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Recently unearthed film of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Rome, 1968
02:40 pm

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band filmed onstage at the 1968 Rome Pop Festival at the Palazzo Della Sport. Image how freaky these guys must’ve seemed at that time. Hell, even by today’s standards, they’re still arch freaks!

From the description on YouTube:

Paul Brown: One obscure Beefheart performance, which has been preserved on film, is the Rome Pop Festival from May 1968 - this was broadcast by the BBC on Saturday 18th May 1968. The BBC were covering it, possibly due to the influx of UK bands, ie Julie Driscoll and The Brian Auger Trinity who were headlining it and The Move who, on the third day, were the ones to incite the police and authorities to close the Festival two days early. Captain Beefheart was the only one to represent the West Coast although there were big plans to try and get a few of the larger, and possibly at the time more well known groups to attend. (But it seems Beefheart was the only one willing to attend on the money offered. Probably because they were already in Europe). The clip with Beefheart and the band shows an unknown person, it is Krasnow?, nodding his head to what sounds suspiciously like Dropout Boogie - then the camera is on-stage and the band are performing Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do. There are closeups of Don Vliet in Top Hat and Jeff Cotton in his Yellow Leather Coat and also Alex Snouffer and Jerry Handley. 

The clip I managed to see was luckily, somehow, saved on Reel to Reel and, despite its length and rather poor sound, was a sight for these sore eyes. The camera pans to someone, who on first viewing I thought was Grant Gibbs, Beefheart’s manager in the early days, although it may possibly have been someone complete different. This someone looks completely oblivious to the interview and is just nodding his head to what sounded suspiciously like Dropout Boogie (old non-circulating dubbed version). Then the camera is on-stage and the band are performing “Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do.”

It ain’t long, or in sync, but take what you can get.

This is an excerpt from a longer piece. You can watch the entire BBC report from May 19th,1968 here.

Posted by Richard Metzger
02:40 pm



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