Listen to Chris Forsyth cover Captain Beefheart’s “Alice in Blunderland”

Christ Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh

Local instrumentalists Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band played a tribute to the late Captain Beefheart during a show at Johnny Brenda’s earlier this month, covering “Alice in Blunderland” off of 1972’s The Spotlight Kid. Forsyth’s exploratory guitar playing is a great fit for Beefheart’s wandering, melodic compositions and the Solar Motel Band sends the song down a scruffy, heavy rabbit hole. This isn’t the first time a Philly band covered a song by the Frank Zappa collaborator; check out Dr. Dog jamming on “Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles” here and listen to “Alice in Blunderland” below.

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The Week So Far: Eight must-read stories on The Key

The War On Drugs | Photo by John Vettese

The War on Drugs ring in the new year with streamers, space jams and jello shots [link]

Philly folk project Bad Braids premiers a new song called “Ships” [link]

Local punks Glocca Morra kick off 2013 with a bang and a Key Studio Session [link]

Read The Key’s most-viewed stories of 2012 [link]

Dr. Dog rocks a Captain Beefheart cover with Magic Band guitarist Denny Walley [link]

Heyward Howkins releases an iPhone-recorded new song and it sounds great [link]

Watch the trailer for Chill Moody‘s new album RFM [link]

Free Energy releases a music video of montaged scenes from Can’t Hardly Wait [link]


Listen to Dr. Dog cover Captain Beefheart with Magic Band guitarist Denny Walley

Photo of Toby and Scott of Dr. Dog by Joe Del Tufo
Another unexpected treat for Philly music fans came a week ago today; Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick – who is playing the first of The Key’s Tuesday Tune-Out shows at PhilaMOCA on January 8th – shared this live recording of the boys jamming on “Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles” from Captain Beefheart‘s 1972 LP Clear Spot, with former touring Magic Band member Denny Walley on guitar. Slick posted:

here’s a special treat that i’ve been saving just for today. dr. dog featuring captain beefheart guitarist denny walley performing “her eyes are a blue million miles”. we learned it that evening so there’s a couple mistakes…hah!

I don’t know, it sounds pretty rad to my ears. Give a listen below. The song was recorded live at The Masquerade in Atlanta on November 16, 2012.


Captain Beefheart (RIP) On American Bandstand

We just got the sad news that iconic musician and artist Don Van Vliet AKA Captain Beefheart passed away today from complications related to his multiple sclerosis. He was 69. Beefheart’s 1969 double album Trout Mask Replica, produced by Frank Zappa, is considered by many to be his most influential record that twisted, warped and blended rock, jazz and blues into one surrealistic, psychedelic experience. Beefheart never compromised his art or his music an inch. His records were staples of some FM progressive radio stations back in the 70’s, his record deals came and went, and he continued to make some of the most creative, most personal, most chaotic and challenging music. For those who it touched, it had a deep impact on them.

Beefheart was signed to A&M Records in 1966 and one of the first singles he released was “Diddy Wah Diddy.” At the time, Beefheart was doing a promotional run for the single and phoned in to Dick Clark on American Bandstand, where he was interviewed by one of the audience members. The interview lasts the first 50 seconds and is definitely worth a view. It’s a surreal moment in a career from an artist who never ever looked back. In fact, he created a vision and sound of a future that still sounds 200 years older than all of us.