[alert_box type=”info”]Originally appeared on The Spotlight Kid[/alert_box] Now here ya come baby With yer tail draggin’ the gravy Y’ know yer P’s ‘n Q’s What ya don’t know baby Is you givin’ me the blues Ya got juice on your chin Eggs on the drain-board Pie on the wall Dirt on the rug I come home late ‘N I stumbled ‘n swore Ya won’t even give me a hug Ya had my things all laid out by the door I’m leavin’ I’m gonna take up with ah mermaid ‘N leave you land lubbin’ women alone ‘N leave you land-lubbin’ women alone Ya said ya hadRead More →

4/9/98 Update From Dean Blackwood at Revenant: Hey guys. Things are still coming together nicely. John French is busy on the bulk of the notes and I am attempting to wrap up the recordings end of things. Some cool surprises in the works. We are looking for good quality versions of the following live performances from any era: Suction Prints Pompadour Swamp Peon Dali’s Car Old Fart Well Dust Blows Apes Ma Odd Jobs Best Batch Yet Owed T’Alex And, since the BBC has erased its tapes and Peel himself has no tapes, we are auditioning versions of the Peel Sessions (all 8 tracks) toRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review appeared in the16th July 1999 edition of The Chicago Reader. Hey! It even mentions the Radar Station! Many thanks to Jeff Economy for sending this along, and to Monica for her kind permission to reproduce it here.[/alert_box] My primal memories involve Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, whose difficult masterpiece Trout Mask Replica came out the same year I did. My father was (and is) a Beefheart fan, and I vividly recall my response to that record. With its eruptions and churnings, its stops and starts, its self-interruptions and declamations, its epic unrelentingness-right down to the idiot stare of that top-hatted deadRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from the 20th July 1999 edition of The Village Voice. Many thanks to Peter Warner for sending this along to me.[/alert_box] Since the 1969 release of Trout Mask Replica, the artist dubbed Captain Beefheart has incarnated the gold standard by which “weirdness” in rock has been calibrated. And with a suitcase like that to lug around, no wonder Don Van Vliet put out his 12th and final album in 1982, before retiring to the high desert or coastal mountains or wherever to paint his broad-stroke nature abstractions and fade away. Nevertheless, any band with stuttered beats, hyperactively ping-ponging blues guitars,Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review first appeared in the 16th July 1999 edition of The Guardian’s Friday Review.[/alert_box] Legend has it that before he reinvented rock music, Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, sold vacuum cleaners for a living, wandering the scattered trailer communities of the Mojave Desert in search of potential customers. Once, a trailer door opened and Aldous Huxley, author and LSD pioneer, appeared before Vliet’s disbelieving eyes. Stunned, Beefheart pointed at the vacuum cleaner and uttered the immortal words, “This machine sucks” before disappearing into the desert to pursue his true vocation. The 78 “songs’, – and I use the word in its loosestRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review appeared in the 30th June edition of the Philadelphia Weekly, 1999. Many thanks to Chris Previti for sending it along.[/alert_box] More than any other artist, Don Van Vliet – aka Captain Beefheart – defined Surrealism in rock ‘n’ roll. Like Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte, his work was based on startling juxtapositions – a blues riff suddenly shifting into free jazz, three different rhythms playing against one other with vocals bellowing above. For almost 20 years, Beefheart released a series of brilliant, gleefully absurd albums that often hinted at deeper, far darker truths. “Dachau Blues,” for example, from his 1969 masterpiece TroutRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review first appeared in the May 1999 edition of The Wire and was written by Byron Coley. Many thanks to Byron for his permission to reproduce it here, and for sending it along.[/alert_box] Although it was their third released album, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band arrived with 1969’s sprawling Trout Mask Replica. The ability to appreciate its seemingly random, all-but-impenetrable 2LP length seemed beyond the ken of all but the most hardcore weirdos. Those who were able to decode Trout Mask felt that they had passed a grueling test. Few who were able to successfully complete this mission could resist the impulseRead More →

