The Magic Band – Back To The Front (2003)

januari 14, 2017

The Savage Saints

The Magic Band to grupa muzyków która przez wiele lat towarzyszyła i wspierała w muzycznych poczynaniach Captaina Beefhearta, legendarnego, kultowego, wokalistę bluesowego, mistrza awangardy, przyjaciela ze szkolnej ławy samego Franka Zappy, no i przede wszystkim lidera niezwykłego zespołu jakim był Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (1965 – 1982). Po odejściu Captaina Beefhearta muzycy postanowili kontynuować swoją muzyczną działalność właśnie jako The Magic Band.

Mark “Rockette Morton” Boston – middle earth bass
John “Drumbo” French – perspective drums, vocals, harmonica
Garcy Lucas – guitar
Denny “Feeler’s Reedo/Walla Walla” Walley – guitar

Ones was the band named The Magic Band

In early february, four musicians assemble in a rehearsal room in Palmdale, California, USA to practise a repertoire of twenty-one songs. even though they used to be in the same group, this is the first time in fifteen years that all four are together in the same room. In preparation, they…

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The Shaming of the Cherry Sisters

oktober 6, 2016


Jack El-Hai | Longreads | October 2016 | 15 minutes (3,795 words)

In her late middle age, Effie Cherry felt troubled as she thought back on her life in the theater with her sisters. From the 1890s into the 1930s, the Cherry Sisters had sung, danced, acted, and recited from the stages of countless vaudeville houses. Of this experience Effie churned up mainly bitter memories. “All of the wicked, false and malicious articles written in the newspapers throughout the country concerning the Cherry Sisters,” she set down in an unpublished memoir, “were written by unscrupulous editors and reporters devoid of all honor, morals or even respectability…. After twenty-five or thirty years of persecution and slander by the press, one would think there would be an end, but the serpent’s tongue is always ready to strike in the dark, and still the slimy, venomous reptile is creeping on.”

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juli 28, 2016

Michael Stewart

2016-06-21 11.20.03-1Below is a transcript of a conversation I had with Steve Hanley, bass player with The Fall for nineteen years and instrumental in developing the sound of the group, at the launch event for the paperback edition of The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall, by Steve and Olivia Piekarski (published by Route Books). The event took place in the Tap and Barrel pub in Pontefract. This conversation took place in the beer garden. Towards the end, Olivia joins the conversation, as does Ian Daley, the publisher.

Michael: The first thing I want to say Steve is how much I enjoyed the book. It’s not just one of the best books about The Fall, but one of the best books about being in a band I’ve ever read. It is unusual as it focuses on the work, the day to day grind of life in a band that…

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[1981] – ‘How To Say 1981 In German’ (2005)

juli 22, 2016

Arthur Cravan: poet, boxer, blogger

mei 22, 2016

Strange Flowers

La gloire est un scandale.

– Arthur Cravan

If Arthur Cravan believed that “glory is a scandal,” he was equally convinced that scandal could be glorious. And it was for this that the Dadaists were so keen to co-opt the poet-boxer’s legend after his disappearance (and presumed death) in 1918: he shared their nihilistic disdain for the past, contempt for hypocrisy and above all, their lust for provocation.

Cravan was a tireless self-publicist. Born in Switzerland on this day in 1887 with the name Fabian Avenarius Lloyd, changing it to the snappier Arthur Cravan was just the beginning of his quest for attention. Although he left his family name behind, he made much of his connection to Oscar Wilde (the playwright’s wife was Cravan’s father’s sister). And while determined to make his way as a poet despite disapproval from his overbearing mother, Cravan was wily enough to realise that boxing

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URGE FOR NIGEL: an interview with Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit

april 26, 2016

Michael Stewart

bloodlustNigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit fame is an elusive figure in popular music, who has spent many years avoiding interviewers from many prestigious publications, so I feel very honoured that he was happy to answer the questions I had after listening to the latest album Urge For Offal. It’s as good as anything the band have done and if you haven’t listened to them for a while, it’s a great introduction to where they are now.

Right, first question: there’s a touch of John Shuttleworth on the new album. I’m thinking of the line about the beach having a ‘blue flag status’. How do you feel about that comparison?

John Shuttleworth – I must own, I haven’t really listened too much as I’m not particularly an avid radio listener but I did like Jilted John of course.

Urge For Offal has just made the Top 40 album charts…

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Mark E Smith in conversation with Michael Stewart

april 26, 2016

Michael Stewart

To mark the tenth anniversary of the Huddersfield Literature Festival, below is a transcript of my conversation with Mark E Smith in 2009 at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.

MES poster2

MS      Thanks very much for coming along Mark. Welcome to Huddersfield. I know I’ve already spoken to you before about this, but I think a lot of your fans will want to know, so let’s get the hip out of the way first of all.

MES    The hip ?

MS      The hip yes. How is the hip? How did you break your hip? And how is it now?

MES    The hip priest. Have  you  bought  any records in  the past  twenty years ?    [the intro music was The Hip Priest].

Audience laugh.


MS      No I just download them.

MES    Oh right. No, it’s fine now. I’m just glad to stand up.

MS      Because  you  had  a theory about this…

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Sean Murphy – “O Captain! My Captain!: The Unique Magic of Captain Beefheart” (2010)

maart 12, 2016

The Beat Patrol

A tribute to late, great Captain Beefheart by Sean Murphy from the PopMatters website, dated Dec. 20, 2010…

As Ian Anderson said, “We’re getting a bit short on heroes lately”.

And Ian, while he wasn’t speaking of Don Van Vliet, nevertheless would—and has—endorsed the man better known as Captain Beefheart. Indeed, the list of well-loved and iconoclastic artists who have cited CB as an inspiration and hero include the likes of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, P.J. Harvey and Matt Groening. When the people lots of people worship name you as someone they worship, you can safely conclude you have done influential work, even if it didn’t necessarily pay the bills.

To say Don Van Vliet, who passed away on December 17th, was unique is rather like saying the sun radiates heat: it doesn’t quite capture the enormity and impact of the subject. To assert that he was brilliant would be…

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Kurt Loder – “Captain Beefheart’s Ship Comes In” (1980)

maart 12, 2016

The Beat Patrol

Kurt Loder piece from Rolling Stone, Nov. 27, 1980… 

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 curses at the soggy September sky Van Vliet perks up, chuckling in appreciation. “Tell you what, I like her style,” he says, flipping to a fresh page in the squiggle-filled sketch pad on his lap…

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Steve Weitzman – “Zappa and the Captain Cook” (1975)

maart 12, 2016

The Beat Patrol

Taken from Rolling Stone, July 3, 1975 – this was the period where Zappa and Beefheart kissed and made up and went on tour together. You can still sense a bit of patronising and condescension though between the two, if you read between the lines…  

Captain Beefheart, rock’s sometime genius, had just finished a show with Frank Zappa, with whom he’s touring after the end of their longtime feud. Slumped backstage at the Capitol Theatre, he scratched his shaggy head and slowly related the latest bizarre turn in his odd life.

“I said some silly things,” Beefheart noted, “because I’m a spoiled brat and I don’t understand business to the degree that Frank does. I probably felt neglected. I’ll admit it… and I told him so. I said, ‘I’m sorry Frank and I don’t mean that for an excuse.’ We shook hands and that was that.”

Zappa and…

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