[alert_box type=”info”]First encounters with Trout Mask Replica…[/alert_box] I must admit – Captain Beefheart’s music is an acquired thang. But once you acquire it – there’s no turning back, as the devout will tell you. When I first bought Trout Mask Replica (on the day of its release!), it was merely because at the time I thought anything Zappa was involved with – directly or indirectly, HAD to be good (little did I know). I brought it home and was appalled that there was not only one, but two records full of a hideous confused barrage of garble. This was the untrained ear’s interpretation. I couldn’tRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Melvin de Snoids recounts his live exposure to Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band in 1970.[/alert_box] The first time I saw Captain Beefheart was in 1970 [1971 – Graham] at the Paramount Theatre in Portland, Oregon, shortly after the Lick My Decals, Baby album came out. My band-mates and I were sitting front-row, centre, along with our friend Matt Groening, who had introduced us to Beefheart via the Trout Mask Replica LP. First, Ed Marimba came out to a lone microphone that was center-stage, in front of the closed curtains. He was wearing the full-blown evening-suit with tails that he wore on the DecalsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Robert writes about seeing The Magic Band in the Netherlands, and meeting Don.[/alert_box] I first got to know about Captain Beefheart through the music of Frank Zappa. I didn’t know what to do with this strange music. The story of the Simpsons guy, Matt Groening, is very accurate. I had exactly the same experience: I got Trout Mask Replica on tape and it all sounded very messy, as if there were no different songs on the album. My recording was of a German Straight pressing which had no song seperation – confusing. Then, in November 1980 the Captain was coming to the Netherlands. AtRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Bob pays tribute to the Captain’s music, but offers a dissenting voice about the paintings…[/alert_box] I discovered Don Van Vliet through a demo album of Frank Zappa’s music. The first album I heard was “Trout Mask Replica,” and I was taken with the freedom of the lyrics he creates as well as the looseness of the musical conception, without sacrificing a certain kind of rigor. His punning and word-play reminded me of James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, a bit of e. e. cummings. You could make your own associations. The music reminded me of a kid with an ear who has no training, sitting downRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Dominic is struck by the Captain for the first time…[/alert_box] Here is my recollection of my first listening to the Spotlight Kid. (the artist- not that particular album! hehehee) In 1973 and at the age of 16, I went to New York from my hometown of St. Louis to see Jethro Tull perform ‘A Passion Play’ at The Garden and the Nassau Colluseum with a New Jersey couple, Ron Lorman and Lisa who were students at Webster College that I had met at the Tull shows here two weeks earlier. *shwew* One night between shows we were hanging at thier apartment when he handsRead More →

I have been a Beefheart fan for about 30 years now and have many stories I could tell about how I feel and about collecting his music etc., but will save all that for another time. One story I would like to tell, though: I saw The Captain at Irving Plaza in NYC the day after John Lennon was killed (12/9/80.) The crowd was in a melancholy mood, waiting for the show to start. When the Captain finally hit the stage, he began the show with an improvised soprano sax solo, which lasted for a few minutes. When it was over, he bent over theRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Eric tells his story of a meeting with the Captain and how he came to be the proud owner of a Don Van Vliet sketch.[/alert_box] Some of the finer points of this tail may be a little out due to memory loss… but this is the gist of it: It was the Clear Spot tour in the UK in ’73. We had seen it in Liverpool, where we all lived, and his next venue was Preston at the Preston Guild Hall. One of our gang was a guy called Tony, he was a rather slim Irish character with a larger than life personality. HeRead More →

I’m very pleased to present an excellent musical tribute to the Captain by Bulbous Boy Slim aka Andy Throat. These two tunes were constructed solely from Trout Mask Replica samples (along with a heavy dose of patience) with very pleasing results. Andy is probably very bored at work as you read this, and he would love to hear your comments. Contact him at andy_throat@hotmail.com with your offers of sex, insults or anything in between. Many thanks to Andy for passing these along. Sugar Fart Atomiser by Bulbous Boy Slim (2,458K) Samples from: Old Fart At Play (vocal) Sugar ‘N’ Spikes (everything else) Blimp N Bass byRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Charles Gee tells his superb story about his meeting with the Captain at the 1972 Bickershaw Festival. Highly recommended reading.[/alert_box] In 1972 I lived in Manchester. Not that far from Bickershaw, so when the festival arrived a group of us decided we would be fools not to go. We arrived on Friday evening and put our tent up outside the concert perimeter and went in. My recollections of the groups who were on Friday night are not vivid. I remember being impressed by Doctor John, as he threw his sparkly dust into the evening sky, but that’s about it. Saturday was much more memorable.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Tom Flackman kindly sent along a scan of the cover of the February 2001 issue of the Sweedish magazine, Vi.[/alert_box] [wp_quote] I’m Tom Flackman in Stockholm, Sweden, Beef-fan and assistant editor at “Vi Magazine”. I thought I should show you the cover of our latest issue. Yes, it’s a hommage à Captain Beefheart, but there’s nothing in this issue that’s connected to The Man. The cover is there to promote the food section (fish recipes…). But basically, it’s an esoteric blink to my Beefheart buddies. I was totally baffled when my boss said OK to this idea. [/wp_quote] – Tom FlackmanRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Richard Rainey on his first encounters with the Magic Band.[/alert_box] I went to school in England in ‘67-‘68, and discovered the John Peel show on the BBC on Sunday afternoons. I figured I had pretty good taste at the time, with my favorite groups being the Who, Beatles, Kinks, Cream, Doors, Love, Jimi, et al. And oh yes, don’t let me forget the greatest, baddest of all, the true Mother of all Bands, the STONES! So, one Sunday after finishing my studies and knocking off a few righteous hits of some really potent, pungent black Afghani, I turned on the radio.. JESUS CHRIST! WhatRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Tom Ellis’ story of a wasted opportunity.[/alert_box] I have been listening since Safe As Milk, and fondly remember my days in the sixties when I worked quite hard to become comfortable with a trio of artists – Beefheart, Ornette and the AACM – a time that was highly rewarding and from which my musical tastes continue to grow. I can honestly say I was the only surfer in North Florida then listening to this stuff, and it isolated me from most of my friends who were getting into Hendrix and other stuff. My other great love is Paul Butterfield, about whom I have writtenRead More →