Ever since Don started complaining about the ‘bromo seltzer’ that had been added to the Strictly Personal album fans have wondered what it would have sounded like without Bob Krasnow’s pyschedelicized production. Surely the pristine untreated master tapes were tucked away in storage somewhere people thought. Not so. Gary Marker said that it was highly unlikely because Krasnow had used the master copy for all the phasing etc. he had added to the album’s sound which meant the original raw recording of the band was lost. Over the years various collections of alternate versions of many of the Strictly Personal songs have turned up andRead More →

IT #41, 4 – 17 October 1968 From John Peel’s ‘Perfumed Garden’ column in the legendary sixties ‘hippy’ newspaper IT (International Times). This review of Strictly Personal takes up half of the column space and appears to be based on an acetate version given to him by Beefheart himself – this would have been during the band’s tour of the UK in July 1968.  Other bands mentioned by Peel after this review included Duster Bennett, MC5, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, The Liverpool Scene, Bridget St John and Brian Jones. The autumnal air is heavy with promise – a new Beefheart LP is on the way.Read More →

Crow’s Milk is a 50 minute documentary narrated by John Peel and directed by Elaine Shepherd which covers: The Magic Band rehearsals in California in February 2003 recording of the CD ‘Back To The Front’ the feelings of the band members about the project rehearsals in London for the two 2003 UK concerts concert and backstage footage from Camber Sands and Shepherds Bush. It was released on DVD in 2006 but can be hard to find now. Second hand copies do turn up occasionally on amazon.co.uk. The documentary was accompanied by the complete film of the London Shepherds Bush Empire show on 7 April 2003.Read More →

Welcome to my very favourite item here at the Radar Station. It’s a streaming audio interview broadcast on the John Peel show on the 24th April 1973. Fourteen minutes long, it is less of an interview than a friendly chat. John Peel states at the beginning that he is notoriously bad at interviewing people, but this is one of the best interview I have ever heard with the Captain and really captures his sense of fun. This tape was sent to me by Peter Cooney, many thanks indeed. Click to hear the show.Read More →

Elaine Shepherd’s classic BBC documentary, introduced and narrated by John Peel. Completely wonderful, a 50 minute joy: Reviews, articles, blog posts, etc. relating to The Artist Formerly Known As Captain Beefheart. When the film was first screened by the BBC, it was followed by the Anton Corbijn / Don Van Vliet short Some YoYo Stuff.Read More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This first appeared in the 21st August 1994 Independent on Sunday.[/alert_box] Gary Lucas First saw Captain Beefheart play at a New York club in 1971. Their acquaintance was years old before he plucked up the courage to reveal that he played the guitar. Then Lucas’s wife became Beefheart’s manager and he was given an instrumental to play on ‘Doc at the Radar Station’ (1980). By 1982 Lucas was a full-time member of the Magic Band. It was at this point that Beefheart decided he didn’t want to make records. Lucas now has his own band, Gods and Monsters. [wp_quote]The first time I saw himRead More →

Well the only time I ever saw Don was at Knebworth around 1974/5 when they used to have those outdoor festivals in the summer. Remember? I was watching with some friends, having never previously heard any of his stuff at all. I can plainly remember John Peel coming on and introducing Don this way: ‘here he is: the guvnor!’, clearly remembered even though I was undergoing an artificially-induced religious experience… I was scared to death. The only way I could survive was to lie down between the legs of a mate’s girlfriend for an hour or so, while the man did his set and IRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Steve on the lonely life of the Beefheart fan.[/alert_box] Why do I like Beefheart? Hmmm……. not easy to answer. Maybe I should start with ‘how’… I think my story will be echoed by other fans in the UK. In 1966/67 the music scene exploded. Although those years are parodied or ridiculed by many they were critical in the freeing of music and it is difficult to explain how radically things were changed. The frontrunners – The Beatles and The Stones – were experimenting with new sounds, but the most exciting music seemed to be coming from the American West Coast. Weird music played by bandsRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]An example of the Captain’s often enormous hospitality from Danny Houston.[/alert_box] There used to be a great club in Glasgow, Scotland called The Maryland, and the owner Willie Cuthbertson (one of the great unacknowledged heroes of Scottish Rock) brought Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band up to play at a place called the Kelvin Hall. This venue was famous already in the halls of rock n roll fame as the site of the Kinks first “Live” album. Because we knew Willie he promised to take us back stage to meet the Captain before the concert. We were all massive Beefheart fans – there wereRead More →

I have just received the following statement for the site from John French: Well, all good things must come to an end as they say… After a lot of painful deliberation, we decided to no longer pursue the Magic Band reunion project. There are a lot of reasons, but rather than going on about booking agents not collecting deposits, promoters who didn’t pay, fraudulent contracts etc., I thought it would be a good idea just to say “thanks” to some of the people who made things possible. Pre – 2003 Graham Johnston (beefheart.com founder, great friendship and support) Derek Laskie (webmaster, beefheart.com) Steve Froy (veryRead More →

The first anniversary of John Peel’s death will be marked by several hundred concerts which are to be staged under the banner of John Peel Day. One of these concerts features The Fall and New Order, among others, and will be pre-recorded in London for broadcast as part of a six hour radio special on October 13th. John Peel’s admiration for Captain Beefheart was legendary so it is not surprising that a Beefheart track is included in the double CD ‘John Peel – A Tribute’ to be released on October 17th. Many of the bands about which Peel waxed lyrical are represented on the CD,Read More →

I’ve just stumbled across an excellent, in depth and lengthy article about what many would consider a holy trinity – John Peel, John Walters and Captain Beefheart by Kris Needs. Needs shows how their three stories are intertwined with each other, while also paying tribute to each. There are stories in here which I don’t remember ever reading before such as Don accidentally “branding” his mother and Joe Strummer commenting on his first encounter with Trout Mask Replica which he stated was “the moment I became a weirdo”. There are a lot of factual inaccuracies but who cares, it’s all from the heart.Read More →

John Peel with Captain Beefheart

BBC Radio 7 has just broadcast an excellent 3 hour John Peel memoir and tribute in which Peel talks extensively about his life, influences, passions and family. We also hear an episode of Home Truths and his son’s eulogy at Peel’s funeral last year. It is a wonderful 3 hours for those of us who continue to miss his voice, humour and character on a daily basis and I’d heartily recommend you give it a listen on the BBC site while you can. Peel’s voice has also been cropping up regularly in the BBC Radio 3 show of his friend and colleague, Andy Kershaw. ListenersRead More →