Magic memories

I have just received the following statement for the site from John French:

Well, all good things must come to an end as they say…

After a lot of painful deliberation, we decided to no longer pursue the Magic Band reunion project. There are a lot of reasons, but rather than going on about booking agents not collecting deposits, promoters who didn’t pay, fraudulent contracts etc., I thought it would be a good idea just to say “thanks” to some of the people who made things possible.

Pre – 2003

  • Graham Johnston ( founder, great friendship and support)
  • Derek Laskie (webmaster,
  • Steve Froy (very supportive of all efforts, and help in editing my book)
  • Dean Blackwood (Revenant Records co-founder who released “Grow Fins” compilation and initial encouragement to write a book, still in the works)
  • Elaine Shepherd (initial inspiration for reunion, producer of BBC documentary “The Artist Formerly Known as Captain Beefheart,” and “Crows Milk” DVD, general all-around support, t-shirt design, good advice)
  • Paul Smith (funded airline tickets for a trial rehearsal in October 2001)
  • Bill Harkleroad (for even considering…)
  • Barry Hogan / Helen Cottage (ATP promoters of first 3 shows… and good friends – you two made it happen and treated us like kings)


  • Bob Weston (sound engineer of Back to the Front and live sound man through Jan 2004)
  • Juan Luis Carrera (tour / stage management through Jan 2004)
  • Robert Williams (drummer extraordinaire)
  • Mike Barnes (author, Captain Beefheart, notes for DVD )
  • DVD crew:
    Colin Minchin (editor)
    Adrian Udal (DVD authoring)
    Eleanor Thomas (art design)
    John O’ Donnell (concert sound mixing)
  • Tim Sutton (camera, group photos for Back to the Front)
  • Patrick Acum (camera)
  • Ralf Nygard (videotaped Camber Sands show and synched with live feed)
  • Michael Maksemenko (support / encouragement)
  • Janet Walley (in the great quest for a China Pig and much more)
  • Michael Traylor (great drumming and a huge help in every way imaginable)
  • Kim Traylor (taking care of important details)


  • macmobilehats (videotaped Glasgow / Edinburgh concerts)
  • Ian MacArthur (lots of support and advice)
  • Matt Groening (curator of LA ATP concert at Queen Mary Ship)
  • Gozzi (driver 2004 tour)
  • Wendy Carolan (tour guide and British historian)
  • Mark Simms (sound, 2004 tour)
  • The Late Great John Peel (for having us on his radio program and generally having been an historic influence in the entire history of the band. More below)


  • Malcolm Mills (Managing Director, Proper Records, supplied backline for 2005 tour, released 21st Century Mirror Men)
  • Paul Riley (Commercial Director, Proper Records, assisted Malcolm in all of above)
  • Roddie Muffin (driver 2005 tour)
  • Chris Constable (sound man 2005 tour)
  • Primary Talent International / Steve Backman (agent 2005 tour)


  • Ralf Nygard (arranged TV appearance)
  • Eric Palm – (Head Of Department MADE Festival)
  • Robert Arnlund – Producer, backline coordinator, friend.
  • Daniel Nygaard – (sound engineer)
  • Jimmy Agren – (chaparone)

The reunited Magic Band, for over three years, had the opportunity to perform the music of Don Van Vliet for true fans, many of which told us things like “I never dreamed I’d get to hear this music performed live again” or something similar. We played a total of 32 concerts if my math is correct, released a rehearsal CD ( Back to the Front ), a live CD ( 21st Century Mirror Men), and a DVD ( Crows Milk / Live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire).

It was quite an experience. One of the highlights of which was Camber Sands, our first performance with all the anticipation that comes before a maiden voyage. When I shouted “AND” – kicking off My Human Gets me Blues, I had tears in my eyes because we had actually accomplished the goal and the reality of the moment was so intense that I will remember it for the rest of my life.

Shepherd’s Bush Empire, our second, was a momentous occasion in which we felt the warmth and the love of fans who were anxious to once again experience the music. We were on stage for well over two hours, and I wish we had been able to perform more material because the air was electric.

Edinburgh ( Auld Wreaky), the Liquid Room venue stands out because of the wonderful people and the amazing environment. The hotel restaurant was on the top floor and overlooked Edinburgh Castle, which is lit up at night. A beautiful piece of history on display topping off a picturesque village and warm and friendly people is something we Americans seldom experience.

