases of Grow Fins, The Dust Blows Forward and the Buddha reissues. Many thanks to Richie for sending it along.[/alert_box] It takes an outsize ego to make great art. By all accounts that was the case with Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, leader of the quintessential cockeyed rock ‘n’ roll band. Creators of perhaps the most obscure critically revered rock record of all time, 1969’s “Trout Mask Replica,” California’s Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band epitomized rock’s version of art for art’s sake. MisunderstoodRead More →

Hmmm… is this the very best surviving clip of Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band? I think it could be: Recorded on 15 January 1971 at WABX Studio, directed by Chuck Reti. Available on the enhanced disc of Grow Fins. Track list When Big Joan Sets Up Woe Is Uh Me Bop Bellerin’ Plain Line up Don Van Vliet Bill Harkleroad Mark Boston Elliot Ingber Art Tripp John FrenchRead More →

Live in London 1974 cover

Track list Mirror Man Upon The Me Oh My Full Moon Hot Sun Sugar Bowl Crazy Little Thing This Is The Day New Electric Ride Abba Zabba Peaches Album overview by Graham Johnston Forget it. The world does not need a live album with the Tragic Band. If you’re a completist buying this because you feel you have to, you’ll probably find a couple of pleasing moments, particularly during “Mirror Man”. I suppose we should also be grateful that it doesn’t contain the horrible “Sweet Georgia Brown” that was performed around this time. Other than these saving graces, this is thoroughly worthless. I actually really likeRead More →

I'm Going To Do What I Wanna Do: Live At My Father's Place, 1978

Originally an Internet-only legitimate live album release from Rhino Handmade. Limited to 5,000 copies and individually numbered. Note: This release is no longer available from Rhino Handmade. However, there are copies being sold by some record shops. Whether these are some of the 5,000 or a separate release from Rhino I am not sure. Track list Disc one [approximately 73:50 total time] Tropical Hot Dog Night 4:36 Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man 5:07 Owed T’ Alex 5:20 Dropout Boogie 3:13 Harry Irene 3:46 Abba Zaba 3:44 Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles 4:12 Old Fart At Play 2:26 Well 3:55 Ice RoseRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]The Rhino Handmade press release / mail out[/alert_box] Greetings Earthling! This Monday, 17 July 2000, at Noon Pacific Daylight Savings Time [1900 UTC], The Archivists at The Rhino Handmade Institute Of Petromusicology will begin taking orders for a 2-CD set of PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED live performances by CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND titled ‘I’m Going To Do What I Wanna Do: Live At My Father’s Place 1978’ From March 1966 to September 1982, Don Van Vliet, operating as CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, and various incarnations of THE MAGIC BAND released Twelve Albums and Several Assorted Singles of Some Of The Most Remarkable Music Ever Performed ByRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From The Wire September 2002[/alert_box] One day, every moment of existence will be available for endless re-examination on Deja-VD. The Past will enjoy a renewed period of exponential growth. The present will simply disappear, consumed by living memory boiled in esprit d’escaliers. In the future, when nothing will happen once and for all, quality control will become impossible. In the meantime, we can amuse ourselves with barrel-scraping exhumations of every event ever exposed to magnetic tape. This latest addition to the ever expanding Beefheart archive collects ‘field recordings’ made between 1972 and 1980, from seven English performances by different formulations of The Magic Band.Read More →

Magnetic Hands cover

Track list Click Clack Old Black Snake Grow Fins Peon Golden Birdies Electricity Sugar Mama Orange Claw Hammer Gimme Dat Harp Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smokin Stones Dali’s Car Flavor Bud Living Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man Abba Zaba Hothead Safe As Milk Dropout Boogie Kandy Korn Tracks 1 – 3: Bickershaw Festival, 7 May 1972 Tracks 4 – 5: Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 1 April 1972 Tracks 6 – 7: Leicester University, 1 May 1973 Tracks 8 – 9: Knebworth Festival, 5 July 1975 Tracks 10 – 11: Guildhall, Portsmouth, 1 December 1975 Track 12: The Venue, London, 12 November 1980 Tracks 13Read More →

Railroadism - Live in the USA 72 - 81

Track list Old Black Snake King Bee The Blimp/Air Bass-Soft Shoe(Sax Improv) I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond China Pig / Railroadism I Love You You Big Dummy (short quote only) Grow Fins Floppy Boot Stomp Harry Irene The Dust Blows Forward ‘n’ The Dust Blows Back Ashtray Heart Dirty Blue Gene Smithsonian Institute Blues One Red Rose That I Mean Veteran’s Day Poppy Big Eyed Beans From Venus Avalon Blues Tracks 1: Fenway Theatre, Boston 22 January 1972 Tracks 2: Town Hall, NYC 24 February 1973 Tracks 3 – 4: The Roxy, LARead More →

