[alert_box type=”info”]This review was taken from The Wire issue 153 November 1996. Many thanks to James Silberbauer for sending it along.[/alert_box] Engene Chadbourne & Jimmy Carl Black Pachuco Cadaver FIRE ANT FACD1007 CD Various Artists The Music Of Captain Beefheart Live ULTIMATE AUDIO ENTERTAINMENT UAE DISC3 CD In June 1993, Eugene Chadbourne and Jimmy Carl Black came to England and toured from Hoxton Square to Hebden Bridge. On route they recorded a session for Radio 3’s Mixing It. Guitarist and banjo player Chadbourne is a product of No Wave, turned around by hearing Derek Bailey. Long ago he recorded three albums of subversively comic freeRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This excellent introductory article was taken from the April 1998 edition of The Wire.[/alert_box] Mike Barnes follows the pioneering trail blazed by Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band. Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, was born in Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles, in 1941. 16 years after his last record was released, he is still one of the most talked about musicians of his generation. His most famous work, the double album Trout Mask Replica, inevitably makes an appearance in any chart purporting to feature the best albums of all time (most recently it featured in Channel 4’s Music Of The Millennium) andRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This review appeared in the September 1998 edition of The Wire. It was part of an article entitled ‘100 Records That Set The World On Fire’.[/alert_box] Few rock artists as washed up – and seemingly past it – as Captain Beefheart was in 1974 have come back with new music as dazzling as that on Bat Chain Puller. Having flirted disastrously with commercialism, the nadir of which was Bluejeans and Moonbeams, he took a lengthy sabbatical, returning two years later, aged 35, with an album legendary for the wrong reason – it has never been released. Occasionally it harks back to the complexities ofRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]From The Wire September 2002[/alert_box] One day, every moment of existence will be available for endless re-examination on Deja-VD. The Past will enjoy a renewed period of exponential growth. The present will simply disappear, consumed by living memory boiled in esprit d’escaliers. In the future, when nothing will happen once and for all, quality control will become impossible. In the meantime, we can amuse ourselves with barrel-scraping exhumations of every event ever exposed to magnetic tape. This latest addition to the ever expanding Beefheart archive collects ‘field recordings’ made between 1972 and 1980, from seven English performances by different formulations of The Magic Band.Read 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 →

[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”]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 →

It took a while for the main music mags to react to Don’s death because of their advanced editorial deadlines. Here are some of them that have produced tributes of significance: Record Collector #385 February 2011 In their ‘Not forgotten’ obituary section Kris Needs (former Zigzag editor) has written a very good piece. It is only one page but it packs a lot in The Word #96 February 2011 An eight page spread, ‘A fish out of water’, that has some good points with Mark Ellen looking at his art as well as his music but also disappoints (the David Hepworth piece) by perpetuating aRead More →