July 6, 2010 – 7:52 am

Captain Beefheart aka Don Van Vliet R.I.P. 1941-2010: Click here

Click here: The Odyssey Of Captain Beefheart, Rolling Stone’s 1970 cover story
(with thanks to Ernie Clark)

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Shiny Beast Demos 1978 [no label, 1CD]

Van Nuys California, very good soundboard.

Notes by Mike Martin:

I had heard of the “legendary” Captain Beefheart, but knew little about him outside that he was somehow associated with Frank Zappa.

One day in 1977 I met this guy at the record store I worked in (Robert Williams) and he is bragging that he is the drummer for the Magic Band and that Don had just dropped him off at our little record store in the middle of the San Fernando Valley (Slipped Disc Records).

I told this guy to have the Captain come in the next time, thinking that I was calling his bluff.

The next day I look up and this man is walking into the store and he is radiating so much energy that you could tell that this had to be “the Captain Beefheart”. Don was very friendly and spent the rest of the day telling us stories about his life and selling records to an unsuspecting public. He was really enjoying himself in an atmosphere were nobody knew him (can I have the new Madonna single?).

He hung around until closing time when we all went down the street to El Indio, an all night taco stand with a bar in the back. We drank beer and ate tacos with Don while he continued telling us stories of Brian Jones and life on the road with the Rolling Stones.

We heard the next day that Don came home so late that he had landed in the doghouse with his wife and couldn’t go out to play with us anymore. After this I started going to the storage facility where the band was practicing their new material. Sometimes Don was there other times just the band.

I did not fathom how lucky I was at the time. These are my memories of an encounter with a magical person. I have respected the wish that these tapes be private for over 30 years. This is the first time I have shared them.

I also had a very nice copy of the 1974 version of Bat Chain Puller but I see that those sessions are now available at the Beefheart web site so pick it up as it is very interesting also.

Thanks to Mike Martin for these rarities and to mvernon54 for sharing the lossless tracks on the Dime site.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 256 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Suction Prints (8.4MB)
Track 02. When I See Mommy, I Feel Like a Mummy (8.2MB)
Track 03. The Witch Doctor Life (3.7MB)
Track 04. Candle Mambo (5.9MB)
14 minutes 8 seconds

Don Van Vliet - vocals, harmonica, soprano sax, whistling
Jeff Moris Tepper - slide guitar, guitar
Bruce Lambourne Fowler - trombone, bass
Eric Drew Feldman - synthesizer, Rhodes piano, grand piano, bass
Richard Redus - bottleneck guitar, guitar, accordion, fretless bass
Robert Arthur Williams - drums, percussion

Click here: Captain Beefheart - The Spotlight Kid Outtakes 1971-1972

Click on the link to order Captain Beefheart’s Shiny Beast album.

  1. 22 Responses to “CAPT BEEFHEART - SHINY BEAST DEMOS 1978”

  2. That one must be great…!

    By Serge Zéni on Jul 6, 2010

  3. WOW! Thanks, BigO….amazing!

    By Walter on Jul 6, 2010

  4. Wonderful stuff,more like this PLEASE.

    By BLUEFOOD on Jul 6, 2010

  5. It seems these tracks may have been recorded at The Automatt, San Francisco, California
    August 28, 1978. I was given the tape at the rehersal site in Panorama City (Los Angeles) and was given the impression they were recorded there.

    By Mike martin on Jul 6, 2010

  6. Hello Mike
    Thanks for your feedback. Cheers.

    By bigozine2 on Jul 7, 2010

  7. Thanks guys. Love the Captain forever?

    By PatCo on Jul 7, 2010

  8. I heard a ruff cassette of more Shiny Beast demos years ago, are they around in good quality?

    the one I remember is Odd Jobs, using a rhythm track that became tropical hotdog nite…

    Would love to hear those

    By ds on Jul 7, 2010

  9. This is very good stuff. Thanks so much.

    I particularly like the singing on “When I See Mommy …”. Slightly different style to usual. And the quality is pretty decent too.