Amsterdam, June 2004 ( Paradiso ), was a real thrill. We were able to spend several days in the city and I can truly say that I was very sad to leave when it was over.

Glastonbury 2004 was absolutely overwhelming and showed that the music was still drawing interest, even from younger crowds. While playing drums, I completely shattered a drum mic, which I understand made a huge explosive sound over the sound system. Also, the monitor sound man had his talk back mic on and was swearing and cussing because of technical problems, not realizing it was being fed directly to my in-ear monitors. He was quite embarrassed to realize that his entire tantrum had been transmitted to my in-ear monitors at full volume and we all had a good laugh about this later.

One of the most beautiful and impressive venues of 2004 was Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall with its three tiers of balconies and wonderful acoustics. Top that off with a sound crew of volunteers who are just plain wonderful people and you have a winning combination.

The Acorn in Penzance (2005, a small venue made over from a church) was surprisingly one of the best venues we played. It was well-run, had a great group of people running it, good acoustics, and a very clean comfortable dressing room.

A moment of sadness:

July 2004 was the John Peel show and it was such a happy reunion for me as I had not seen him since 1968. The following October, he died of a heart attack, which I can truly say crushed my spirit for a few days. We sent out a song to him in 2005 on each night – Electricity – which had been performed on his original show back in 1968 and was again performed in 2004. He told me it brought tears to his eyes. His death brought tears to mine.

Also and especially:

I’d like to give special thanks to my wife, Donna Blair French, for her patience and understanding while I was so busy with this project. It’s not an easy task to be married to a musician – especially one playing such obscure music. Also, my daughter Jesse Blair-French for putting up with my artistic moods.

I would especially like to thank Denny Walley for contributing so much of his personal time and energy to making the tours possible. Somehow, he was able to include tour management, musician-ship, and accounting into his busy schedule, which includes his own sculpting and props business in Atlanta.

The biggest thanks of all goes to the fans who showed us so much sincere and deeply-appreciated respect, accepting us in spite of the critics ( “Where’s the Beef?) and intuitively understanding the true motive of our efforts. You provided the greatest rewards of all at each performance.

-John French, September 2006

It’s very sad that it’s all over but, then again, it’s not that sad at all because it was wonderful; so many of us are just so pleased/amazed that it ever happened. The shows may only be good memories but the live albums, DVDs and amazing Peel session prove that it was real and every bit as good as we thought at the time.

Has there ever been a “reunion” show so well received?

If anyone would like to express their thanks to John and all of the Magic Band for having the nerve to even attempt to booglarize us again in the 21st Century, let alone to do so with such brilliance and integrity, then please post your comments here.


  1. I saw Don play five times back in the seventies and I never thought I’d see anyone play those tunes live again, least of all these guys.

    The Shepherds Bush gig was just fantastic. Unforgettable. Thanks for letting the magic happen again.

  2. thanks for making the effort and giving me a chance to experience the captains music live twice in bristol as i never thought i would experience this music as it should be LIVE good luck in whatever you do and thanks again

  3. Just read the email from Graham Johnstone, and felt a horrible sinking in the pit of my stomach.

    Saw the good Captain some 14 times back in the 70s, which was great. But somehow having John French and the band bring back the music in 2003 was even more magical than the first time. Middle age was suddenly fun.

    Managed to see them 10 times, but was still looking forward to the next time.

    It feels like a time for mourning, but I am truly grateful that it happened (but would still love to have it happen all over again).

    My eternal thanks and best wishes to The Magic Band.

  4. ARGHH! As a broke guy living in Indianapolis, i never got the chance to see the reunited band…i’d been secretly hoping they might play within driving distance, but that obviously just wasn’t meant to be. Since i was also born in 1974, i never got the chance to see the band live back in their original timeframe…..this makes me very sad! Oh well, anyway – i’ve heard the CD’s and love them and have to agree with the above posters – it was really great to see the reunion. Here’s hoping for a change of mind sometime down the road….

    otherwise – kudos for keeping interesting music alive and well!

  5. Thanks for the music !
    You really tore it up, Mr Lucas !

  6. Thank you to the band, and to all of the people that John French lists above. You stuck your necks out and made something nigh-on impossible happen. It has bound the Beefheart community together, giving the younger among us authentic, happy memories of the Magic Band.

