I’m very sad to say that my old friend and fellow Beefheart fan Paul Brown has passed away. Paul was probably THE Beefheart fan, a fervent collector and the most knowledgeable of all things Beefheartian that I have ever known, he always knew what was shakin’ in Vlietland. He was a great mate, kind and generous and a good laugh.
Many longtime fans will have probably come across Paul at some point and others will have benefited in one way or another, even if they don’t know about it, by his involvement in collecting all things Beefheart.
I first met him back in the days of tape trading. We were both seeking out Beefheart live tapes and I was amazed at the collection he had managed to accumulate – many of which he had recorded himself back in the 1970s. He was the first person I had met who was even more obsessive about Beefheart than I was! We soon realised we were kindred spirits and become firm friends, sending each other our latest acquisitions or snippets of information. Between us at that time we had the largest collection of rare Beefheart tapes on God’s Golfball!
Paul contributed to Gerry Pratt’s legendary Beefheart fanzine, Steal Softly Thru Snow which did so much to pull the community of Beefheart fans together. And after Gerry’s untimely death he took over the editorship publishing several issues, finishing the separate Blimp Over Europe and issuing two volumes of Rollin’ Red’s Big Bad But Beautiful Book of Beefheart Bootlegs. (He sometimes hid behind the alias of Bloodshot Rollin’ Red). His distinctive enthusiastic writing style made for great reading.
He helped put together the Beefheart memorabilia collection that accompanied the Stand Up To Be Discontinued art exhibition in Brighton in 1994. He also worked as an adviser on the BBC documentary The Artist Formerly Known as Captain Beefheart, as he had tracked down many pieces of previously unknown footage of the band playing live.
Not only did he collect but he also created collectable items. He curated a number of ‘grey area’ (okay, bootleg) collections on CD back in the early 2000s – The Early Years, If You Got Ears, Live At The Radar Station, and Live At The Golden Bear 31/1/81 – which all collected together rare and/or previously unheard live and studio performances.
He was relentless and single-minded in tracking down obscure Beefheart items. pretty much every rare item you can think of passed through his hands at one time or another. He didn’t always keep them, often preferring to sell them on to finance the next one. He set himself the challenge to track down copies of every release of Beefheart’s first single Diddy Wah Diddy / Who Do You Think You’re Foolin and in the process turned up some very rare European releases.
We have lost a great well of knowledge although I did manage to capture some of it and you will find it scattered throughout this website in one way or another.
If you’re a Beefheart fan then take a minute to remember Paul and thank him … he did his bit to help keep this amazing music alive. Play 25th Century Quaker in his memory … it was one of his favourites … I’ll never forget the joy on his face when the reunion Magic Band played 25th Century Quaker at the Garage on their last tour.
When he wasn’t obsessing about Beefheart he also knew a fair bit about Frank Zappa, early Pink Floyd and The Fall. His other big passion was Liverpool FC, but most all he was a proud Dad and Grandad.
Goodbye, my old friend, brother from a different mother … keep on rollin’
I am so sorry to hear this, thank you for posting Steve. Paul was a huge help in the early years of setting up beefheart.com – not just information but moral support too. What sad news.
So sad to hear this news of Paul’s passing. Love to all at God’s Golfball HQ and all that knew him, family and friends. To become a legend for being a staunch fan is an astonishing achievement and such a tribute is a joy to read.
This is absolutely beautiful.
Thank you for these kind words.
Thanks. I’m glad that you approve. You probably don’t remember but we met many years ago … you were still at junior school!
I too echo my sister’s reply, very kind words and lovely to see all the comments & posts from his fellow Beefheart followers on various different forums and the past few days
Always valued his posts on the Fire Party. My deepest condolences.
Very sad news. I’m just seeing this. I only knew Paul as a FB friend. He was very knowledgable about all things Beefheart and more. He may have had the best collection I ever saw on the web. In We Honestly Love.. and Steve’s group The Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band Appreciation Society. Thank you for posting Steve. Paul will be much missed. Condolances to his family.
Ah, that is sad news.
So long Bloodshot Rollin’ Red.
We only communicated briefly, but I hope I made it clear that SSTS was a big deal for me. Thank ya.
Say hey to Gerry for me.
Best wishes amigo.
Paul was a mentor to me in the collectors field. He taught me the little things and what to look for. I will have fond memories of sending or receiving messages or links at all hours of the night”hey Mate! Look at this what just came up for sale…are you going for it? As your personal Beefheart collection attorney I would strongly advise to” -PSB-
He will be missed
RIP Paul Brown, you did it perfectly.
RIP, Paul! Sorry to read. I, too, of course had some of those fabulous e-mail convo’s with the man and his humor and enthusiasm leapt out at every word.
sad news, i gave him my beefheart bijou theater shows that i recorded here in phila in 78. that was during the pandemic and i knew he was the only i would let have them. i told him of my times with don (72 /80/ and how much i had fun with him. a HUGE loss to the beefheart community.