2. OCCUPATION: Journalist/Author/Technical Writer. Also part time monkey work as entertainments listings compiler.
3. PLACE OF RESIDENCE: North London, UK
4. WHAT YEAR DID YOU BECOME A FAN?:
11. Sonic Youth, The Left Banke, Hüsker Dü, Kraldjursanstalten, This Heat, Kevin Ayers, The Verlaines, Sandy Denny, Howlin' Wolf, Son House, Scott Walker, 60s Motown, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Pole, Oval, Pan Sonic, Pilote, King Crimson, Velvets, Ground Zero, Massacre, The Wipers, The Chills, B12 (is anyone still reading?), Gary Lucas, Evan Parker, Thomas Köner, Brian Eno and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all....
8. HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND,
AND WAS THERE A PARTICULAR SONG THAT MADE YOU SEE THE LIGHT?:
In spring 78 I was a first year student at University and out of curiosity I bought a secondhand copy of the double album reissue of Spotlight Kid and Lick My Decals Off, Baby. At first I found Decals very disturbing and completely incomprehensible, even though I had an inclination towards experimental music at the time (This Heat and Pere Ubu, for example). I played Spotlight Kid more as I found it easier to understand but I kept being drawn back to the mysterious disc lurking in the other half of the gatefold sleeve.
I can still remember how I felt when I 'got' what was going on. I had
been playing drums since I was 14-15 and had some rudimentary idea of rhythm
and how music was structured. When I started to figure out the correspondences
of the instruments I was stunned. I had never heard anything like it before
(I'd heard bits of Trout Mask, but only the 'funny' bits).
It really was like the clouds rolling back and the alien mothership taking me onboard; a true epiphany, a feeling that anything was possible in music. The specific section of the specific song that affected me most was the dramatic "Black leather lady, black leather lady/The hell horn, hell horn, hell horn, horn rim krimped" rhythmic gear shift in "Doctor Dark" How could anyone think in this way? It gives me goose bumps now just thinking about it. Considering the affect it had on my whole concept of rhythm both as a musician and a listener and the fact that I've turned 40 and still a music journalist rather than growing up and getting a proper job, I'd seriously say it was one the most important moments of my life.
Barely able to contain my excitement, I eagerly set about converting my friends - or tried to. Unfortunately, my tendency to surreptitiously slip "Doctor Dark" onto the deck during dope-smoking sessions provoked nervous laughter and/or desperate pleas to take it off. I can hardly believe it now but this evangelical zeal was even visited upon my parents, who politely listened to a few tracks from Decals in mute horror. A friend was there also and he opined that it was worse than ABBA. At a time when we took music (too) seriously that was a terrible insult. He has since bought virtually all the albums and loves them.
These things take time. As Don advised a journalist from Rolling Stone about Decals, put it on while doing the housework, relax and let it come to you. My recent advice to a younger friend, a Beefheart neophyte who had trouble with a compilation I made him, was: "Don't worry. You've got your whole life to get into it." He shot back a look which suggested he had just been sentenced rather than encouraged.
9. NUMBER OF BEEFHEART GIGS SEEN, AND WHICH YEARS:
Guildford Civic Hall, 13 October 1980
London Venue, 14 October 1980 (first show)
(Great memories still)
10. ART SHOWS VISITED:
Waddingtons, London 1986
Stand Up To Be Discontinued, Brighton Museum 1994
11. ANY CONTACT WITH DON?:
No. I am in contact with various Magic Band members but those still in touch with Don are the most guarded. One suggested that he recommend my book to Don and then I could send him one. He paused, then qualified his offer with:
"I'd better read it first". I've heard nothing since.
12. MUSICAL ABILITY / TRAINING:
Self -taught drummer and percussionist.
13. ANY OTHER INFO YOU WISH TO ADD?
My new book website which is