  7. Managed to catch the Magic Band 5 times, all different experiences, from the sheer euphoria of the Shepherds Bush show, the thrill of flying to California mainly to see them at ATP Long Beach, and the sheer joy of the totally-on-fire show at the LA2 last year. They’ll be missed, but i’m so glad it happened at all.

  8. Only saw the Captain once at Colstyon Hall Bristol (73?) and The Magic Band at the Royal Festival Hall. Not enough by any means!

    What can I say but thank you for the music and the wonderful world you and the master created.

  9. Saw you guys 3 times in 04/05. You inspired me each time. Orange Claw Hammer at Leeds was my very favourite moment.
    See you later.

  10. Aside from his enormous musicianship, I applaud John French for expressing his gratitude so broadly in his note. Few people are willing to express themselves so positively, unfortunately, and I’m sure John has plenty to complain about with justification as far as this project goes.

    The Magic Band’s sound is largely due to French, spanning all these decades. I never get tired of listening to him (and Handley) on Mirror Man, and hope we’ll get to hear more of his music in the coming years.

  11. My wife and I saw TMB at the Festival Hall, and it was such a magical experience for us. Having never been to a CB concert but having loved the music since I first heard Replica at its first release, it was such a joy.
    Thank you so very much for bringing this marvellous music to life once more.

  12. dear john, denny, mark, gary and michael.

    it was an honour, pleasure and dream to work with you guys.

    luv ya!

    roddie xxxxx

  13. Thanks Mr French & co, you’re very welcome… The first Manchester show was the best gig I’ve EVER been to – and the second wasn’t half bad! Best of luck with all your future projects. $

  14. For all I’ve been expecting to hear it, this is disappointing news. But for John French it must be an enormous headache removed. I wish him and the others well with future projects.

  15. Such a shame..I’m just so glad I made the effort to see The Magic Band play twice, now it’s over. A pity that they couldn’t organise a farewell tour – I’m sure plenty of people might have put off seeing them til “next time” – imagine how much of a blast a last gig would have been!

    I kind of hold out hope that they may be persuaded to come out of retirement for some one-off shows in the future. There is still so much of Don’s music that they never got chance to play again – the recent re-release of the last three albums made me realise that.

    Thank you for making this amazing music live again and giving those of us too young to have seen Don play a taste of what it must have bene like

    Peas & respect


  16. Thanks for making an ageing rocker very happy. i was at the “bush”; festival hall and the “fiddler”. I can honestly say that each concert was a complete experience, one that i will always treasure. Furthermore your playing visibly improved. I hope you, in your own ways will continue to make new music available in the future.
    Stay with the beat.

  17. I saw The Magic Band in Stockholm in May this year. It was in Fasching Jazz Club, a day after Zappa Plays Zappa extravaganza in Hovet ice hall. ZPZ was fine but MB was, well, Magic. I anticipated a lot but it was beyond any expectations. Especially John Frech performed magnificently. His drum playing was out of this world, and vocals were really great.

    I’m a young bloke so I never got the chance to see Captain Beefheart. This was an opportunity to see his music performed live, which I’m glad I didn’t miss. All the best to the fine musicians of Magic Band.

  18. After digging the music for over 30 years, and having cherished but fading memories of CB&TMB playing live, it was an overwhelming joy and a vindication to see the reunited Magic Band playing that stuff live, with such enthusiasm, love and dedication. I was lucky enough to catch 5 of their shows, and to meet and become friendly with them. I even got to jam and record with Rockette, which was something like a dream come true.
    I wanna thank them all from the bottom of my heart for all the hard work and time they put into the project, and for the memories that will stay with me forever.

  19. To all involved with the Magic Band reunion, thanks for the memories. Only got to see one show on the last tour, but what an astonishing joyful experience. Matt Groening’s observation that improved sound systems and improved concert halls would add to the experience was spot on. I have to say I enjoyed the music more this time around compared to the two occasions I saw CB&TMB all those years ago.
    It was a pleasure and a privilege to see and meet these gentlemen and I wish them well for all their future projects. Let’s hope they change their minds.

  20. What a graceful and touching farewell from John. I, and so many others I’m sure, wish John and the guys all the very best wishes for their individual paths, plus a heartfelt thank you. In the brief but valuable time you were together you more than confirmed the longevity and timelessness of Don’s music and expressed the sheer talent, commitment and enduring love that is required to play it. It felt like a miracle.
    Friends, we don’t mind just how you grow.

