Your guide to the books about Beefheart.

This section of the Radar Station is currently heavily under construction, much more information is on its way.

If you can help out with corrections, additions or any other info for this section in any way at all, please do let me know at

By or about Don Van Vliet

Don Van Vliet : Skeleton Breath, Scorpion Blush

Don Van Vliet : Stunned Mirages. Poems & Infra-grams

Stand Up To Be Discontinued. Die Malerei von Don van Vliet / The Art of Don van Vliet

[no author] : A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond. Interviews and texts 1966 – 2001

[no author] Hungry But Weird

W.C. Bamberger : Riding Some Kind of Unusual Skull Sleigh

Mike Barnes : Captain Beefheart

Ken Brooks : Captain Beefheart Tinned Teardrop

Guy Cosson : Captain Beefheart And his Magic Band

Kevin Courrier : Trout Mask Replica

Ben Cruikshank : Fast and Bulbous. The Captain Beefheart Story

Benoit Delaune : Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band(s)

Michel Delville & Andrew Norris : Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and the Secret History of Maximalism

Luca Ferrari : Pearls Before Swine Ice Cream For Crows. A tribute to the art of Captain Beefheart

John French : Through The Eyes Of Magic

Opher Goodwin : On track … Captain Beefheart. Every album, every song

Bill Harkleroad : Lunar Notes

John Muir (ed) : The Lives and Times of Captain Beefheart

Francesco Nunziata : Captain Mask Replica

Chris Wade : The Music of Captain Beefheart

Jeff Watts (comp.) : The Abba to Zappa of Captain Beefheart

Colin Webb : Captain Beefheart – the Man & his Music


Art catalogues

There have been a number of catalogues published to accompany exhibitions of Don’s artwork.



    Steal Softly Thru Snow (issue by issue)


    Related publications (include information about Captain Beefheart)

    All include substantial information about Captain Beefheart or, at least, some good stories about him.


    Freddy Bannister : There Must be A Better Way

    Herb Bermann : The Mystery Man from the Magic Band

    Pauline Butcher : Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa

    Irwin Chusid : Songs In The Key of Z

    Pamela Des Barres : I’m With The Band

    Barney Hoskyns : Waiting For The Sun

    Kurt Loder : Bat Chain Puller

    Gary Lucas : Touched By Grace

    Greil Marcus (ed) : Stranded. Rock & Roll for a Desert Island

    Ted Templeman : A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music

    Koji Waku : Sheik Yer Replica. Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart Disc Guide.

    Frank Zappa : The REAL Frank Zappa


    Mentions of Beefheart

    A quick look through a number of general music books that each include a few pages about Beefheart.


    Magazine & Newspaper Articles

    (NOTE: this list is far from complete and is a work in progress!)

    Arizona Republic – 26 August 1988
    Salvatore Caputo : Where’s Captain Beefheart? His music’s here. review of ‘fast ‘n’ Bulbous’ tribute album.

    Art in America – March 1999
    Don Van Vliet: Works on paper (two page ad for Michael Werner exhibition)

    Boston Globe – 23 October 1980
    Alex Cherlin : Review of “Doc at the Radar Station”

    Boston Globe – 8 December 1980
    Jim Sullivan : Music incongruity can be challenging. Capt. Beefheart & the Magic Band in concert at the Paradise Theater (6 Dec)

    Chicago Tribune – 8 January 1989
    Rip Rense : In tune with art; today Captain Beefheart aims to make the canvas sing

    Detroit Free Press – 31 May 1992
    Quote bag

    Economist – 3 February 1990
    Rock around the revolution – Captain Beefheart meets the President / Frank Zappa meets Vaclav Havel

    Economist – 10 February 1990
    Correction and apology re: 3 February article

    Independent – 2 September 1994
    Robert Hanks : Exhibitions/recording artist. Don Van Vliet, the artist is now in touch with Captain Beefheart, the legend

    Independent on Sunday – 21 August 1994
    Ben Thompson : Exhibitions special. Re-achieving naivety

    Interview – October 1991
    John Yau : Captain Beefheart / Don van Vliet

    Los Angeles Times – 29 July 1990
    Kristine McKenna : A crossover of a different color. Once known as avant-garde musician Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet has quickly won the art world’s attention as a painter

    Los Angeles Times – 25 March 1993
    Buddy Seigal : Classic of the week: ‘Trout Mask Replica’

    Los Angeles Times – 16 June 1994
    Jon Matsumoto : Classic of the week: ‘Doc at the Radar Station’

    Melody Maker – 14 October 1989
    D.F. : Captain Beefheart

    Modern Painters – Vol.13 No.4 Winter 2000
    Ben Watson : Don Van Vliet: Natural Born Painter

    Mojo – Issue 2 December 1993
    Heart & Soul Captain Beefheart. “Yeah, I’m Happy as a clam.”

