Archive for the ‘Captain Beefheart’ Category

Captain Beefheart – Hoodoo Hoedown

Beefheart

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been just as big a Captain Beefheart fan as a Mothers of Invention fan. True, his is not exactly the music for your everyday, run-of-the-mill music listener who relies on a steady diet of Top 40. Still, the very same can be said about much of the Mothers music. That’s exactly what drew me to Beefheart’s music – the very same eclectic playfulness and creative adventure seldom found elsewhere. That Beefheart (as well as the many musicians who made up the various incarnations of The Magic Band) was so overlooked for so long is, indeed, criminal. As the tracks in this mixtape certain attest, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band were far, far ahead of their time.

Genius? Egoist? Madman?

Listen and decide for yourself.

Click here to listen to the mixtape, “Captain Beefheart – Hoodoo Hoedown

Update: Belated thanks and apologies to rik walton – the fantastic photographer of the above photograph of Don Van Vliet – for not asking his permission for the use of said image and for not linking to his site. Both of which I have remedied. Fellow KUR-Meisters, go forth and check out rik’s wonderful photographic images at his website here.

Captain Beefheart VPRO Radio Interview, 1980

beefheartcigar

During the European leg of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band‘s tour promoting ‘Doc at the Radar Station‘, Don Van Vliet was interviewed by VPRO Radio (Amsterdam) on November 1st, 1980 (no doubt prior, or just after the infamous Paradiso show during which Beefheart was heckled by a drunken patron).

Anyone interested in discovering what Beefheart fans find so appealing about Don Van Vliet need only listen to this interview. His peculiar individualism shines throughout while he playfully teases his interviewers. It’s clear that a lot of what Vliet says goes right over their heads. I suppose the same can be said about Beefheart’s music. Either you get it, or you don’t – it’s that simple.

Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 1)

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Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 2)

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Beefheart VPRO Interview (Part 3)

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In addition, I recently came across an interview of John ‘Drumbo’ French – interviewed in mid 2005, when French was fronting a reformed Magic Band, and touring in support of their CDs ‘Back To The Front‘, and ‘21st Century Mirror Men‘ – on the weblog, The Funky Goat:

He [Vliet] was in competition with Frank Zappa, I think that’s one of the reasons he went so far out. Frank was actually playing accessible music. Another thing was that being in Frank’s band had a sort of prestige, the instrumentalists would go on and play in other groups, they were wanted. Who was going to want a Beefheart musician? Half the public didn’t even think we knew how to play!”

A very illuminating interview for any fan of Beefheart’s music. Read the transcribed interview here.

Zappa & Beefheart – The Torture Never Stops (Bongo Fury Tour 1975)

In his 1975 Bongo Fury Tour with Frank Zappa‘s band, Captain Beefheart delivers his blues-infused vocals in what I feel is the quintessential version of “The Torture Never Stops” (part one, above; part two, below). I’ve heard other vocalists sing this song, but besides the Zappa sung version, only Don Van Vliet ever truly made this song his own. I’ve always wondered why this version wasn’t released on ‘Bongo Fury‘ and then released so late (almost like an afterthought) on ‘You Can Do That On Stage Anymore, Volume 4‘ and ‘Cheap Thrills‘?
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Gary Lucas on Captain Beefheart

Filmed at the Swiss Cottage Hotel, London, September 2005, from the 2006 DVD documentary “Captain Beefheart: Under Review” (Prism Productions), Gary Lucas discusses working with Captain Beefheart in the early 80s, and the making of the track “Cardboard Cutout Sundown” from the 1982 Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band album “Ice Cream for Crow”, and explains Don Van Vliet‘s “Exploding Note Theory”.
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Mallard on Rockpalast, 1976

In 1974, Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo), Mark Boston (Rockette Morton) and Art Tripp III (Ed Marimba) left Captain Beefheart‘s Magic Band to form the new band, Mallard. Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull fame), a Magic Band fan and friend of Mark Boston, financed their eponymous album, Mallard, which resulted in their signing with Virgin Records UK in 1975. A second album, In A Different Climate, was released a year later. On this second album, George Draggota took over on drums from Tripp, John Thomas took over keyboards from John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick. These two with Bill Harkleroad, Mark Boston and Sam Galpin were the band that toured Europe and performed the German TV Show ‘Rockpalast’ on September 7th, 1976.
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Beefheart Demos and Rarities

Long before Don Van Vliet was considered the Godfather of Punk for his avant-garde approach to music – it was first and foremost his unique blend of psychedelic blues that attracted me to his music. On these early demos, live recordings, and select tracks only found on his early albums (and nowhere else since) is the Beefheart sound distilled to its essential. Listen and decide for yourself:
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Zappa & Beefheart, Radio KWST, 1975

To promote the only album they ever made together – Bongo FuryCaptain Beefheart and Frank Zappa put together a promotional documentary of their musical lives and times. It contained some obscure material, early collaborations, demos, proto and live versions, as well as official releases. It was broadcast by KWST and other radio stations in the US, on October 1st, 1975 (the day before the official release of their album), and quickly became fodder for bootlegs.
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Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band – Chorus TV, Paris, 1980

Recorded at the Theatre de L’Empire, in Montmartre, Paris, on November 7th, 1980, for the French TV program ‘Chorus’ – promoting their eleventh studio album, Doc at the Radar StationCaptain Beefheart & the Magic Band performed a 30 minute set.
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Syracuse, Q & A (1975)

Frank Zappa, George Duke and Don Van Vliet respond to questions from an audience of post secondary students at Gifford Auditorium, Syracuse University, NY, on April 23rd, 1975.
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Conversations with Jimmy Carl Black

An exceptional interview with Jimmy Carl Black by Calvin Krogh recorded at the Grand Café in Oslo in January, 2007, as well as a second interview in another hotel in Oslo later that August – and broadcast on Krogh’s new website. Now you can both play the interviews on site or download the edited sections (12 in total).

On the eve of his 69th Birthday (February 1st), having just been diagnosed with leukemia, Black was extremely open and vivid with his reminiscences. For instance, we learn how Black first becomes acquainted with Jon Larsen, his opinion of Zappa cover bands, Zappa Plays Zappa, playing with Captain Beefheart, Zappanale, Mike Keneally, and, of course, the source of his bitterness towards the ZFT:

JCB: And you know, I appreciated that out of Frank. I… to tell you the truth, man, I always loved Frank Zappa, man. Even with the lawsuits and all the fucking trouble and with all the shit and all that, it doesn’t even fucking matter, man. I still tried to get hold of him before he… you know, when I was getting ready to move over to Europe. 1992. I called Motorhead, and I said “Motor, would you do me a favour. Would you call Frank, or call Gail, and find out if it’s at all possible that I can call Frank.” I’d like to… you know, wish him good luck with his problems, and, you know. Basically, what it would have been at that time, was just “Hey, man. It’s been a pleasure knowing you. You taught me a lot.” And he did, man! I learned a lot of different things about music that I didn’t know.

CK: Hm… But what happened?

JCB: No… she said no. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to have anything to do with her. And the kids… the kids only know one side of the story. They don’t know our side of the story. You know, they only know her side… what she says. How bad we are. What could we have possibly done to them? We didn’t take any money from them! We didn’t steal anything from them! What could we possibly do to them? Say things? Say the truth? You mean you’re not allowed to say the truth? Fuck you, man! I will say the truth! I’ll tell you what happened! I mean, I’ll tell you the way I saw it happen! The way it happened to me.

These interviews are a rich source of oral history for any Mothers fan, in general, and Jimmy Carl Black in particular. A must listen.

Interviews are also available in transcribed text.