THE MAGIC BAND reunion
BAND #1 -
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the FIRST VETERANS MEETING
i first heard about this thunderbolt late december (2001) when someone asked me why i didn't mention the REUNION of a few former musicians of captain beefheart's MAGIC BAND which had taken place in los angeles, california, usa.... i accept the shame, but i simply didn't know about it! so he explained:
I live in England, but can get the Eugene, Oregon campus radio on the internet at 7 am on tuesday mornings (11 pm mondays over there). The show is called The Big Note and based around Zappa, but Eugene being Bill Harkleroad's home town and with his new cd released, he visited for an interview, I think it was October 30th.
Zoot Horn Rollo said that the project is funded by UCLA Performing Arts who want to put on a show with Beefheart paintings, video projections and a 40 minute set from the reformed MAGIC BAND, with two shows at UCLA, one in London and one in Stockholm. They had no response from Jeff Cotton, so DENNY WALLEY took his place. MARK BOSTON is on bass, JOHN FRENCH on drums and BILL HARKLEROAD on guitar of course.
They all got together for two days rehearsal at UCLA. Mark is putting together a studio in Carolina and Bill flew to Los Angeles, so they probably all had plane tickets paid for. Zoot said the rehearsals went well and he felt he played better than when he recorded Trout Mask Replica - as being a better musician now, he felt more relaxed. The titles they played were Steal Softly Through Snow, Hair Pie Bake 2, Moonlight On Vermont and Zoot had relearned One Red Rose That I Mean. They plan to do everything without vocals.
I got a shock that day!
(it's a pity my reporter was shocked for two month, before he started to realize he might be the only listener (beef)world wide to that particular radio station! though, coincidentally i just received an e-mail from a contact in the european zappa circuit who asked me if certain rumours going around in their circles were true...)
denny, bill, mark and john during a break from a - 16 hour? - rehearsal
(many thanks to the zappa fans for taking the picture)
can you imagine i held my breath for a moment when i read this sensational news?
although, when you come to think about it, probably it's better to say: not quite unexpected news
because, when you know that (chronologically)
in 1995 DENNY WALLEY featured in the excellent one-off band 'discontinued stand' which played the music of captain beefheart,
in 1996 JOHN 'drumbo' FRENCH reconstructed his beefheart past at a drum clinic and on his wonderful solo ceedee o solo drumbo,
in 1997 BILL 'zoot horn rollo' HARKLEROAD wrote his lunar notes off but it only led to increased requests to play like 'zoot' again,
in 1998 JOHN FRENCH interviewed every former member that could be found and himself for the there ain't no santa claus on the evening stage notes to the grow fins sets,
in 1999 JOHN FRENCH continued digging out his and other one's memories on behalf of his book through the eyes of magic,
which a year later led to the reappearance of MARK 'rockette morton' BOSTON who was eager to play serious music again,
i think it's just a logical next step....
the re-newed contacts the trout core had could have raised some sentiments and when the californian university invited them to 'play it out' for a handful of good bucks, of course they accepted the job - 'a man's gotta live, a man's gotta eat'. there even is a chance the knowledge that this time they could play the music they (once) love(d) without that tormentor don around, helped them making the positive decision.
that jeff cotton alias antennae jimmy semens isn't available for his old role as 'trout mask replica' guitarists is no surprise, because he has found another vocation decades ago. of the possible substitutes denny walley is the one who most often has played 'trout mask replica' stuff: he was part of beef and the magic for two and a half year ('75-'78). by the way, half of that time john french was one of his partners, and both play on the never-released 'bat chain puller' album.
for the rest, we'll have to wait a while before any further news will appear. evidently, as can be made up from bill's utterances, the 'brothers in magic' liked the reunion so far. so they probably will end it as planned (which might be the start of something new...). but that requires some more organization of rehearsals first, working out of the program next, and so on later. besides that, the 'ucla performing arts' have to arrange the exhibition and the other side-shows, and such can't be done in a few hours too.
by the time this TROUT BAND REPLICA idea gets more shape
they surely will send out press messages to let the world know
because there are a lot of people wanting to hear the magic music live (again)
- hey, ucla, if by chance you read this, pay attention, please -
why does this wonderful concept only visit los angeles, london and stockholm?!
what's wrong with the rest of the world?
MARK BOSTON'S SPACE AGE
MARK BOSTON STEPS
BACK INTO THE LIGHT
from MOJO #101 010402 england
by jeff colde
is ±02.02 usa telephone interview
i'm a space nut. i've got a telescope in the van, i've written some songs with space themes. 'gonna take a rockette to the moon', 'the space shuttle', 'you're so subtle' and 'black hole boogie'. it's not like beefheart. i can't sing too well. it's like country and blues.
after mallard, i ended up back in lancaster in local bands. fresno is a real armpit. people there are terrible, the ones that i had to deal with. lot of backstabbers and jealous-types. we had a band called 'duck'. went on an usa tour in 1980. went to korea, guam, okinawa.
i moved to nashville in the early '90s. it's a real closed circuit. you've gotta be a devout christian. they would see 'captain beefheart' on my résumé, and it sometimes worked against me. i hooked up with country singer leon everette.
[for the magic band reunion minus captain beefheart] i grew my moustache back, i practise a little in the morning and at night. i had to go out and buy some new metal finger-picks, i haven't played with them since 1974. at the rehearsals last october in john's studio there was just enough room to get all four of us in there (no wonder, they all look much healthier than they ever were in beefheart's army - teejo). it came together really well.
john's mom did not like don. she was spooky, religious and burned candles around the house. because don always laughed at her, she called him 'laughing boy'. don had a closet full of shoes. i always wondered where he got that stingray.
i used to go to johnny weissmuller's restaurant in hollywood. they had a great sandwich with tuna, a little mayonnaise, alfalfa sprouts, and cream cheese. i guess the young people don't even know who weissmuller is any more (sir, í know! it's tarzan! uh, but shit: i'm not young... sincere apologies - teejo). i still make that sandwich sometimes, though.
Subject: REUNION CANCELLED
by robert williams
is 270402 e-mail
after a period without clear developments robert williams, a former magic band member who didn't take part in the intended reunion but knows some of the guys involved, posted a short but sad web message:
After speaking with Denny Walley and John French the answer is NO REUNION.
It may happen but not now. Money, in realistic amounts to each member will determine it's materialization. The promoters changed the deal to the disadvantage of the players so they gave up. Pity THAT fool!
So sad for you too!
BUT... IF YOU WANT
TO KNOW HOW THIS WENT ON,
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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo