captain beefheart electricity



to be published 'whenever it gets done (and not a day sooner)'


after zoot horn rolloŠ archived his memories about captain beefheart and his participation in the magic band in his book lunar notes, drumboŠ seems to be next to clean up his past. maybe he didn't feel the need so much, but things went into the highest gear when the grow fins set was prepared and he was so careless to accept the task to write the liner notes. it led to an overwhelming flood of talks with people who once were a part of the beefheart adventure - even ex-members that had become invisible, and together with the treasure of new facts his attempt to keep it simple ran out of hand: it grew to a 100+ pages book which will be an amazing read along the previously unreleased recordings.

but what's more: john also interviewed himself!

nobody should already know that he's writing those 'drumbian notes' based on all the research he did - because it will cause unnecessary impatience to us impatients - after all there are those 'liner fins' (with some of his personal memories i suppose) to swallow first. so we'll just have to wait till next century...



for a long time nothing was heard about john's 'work of patience'. but mid 2004 - also a century later - he suddenly went off topic in a very long e-interview about the magic band reunion called french redressing:

Don's personality had a very dark and controlling side to it and I don't like to go into details about this but I'm writing a book about this and it will be out soon. I think the book will help answer a lot of questions about how it happened. I don't think it can answer how it happened. I don't know why it happened except there was something very evil going on that I still can't explain. It's very hard to describe in a few paragraphs something that took months and months to evolve to where it did.

When I started working on my book people kept asking if I would do track notes so I started listening to all the albums one track at a time and recalling everything about when they were written, how they were written, when the lyrics were written and if the music was written at the same time. That kind of thing.

interviewer grahame bent: You've already mentioned the book you're working on - can you talk a little more about this?

The 'There Ain't No Santa Claus On The Evening Stage' booklet with the Grow Fins set was sort of a sampler for what the book will be like. I transcribed over 300 pages of interviews for the booklet so I had all this interview material left over and that's when I decided to write the book. I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to set the record straight a little bit and kind of defray a few myths that Don seemed to perpetuate which were then perpetuated by journalists.

off topic picture
captain beefheart - book - john french: through the eye of magic - video still  dvd 2004 england
john looking through his own eyes
video still from the magic band dvd live in concert & crow's milk
kindly provided by adrian udal / subdiva

I started working on it the year after the box set came out and it's a combination of everything I can remember interspersed with everyone's interviews in as much of a chronological order as is humanly possible to achieve. I don't consider myself the official band historian but maybe I'm their advocate when it comes to telling their story. I just wanted to tell the inside story of the Magic Band from the experience of the musicians themselves.

I started at the beginning. How we all grew up listening to Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. They were the most popular band in the Valley, so we all wanted to be like them. How I was invited into the band. So it's historical in that sense but a lot of the early part of the book is me going through the interviews and my early memories of that era.

Then it starts getting intense when 'Safe As Milk' came together and it gets more intense when we were doing 'Strictly Personal' and 'Trout Mask Replica'. I wrote 700 pages and I obviously couldn't put that all in the one book so I'm trying to get it down to 500 pages and put it out in two volumes. Volume one will end when we come home from the promotional tour in 1968 and volume two will start up with 'Trout Mask Replica'.

Has anyone been in touch with you about publishing rights?

I've refused every offer I've had so far. I'm going to self publish. I would never make enough money through a publisher to make it worth my while. I'll probably sell it over the internet and if it attracts enough attention later on I might sell it through a publisher.

The title of the book is Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic and I'm hoping to have it out within a year. I was really hoping to have it printed as we speak but one of the problems with doing this reunion thing is the incredible amount of business I have to attend to - so I'm tied up too many hours a day to actually be able to write.

Everything is basically written - I only have to cut and paste the interviews into the second volume.

[updated 120205]


to be published 'WHENEVER IT GETS DONE'...

eventually, that turned out to be january 2010.


[updated 010110]

click clack back to the library or return to the power station

captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo