Gary Lucas • Jesse Krakow • Richard Dworki • Rob Henke • Phillip Johnston • Joe Fiedler • Dave Sewelson

"Fast 'n' Bulbous proved that Beefheart's songs deserve to be played in his absence and are, for all their knotty logic, quite playable...Johnston's brass scores hit the R&B meat and twisted swing that Beefheart embedded in spidery guitars... Lucas on searing bottleneck guitar celebrated the rock in Beefheart's extremes" – David Fricke, Rolling Stone

"Remarkably, these instrumentals hold onto Beefheart's obsessive strangeness, whch is really the best tribute that Lucas, Johnston and the rest of the Fast 'n' Bulbous crew could have given him." – All Music Guide

"[They] recast Captain Beefeart's tunes and make the case for him as a composer the equal of Thelonious Monk." – Nashville Scene

"They are the big brass band [Captain Beefheart] never had.... The group attacks Van Vliet's songs with the same idiosyncratic precision that he drilled into his own musicians." – Rolling Stone

"...Fast 'n' Bulbous has a field day with the Beefheart songbook, turning his raunch cubist blues into exhuberant jazz-tinged delights." – Chicago Sun Times

Phillip Johnston's Fast 'n' Bulbous information site


RUNE 277

Captain Beefheart's music is the quintessential 'outsider art music' of the second half of the 20th century. Despite the fact that he retired from music over 35 years ago, his music resonates more strongly than ever as an influence on contemporary music. Fast 'n' Bulbous offer a unique slant on the songbook of one of contemporary music's most idiosyncratic musical figures. The band features seven great, well-regarded musicians drawn from the rock and the jazz worlds: co-leaders guitarist Gary Lucas (who was in the final incarnation of Beefheart's Magic Band) and saxist/arranger Phillip Johnston (of the Microscopic Septet) as well as drummer Richard Dworkin, and baritone saxist Dave Sewelson (both also of the Micros), trombonist Joe Fieldler (Ed Palermo Big Band and Satoko Fujii's big band), bassist Jesse Krakow (of Time of Orchids and Doctor Nerve) and trumpeter Rob Heinke (also of Doctor Nerve). With a strong, creative line-up like this, you know that you will be getting something more than just a 'cover band' and you indeed are. Heartfelt, exciting and it both rocks and swings!

As with their first album Fast 'n' Bulbous take on a fascinating selection of songs from the Beefheart songbook covering albums from Safe As Milk through to Ice Cream For Crow. The familiar tunes are redefined for a brass section and Don's voice is echoed by horns as the band grapple with the mysteries of the Beefheart rhythm and add their own compelling improvised embellishments taking the songs to a new place. And it's all done with an obvious love of the music and a sense of fun." –

"...a perfect fit for hungry Beefheart fans the world over...Fast 'n' Bulbous have painstakingly retooled the Captain's best-known works as big-band instrumental compositions. The results are fairly staggering...this collection is a masterful reinterpretation of rock's Grand Surrealist's best work. Brilliant!" – The Big Takeover

Waxed Oop press release

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RUNE 205

Among the many great idiosyncratic talents of American music in the 20th century, Captain Beefheart would certainly figure prominently on any list. "...once you get past the audacious unfamiliarity of (his work), you realize that this was not just some big improvised mess, but in fact the most tightly composed polyrhythmic rock 'n' roll ever written"-Matt Groening (The Simpsons). Fast 'N' Bulbous is a Captain Beefheart tribute project, led by two innovators of New York's avant music scene: Gary Lucas, who was guitarist for Captain Beefheart's Magic Band in its latter years and saxist and arranger Phillip Johnston. Their mission statement: ?The idea is to use the compositions of Don Van Vliet as a vehicle for improvisation and arranging. The band contains a crew of seasoned improvisers from both the worlds of avant-garde jazz and rock, who render the music as both a tribute and a creative adventure in improvising. We use the horn section to take the place of the vocals, as well as transmute this guitar-based music into ensemble into ensemble interplay, between horns and guitar and rhythm section.? They energetically revive the spirit and sound of The Magic Band, while adding a big healthy dollop of themselves to it and making it their own, cartwheeling through tunes that are as gutsy as they are cerebral, and playing this wonderful repertoire with verve and soul. A must for any fan of this music.

Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind press release

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For press and media: cover art and high resolution images are available below for download (click thumbnail, right-click image and select "Save As.."). Please credit the photographer (when available) and "Courtesy of Cuneiform Records". For more information, click here.

Waxed Oop
Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind
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Waxed Oop press release
Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind press release
Pork Chop Blue Around the Rind press quotes

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