  21. What can I say? Sad to hear that TMB is no more.

    I am usually sceptical of any band doing the ‘hits’ on tour – let alone one of my favourite bands. But I went the gig in ‘Auld Reekie’ and was blown away! I took a (complete non-Beefheart) friend to the show in Glasgow Arches and he raved about it for weeks.
    Music was fantastic – and JF’s vocals were amazing.

    Beefheart & TMB had pretty much finished when I got into the music in the early eighties and I never thought I’d ever see the Magic Band play – but I did.

    Many Thanks!!!

  22. Guys

    Thank you all so much for the amazing labour of love that was The Magic Band reunited. Was at Shepherd’s Bush and LA2 and the memory of those wonderful nights will be with me for ever. Very best wishes to you all in your future endeavours.

  23. There isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said here. I was lucky enough to see the Captain twice in Seattle, fortunately or unfortunately as you may perceive, this was the last of the Magic Band line ups. So as happy as I was to see them, I was also dissapointed that the band was different. But the first time I saw them John French was with the band, I believe my buddy and I approached him at the break to tell him that we thought he was every bit as good as Drumbo, he of course laughed and told us he was Drumbo. Anyway that was a great memory for me.I know we will be hearing more from these guys in the future, either together or individually. It sad that the Magic Band can’t go on forever, but all good things come to an end, that’s why there are CDs and DVDs. All the best to you guys, you fill our hearts and souls.

  24. The original Magic Band disbanded before I was born so I never got to see the Captain. The reunion project was an expected pleasure for me – at the time just a casual fan. But the first of two shows I saw them do in Leeds was a total life-changing experience.
    I can’t really explain what happened to me that night, but afterwards I had a totally different outlook on what playing music was supposed to be all about. The guys in the band seemed to be having so much FUN, too! It’s impossible for me to take other rock bands seriously after that.

    Shame that it has to come to an end now but it was great while it lasted. I’d just like to say to the band: thanks for the music and all the best for the future.

  25. I caught the bristol gig with my partner, hearing the music live has stopped her moaning when i play the albums. Thanks to John and the rest of the band, it was great to hear the music being palyed one last time, and thank you for the courtesy you showed to all of us who wanted to speak to you at the gig. At least i have your album which you all so kindly autographed

  26. The short set at the Queen Mary was all I could gleen from this fantastic opportunity to see the Magic live. Having missed the original band by a few years it was relevatory to put the sounds to live action, and John French, Denny Walley, Gary Lucas and Mark Boston rule the world! How much does America suck that this sort of top notch experience isnt viable here? If I had any sense I would have flown to Europe…
    Love and gratitude
    kelly borkert
    Fresno CA

  27. Don and the boys had been disbanded 5 years by the time I was born, so by the time I discovered their music, I had already set in stone the thought that I would never hear ther music live. When I heard that they were reforming, I was pleased, but never thought that they would even consider touring jolly old England. How pleasantly wrong I was! I was lucky enough to catch them in Leeds in 2004, and it was certainly a gig to remember. Thanks so much for everything, I just wish there was more to come!

  28. I had the lifetime inspiration to see the Magic Band with the Captain many times as a teen and then later when they reformed at the end of the 70’s; I had the honour to help arrange the Belgrade concert in 2004 and it was fantastic, every bit as good as earlier versions of TMB, with Drumbo gloriously suceeding in reincarnating the spirit of Don at his best – something much better than any imaginable imitation; it’s very pleasing that they’ve left great memories behind them along with 3 bits of plastic, and it’s sad that more people didn’t get to see them and that they probably fell between the disinterest of the commercial music business and the incomprehension of those commanding cultural budgets; anyway I wish all the band the best of luck and artistic vitality with their future endeavours, may they be magic ones

  29. I saw you at that amazing gig at the Acorn, Penzance – the best I’d ever seen (hey, I’m 56! and saw Beefheart back in 72), and I was talking to someone about it in PZ only yesterday! The TMB makes you realise just how good the music is (even without Beefheart) because there has never been anything like it before or since – some derivatives, yes, but Beefheart was unique – and the music was as good as it always was, played with that special mixture of love and virtuosity. Difficult to single out one person, but John French, I guess most of this was down to you, and your uncanny take on Don’s voice made the whole thing both spooky and wonderful. I’m so sorry you’ve called it off, but respect your decision to do whatever your heart dictates – I guess it’s tough, but please understand … you have given so many people so much pleasure, opened doors, spread love and energy and happiness – and the second time around!. Thank you so much.

