Rich Hepner was spotted by the Magic Band whilst they were on tour. Hepner was playing guitar in a band called the Fantabulous Jags at a bar in Denver. The Jags’ gimmick was the preposterously huge pompadour hairstyles all the band sported.

His playing was sufficiently impressive for Alex St Claire to move from guitar to drums to accomodate him. Although he was only in the band a short while he did get to record on the A&M sessions with them as well as playing a number of live gigs. John French recalls seeing him play and was very impressed with his B.B. King style blues licks.

Rich has continued to play since those days but currently no details are available. It is hope that an interview with Rich might be forthcoming in the not too distant future.

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3 Comments »

  1. Carl says:

    Hepner was in the right place at the right time, but I don’t believe was ever considered to be a permanent member of the Magic Band.
    The Magic Band’s drummer, Vic Mortenson, was called up for military service (Vietnam war era), only weeks before Beefheart and band were to make their first recordings for a major label, A&M Records. They won the privilege by winning a Los Angeles radio station-sponsored “battle of the bands”–with Mortenson. And it was, founder and at-the-time leader of the band, Snouffer who made the call to cover on drums and have Hepner play his parts on the scheduled dates.

    The band fortunately then found its drummer in John French, Drumbo, the most longstanding member of the group. I consider him the most valuable member of the band, due to the assistance he provided in furthering the Beefheart sound. Probably a result of being the most well-rounded and trained musician in the group, he charted Beefheart’s ideas into something the band could follow. Otherwise, Beefheart’s ideas may have remained just that.

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