Composer and musicologist Samuel Andreyev continues his project to interview all the musicians from the Trout Mask Replica with the first ever interview with guitarist Jeff Cotton.
Yes, it’s true the legendary guitarist of the Magic Band and MU has finally broken his silence. Although for years Jeff Cotton has kept a low profile, refusing interviews with Steve Froy for his Space Blues website and even for John French when he was compiling the sleeve notes for Grow Fins and writing his Through the Eyes of Magic book he has now agreed to talk to Samuel Andreyev. Samuel has already won the hearts of many Beefheart fans with his musicologist’s examination of the track Frownland and his video interviews with John French and Bill Harkleroad. Now he has managed to pull off
A few photographs have surfaced taken at the Trout Mask Replica band’s only live gig. This was at the Aquarius Theater in Los Angeles on 31st March 1969. Find out more about the Aquarius show. Thanks to R. Michael DeChellis for permission to post his photographs here on the Radar Station. You can get good quality copies at his website and while you’re there check the other bands’ photos too – http://www.rmdechellisphotography.com/?load=html Here are two of Don with his sax: And here in all his sartorial splendour is Jeff Cotton (aka Antennae Jimmy Semens):
MU was a band formed by Jeff Cotton (aka Antennae Jimmy Semens) after he left the Magic Band in 1969. Cotton hooked up with friends Merrell Fankhauser, Larry Willey and Randy Wimer from his old band The Exiles. The band developed a subtle and mellow sound which was lifted above the average by Cotton’s fine slide work and some interesting rhythms. Their first single and debut album were released on very small labels and were not given the distribution and advertising they deserved. The band moved to Hawaii in 1973, Willey replaced by Jeff Parker on bass but the band fell apart the following year
This was Jeff Cotton’s first band which he put together when he was only 14 with Merrell Fankhauser, who’d had several surf hits with The Impacts, and fellow high school friends Greg Hampton and Jim Ferguson. They recorded a number of songs, influenced by Buddy Holly and the British Invasion groups, that became hits locally during 1964 and 1965 but much of their output has not been released until the last few years. Although Cotton definitely played on many of earlier The Exiles tracks the band developed into an ever-changing collection of musicians centred around Fankhauser during 1966 and 1967 by which time Cotton had
Jeff probably has the distinction of recording with a band at an earlier age than any other Magic Band member. He began his first band The Exiles when he was only 14 and they released their debut single within a few months. When this band fell apart in 1966 he played with several unrecorded bands – The Allusions, Blues In A Bottle (with John French, Mark Boston and later Bill Harkleroad) – before joining the Magic Band in 1967. An unfortunate incident resulted in Jeff quitting the band during 1969 after the recording of Trout Mask. When he’d recovered he hooked up with former Exiles
On the 18th January 1968, The Magic Band were involved in a bizarre and humorous incident which resulted in their being refused entry to the UK and deported to Hanover. Here is the cover sheet and text of the official report – the text originally came from the Edinburgh Review no. 86. Refusal of Leave to Land (Remarks) Mr VLIET was detained in the approved detention quarters in the Queen’s Building from 1230 hours until 1700 hours. He had previously remained in the Arrivals Hall. Mr VLIET is the leader of an american “pop group” known as Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, which specialises in so-called