Jarkko Nevalainen – John French’s Q&As 2000/1

In early / mid 2000 John French called on Radar Station visitors for some help writing his book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic…

From: Jarkko Nevalainen
Sent: 20 January 2000 08:29

I’d like to know more about Jeff Moris Tepper. I’d also like to know what ex-members of the band are doing nowadays. The Grow Fins book was great.

I have not actually contacted Jeff for some time. He is quite busy with his paintings and music. I know him as Jeff since I met him in December of 1974. I was helping the Van Vliet’s move back to Southern California from Northern California where they were living at the time. Don asked me to meet his neighbor, who he felt had quite a propensity for understanding Beefheart’s music. We went to a small house and knocked on the door. Jeff answered and introduced me to his girlfriend Tina, a beautiful blonde girl. Jeff played his Stratocaster along with an LP of Trout Mask, which he had been working on for some time.

After the 1975 Winter tour, Elliot Ingber left the group and Jeff Tepper was Don’s chosen replacement. I felt that Jeff was a fan more than a musician and had misgivings about that idea. Although I wanted to get someone with more experience, Jeff worked really hard to learn the material for the original Bat Chain Puller album and proved himself as a player. I worked with him briefly in 1977 on the road and again on Doc at the Radar Station in 1980, so I have a lot of memories of Jeff.

– John French

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