[alert_box type=”info”]This piece was written by Andrew Sussman and appeared in the April 1981 Down Beat.[/alert_box] Personnel: (Beefheart & Magic Band) Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart): vocals, harmonica, Chinese gongs, soprano sax; Jeff Moris Tepper, Richard Snyder: guitars; Eric Drew Feldman: electric bass, synthesiser, keyboards; Robert Arthur Williams: drums; Gary Lucas: guitar on Flavor Bud Living. (Ulmer Quintet) Ulmer: guitar; Julius Hemphill: saxes; Olu Dara: trumpet; Amin Ah: bass; Calvin Weston: drums. Inspired is a word which is frequently misused, particularly when applied to an event or a concept. Yet the pairing of Don Van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart) and James “Blood” Ulmer can beRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review was taken from the January 1981 Down Beat.[/alert_box] Of all musicians loosely considered rockers, Captain Beefheart is the most original. Because his music is a genre unto itself, it’s particularly difficult to describe. Analogy, the efficient critics tool, gets nowhere near the heart of Beefheart’s creations. Beefheart’s late ’60s work was virtually all self composed, and he taught it note by note, beat by beat, to his Magic Bands. This is probably still true; on Run Paint hear Bruce Fowler, occasional db Pro Session writer, whinny on trombone like a rabid equine. In the beginning, Beefheart relied heavily on blues forms andRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Writer unknown, taken from 26th Jaunary edition of Down Beat[/alert_box] Let there be great rejoicing among the multitudes of Beefheartians: the Captain has returned to the land of the Warner Brothers. For some inexplicable reason this bizarre genius shines on this new LP after several years of uneven recordings for another company (Mercury). Now Beefheart fans who remember the past glory of classics like Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off Baby can once again look ahead to recordings by the Magic Band. Beefheart is a completely well rounded artist who paints the graphics for his covers, writes music and lyrics, and singsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This excellent introductory article to the work of Don Van Vliet first appeared in April 1981’s Down Beat.[/alert_box] “My music is terribly personal,” Don Van Vliet says, his eyes fixed intently on me. “I think any artist is that way. I think there’s a lot of people out there that are kidding about art. I mean, literally kidding.” Van Vliet speaks in a soft, slow Southern California drawl that sounds nothing at all like the raw, rasping bellow he usually affects when he’s singing under the name Captain Beefheart. But his intensity is the same, and he is every bit as captivating, clever, charmingRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the 18th February 1971 edition of Down Beat. Many thanks to Francisco Vázquez for kindly scanning and sending it along.[/alert_box] The Manteno Festival may be the only festival not covered by the usual media overblow – mainly, of course, because Cincinnati is hardly your basic cultural Mecca. Also, no film was made, no records were cut, no one was killed or over-stoned or rioted – only music happened, albeit quite theatrical music, and a good but not revolutionary time was had by all. Well-met at the Ludlow Garage on Nov. 20-21, local entrepreneur Jim Tarbell by beneficent accident had simply assembled aRead More →