Your guide to the books about Beefheart.

This section of the Radar Station is currently heavily under construction, much more information is on its way.

If you can help out with corrections, additions or any other info for this section in any way at all, please do let me know at

By or about Don Van Vliet

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Don Van Vliet : Skeleton Breath, Scorpion Blush

Don Van Vliet : Stunned Mirages. Poems & Infra-grams

Stand Up To Be Discontinued. Die Malerei von Don van Vliet / The Art of Don van Vliet

[no author] : A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond. Interviews and texts 1966 – 2001

[no author] Hungry But Weird

W.C. Bamberger : Riding Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh

Mike Barnes : Captain Beefheart

Ken Brooks : Captain Beefheart Tinned Teardrop

Guy Cosson : Captain Beefheart And his Magic Band

Kevin Courrier : Trout Mask Replica

Ben Cruikshank : Fast and Bulbous. The Captain Beefheart Story

Benoit Delaune : Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band(s)

Michel Delville & Andrew Norris : Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and the Secret History of Maximalism

Luca Ferrari : Pearls Before Swine Ice Cream For Crows. A tribute to the art of Captain Beefheart

John French : Through The Eyes Of Magic

Opher Goodwin : On track … Captain Beefheart. Every album, every song

Bill Harkleroad : Lunar Notes

John Muir (ed) : The Lives and Times of Captain Beefheart

Francesco Nunziata : Captain Mask Replica

Chris Wade : The Music of Captain Beefheart

Jeff Watts (comp.) : The Abba to Zappa of Captain Beefheart

Colin Webb : Captain Beefheart – the Man & his Music


Art catalogues

There have been a number of catalogues published to accompany exhibitions of Don’s artwork.

[catlist name=art-catalogues numberposts=-1 orderby=title order=asc]



[catlist name=fanzines numberposts=-1 order=asc orderby=title]

Steal Softly Thru Snow (issue by issue)


Related publications (include information about Captain Beefheart)

All include substantial information about Captain Beefheart or, at least, some good stories about him.

[catlist name=related-publications numberposts=-1 order=asc orderby=title]`

Freddy Bannister : There Must be A Better Way

Herb Bermann : The Mystery Man from the Magic Band

Pauline Butcher : Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa

Irwin Chusid : Songs In The Key of Z

Pamela Des Barres : I’m With The Band

Barney Hoskyns : Waiting For The Sun

Kurt Loder : Bat Chain Puller

Gary Lucas : Touched By Grace

Greil Marcus (ed) : Stranded. Rock & Roll for a Desert Island

Ted Templeman : A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music

Koji Waku : Sheik Yer Replica. Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart Disc Guide.

Frank Zappa : The REAL Frank Zappa


Mentions of Beefheart

A quick look through a number of general music books that each include a few pages about Beefheart.


Magazine & Newspaper Articles

(NOTE: this list is far from complete and is a work in progress!)

Arizona Republic – 26 August 1988
Salvatore Caputo : Where’s Captain Beefheart? His music’s here. review of ‘fast ‘n’ Bulbous’ tribute album.

Art in America – March 1999
Don Van Vliet: Works on paper (two page ad for Michael Werner exhibition)

Boston Globe – 23 October 1980
Alex Cherlin : Review of “Doc at the Radar Station”

Boston Globe – 8 December 1980
Jim Sullivan : Music incongruity can be challenging. Capt. Beefheart & the Magic Band in concert at the Paradise Theater (6 Dec)

Chicago Tribune – 8 January 1989
Rip Rense : In tune with art; today Captain Beefheart aims to make the canvas sing

Detroit Free Press – 31 May 1992
Quote bag

Economist – 3 February 1990
Rock around the revolution – Captain Beefheart meets the President / Frank Zappa meets Vaclav Havel

Economist – 10 February 1990
Correction and apology re: 3 February article

Independent – 2 September 1994
Robert Hanks : Exhibitions/recording artist. Don Van Vliet, the artist is now in touch with Captain Beefheart, the legend

Independent on Sunday – 21 August 1994
Ben Thompson : Exhibitions special. Re-achieving naivety

Interview – October 1991
John Yau : Captain Beefheart / Don van Vliet

Los Angeles Times – 29 July 1990
Kristine McKenna : A crossover of a different color. Once known as avant-garde musician Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet has quickly won the art world’s attention as a painter

Los Angeles Times – 25 March 1993
Buddy Seigal : Classic of the week: ‘Trout Mask Replica’

Los Angeles Times – 16 June 1994
Jon Matsumoto : Classic of the week: ‘Doc at the Radar Station’

Melody Maker – 14 October 1989
D.F. : Captain Beefheart

Modern Painters – Vol.13 No.4 Winter 2000
Ben Watson : Don Van Vliet: Natural Born Painter

Mojo – Issue 2 December 1993
Heart & Soul Captain Beefheart. “Yeah, I’m Happy as a clam.”

