Thursday, February 09, 2012

Captain Beefheart on Detroit Tubeworks, 1971

This footage was on the Grow Fins box set, but the quality of this Youtube vid is superior. It's the Magic Band on their '71 tour (documented by Langdon Winner in Rolling Stone): Van Vliet, French, Harkleroad, Boston, Ingber, Tripp. Killer stuff. Thanks to Tex Edwards for the link. See the YT poster's comments below:

Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band
WABX TV Studio
'Detroit Tube Works'
January 15, 1971

1. When Big Joan Sets Up (0:00)
2. Hair Pie Bass Solo (6:23)
3. Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop (6:42)
4. Flash Gordon's Ape Marimba Solo (8:48)
5. Bellerin Plain (9:11)
6. Instrumental for Foot and Fingers (13:00)

Mike: I just met the man who directed many of the video shoots for WABX Tube Works, a TV program in the early '70's which featured both touring and local bands playing live. The video in question was, in fact, shot after the Magic Band's show in Detroit with Alice Cooper and Ry Cooder. They drove out to the studio (now WXON TV 20), set up, and played what you hear. The guy I met, Chuck, apparently has the master in his basement.

Why, you may ask, is this important? Well, it's important to me ;) It happened in my backyard. That footage changed my life.

Nifty trivia: the vacuum cleaner visible in the shot (to the right of John French's drum kit) was not Beefheart's, but was placed there by the crew, who had seen photos of Don with a vacuum (which was in fact Chunga, immmortalized on Zappa's Chunga's Revenge).

Chuck Reti: I was director of most of the music segments ... The Beefheart session was memorable (a lot because their behavior drove Betsy, our exec producer, literally to tears). The same taping session that night/morning we also shot Ry Cooder, who earlier that night had been on a concert bill with Beefheart. I don't think the Cooder tape survived. While no 'original' material was performed, it is a unique live performance by Mr. Van Vliet. I recall Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop being one of the numbers, and how very cool was guitarist Zoot Horn Rollo.

Rhodri: I've also got a vid of a couple of early TV performances, one on a German TV show performing I'm Gonna Booglarize You Baby, and the best, don't know what TV station, was When Big Joan Sets Up, Bellerin' Plain and Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop. Totally stunning. The Cap'n's mike stand was broken, he looked pretty pissed off at the end, but John French was grinning his head off, there's a dual drum kit assault at the end of Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop with Art Tripp, and Rockette Morton looks so great with his tatty looking twin necked guitar.

For someone who is only 25 and never had a chance to see the band play, getting hold of this tape was an experience of almost religious proportions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man, this has disappeared. Any chance they are getting ready to release the whole thing in some form? Wow. -Mike

1:21 PM  

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