Art Tripp aka Ed Marimba, Ted Cactus

Arthur Dyer Tripp III grew up in Pittsburgh, he was a drum major at Mt Lebanon High School and in 1962 became percussionist for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. After moving to New York he met up with Frank Zappa and joined the Mothers of Invention.

When John French left the Magic Band in 1969 Art was asked to join as drummer. (Unintentionally he had played on Trout Mask Replica when Zappa used a Mothers track as backing to ‘The Blimp’). Drumbo returned to help out on the Lick My Decals Off Baby album which enabled Beefheart to make use of Art’s skills on the marimba to fill in as a second lead guitar. For a while the Magic Band had two percussionists until Drumbo had to leave again but Art stayed until 1974 when the whole Magic Band quit on the eve of a big tour.

He joined Bill Harkleroad and Mark Boston in their post-Magic Band venture, Mallard. He can be heard on the first album (mainly because he was given some money in advance), but he didn’t tour with them and wasn’t involved in the second album.

At this point he seems to have given up music completely. In the June 2003 issue of Blender magazine he’s quoted as saying

A lot of people ask me if I still play, but I always tell them, “It came to an end.” I lost the desire.

He worked for a time in his father’s real estate business and then in 1978 decided to train as a chiropractor. He has worked as a chiropractor ever since, firstly in California and more recently in Gulfport, Mississippi.

At end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 Steve Froy interviewed Art by email about his time with the Magic Band.

Art also took time out to answer a few questions on the Fire Party discussion list.

Magic Band Albums

Mothers of Invention

  • 1968 Cruising With Reuben & The Jets
  • 1969 Uncle Meat
  • 1969 Mothermania- The Best of the Mothers
  • 1970 Burnt Weeny Sandwich
  • 1970 Weasals Ripped My Flesh
  • 1988 You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, vol. 1
  • 1989 You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, vol. 4
  • 1991 The Ark
  • 1992 You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, vol. 5
  • 1993 Ahead Of their Time
  • 1996 The Lost Episodes
  • 1998 Mystery Disc

Jean-Luc Ponty

  • 1970 King Kong

Al Stewart

  • 1978 Time Passages

Tim Buckley

  • 1994 Live at the Troubadour 1969

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