    By TonyB on Jul 9, 2010

  10. Wow! Great story about The Captain! Man, he seems like such a cool dude! What an artist he is! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    “Notes are just black ants walking across paper”

    By Dino on Jul 17, 2010

  11. Great Beefheart things mean more fun! THANX

    By Timmy on Jul 21, 2010

  12. shiny beast and spotlight kid
    make sun and beach and fun
    slap like flipflops
    ‘n babes on the run

    the puppy pulls
    the diaper down
    sand growling in the shade
    in between
    her fingering.

    Mexican wrestling woman in the waves
    Santa Monica sunburned and blinking
    from the pier and beer flavored shade.

    Leo Rivers

    By Leo Rivers on Jul 27, 2010

  13. I bought Trout Mask at Slipped Disc when I was 11 years old. Changed my life , thanks !!

    By Brad Laner on Sep 18, 2010

  14. For fans of Captain Beefheart, who will be in Los Angeles on Jan. 13th 2011 at 8PM, there will be a Captain Beefhart Symposium by Gary Lucas - guitarist. It will be packed out though:
    Captain Beefheart Symposium at the Echoplex - article from the Los Angeles Times

    The captain may be gone, but the ship sails on; experience raw sonic power and mad poetics at Gary Lucas’ Captain Beefheart Symposium, celebrating the work of bluesman and painter Don Van Vliet — a.k.a. Captain Beefheart. Guitarist Lucas was a member of the last incarnation of Beefheart’s Magic Band and will be playing live, spinning unreleased tracks, and showing slides of Van Vliet’s artwork. The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., L.A. 8 p.m. Thurs. Seats: $15 adv; $17 door; Standing: $12 advance; $14 door. All ages. (213) 413-8200;

    From the Echoplex website: GARY LUCAS, featured guitar soloist and member of the final edition of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, celebrates the career of visionary American maverick genius Don Van Vliet a/k/a Captain Beefheart, who changed the face of music forever over a career spanning a dozen brilliant and uncompromising albums, spanning 1967’s groundbreaking “Safe as Milk” through 1969’s radical “Trout Mask Replica” and finishing with 1982’s elegant “Ice Cream for Crow”.

    A legendary composer/songwriter/bandleader/poet and painter, Don Van Vliet has been honored over the years by everyone from Johnny Rotten and Joe Strummer to Bob Dylan, Bono, David Lynch and Anton Corbijn — but is still relatively (and unfairly) unknown to the public at large.

    During the symposium Gary Lucas will show rare footage of the band live, spin unreleased tracks, and project slides of Van Vliet’s brillaint paintings and drawings, discuss the history of the group and many of the great musicians who came through the ranks of The Magic Band, and also illustrate Van Vliet’s quirky and idiosyncratic methodologies and techniques on his guitar.- Culture Mob

    So at 8pm, 13 January 2011 try to join Gary and ‘special guests’ at

    The Echoplex
    1154 Glendale Boulevard
    Los Angeles 90026

    8pm / Seating tickets: $15 adv; $17 dos / Standing tickets: $12 adv; $14 dos / all ages

    By 2yrsnojob on Jan 13, 2011

  15. Great story Mike, thanks for sharing it and thanks as always to Big O, the greatest music website in the world for the tracks. Happy
    holidays everyone!

    By Ernie Clark on Dec 17, 2013

  16. don`t know how i missed this one first time `round.
    glad someone made a new post here and it brought my attention to it .

    By dropkick sarge on Dec 17, 2013

  17. Thanks for bringing these back up, BigO! Zappa Family Politics aside, the release of BCP was epic and well-produced….I was fortunate to have spent time with him in Oregon during a couple of those lightning west-coast tours, and he was, as advertised, a very sweet man. He told me once about Frank…’we’re kinda like brothers….we fight all the time, but we seem to come back around every few years.’ I hope they’re hanging out now…

    By DonInFremont on Dec 17, 2013

  18. Love to see some Moris Tepper here on BigO.

    By russ on Oct 14, 2016

  19. for some reason track 1
    Track 01. Suction Prints (8.0MB)
    will not download for me ?

    By cliff on Oct 22, 2016

  20. It doesn’t work for anyone else either. The link is broken

    By mrbelette on Dec 1, 2016

  21. plenty of suction here . . . . . must have been fixed

    By swappers on Dec 1, 2016

  22. Yeah right, thanks

    By mrbelette on Dec 4, 2016

  23. When I See Mommy, I Feel Like a Mummy link not working

    By BeefDreams on Jan 29, 2018

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