Amsterdam 80 cover

Track list Abba Zaba Hot Head Ashtray Heart Dirty Blue Gene Best Batch Yet Safe As Milk Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles One Red Rose That I Mean Doctor Dark Bat Chain Puller My Human Gets Me Blues Sugar ‘n’ Spikes Veteran’s Day Poppy Dropout Boogie Sheriff Off Hong Kong Kandy Korn Suction Prints Big Eyed Beans from Venus Recorded live at The Paradiso, Amsterdam on 1st November, 1980. Publicity Superb quality as this live set was mastered from the original record tape and features 18 tracks and over 75 minutes of music and includes a 12-page booklet with many previously unseen photos.Read More →

Track list Mirror Man Upon The Me Oh My Full Moon Hot Sun Sugar Bowl Crazy Little Thing Keep On Rubbin’ aka Mighty Crazy Sweet Georgia Brown This Is The Day New Electric Ride Abba Zabba Peaches Capitol Radio Concert Advert Recorded at the Drury Lane Theatre, London June 1974 Album overview Recorded by Virgin but never released until 2006 presumably because the two 1974 Virgin albums were such critical failures they didn’t think it was worth bothering with at the time. Two tracks – Mirror Man and Upon The My Oh My – did appear on the ‘V’ sampler in 1975 and part ofRead More →

Vinyl version Track list Side one Click Clack Old Black Snake Dali’s Car Nowadays a Womans Gotta Hit a Man Drop Out Boogie Kandy Korn Tracks 1 – 2: Bickershaw Festival 7 May 1972 Tracks 3: Guildhall, Portsmouth 1 December 1975 Tracks 4 – 6: Rotters, Liverpool 29 October 1980 Side two Abba Zabba Electricity Little Golden Birdies A Carrot is as Close as a Rabbit gets to a Diamond Veteran’s Day Poppy Big Eyed Beans From Venus Tracks 1 – 2: The Bottom Line, NYC 25 November 1977 (early show) Tracks 3: The Bottom Line, NYC 25 November 1977 (late show) Tracks 4: TheRead More →

There was also a great promotional video for the title track of the final album, with its striking shots of  desert landscapes, Don’s paintings, tumbleweeds and the Magic Band earnestly miming with no leads connected to their guitars. Filmed on 7 August 1982 in the Mojave Desert, California. Directed by Don Van Vliet with Ken Schreiber; cinematography by Daniel Pearl (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). The video, an uncommon concept at that time, was explained by Don as being a more favourable alternative to a promotional tour, leaving him free to get on with the rest of his life. Too weird for MTV at the time, itRead More →

Many thanks to Hans Van Hulst for sending along these splendid photographs and giving his permission to feature them here. They were all taken on 1st November 1980 at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Holland; a semi-legendary show due to it being recorded for a radio broadcast and subsequently widely bootlegged. Hans writes: In 1980 I attended the concert in Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The band was late, so by the time the audience arrived they were still tuning up behind closed doors. I was standing right in front of those doors, trying to peek in. I could see all kinds of people on stage, but noRead More →

For many years, a classic performance of I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby from German television show Beat Club in 1972, circulated among fans. Then in 2012 the full 29 minute performance was released on DVD by Gonzo Media as The Lost Broadcasts but very rapidly became unavailable again once more. However, some of it is available to view on YouTube; the whole band are just incredible here and it’s hard not to be dumb struck by some of the vocals: DVD track list Mascara Snake (Bass Solo) Click Clack 1 Click Clack 2 Golden Birdies Band Introductions I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby 1 I’m Gonna BooglarizeRead More →

On 27 January 1968 Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band performed on the beach at Cannes, France, in front of the Martinez Hotel. They were in Cannes to perform at the MIDEM music festival. The video of Electricity and Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do is a fantastic document of a tight band on the rise: This video can be found on the enhanced disc included with Grow Fins (Rarities 1965-1982) Band members Jeff Cotton Jerry Handley Don Van Vliet John French Alex St. Clair Snouffer Photographs The above photo was taken by photographer Herman Selleslags. Other shots were features on the 1970 French reissueRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on Safe As Milk[/alert_box] Zig zag wanderer, zig zag wanderer (rep.) You can huff, you can puff You’ll never blow my house down You can zig, you can zag Ole house gonna stay, gonna stay around (rep.) You can jump, you can holler Never lose what ah found Heaven’s free, ‘cept for a dollar You can zig, you can zag Ole house gonna stay, gonna stay around (rep.) The zig zag wanderer had a zig zag child Zig zag traveller fathered mercy mild Found his Queen in Nature’s scene Quenched his thirst where he’d never been Zig zag wanderer (rep.) You can dance, you canRead More →

In 2001 Gary Marker wrote to say the following: Zig-Zag Wanderer was a specific reference to the popular rolling papers of the same name. (“You can huff, you can puff…” doesn’t ring any faint, tinkling bells and conjure up any smoke-drenched images?) I probably read this a while back on the Beefheart newsgroup: someone was confused about the bass line on “Zig-Zag Wanderer” and wanted to know if anyone had transcribed it. Well, one of the difficulties in figuring out the bass part on that song is probably because – and if you listen carefully you can hear it fairly clearly – there are threeRead More →