Captain Beefheart by Mike Barnes, second edition

UK second edition Publisher: Omnibus / Music Sales Limited Date of publication: November 2004 ISBN: 1844494128 Dimensions: 210 x 135mm soft back Extent: 400 pages Price: £16.95 Order: Amazon.co.uk Mike Barnes has made considerable updates to this new edition but confusingly the book has been published with the same cover as the first edition (apart from the addition of a John Peel quote) and no obvious indication that changes have been made. This second edition was reprinted in 2009 with a different quote, this time from ‘Mojo’ magzine, on the front cover. A competition was run to win copies of the UK second edition – see the fiendish questions and the detailed answersRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article is an extract from Mike Barnes’ biography of Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart, published by Quartet Books, 2000.[/alert_box] ISBN 0 7043 8073 0 You can order this book from Amazon.co.uk or any good UK book sellers. ‘Everything they did I had ’em do. I mean I’m a director. I don’t wanna boast or anything like that, but I am an artist. And the thing is that sometimes artists are considered horrible after they direct something. Y’see those guys, they fell too far into my role, and then they didn’t like me after that. It happens in theatre and everything. But I can’tRead More →

In recent years it seems that every aspiring writer capable of pressing keys on a word processor has felt obliged to publish their attempt at telling the Captain Beefheart story. Many of these writers have skilfully bypassed the entire research stage and plunged headlong and brain-free into the telling of a story that they know little about, occasionally with hilariously half-baked results. Those of us who have gained a perverse enjoyment from these humdrum handbooks should prepare themselves for a severe disappointment – Mike Barnes can not only write, but he also knows what he’s talking about. Facetiousness aside, this is a marvellous read. CaptainRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review for the Beefheart biography was written by Julian Cowley and was taken from the July 2000 edition of The Wire.[/alert_box] As a small child, Don Vliet (the Van came later) collected hair from his Persian cat and moulded it into the likenesses of other animals. By the age of 13, he’d completed the mammals of North America and Africa, and had developed a special fondness for ayes-ayes, dik-diks and other strange lemurs. Then he moved onto fish. Mike Barnes acknowledges early on in his book the refined capacity of Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet’s magical persona, to embellish accounts of his ownRead More →