In November 1980 whilst Don was in London as part of his UK tour with the Magic Band, music journalist David Hepworth recorded this short interview with him.
Recorded in December 1980 music writer Dave Di Martino talks with Don
DH: Don, it’s been five years since you last came to England and played. What have you been doing since? DVV: Trying to get the right group to play my music. DH: Aha – you had a lot of trouble? DVV: It wasn’t that much trouble, it was just a lot of childish nonsense, you know, like, uh, with the other group – I mean it takes a long time to get to play what I do. Now I have the perfect thing. Wait till they hear this group. DH: You reckon this band is better than any band you had before? DVV: Best, oh
I didn’t like this place. The bouncers searched us roughly on the way in; then, after finding a table to sit at, we were constantly harassed by cocktail waitresses, hassling us to buy overpriced drinks. All this just lowered my opinion of Richard Branson and Virgin, who owned the place, even further. It was a bit of a shock to see Beefheart when he came on. He’d aged a lot in 5 years, and had a kind of world-weary resigned air about him. Instead of the grand entrances of old, he just ambled quietly on stage. The first thing he said to us was “I
Personnel: (Beefheart & Magic Band) Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart): vocals, harmonica, Chinese gongs, soprano sax; Jeff Moris Tepper, Richard Snyder: guitars; Eric Drew Feldman: electric bass, synthesiser, keyboards; Robert Arthur Williams: drums; Gary Lucas: guitar on Flavor Bud Living. (Ulmer Quintet) Ulmer: guitar; Julius Hemphill: saxes; Olu Dara: trumpet; Amin Ah: bass; Calvin Weston: drums. Inspired is a word which is frequently misused, particularly when applied to an event or a concept. Yet the pairing of Don Van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart) and James “Blood” Ulmer can be described in no better fashion. Performing before a capacity crowd one chilling night after Thanksgiving, Beefheart
This live review was written by Tristram Lozaw and originally appeared in February 1981 Boston Rock. Pressed in a recent Lester Bangs interview for something he could compare to his music, Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart named the “speed and emotion” of works by artist Franz Kline. Beefheart seems to rely on shapes instead of notes. Word sounds instead of lyrics. Equations that don’t necessarily balance. Approaching music as the artist / sculptor he is, Beefheart’s communiques are more often directed at his band (his canvas) than the audience. A painter doesn’t throw a swash of color onto his creation and then talk to
Don Van Vliet, who is better known as Captain Beefheart, writes some of the knottiest, most extravagantly off-center music ever played on amplified instruments. One can remember earlier Beefheart concerts and be familiar with his recordings and still be unprepared for the sheer physical impact of two or three electric guitars, bass and drums hammering out rhythms that seem to trip over themselves in perfect unison, and of Mr. Van Vliet declaiming helter-skelter in a voice that veers edgily from a falsetto hiccup to a buzz-saw rasp. Captain Beefheart has been writing this knotty music, and teaching it to various editions of his Magic Band,
Track list Abba Zaba Hot Head Ashtray Heart Dirty Blue Gene Best Batch Yet Safe As Milk Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles One Red Rose That I Mean Doctor Dark Bat Chain Puller My Human Gets Me Blues Sugar ‘n’ Spikes Veteran’s Day Poppy Dropout Boogie Sheriff Off Hong Kong Kandy Korn Suction Prints Big Eyed Beans from Venus Recorded live at The Paradiso, Amsterdam on 1st November, 1980. Publicity Superb quality as this live set was mastered from the original record tape and features 18 tracks and over 75 minutes of music and includes a 12-page booklet with many previously unseen photos.
This recording was taken from Chorus, a French television programme. The performance took place at Théatre De L’Empire, Paris on 7 November 1980. Track list Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man Best Batch Yet Dirty Blue Gene Safe As Milk Flavor Bud Living Bat Chain Puller Big Eyed Beans From Venus. Band members Don Van Vliet Eric Drew Feldman Rick Snyder Jeff Moris Tepper Gary Lucas Robert Williams
An account of a concert at the Stanhope, New Jersey, 6 December 1980. This article and photographs are by Raymond Ricker and originally appeared at Home Page Replica. The show in question was held the night after the Boston, MA show at the Stanhope Club – Stanhope, New Jersey on 6th December 1980. The club was traditionally used to house Country & Western bands. I showed up, with 3 friends, about 2 hours before the scheduled start. As luck would have it, the Magic Band (minus Don) was in the middle of a sound check and they invited us to sit in. For most of
Many thanks to Klaas Brouwer for very kindly sending along these photos and giving his permission to feature them here. They were all taken on 4th November 1980 at De Brinkhoeve in Roden, Holland. Copyright held by the photographer, Klaas Brouwer. Used by permission, not to be reproduced for commercial use.