  30. To John, Mark, Denny and Gary,

    Many thanks for the three fantastic gigs that I have seen since 2003.

    Your determination, effort and hard work has definitely been appreciated by everyone who has witnessed the reunited Magic Band play live. Phil, 28. Bristol

  31. I saw 4 uk shows, all of them astounding. Thank you all so much for your hard work and making the effort to be so approachable after the shows. You are true gents. Thanks to Rockette for going into the studio with us, too.

  32. Well, thank God I went to two shows. Saw CB&TMB in 1980 and it was the best gig of my entire life (eat yer heart out Led Zeppelin et al)
    I managed to turn on a younger friend to the music and – my WIFE, ladies and gentlemen, to whom it all suddenly made sense.
    Halleluja that they did it. Shepherds Bush brought tears to my eyes.

  33. We were the lucky ones, indeed. Many thanks to John, Denny, Mark, Gary and Michael. Got to see the band at the RFH and The Garage. Both astounding shows but the Garage was really special as I got up real close to the band and could really begin to get an idea of how it all held together. Plus I got to speak to a few of the guys after the show who came out front to mix with the crowd. Look at it this way fellas, you were part of one of the best bands by far of the 60s and 70s. And then you did it all again in the 21st Century and you were even better. No disrespect to the good Captain, Zoot or any past members of the MB, but you came to town and you made it happen. Bless you for that. The evenings music was inspiring. Good luck to all of you in your future plans.

  34. That was then and this is now. The Captain’s last words were “That’s it, now you can go.” Now it’s John French and the guys. And again the players take-off into the wind. And we’re all back to listening to the records. The crime of the century will probably be the lack of Lick My Decals Off, Baby. I know it’s over again, but it’s still too hard to believe that that’s really it. Love over gold

  35. Before I saw the Magic Band, I’d had my doubts. What would it sound like without the Captain? How could it be real? Would they be ‘just another tribute band’?

    All my doubts disappeared as soon as they struck up.

    It was so good to hear these guys who had been my heroes since – well forever, just about – at such close quarters, and a huge thrill to meet them after the show.

    And the music . . .

    Well the music is timeless. Not of any one era but encompassing so many eras. And the Magic Band didn’t disappoint. Their delivery was faultless, their enthusiasm was infectious, their stage presence was majestic.

    I hope that they reconsider at some time in the future. Maybe not for large-scale touring, but for the odd gig, once or twice a year (and preferably in the UK, he says selfishly) just to keep the flame burning for us ‘oldies’ and maybe kindle a flame for a whole new generation of Beefheart fans.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  36. Many thanks to all the Magic Band reunion members for giving us the opportunity to hear Captain Beefheart’s music live again. I managed to get to 3 of the concerts which were all fantastic, Royal Festival Hall, Concorde 2 Brighton & Mean Fiddler/Astoria London. I’m devastated that there will be no more to look forward to in the future.

    I saw the Captain twice in the 70s & never imagined I would hear the music live again 30 odd years later.

    I have both the CDs & a signed copy of the DVD & was also lucky enough to bump into Rockette Morton & Gary Lucas on the pavement outside the Astoria just before the concert & had my photo taken with both of them.

    So I have great memories but still hope that they may get together again sometime in the not too distant future.

  37. I was never fortunate enough to see Don live but have always been a great Beefheart fan.
    I was over the moon when the Magic Band reformed and managed to get to the Shepherds Bush and Bridgewater Hall gigs. I was totally blown away.
    Thanks for making me very happy.
    God bless you all.

  38. I was very lucky to see CD&HMB 3 nights in a row on their “Lick My Decals Off Baby” tour. It was too much for my mirror and I couldn’t quite absorb what I was seeing and hearing even though I had all the LPs released up to that point. I saw the Captain two more times with later bands. I regret not somehow seeing The Magic Band. DRUMBO/John French, you truly rock in every sense of the word. And you are a gentleman. My hat is off to you and my head is bowed.