After spending over a quarter of a century sitting in cardboard boxes, being furtively traded between dedicated fans; at long last the secret history of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band is now available on the record shop shelves, jostling for space with Ricky Martin. The Magic Band only produced 12 albums in its 15 year existence, and now suddenly we have an extra five CDs of hidden treats, complete with unseen photographs, a selection of live videos on an enhanced CD, and extensive revealing notes in a 112 page book. The package itself is extraordinary. Designed as a miniature replica of an old 78Read More →

The cover for the Grow Fins promo, featuring the magic man himself. If his vacuum cleaner sales routine was as impressive as this then who could blame Aldous Huxley for being tempted? This was released by Revenant in March 1999 as a taster to the Grow Fins set, and is very tasty indeed. Track list Below is the track-listing as it appears on the inside front sleeve. Sampler review from April 1999 The sound quality is by far superior to the majority of the bootlegs circulating which feature this material, and the material itself is stunning, boasting many gems which I have never heard before.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article first appeared in the April 1999 edition of The Wire, prior to the release of the Grow Fins box-set. Many thanks to Mike for his permission to use it.[/alert_box] Captain Beefheart likened making music to going to the bathroom – it’s not something he wants to look back on. Here, Mike Barnes grills the Revenant label on the ethics of its ‘unauthorised’ CD retrospective that claims its rare unguarded moments reveal the true Beefheart. “Some of the most compelling moments in Captain Beefheart’s recorded legacy have been heard by just a handful of people.” So says Dean Blackwood, co-founder with John FaheyRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Everything you need to know about Revenant’s box set of rare Beef.[/alert_box] The Grow Fins sleeve. Beautiful, isn’t it? The official Revenant blurb Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band set rock on its ear from 1965 until 1982, when leader Don Van Vliet retired from music. Engineering a mutant strain of musical DNA (tuff-ass garage punk R-n-B, extraterrestrial field hollers, austere “classical” miniatures, loping sea shanties, scorched-earth delta blues, free-blowing skronk, fat-bottom groove and post-everything clangor all found their way into the soup), CB&HMB are now regarded as one of the most original and consistently compelling bands ever waxed. The closest to a Best OfRead More →

A special vinyl edition of Grow Fins was released on Table Of The Elements containing six LPs, a small poster (pictured above) and a 24 page libretto (pictured below). The six LPs were released over a period of time as three double vinyl sets. The vinyl set libretto features all the notes and most of the pictures in the CD book and the CD set will not contain the poster. Each volume of the vinyl edition contains the same libretto printed in different colours – useful for anyone who only wants one or two of the volumes. The first pressing of the first volume wasRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review for all the Beefheart discs issued in 1999 (Grow Fins, Dust Blows Forward, Safe As Milk and The Mirror Man Sessions) was taken from the 27th June 1999 Philadelphia Inquirer. Many thanks to Chris Previti for sending it along.[/alert_box] Oh, the yin and yang of it all. At the exact moment the music industry is overrun with homogenized teen harmonisers, along comes a grizzled, determinedly weird voice from the deep vault, bellowing a sloppy counterattack to all that manufactured cheer. It’s Captain Beefheart, superhero of the surreal, right on cosmic cue. More than 35 years after Beefheart (the nom de rock ofRead More →

Still of the Trout House from The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart

The Woodland Hills house on Ensenada Drive was the venue for the Magic Band’s endless rehearsals of Trout Mask Replica, and also where the Trout Mask Sessions on Grow Fins were recorded. Its inclusion at the Radar Station is a must! So many legendary stories surround this magical-looking building, which appeared to have been left to decay. Then in 2006 it was put up for sale, and in 2010 as well. Angel’s photographs of her & Chris’ trip to the Trout House John French’s response to these photographs … Stills of the Trout House from The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart See also: ConfluenceRead More →