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The Magic Band


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(2003 – 2006, 2011 – present)

The Magic Band is a reformed version of Captain Beefheart’s erstwhile backing band, led by “Drumbo” John French, Beefheart’s drummer and musical factotum for the bulk of his recording career. It was convened at the urging of longtime Beefheart fan Matt Groening to play at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival he curated in 2003.

The initial lineup had all played in the original Magic Band at one time or another: John French (Drumbo) on vocals, harmonica and drums, Gary Lucas and Denny Walley on guitars, Mark Boston (Rockette Morton) on bass, with Robert Arthur Williams filling in on drums for the vocal numbers. After their debut gigs in London and at Groening’s ATP, Williams left and was replaced by Michael Traylor. The band then toured the UK and Europe, and played at ATP Los Angeles in 2004.

They disbanded in 2006, but reformed in 2011 to play at the ATP planned for that November (at Minehead, England, curated by Jeff Mangum), with Lucas and Traylor replaced by Eric Klerks and Craig Bunch respectively. That festival itself was postponed till the following March but they still honoured the other UK & Ireland dates booked around it. They returned to play the rescheduled ATP and more UK gigs in March 2012, the new line-up being dubbed “The Best Batch Yet” by many a Beefheart song title referencing commentator.

In 2013, a new drummer Andrew Niven was introduced, and the band once again have a UK and European tour based around an All Tomorrow’s Parties.

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  • smegface

    Saw them on Monday night and they blew my mind. Amazing!

    14 Mar 2013 Reply
  • enfysmwng

    I was doing flyering outside when they were playing in London the other night and John French came up and had a conversation with me, what a lovely fella!

    2 Dec 2011 Reply
  • restinagony

    They should go on tour with Zappa Plays Zappa and then the Zappapalooza can be perfected. Might as well toss in Pere Ubu whilst at it.

    6 Aug 2011 Reply
  • crownanchor

    The Captain is gone, but his legacy LIVES ON:):):).Thanx :)

    10 Jun 2011 Reply
  • Gravy_14

    Are they doing any other dates other than ATP? Really would love to see them again, as does Mr. F# A# INFINITY below does ;)

    10 May 2011 Reply
  • Kdo_Kenoute

    Would love to see them again!

    12 Feb 2011 Reply
  • xMisterXx

    connected to Matt Groening

    30 May 2009 Reply
  • jhaampe

    pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease tour again

    11 Aug 2008 Reply

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