The 21st Century Magic Band shows are extraordinary
Blasting out explosive, raw, spiky, jaw-on-the-floor renditions of some of the best tunes ever recorded by Beefheart and the Magic Band, this is no flaccid cash-in; it’s the real deal and the Magic Band are here to blow our stacks all over again.
Sincerely, for anyone who has have missed Beefheart’s presence over the last three decades, this really helps make up for it.
The story so far
The reformed Magic Band initially played a number of (mainly) European dates between 2003 and 2006 – see below for photos, press reviews, band-member and audience reports.
Three superb albums have been released featuring the reformed Magic Band playing Beefheart classics, see the Magic Band reunion discography for full details.
A DVD The Magic Band – Crow’s Milk was also released. It features a full live show and full length documentary about the reunion with a commentary from the late John Peel. It is excellent, if a little hard to find now. Check out Amazon or Proper Records.
The current line-up of the Magic Band is as follows:
- John French – drums, vocals, harmonica, sax, guitar, flour sifter
- Max Kutner – guitar
- Eric Klerks – guitar, bass, iPad
- Mark Boston – bass
- Andrew Niven – drums
- Jonathan Sindelman – keyboards
- Robert Williams – drums until summer 2003, replaced by Michael Traylor.
- Gary Lucas – guitar until 2009, replaced by Eric Klerks.
- Michael Traylor – drums from summer 2003 to 2009, replaced by Craig Bunch
- Craig Bunch – drums from 2009 to 2013 replaced by Andrew Niven.
- Denny Walley – guitar until 2014, replaced by Max Kutner
- Brian Havey – keyboards in 2016
The reunion was expected to draw to a close in September 2006 (read our statement and message of thanks from John French) but has proved to be such fun for audiences and band alike that the band have successfully resumed touring.
Band members’ contributions
- Interview with guitarist Eric Klerks on being in the Magic Band. Interview by Steve Froy
- John French’s account of the 2004 tour, along with some of his personal photos from the road.
- Interview with Michael Traylor – the Magic Band’s new drummer fills us in on his background. Interview by Derek Laskie.
- John French writes about his experiences performing Beefheart’s songs in 2003
- Denny Walley and Janet The Planet’s photos of the Magic Band’s performance at ATP
- Captain Fantastic – Matt Groening’s thoughts on the Magic Band reunion from The Guardian 07.04.2003
- Show press reviews are included in the complete show list