Mojo – Issue 67 June 1999
Jon Savage & Mike Barnes : “That’s right, the Mascara Snake.”

Mojo – Issue 208 March 2011
The Black Rider

Mojo – Issue 245 April 2014
Beefheart’s Magic Band morph into ‘The Tragic Band’

Mojo Classic – Vol.2 Issue 8
Frank Zappa

Mojo Collections – No.5 Winter 2001
Mike Barnes & Edwin Pouncey : Spotlight on … Master Strokes

Moonlight Drive – No.1/81
Phil Maltman : Interview with Captain Beefheart part one + article

New Musical Express – 1 November 1980
Paul Rambali : Tales of transmutation from the Mojave Magic Man

New Musical Express – 11 September 1982
Richard Cook : Captains Courageous. review of Ice Cream for Crow

New Musical Express – 18 September 1982
Kristine McKenna : Extra terrestrial man

NY Rocker – December 1980
John Piccarella : The beating on an Ashtray Heart. Captain Beefheart spills all

Observer – 28 August 1994
Neil Spencer : Ravaged blues on canvas – Captain Beeheart was a music legend; now he’s Don Van Vliet, genius of paint

People Weekly – Vol.19 31 January 1983
Carl Arrington : As Capt. Beefheart, Don Van Vliet applies his stroke of genius to both painting and music

Q – No.95 August 1994

Record Collector – 359 February 2009
Kris Needs : Captain’s Log. The long strange saga of Captain Beefheart

Record Collector – 385 February 2011
Kris Needs : Not Forgotten

Rock & Folk – February 2011
Pascal Comelade : Captain Beefheart [in French]

San Francisco Chronicle – 1 December 1988
Tony Bizjak : He’s still Captain Enigma – a reclusive musical genius can’t avoid art’s spotlight

San Francisco Chronicle – 2 January 1989
Kenneth Baker : Rock and Roll painter should stick to music

Scotsman – 20 November 1993
Allan Campbell : First impressions. Painting from the (Beef)heart

Shindig – No.71 September 2017
Johnnie Johnstone : Inside the Captain’s Cauldron

Stereo Review – Vol.48 January 1983
Mark Peel : Review of “Ice Cream for Crow”

Timeazine – No.6 Autumn 2011
Evelyn & Michalis : Gary ‘Magic Marker. The rising Sons, Fusion & other Beefheart stories

Uncut – 166 March 2011
Captain Beefheart. American Visionary 1941-2010

Uncut – 184 September 2012
Dropouts Boogie

Uncut – 285 February 2021
Captain Beefheart. “Well I was born in the desert”

Wet – May/June 1980
Kristine McKenna : An interview with Captain Beeheart

The Wire – 324 February 2011
Don the Revelator. Strictly Personal Tributes

The Word – 96 February 2011
David Hepworth & Mark Ellen : Captain Beefheart Remembered

World Art – Vol.1 No.2 June 1994
Roger Taylor : Don Van Vliet: the demonic animality of Captain Beefheart

Zigzag – No.4 August 1969
Dick Lawson : “Trout Mask Replica”??? The Captain must be mad

Zigzag – No.6 1969
Miles : It’s the blimp, it’s the blimp. Capt. Beefheart is alive in Hollywood

Zigzag – No.8 1970
Pete frame – A fine madness

Zigzag – No.44 1974
Connor McKinight : Whatever happened to the Magic Band? Being a very personal story about Capt. Beefheart

Zigzag – Vol.6 No.53 June 1975
Connor McKnight : The Magic Band. Diary of an unlost weekend

Zigzag – No.80 January 1978
Kris Needs : The return of … the Zigzag Wanderer

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