Those of you who have read the Grow Fins booklet written by John will find the structure of this book familiar – verbatim interviews with Magic. This astonishing book is both a vigorous debunking of the Captain Beefheart myth – a myth sold by the old snake oil salesman himself and swallowed willingly . Buy Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic by John Drumbo French (ISBN:) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible.

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I have no intention of revealing any of that in this review. Gradually it morphs into a memoir: I’m not sure what kind of biographer Beefheart deserves. Ben rated it really liked it Apr 10, This is not surprising since John French was there and lived through those dreadful days while the band rehearsed and prepared for Trout Mask Replica.

Msgic email submissions only to seswilson gmail. A Sookie Stackhouse Colle To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. It’s not really the story of the band, or a biography of Don Van Vliet, it’s the story of one man’s history with Don Van Vliet. A lot of the interview material repeats what he writes in previous paragraphs too. It starts out kind of like an oral history of the Magic Band: Then there is a very thorough critical review of Beefheart througu from an insider’s viewpoint, providing a track-by-track history of the music, as well as a particularly detailed musical and cultural commentary on Trout Mask Replica.

Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic

Every page has a fish yees bubbles on it …. D’ya — I mean, I can’t get it through there y’know like, what I want to get through there.

It is sad reading about the relationships within the band especially with Don van Vliet but I could not say that I was surprised. Many people may initially read this for the obvious Don Van Vliet a.

His music was all compressed bounding agility, all electric, howling, mad in every way, ecstatic, as religious as I ever wanted to be, you couldn’t sing along to it, or you could if you didn’t mind someone calling th Don Vliet – he added the van for a bit of swagger – was an extraordinary man, brilliant and outrageous – troutrageous, if you will.


These are very interesting, but also kind of patchy, alternating between personal stories about the tracks, personal feelings on them, technical information about them, etc. Chapters start and end in often arbitrary locations, and the text jumps from topic to topic manically.

The book is worth buying for this section alone … John gives maguc some interesting details about the recording of each track, the history of the lyrics, who plays what and how the musical throuyh were devised. This is an incredibly comprehensive review of French’s time s with the band and contains a lot of really interesting and revealing insight but it could really have done with a good editor as it’s a real slog to read.

Mar 13, Gareth Mooney rated it liked it. The picture of Van Vliet that emerges from this account is one of a manipulative, despotic, and paranoid sociopath who would do anything to have his way.

John French is better qualified than anyone to Few names carry such formidable mystique and rabid cult status as Captain Beefheart, who led various lineups of his Magic Band to make some of the most startling, ground-breaking albums of the last century. You get the impression French yearned for more contact with musicians outside his immediate circle, but was denied oof. With over bbeefheart visiting our site each day, we listen to the voice of the masses and try and procure books in all genres to review.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 20, at What a disappointment for the huge Captain Beefheart fan that I am. As other reviews have mentioned, there is some duplication of information in this approach, througg I didn’t find this too intrusive. Few names carry such formidable mystique and rabid cult status as Captain Beefheart, who led various lineups of his Magic Band to make some of the most startling, ground-breaking albums of the last century.

In fact, I think it might even work if you dipped into the book at random points. Many players — the author included — suffered constant fyes at the hands of their fearless leader.


Eilandje rated it liked it Apr 17, Too many times French repeats himself and when the book is pages that’s not so good an idea. A true Tje bible, with all kinds of inside stories. Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

I did not realise until 37 years later that it was not normal. Hardcoverpages.

John writes well as we already know and it comes as a relief after some of the longer interview sections to read his prose. I’m having a hard time describing this. There were many occasions when John would get quite depressed about his writing and wondered whether it was really worth all of the effort and time it was taking when he could be better off looking for a proper job to support his family. An interesting book, with a lot of unique, important material, but with a number of problems.

Well, yes, I am being picky … But what do I think of the book overall? You will also find music and dvd reviews and the occasional interview with musicians and actors. The depth of detail is both fascinating and frustrating.

Beefheart: Through the Eyes of Magic by John “Drumbo” French

I visited their house in the summer of with Frank Zappa’s wife, Gail, and saw for myself the poverty of the band’s conditions. For all the interviews in the book, a few key personnel in magid, Jeff Cotton, Moris Tepper, Eric Feldman declined to be interviewed; some Bob Krasnow, Richard Perry, Ry Cooder, Bruce Fowler either didn’t agree to be interviewed or were never approached the text doesn’t say ; and some Frank Zappa especially were deceased by the time of writing.

Drumbo – thats how to write the book. There are many, many typos and small factual errors, and the book is overlong pages of fairly small print.