Don Van Vliet’s early writing partner found and interviewed

The Radar Station is very proud to present the first part of an extensive telephone interview with Don Van Vliet’s early writing partner, Herb Bermann.

This partnership has been such a mystery for the last four decades that many have postulated that he didn’t even exist. Herb Bermann would like to happily confirm that he does exist and has spoken exclusively to Derek Laskie about his work with Don Van Vliet.

Herb’s interview reveals a wealth of previously unpublished detail about the early history of Captain Beefheart and may well be the most historically significant item yet on for those trying to unravel the full story of the Magic Band and their music.

I hope you enjoy it, part two will be available VERY soon, many thanks to Derek and indeed to Mr Bermann himself for this fascinating insight.


  1. We’ve all heard about Herb Berman over the many years Of Captain Beefheart’s existence. We’d only ever heard of his credit on a couple or a few songs during Don’s tenure as the creative genius he was. Mike Barnes, in his galant biography of the Captain, wonders which elements of Don’s greatness may be remembered in the future. He boldly puts forth that it will be Don’s “poetry”, citing Safe as Milk as one of Don’s best poems. They’re all still gonna wish they’d gone wow.
    Don’t follow this blogging much – first time

  2. This man derserves his own documentary.

  3. What a cracking wee interview. Can’t wait for part two.

  4. Wow! What a great read! Part 2 is eagerly awaited!

  5. Abba Zaba does really stand out as different to the rest of the songs on Safe as Milk. And Owed t’ Alex is very different to the rest of the songs on Shiny Beast. And there’s just no way that Don didn’t write the words to Dirty Blue Gene – this is one of Don’s best, Mike.
    See yas later

  6. dont worry too much about the lost “Safe As Milk” novel. The whole ‘I wrote it, it was incredible but it was destroyed’ is the writer’s equivalent to ‘my dog ate my homework’.
    No offence to Mr. Bermann. It just always makes me chuckle when I hear these stories of lost novels.

  7. Excellent interview. The last paragraph is simply touching.

  8. How could have Herb been such a mystery when he was named on the LP cover of Neil Young’s “after the goldrush”??

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