Posts Tagged ‘Captain Beefheart’

The Magic Band – Peel Sessions, July 2004

Besides being an avid collector of Frank Zappa and Mothers of Invention bootlegs and field recordings – as well as a collector of Captain Beefheart‘s various and sundry recordings (and a collector of all the related recordings of the various alumni who, at times, played in both groups) – I’m also an avid collector of live radio broadcasts. I’ve always found something intrinsically interesting about an artist’s and group’s live radio performances (as though they put on that little extra show for the benefit of the radio listener).
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Captain Beefheart VPRO Radio Interview, 1980

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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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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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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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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.

Mats & Morgan Play Beefheart

In keeping with the general Beefheartian theme of recent posts, I recently found this video of the Mats/Morgan Band performing Captain Beefheart’s “Lick My Decals Off, Baby”.

Line Up:

Freddie Wadling – lead vocals
Morgan Ågren – drums
Denny Walley – guitar, vocals
Jimmy Ågren – guitar
Rolf Hedquist – bass
Mats Öberg – keyboards, harmonica, vocals

This is largely the same line-up that appears on Denny Walley’s album, Spare Parts (a blues album with backing by the Mats/Morgan band).

Click here for more information on the Mats/Morgan Band’s new CD and DVD release from Cuneiform Records, “Heat Beats Live/Tourbook 1991-2007“.

Beefheart Night at the Knitting Factory

Back on April 9th, 2008, Gary Lucas curated “Beefheart Night at the Knit“, a salute to the Music, Poetry and Art of Don Van Vliet, a/k/a Captain Beefheart.

Click here to view highlights of that night and backstage interviews with the evening’s many and various participants (thanks to Culture Clash).

Don Van Vliet might have been absent in body on this particular evening, yet his presence, and his affect on popular culture, art, and music is unquestionably undeniable.

Captain Beefheart — Revisited


A couple of my favorite Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band videos, “I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby” (The Spotlight Kid/Clear Spot, 1972) and “Hard Working Man” (Dust Blows Forward – Anthology, 1999) — and a reminder to revisit Barry’s Monday, September 29th, 2008 post of BBC’s documentary on The Captain, narrated by the late great John Peel. Click here.

1997 Captain Beefheart Documentary

Not sure if I’ve posted this before, anyway, here’s a BBC documentary on The Captain, narrated by the late great John Peel. Part one:

Parts two, three, four, five, six.

Via MetaFilter.