Grapevine Magazine and GrapevineLIVE.co.uk are published by Musical Marketing, part of the Mansion House Publishing Group.
This November, John “Drumbo” French leads out the current version of The Magic Band for one final tour of the UK. A faithful rendition of the best of Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band’s music is guaranteed.
Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, was a visionary in the field of music – so much so John Peel described Beefheart as “the most important figure to emerge from the Rock era of the 1960s and 1970s.” His backing group was called Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, and it started out as a Blues outfit.
Drummer, John French (or “Drumbo”), joined in 1966 to help record the album, Safe as Milk. A collection of classic albums followed, including Strictly Personal, Trout Mask Replica, Lick My Decals Off, Baby, Mirror Man, The Spotlight Kid and Bat Chain Puller. He was not only the drummer but also served as musical director of The Magic Band. Though his book, Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic, tells the story of his turbulent years with Van Vliet and it sold out of the original printing and was reprinted in both paperback and digital media.
Van Vliet retired in 1982, after a career of sixteen years and thirteen original albums plus many bootlegs. He became a painter, withdrawing more and more from the public, eventually succumbing to complications of MS in 2010. Therefore the personnel of the Magic Band constantly changed over time, and the name came to refer to whoever was backing the legendary Captain Beefheart at the time.
John French re-formed The Magic Band back in 2003. They debuted at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and have toured, mainly in the UK and Europe, irregularly ever since. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine recently included John French in their 100 Best Drummers Ever (at #48) and declared: “(his) toms-heavy, polyrhythmic style would become as integral to the group as Don Van Vliet’s modernist-blues croak.”
On the verge of his 69th year, John French decided that his touring days were over, but he was persuaded to come to the UK for one last tour. The lineup of The Magic Band who will be playing this final tour are: John “Drumbo” French (Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Sax, Drums); Eric Klerks (Extended Ranch guitar, BKP Vocals); Max Kutner (Guitar and Slide guitar); Jonathan Sindelman (Keyboards); Andy Niven (Drums). Ticket demand is expected to be heavy, so book soon. Dates as follows: –
Sun, 5 – Glasgow, Mono
Mon, 6 – Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms
Tue, 7 – Newcastle, Cluny
Wed, 8 – Morecambe, The Platform
Fri, 10 – Liverpool, Music Room (Philharmonic)
Sat, 11 – Manchester, Band on the Wall
Sun, 12 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
Mon 13 – Wolverhampton, Robin 2
Thu, 16 – Aldershot, West End Centre
Fri, 17 – Dublin, DBD
Sat, 18 – Ireland, TBC
Mon, 20 – Bristol, The Fleece
Tue, 21 – Exeter, The Phoenix
Thu, 23 – Brighton, Komedia
Fri, 24 – London, Garage
Sat, 25 – Norwich, Arts Centre
Sun, 26 – Colchester, Arts Centre
With a few more dates/venues TBC. For more information or to book visit www.beefheart.com/the-magic-band.