The Release Date in the UK is Aug 26th. (Sept 30th in the USA).
The book is available through Burning Shed (The publisher’s own distribution site) Captain Beefheart On Track (burningshed.com)
Or through Amazon:
I do have a batch of copies that are available signed (including post and packaging) for: £17 – UK £20 – Europe £23 – USA
If you are interested please message or email me with your address. Payment through paypal – firstname.lastname@example.org
As promised: here is an extract from the introduction:
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band are probably the weirdest band that ever existed, and possibly the best. Many people have described a gig they attended as life-changing. Few would’ve been as life-changing as my first Captain Beefheart gig.
In 1967 I was 18 years old, supposedly studying for A-levels, but actually undergoing a more serious study of girls, music, Kerouac and the burgeoning underground scene. I was working long shifts through Friday nights at a Lyons bakery, where I met another crazy longhair called Mike. Mike was a little older than me and was seriously into underground music: particularly psychedelia and acid rock. He was a student of English Literature at York University and had the longest hair around: a major credential at the time. He never brushed or combed his hair (believing that it caused split ends), but he ran his fingers through to rid his hair of major tangles. Mike enthused about going to UFO and Middle Earth in London to drop acid and dance all night to bands like Pink Floyd. He was into the West Coast acid rock scene and knew about every band in the Los Angeles/San Francisco area before they’d even released an album. We spent many happy hours sitting in his room, where Mike would fascinate me with the debut albums of The Doors, Country Joe and the Fish, Love and Quicksilver Messenger Service. We were in a world of our own.
Apart from John Peel, who played these jewels on his wonderful late-night radio show Perfumed Garden, no one else seemed to have heard of this treasure trove of music. John Peel championed Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, claiming they were the best band on the planet. He not only played them on his show but ferried Don and the band around to gigs and introduced them onstage. Peel carried a lot of weight in the underground scene, which is probably why Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band were better known and had more of a following here in Britain, than their native USA.
I first heard Beefheart’s Safe As Milk at Mike’s on the day of its release. To say I was bowled over is an understatement. I was into both the blues and psychedelia, but this seemed to combine the two in a way that blasted your mind and body into atoms. It shook me, and I was hooked. I’d never heard anything like it. By this time I was also going to London underground clubs Middle Earth, UFO, The Roundhouse, The Marquee and Les Cousins. For me it was to see mainly Pink Floyd, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix and Roy Harper. When I heard that Captain Beefheart was going to play at Middle Earth, I was ecstatic. There was only one problem: I was in the midst of my A-level exams. I had been offered a provisional place at university, and needed the grades, but music was more important to me, and besides, my biology exam was a week away. Surely I could afford a night off. High on adrenalin, I drove to London on my trusty motorbike, only to discover that the gig had been postponed. Beefheart’s bassist Jerry Handley was ill, and they’d been replaced by the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation. Now, I quite liked Aynsley Dunbar, but he was no substitute for Captain Beefheart, who was rescheduled for the following week as a double bill with John Mayall (another favourite of mine). That made it an absolute must.
The gig was now going to be the night before my A-level biology exam. If I went, I wouldn’t be home until 3:00 a.m., and my exam started at 9:00 a.m.. I would have no last-minute revision, and I’d be knackered. Still, needs must. No choice! It was truly one of the best gigs I have ever been to. I can’t remember anything about John Mayall that night, but Beefheart just blew me away! Needless to say, I didn’t get the required grade, and the course of my life changed. However, I’d seen Captain Beefheart in all his glory! I wouldn’t change that even if I could.
The 1960s were a time of liberal views and creativity. Following World War II and the 1950s austerity, a generation of rebellious teenagers emerged. Fired with optimism, confidence and naivety, they sought to throw off the shackles of conformity and break out from the conservatism of their parents’ generation. This was the new age, and young people saw a world of new possibilities, with waves of creativity in fashion, art, writing, dance, architecture and, most of all, music. Social norms were being rejected. There were protests against the Vietnam war, marches for civil rights, a burgeoning spirit of environmentalism, feminism and equality, coupled with a rejection of the establishment. These sparked great social and political change. Young people had a voice, and they wanted to be heard. Minds were opened. Clothes were colourful. Hair was long. Music was loud. The hair, clothes, attitudes and protest weren’t a fashion, they were symbols of a new way of living; an alternative to the establishment.