    -walter ray brock

  39. I only got into Beefheart a couple of years ago, and was flabbergasted to hear that the Magic band were due to play the Fleece and Firkin in Bristol, England. I turned up, and bumped into a load of friends I hadn’t seen for ages, and proceeded to watch one of the best gigs I have ever been to. The sound quality and musicianship where just amazing. At one stage someone shouted out “What was Frank like ?” and Drumbo explained “tired, as he had to record his album in the day and Replica in the evening !”. But what was the best thing, wasn’t the sound, wasn’t The Captain’s awe inspiring music, or the inspired performances, it was the band coming into the audience at the end of the gig and chatting with the audience one on one – guys you are great human beings and I am forever grateful to being able to hear the music you created that night.

    Farewell The Vicarious Don Magic Band

  40. Anything you guys have ever done is ok by me. No, it’s not obscure music – it’s the most heartfelt original down home REAL stuff I know of.

    keep on keeping on ….

    Tony, France

  41. I am so sad to hear this news. I was at the Shepherds Bush gig and subsequently saw gigs in Exeter, Bristol and Amsterdam. They were all so good. My proudest moment at the end of the Crows Milk DVD, I am seen talking to Mark Boston at the stage door. I wish luck and good fortune to all concerned and thank you for an opportunity I thought I had missed.

    Painless Parker.

  42. I first saw Don and the Magic Band at the Toby Jug at Tolworth – I went to see Jethro Tull but the gig was changed without warning(their ‘hit album’ made them too big for such a venue) – I nearly didn’t go in after queing. Am I glad a I did – life was never the same again! I went to at least one gig on every subsequent UK tour but thought that was the end. To be able to take my son to see the Magic Band at the Royal Festival Hall was just unbelievable. He also saw the Magic Band locally – at the Glastonbury Festival. I just want to say thank you for the reunion. Something we shall never forget. We can only hope a reunion reunion may one day take place!!
    Thanks again for taking the trouble and giving us this incredible, unique, opportunity to experience the greatest band ever, by miles!
    Peter Nicholson

  43. My teenage daughter still teases me mercilessly after having seen me reduced to a ‘gibbering dancing fool’by the Magic Band’s set at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth back in June 2005.

    …..she should have seen me back in 1972!

    Sad news from Drumbo,but…Thanks to John,Mark,Gary,Denny,Michael & Robert (& all behind the scenes) for showing my daughter just why I have always rated the Magic Band (& of course the music of the mighty Captain)as the best,and always a cut above the rest……All power to the Magic Band,and all those who sailed in her!The music stands.

  44. Deep thanks for having made it happen in the first place – I saw CB’s last UK tour at Loughborough and Manchester Apollo in 1980 and had all but lost the thread of MB energy until you came back and revved it all up again – saw you in 2004 -Bridgewater Hall needed a good kick up the ass, Leeds Irish Centre was always hot anyway and 2005-Manchester Academy was a hoot with new friends experiencing the MB for first time. Take care!

  45. Can I just strike a slightly dissenting note ?

    John if the problem was in part getting ripped off, would it be feasible to simply stick to the idea of playing festivals such as Glastonbury or Womad ? They would pay you decently and you could just leave it at that and not risk the rest of the poo…

    I’ll respect your decisions whichever way, of course.

    Pad [first CB gig 73, and MB joy thru 04/05]

  46. I rated the Shepherds Bush gig as one of the best of my life at the time, and have had no reason to change my opinion since – except to say that the last London gig a couple of years later was just as good. Yes, please consider occasional ‘reunion reunions’ if at all possible. In any case there must be unreleased footage from the Camber Sands gig, and a slew of audio stuff from many other gigs… howzabout a DVD and / or audio release? Above all, thank you, thank you, thank you – for a while I remembered for the first time since my teenage years how it felt to be truly excited about a band.

  47. I saw the captain twice over the years and Gary on his own (astounding). Then I saw you at the Festival Hall, London. Had expected it to be good but not… words fail me. Sorry you’re calling it a day but it was truly magnificent while it lasted. Thanks for everything and take care.

  48. I saw the Captain twice over the years and Gary on his own (astounding). Then I went to the Royal Festival Hall in London. I’d expected it to be good but not… words fail me. Sorry you’re calling it a day but it was magnificent while it lasted. Thanks for everything and take care

  49. Quoe from the Pere Ubu “Ubu Projex” about the music business:-
    “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

  50. Damn I missed them! sorry! please do one more tour! (arggg)

  51. Hi,

    I’ve only just found out that your no longer pursuing the reunion!! It’s a shame!! I had you down on my “atp for the fans” list as well… However, I’m so glad i got to see you when you toured here in the UK last year and hope your all well and life treats you good for the future. Peace. x

  52. Great musicians and true gentlemen….Many many thanks for briging back THE music. Weba will never forget the concert in Nottingham in 2005 and will always treasure your DVD.
    Best wishes to you all in the future.