    Mojo – Issue 67 June 1999
    Jon Savage & Mike Barnes : “That’s right, the Mascara Snake.”

    Mojo – Issue 208 March 2011
    The Black Rider

    Mojo – Issue 245 April 2014
    Beefheart’s Magic Band morph into ‘The Tragic Band’

    Mojo Classic – Vol.2 Issue 8
    Frank Zappa

    Mojo Collections – No.5 Winter 2001
    Mike Barnes & Edwin Pouncey : Spotlight on … Master Strokes

    Moonlight Drive – No.1/81
    Phil Maltman : Interview with Captain Beefheart part one + article

    New Musical Express – 1 November 1980
    Paul Rambali : Tales of transmutation from the Mojave Magic Man

    New Musical Express – 11 September 1982
    Richard Cook : Captains Courageous. review of Ice Cream for Crow

    New Musical Express – 18 September 1982
    Kristine McKenna : Extra terrestrial man

    NY Rocker – December 1980
    John Piccarella : The beating on an Ashtray Heart. Captain Beefheart spills all

    Observer – 28 August 1994
    Neil Spencer : Ravaged blues on canvas – Captain Beeheart was a music legend; now he’s Don Van Vliet, genius of paint

    People Weekly – Vol.19 31 January 1983
    Carl Arrington : As Capt. Beefheart, Don Van Vliet applies his stroke of genius to both painting and music

    Q – No.95 August 1994

    Record Collector – 359 February 2009
    Kris Needs : Captain’s Log. The long strange saga of Captain Beefheart

    Record Collector – 385 February 2011
    Kris Needs : Not Forgotten

    Rock & Folk – February 2011
    Pascal Comelade : Captain Beefheart [in French]

    San Francisco Chronicle – 1 December 1988
    Tony Bizjak : He’s still Captain Enigma – a reclusive musical genius can’t avoid art’s spotlight

    San Francisco Chronicle – 2 January 1989
    Kenneth Baker : Rock and Roll painter should stick to music

    Scotsman – 20 November 1993
    Allan Campbell : First impressions. Painting from the (Beef)heart

    Shindig – No.71 September 2017
    Johnnie Johnstone : Inside the Captain’s Cauldron

    Stereo Review – Vol.48 January 1983
    Mark Peel : Review of “Ice Cream for Crow”

    Timeazine – No.6 Autumn 2011
    Evelyn & Michalis : Gary ‘Magic Marker. The rising Sons, Fusion & other Beefheart stories

    Uncut – 166 March 2011
    Captain Beefheart. American Visionary 1941-2010

    Uncut – 184 September 2012
    Dropouts Boogie

    Uncut – 285 February 2021
    Captain Beefheart. “Well I was born in the desert”

    Wet – May/June 1980
    Kristine McKenna : An interview with Captain Beeheart

    The Wire – 324 February 2011
    Don the Revelator. Strictly Personal Tributes

    The Word – 96 February 2011
    David Hepworth & Mark Ellen : Captain Beefheart Remembered

    World Art – Vol.1 No.2 June 1994
    Roger Taylor : Don Van Vliet: the demonic animality of Captain Beefheart

    Zigzag – No.4 August 1969
    Dick Lawson : “Trout Mask Replica”??? The Captain must be mad

    Zigzag – No.6 1969
    Miles : It’s the blimp, it’s the blimp. Capt. Beefheart is alive in Hollywood

    Zigzag – No.8 1970
    Pete frame – A fine madness

    Zigzag – No.44 1974
    Connor McKinight : Whatever happened to the Magic Band? Being a very personal story about Capt. Beefheart

    Zigzag – Vol.6 No.53 June 1975
    Connor McKnight : The Magic Band. Diary of an unlost weekend

    Zigzag – No.80 January 1978
    Kris Needs : The return of … the Zigzag Wanderer

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