Many thanks to Hans Van Hulst for sending along these splendid photographs and giving his permission to feature them here. They were all taken on 1st November 1980 at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Holland; a semi-legendary show due to it being recorded for a radio broadcast and subsequently widely bootlegged. Hans writes: In 1980 I attended the concert in Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The band was late, so by the time the audience arrived they were still tuning up behind closed doors. I was standing right in front of those doors, trying to peek in. I could see all kinds of people on stage, but no
On 22nd November 1980 The Magic Band gave a storming performance of Ashtray Heart and Hot Head in front of a studio audience for Saturday Night Live. Ashtray Heart Hot Head According to Doug Stacey: “The person yelling “Shit!” at the end of the SNL performance was Radames Pera, the once child actor playing “Grasshopper” in the TV show “Kung Fu.” He was disgusted with the Beefheart performance. It was evidently his first exposure to Don’s music.” Robert Williams, the Magic Band drummer, commented on this heckling: “After the show we went to an after show party at a bar in Manhatten with the cast
Recording details: Date – June 1980 Studio – Sound Castle Recording Studios, Los Angeles Producer – Don van Vliet Engineer – Glen Kolotkin, Mitchell Gibson Musicians: Don Van Vliet – vocals, chinese gongs, harmonica, sax, bass clarinet Jeff Moris Tepper – guitar Eric Drew Feldman – bass, synthsiser, mellotron, piano Robert Arthur Williams – drums Bruce Fowler – trombone John French – guitar, marimba, bass, drums Gary Lucas – guitar, french horn Track list Hot Head Ashtray Heart A Carrot is as Close as a Rabbit Gets To A Diamond Run Paint Run Run Sue Egypt Brickbats Dirty Blue Gene Best Batch Yet Telephone Flavor
Whatever the relationship between the music of Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) and new wave, it must be more than coincidence that after fifteen years as a largely ignored but legendary eccentric, he is making music that is as strong and strange as any he has ever made, and is receiving more recognition than ever before. Captain Beefheart has always represented the final frontier of rock weirdness, but his vintage records were only taken seriously by a few at the time of their release. Few critics (Langdon Winner foremost among them) tried to negotiate the maze of the music’s roots and the essence of Beefheart’s
After 16 years and a dozen albums, the world has finally caught up with Don van Vliet. IT’S A DOGSHIT DAY ON West Forty-second Street, the neon-choked main drag of Manhattan’s cheap-thrills district. As the daily midmorning traffic jam congeals into an unmoving mass, Don Van Vliet peers out a drizzle-streaked car window at the shuffling tribe of hookers, hustlers and head cases that clogs the sidewalks, then squints up at the lewd movie marquees looming above: SLAVES OF THE CANNIBAL GOD. SUGAR BRITCHES. THAT’S PORNO! Reeling out into the street, a sputtering madwoman, dizzed-out and in full rant, does battle with her demons, flinging
He’s alive, but so is paint. Are you? Don Van Vliet is a 39-year-old man who lives with his wife Jan in a trailer in the Mojave Desert. They have very little money, so it must be pretty hard on them sometimes, but I’ve never heard them complain. Don Van Vliet is better known as Captain Beefheart, a legend worldwide whom the better part of a generation of New Wave rock ‘n’ roll bands’ have cited as one of their most important spiritual and musical forefathers: John Lydon/Rotten, Joe Strummer of the Clash, Devo, Pere Ubu, and many others have attested to growing up on
Captain Beefheart is a visionary / madman / genius who makes remarkably original music. A sculptor / painter / poet / philosopher of the primitive surrealist persuasion, Beefheart has never confined himself to the commonly accepted realm of possibilities. Perceiving the universe with magic and gleeful eyes, he tosses conventional approaches to language and music out of the window, and replaces them with an astonishing system of his own design. His startlingly irregular music marries rural folk tales , voodoo, free association, Dada, and Americana to a spectrum of sound that stretches from Charles Ives, jazz and blues, to the natural sounds of the Mojave