The Magic Band is returning to London’s Chelsea Under The Bridge in July 2016, following a critically acclaimed UK tour in November 2015. Also in July, the band will be headlining the 27th Zappanale Festival in Bad Doberan, Germany. More information and tickets can be found on the “Tour” page.
MagicBand.org is currently undergoing major updates, including new photos, video, reviews and other content. Please ‘pardon our dust’ as we continue to work on the website. Thank you!
Finally, a note from John “Drumbo” French:
Here it is May of 2016. The last I wrote a note for The Magic Band website was September 11th, 2015. The new lineup that is pictured did their first tour and I was apprehensive about how the public would react to the new players. However, I was never apprehensive, nor did I have a doubt that the band would play well, so I hoped people would have an open mind. With the departure of Denny Walley, and the serious illness and surgery Mark underwent, I had to decide whether to hang it up or keep going.
The band came across magnificently, and I thank the audience for having an open mind and accepting the new players. Of course, could I expect any less than an open mind from Beefheart fans?
Coming home, I was exhausted from the nearly total absorption that it took to get the tour happening. This involved several charts written from scratch, two Indiegogo campaigns, rehearsals, etc., — and that doesn’t even count the business stuff – new photos, new bios, updates to catering, tech, etc. It’s a lot of work!
When I came home from a successful tour, I was spent. It wasn’t made easier by the fact that my brother-in-law, Norman Griffin, was facing the last 5 weeks of his life with stage four cancer. He passed away on January 4th, sadly, and will be missed. That was the eighth friend/relative to pass away in eight months. After helping to pack up his belongings and re-arranging the house for my sister-in-law, I was driving home (about an hour’s drive) when my cell phone rang. It was my high-school friend telling me that his son has just committed suicide.
So, there was a lot of sadness in the year, but also great times on the road with the band to remember. I’ve never felt more relaxed and confident than with this lineup. Everything seemed to work.
In February, I finally got Zappanale and London’s “Under the Bridge” booked for the Summer, realizing that there wasn’t enough room to do a Spring tour on the band’s calendar. Then came NEWS that my daughter needed help moving. That was about six weeks of pretty intense work. Now, I’ve finally gotten time to work on new material for the Summer shows.
One thing I decided to work on this time was my horn-playing, which I’ve never been quite happy with. So, on just about any given morning, I’ve been in the studio playing a chart I’ve worked up for the soprano saxophone. Also, I picked up a new wireless mic, which helped a lot.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive the #48 spot on Rolling Stone’s “Top 100 Best Drummers Ever” ( or something like that) and am still trying to get Zildjian to endorse me when I go to Europe. Go figure.
I’m hoping to see you all this Summer, along with Eric Klerks, Max Kutner, Brian Havey, and Andy Niven playing The Music of Captain Beefheart – though I may sneak one of my originals in this time out. Thanks and kind regards, John French
The Magic Band have launched two Indiegogo campaigns!
The first is for ‘Magnetic Draw,’ a 2DVD set. Recorded in 2014 at The Engine Shed in Lincoln, UK, the first DVD features the band’s concert performance. The second DVD contains interviews with all of the band members. To learn more, watch previews and pledge, CLICK HERE.
The second campaign will fund ‘Singing Through You,’ a live concert DVD recorded at Chelsea Under The Bridge in 2013. In addition to the concert, the DVD also features footage from John French’s book signing and Q&A at Rough Trade in London, taken while he was promoting his book, ‘Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic.’ To learn more, watch previews and pledge, CLICK HERE.