Tuesday, November 18, 2014


John "Drumbo" French | October 1975 | Helsinki, Finland:
I soon discovered that I had left my beloved Capezio tap shoes in the hotel or at the club of our last show. So, in Finland, I was met at the hotel by a friendly local rep who spoke fluent English, and taken to a department store where I bought shoes, a dance studio, where I purchased taps, and a cobbler’s shop, where the taps were attached.

1935 (Patent granted 1938) | Salvatore Capezio
Sound Producing Device For Footwear

… The dance studio was up a few stairs off the street into a hallway lined with really cute little girls in ballet tights, toe shoes, and tutus, staring at me in wide-eyed wonder. The cobblers shop was like walking into Geppetto’s shop. Shoes of all kinds lined the shelf-lined walls and the dark wood really added to the old-world feel. 

It was charming. The shoemaker had stayed after hours especially to do this job. I gave him the equivalent of a $10 tip. He looked at me - his face lighting up like a birthday cake - and exuberantly said “Thanks.” It was nice being appreciated - for both of us.

1893 | Salvatore Capezio at work

The performance was in a sit-down stadium and the show went well. I recall tap dancing down through the audience and around the back of the middle row of seats, I tapped a rhythm with the drumsticks on the back of the chairs, people leaning forward like dominoes as I passed them.

John "Drumbo" French | October 1975
Helsinki, Finland
From: Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic (Proper Music group, 2010)

Don Van Vliet (AKA Captain Beefheart)
1941 - 2010

1975 | Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
L-R: Elliot Ingber, Don Van Vliet, Denny Walley, Bruce Fowler, John French (front)
Bat Chain Puller era | DiscReet Promo shot
Source: Beefheart.com