captain beefheart electricity



THIS is BAND #4 live - go to the main page


back in the states after the two uk performances by the third version of the magic band, robert williams soon quit with the project. as there never has been published an official statement about the reasons for the depart, we can only guess what really happened and who's to blame. but from some casual remarks robert later made in the newsgroup i understand that, to start with, there had been some heavy disputes about the purpose of the reunion: promoting beefheart's music or providing themselves with a nice job.

besides that, he got (and gets) annoyed about the way the other guys bad mouth(ed) don van vliet during interviews in stead of concentrating on the importance of beefheart's unmatched approach of rock music. further tensions arose when robert 'made mention of the musical mistakes some of them were making and not having learned their parts correctly and that bruised their huge egos'. the rift even seems to be so deep, he is still waiting for his pay.

i think it's a distasteful end to what in my opinion is the only fitting solution for the 'drumkit problem' of the second half of the shows: with his longtime beefheart experience robert is th right man for that job. i hope the persons concerned can make up their quarrels....


anyway, the magic band had been booked for some further concerts and the remaining members solved the (temporary?) absence of robert williams by hiring a complete stranger, i mean: someone without any 'magic background'. so the reunion project continued with:

MARK BOSTON rockette morton * bass guitar
JOHN FRENCH drumbo * drums * percussion * vocals * harmonica
GARY LUCAS * guitar
DENNY WALLEY feeler's rebo / walla walla * guitar
MICHAEL TRAYLOR * drums * percussion

postponed sunday 22 june 2003 LOS ANGELES california usa PALACE all tomorrow's parties pacific 2003
rescheduled sunday 28 september 2003 LOS ANGELES california usa PALACE all tomorrow's parties pacific 2003
saturday 8 november 2003
LONG BEACH california usa QUEEN MARY all tomorrow's parties pacific 2003

festival attendance: nearly 5000 (almost sold out)


first performance: ELECTRICITY safe as milk 1967

            band reunion - live picture 081103 alll tomorrow's parties,
            long beach, usa - gary lucas
gary lucas


all the images on this page are just samples from the defunct SKIPPY SKIFFLETON'S LUNAR ECLIPSE GALLERY

by richard cromelin
note: edited version


The second Los Angeles area edition of the All Tomorrow's Parties rock festival - postponed and beefed up after disappointing initial sales - drew a near-capacity audience to the Queen Mary in Long Beach on Saturday, the first of its two days. It's an encouraging sign for musical diversity that almost 5,000 people turned up to sample a menu notable more for eclecticism than must-see acts.

The fact that many of them had to stand in excessively long lines to get into the two stage areas or to access food and drink was the downside. But once positioned in the Bayside Park that held the large main stage or in the smaller, rock-club-like room aboard the ship, listeners had it pretty good.

All Tomorrow's Parties' reputation as pop's most adventurous musical safari stems from its policy of turning over the programming to a designated 'curator'. Since its founding in England five years ago, ATP has enlisted such underground bands as [] and, in its U.S. debut last year at UCLA, Sonic Youth (which headlined Saturday's bill). This year's Los Angeles version is the first molded by a nonmusician: 'the Simpsons' (cartoon heroes - t.t.) creator Matt Groening.

By reflecting one person's taste, All Tomorrow's Parties aims to draw curious, open-minded fans willing to put themselves in the hands of this weekend guru. Groening, a lifelong music geek of extremely diverse tastes, didn't range too far beyond the indie-rock universe in assembling his party, and some of Saturday's acts roll through town on a regular basis. Despite the advantage of getting them all on the same day for a low price, there was a certain lack of urgency to stretches of the bill. But Groening also provided a strong endorsement of marching to a different drummer by showcasing the likes of [some other acts on the program].

There were some special attractions too, and Groening himself introduced the one that initially inspired him to take on the job: the reunion of the Magic Band, the group that backed the visionary Captain Beefheart from late '60s till early '80s on his blazing forays to rock's wild frontiers.

magic band reunion - live picture 081103 alll
              tomorrow's parties, long beach, usa - mark boston /
              rockette morton, curator matt groening
matt groening presents the magic band

The reunion actually gathers players from different eras, with the heavier mystique borne by drummer John French and bassist Mark Boston, known respectively as Drumbo and Rockette Morton when they anchored Beefheart's legendary 1969 album 'Trout Mask Replica'. Guitarists Gary Lucas and Denny Walley (Feeler's Rebo) were later, short-term members.

Gray and roly-poly as some of them may be, they attacked Beefheart's disorienting, off-kilter classics with spirit, power and precision. The strangely structured set opened with a long stretch of the band's more difficult instrumentals, but when French came to the front of the stage (Michael Traylor taking over the drums) to fill in for the retired Beefheart on vocals, the show took off.

Strange, though, was the complete absence of any mention of Beefheart, the man who conceived and designed this music. It's understandable that these players might want to shed their reputation as Beefheart puppets who simply followed his orders. Maybe it was an oversight. In any case, it cast a slightly unpleasant light on an otherwise wondrous hour.


provided by someone who is 'not sure of source of this article' - - 14 november 2003


how was it?

fantastic!!! they played wonderfully and seemed to have fun playing it! they not only recreated the songs, but made 'em rock!

who was in the band?

[the well known names] and michael traylor - drums (when drumbo sang).

what songs did they play?

not in order: 'steal softly through snow', 'on tomorrow', 'alice in blunderland', 'circumstances', 'when it blows its stacks', 'electricity' (first time performance! - teejo), 'moonlight on vermont', 'nowadays a woman's gotta hit a man', 'big eyed beans from venus' and some nice little drum solos by drumbo (and other tracks - t.t.).

how was drumbo's singing?

remarkably close to don's! he also played harmonica some times. had a real stage presence too.

what about the new drummer?

he did a great job on the little amount of rehearsal and coaching he got.

anything unusual happen?

well, there was a partial lunar eclipse taking place right when they were on stage!

magic band reunion - live picture 081103 alll
              tomorrow's parties, long beach, usa - john french /
john french

what was the crowd like?

mixed old geezers and kids. odd thing was, the kids didn't scatter but stayed on and made the effort to listen! and some of them dg it!

was i a sorry son-of-a-bitch to miss this?

oh yeah!

is there any chance they will do it again?

they announced from the stage that they would like to play more gigs. at this point they are scheduled to play in london, january 23th and in edinburgh, the next day. but nothing definite other than those.


the 2005 ceedee 21st century mirror men, a selection of live recordings, closes off with two songs from this concert: 'electricity' and 'big eyed beans from venus'. coincidentally, the ceedee starts with the introduction by matt groening....

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[updated 030316]

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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo