[alert_box type=”info”]Dennis recalls the time when Don would regularly pop by to visit.[/alert_box] In 1981, a friend and I were shopping for spirits at a “liquor supermarket” in Lancaster, California by the name of “Liquor Barn” (My friends name is Matt Livingston, and as far as I know, he lives in Palmdale, CA currently.) We were searching for the cheapest bottle of vodka we could find, when suddenly I heard a VERY LOW VOICE ask: “Is there really a difference between expensive and inexpensive vodkas?” Of course, he was talking to himself. My friend Matt spotted him instantly, and whispered “That’s Captain Beefheart….” We struckRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]An example of the Captain’s often enormous hospitality from Danny Houston.[/alert_box] There used to be a great club in Glasgow, Scotland called The Maryland, and the owner Willie Cuthbertson (one of the great unacknowledged heroes of Scottish Rock) brought Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band up to play at a place called the Kelvin Hall. This venue was famous already in the halls of rock n roll fame as the site of the Kinks first “Live” album. Because we knew Willie he promised to take us back stage to meet the Captain before the concert. We were all massive Beefheart fans – there wereRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Joe Henderson writes about a surreal moment at a Magic Band gig.[/alert_box] I was interested in something I saw in one of the links from this site–a photo from one John Petraitus taken of a Zappa/Beefheart concert in Bloomington, Illinois, May, 1975. My girlfriend and I were at the next show (or the one before?) in St. Louis. It’s been so long ago that I don’t remember much about the concert, but one thing will always stick out for me. When the show finally began (after an interminable set by the band Styx featuring their unconvincing evocation of Jimi Hendrix with a psychedelic versionRead More →

Ensenada Drive road sign

Many thanks indeed to Angel for sending along these splendid pictures and story of her and husband Chris’ visit to Woodland Hills to see the house where the Magic Band lived and Trout Mask Replica was endlessly rehearsed. See also John French aka Drumbo’s response to these photographs! Angel writes: [wp_quote] Well the whole thing was more exciting than I thought it would be. Just getting to the house is an adventure. It’s tucked away in a canyon(!) with very steep, narrow windy roads (not yer typical LA neighborhood, to be sure). We made a right off Canoga Avenue onto Arcos which took us straightRead More →

Well the only time I ever saw Don was at Knebworth around 1974/5 when they used to have those outdoor festivals in the summer. Remember? I was watching with some friends, having never previously heard any of his stuff at all. I can plainly remember John Peel coming on and introducing Don this way: ‘here he is: the guvnor!’, clearly remembered even though I was undergoing an artificially-induced religious experience… I was scared to death. The only way I could survive was to lie down between the legs of a mate’s girlfriend for an hour or so, while the man did his set and IRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Bruce Kirschbaum told us his tale of woe in 1999.[/alert_box] The only time I remember Beefheart having played L.A. was, (I believe), in late 1979 or early 1980 at a gig at the Whiskey. Naturally, I was there. Several months later, I’m writing for some piece of crap “hip, late-nite comedy show” called “Fridays”. After the show one night, the lady who does publicity for the program, (I think she’s currently Arnold Schwarzenegger’s P.R. person), suggests we go to Canter’s for something to eat (a famous local all night deli). I hardly even knew this woman, but since I had vague hopes of maybeRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Scott recalls his parents’ reaction to the Magic Band’s Saturday Night Live appearance.[/alert_box] In 1980, as a 15-year old I had been reading Lester Bangs’ articles about Captain Beefheart in “Musician” magazine (which turned out to be amazingly accurate and descriptive), and was quite interested to learn more about what this supposedly amazing music sounded like. However, I didn’t have the money to actually buy the records – and believe me, noone else in Sparta, Illinois had them to loan to me. One night I was interested to notice in our T.V. Guide that Beefheart was playing on that night’s “Saturday Night Live”, aRead More →

I am writing to you from my home in Colorado around midnight. I have been a longtime Cap’n B fan (since 1972) when I first had my reality changed by way of Lick My Decals Off. I was only 15 at the time and living in Brooklyn, NY, where I was born and raised. It was my brother who first introduced me to the Magic Band. What remains to this day as some of the coolest things I have ever witnessed are the concerts. I had heard, from my brother and his crew, fabulous stories of the live Magic Band. How Rockette Morton would doRead More →

Many thanks to Borin for sending this along. It originally appeared in Sun Zoom Spark issue 4. You can visit Borin’s homepage. This image is available for sale as a full colour, A3, signed and numbered, limited edition print… Encapsulated in clear plastic to protect print (unless specified otherwise). UK price: £35.00 (USA $49.50) inclusive of stout packaging and postage. (We may also be able to provide colour prints of other images at www.borinvanloon.co.uk; send an email to address below to enquire.) To place order, please email: borin@borinvanloon.co.uk (c) Borin Van Loon. Used by kind permission.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Voot Zombo writes about the Magic Band’s peculiar percussion.[/alert_box] While standing outside the theatre waiting to get in to see Beefheart just after the release of The Spotlight Kid, the road crew was bringing the band’s equipment in through the side alley door. My friend and I were checking out the Magic Band’s drum cases and were confused by what was stenciled on them in large letters: CAUTION – LIQUID DRUM SET. What the hell is a liquid drum set? Finally, after sitting through too many opening bands (including The Pure Food and Drug Act with Harvey Mandell and Sugar Cane Harris on electricRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]It’s Albert Sica’s boat, The Octafish![/alert_box] She sits in a slip on a busy waterway in North Wildwood, NJ. (same slip since 1989). While I get many compliments on the name, no one has ever made the connection to Trout Mask… What gives, aren’t there any Beefheart fans that boat in the Altantic in South Jersey? – Albert SicaRead More →

Captain Beefheart has definitely functioned as the guru for me. I was always on the lookout for something strange, something different. Not just a different kind of music, but a different kind of experience. All great artists transmit a genuine form of experience by allowing the creative potential and energy of their consciousness to be shared with others. Only the purist artist does it for free. What I am talking about is freedom. Beefheart’s music, art, words and presence for me has always been a great experience of the reality of freedom. You don’t need to take drugs in order to experience the infinite. JustRead More →

I was a sixteen year old Gong freak – an affliction I still bear now – days would go by as I would entertain my friends with the floating ambient prog that was the Radio Gnome Trilogy. They preferred the less subtle strains of Ozzy era Black Sabbath (can’t knock that) and the post Nirvana grunge explosion. Strangely enough they were not overly taken with the sound. They were even more resistant to my Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman records (although my old R’n’B and soul ones were all right). I couldn’t stand Pearl Jam and the such like and I started to find myselfRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]D. Whitney Quinn witnesses a stage invasion at a Magic Band gig.[/alert_box] I have had the pleasure of seeing Beefheart at least a dozen times between 1972 and 1980, starting with “Clear Spot” line-up. The first time I saw him he was headlining at a theater-in-the-round in Phoenix, Arizona in 1973, and Little Feat was the opening act. It was a rather bizarre venue – the moving stage did a full revolution every five minutes, so although all the seats were close the perspective kept changing. After Little Feat put on a superb show, there was a lull between sets, and then suddenly, some… GUYSRead More →

Trout Mask tattoo

I had a message from Claire from Brooklyn: A few months ago I was getting tattooed by Myles Karr at Three Kings Tattoo in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I asked him what his specialty was. “Anything weird.” he said. “Oh, so like, the cover of Captain Beefheart’s ‘Trout Mask Replica’?” I asked, referencing the first “weird” thing that came to mind His eyes widened. “YES. Anywhere you want it, as big as you want it.” In his excitement he quoted me a ridiculously cheap price. I couldn’t really pass up such an offer from one of Brooklyn’s finest tattooers….  So now I’m wearing my very own ReplicaRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Steve on the lonely life of the Beefheart fan.[/alert_box] Why do I like Beefheart? Hmmm……. not easy to answer. Maybe I should start with ‘how’… I think my story will be echoed by other fans in the UK. In 1966/67 the music scene exploded. Although those years are parodied or ridiculed by many they were critical in the freeing of music and it is difficult to explain how radically things were changed. The frontrunners – The Beatles and The Stones – were experimenting with new sounds, but the most exciting music seemed to be coming from the American West Coast. Weird music played by bandsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Many thanks to Simon for sending his friend’s poetic tribute along.[/alert_box] you fucked with language like no fucker had done before you turned a three minute noise into a ribcage and tuned the bones to different scales with a genius lifted tuning fork the greatest composer of the 21st century not bad for a man whose greatest work was done in Trout Mask Replica but a replica of what if anything? the river fishes swim on land and kill all the humans and i fail to notice. i am crucified above an altar of dead desert reptiles a church in the shape of yourRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Here Jack Keck tells just why this song means so much to him….[/alert_box] Hi, I’m a civil servant in the greater Detroit area. I am married and have a son who is 13 years old. My first exposure to Captain Beefheart was when I heard “The Clouds are full of Wine…” on the radio (It was on WABX for anybody who may be familiar with Detroit radio on the late sixties-early seventies). I did not think much of it at the time. Maybe a year or so later, (about summer, 1973) I was at the house of some friends listening to records. One ofRead More →