Author:John ‘Drumbo’ French
This is the third edition of this mammoth tome, which actually has been out of print of late, and coincides with what would have been the good Captain’s eightieth year. It’s certainly comprehensive, running to over 800 pages of pretty small print and covering Drumbo’s career from joining the Magic Band at the tender age of seventeen in 1966 for the Safe As Milk album up to his eventual departure in 1980. As has been widely documented, Beefheart was a hard, bordering on abusive, taskmaster who appears to have ruled by fear at times. The book certainly pulls no punches in that respect, although of course Beefheart isn’t around to defend himself. There are extensive interesting interviews with most of the key players from the Magic Band and also from the Mothers of Invention – Frank Zappa, as you’d expect, turns up frequently throughout these pages, initially as friend and collaborator and later as musical nemesis. There’s certainly plenty of in depth detail on the records the author played on, and the book includes over ninety pages of detailed track notes on the individual songs, which leave no stone unturned in terms of composition and recording. The author is an entertaining and honest narrator with a somewhat dry, quirky sense of humour, and he manages to hold the reader’s attention throughout this long convoluted musical and personal odyssey. However, the sheer quantity of minutiae included means this volume is really for the devoted fan rather than someone with just a casual interest in the history of this most avant-garde and surreal of bands and it’s unique music.
Length of Read:Epic
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
One thing you’ve learned
This book was originally published in 2010 – this revised version includes a new introduction by the author.