    Martin and Iris.

  53. Thank you all so much for giving those too young to see the captain live the opportunity to be able to feel his music live. Listening to music on record is only half the story. Being able to feel the music wash over me at your Oxford gig in 2005 really brought the songs to life, and made me appreciate even more the intense interplay of instruments, melodies and rhythms that makes the songs uniquely special.

    For that one night, my heart, body and mind were beating to beefheart in an unforgetable way, and i feel prvileged to have seen such a faithful and honourful reunion.

    I only hope that this is not the end so that many others may experience TMB and beefheart’s songs as intended. Thank you.

  54. I saw the Magic Band in Liverpool having become a recent Donvert – one of best gigs I’ve ever witnessed.

    Thanks John & the rest of the crew – much appreciated.

  55. The two Magic Band gigs I saw – Penzance Acorn and Exeter Phoenix – were two of the most joyful musical times of my life. Seriously one of the best bands of all time, playing Don’s amazing music with integrity, love, and just incredible skill.
    Thanks to John, Denny, Gary, Rockette, Michael, and everyone who made this incredible re-union / re-synthesis happen.

  56. I spent more than half of my life in the communist Czechoslovakia. I discovered the music of Captain Beefheart in late 70s and it has immediately become to me one of the most influential musical experience and love… It was an unbelievable and lucky chance that I had the opportunity to see the reunited Magic Band concert in The Garage, London-Highbury, June 04. This concert helped me to get reconciled with my past beyond the iron curtain, during which I had missed so many musical performances close to my heart; but it also helped me to get reconciled with my future of slowly becoming old(er), while still having appetite for playing my drums and making music. I enjoyed the show very, very much. Thanks for everything.

  57. I have loved the music of CB since I first heard Yellow Brick Road on the radio in about 1967. Never got to see Beefheart live but have every album. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to hear th music payed live, and John French’s singingwas awesome. Thanks so much for making it happen John, and giving me memories of two great shows, plus the live CD’s and DVD’s as the legacy.

  58. What, no more Magic Band? You bastards! Come on Mr Groening, as the richest Beefhead I can think of, put loads of money on the table, for as any fule kno, the Magic Band will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through…

    Only joking, but my humour’s probably suffering from the shock as much as my heart, having just returned to Britain to see JF’s message – I really hope you blokes weren’t out of pocket after lifting our spirits across the decades. Sorry I didn’t get to speak to you after the Astoria gig, but my daughter had to leave early.

    Farewell Denny, Gary, John, Mark, Michael and Robert. You’re all legends!

  59. A crow in the bush
    is worth 2 in the tush.
    Magick banned in da 21st century
    da magick band pure magick at the
    shepherds bush.
    The musik was tite n bulbous (n fast enuff, sure enuff n yes…)
    The singing – wow –
    open yr eyes n its almost beef.
    Far fuckin out! n thanx a million.

  60. The Magic Band at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh was magic beyond compare. Their version of Big Eyed Beans nearly took the bloody roof off. I was born too late for the full Beef experience, and never thought I would hear those tunes live; to experience that was something I will never forget, and to shake Rockette Morton’s hand at the end put the seal on an emotional evening. Webcore, webcore.

  61. Hope this isn’t the end of Don’s music been played live. Maybe some day it could happen again….

  62. This is a bit late, but have only just stublmed across the website. Just to say thanks guys, especially Drumbo, for bringing this utterly amazing music back to life. I first heard CB & MB in the late 60s but had to wait until ’72 to see them (Manchester) and that was, for sure, a life changing experience – blew me away. Managed to see them thereafter a few times, into the late 70s, then it all disappeared. I went to the Shepherd’s Bush gig and it was almost as powerful as Manchester ’72 – hairs on back of neck standing as I write this – then again at the Liquid Rooms. Absolutely fantastic, and done is such a great spirit of celebration – the Ultimate Tribute Band! It will live with me for a long time.

  63. dave higgins said…the captain has always been my main man.from the sixties on..and on.true tunes and great artistic rarity .ta from all us in manchester.

  64. dave higgins said…the captain has always been my main man.from the sixties on..and on.true tunes and great artistic rarity .ta from all us in manchester.

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