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Frank Zappa as record label honcho in ‘From Straight to Bizarre’


 
By far the majority of artist-run record labels exist as mere vanity imprints, releasing an album or two by the musician/would-be entrepreneur him/herself, and that’s that. Noteworthy exceptions are certainly around—Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records and Null Corporation, Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe, and Jack White’s Third Man are a few artist-run labels that have achieved significant successes.

An early example of such an artist using his own label to bypass the strictures of major label deals is, unsurprisingly, the iconoclastically independent-minded Frank Zappa. In the late ‘60s, when Verve Records inexplicably missed their deadline to re-up Zappa’s contract, he and his manager Herb Cohen used that leverage to establish their own production company and label, to retain creative control, and to release artists they favored. The labels they established were Straight Records and Bizarre Records. Between them, in a mere five years of existence, the labels released albums by Lenny Bruce and Wild Man Fischer, and now-immortal recordings like Alice Cooper’s Love It to Death, Tim Buckley’s Starsailor, and Captain Beefheart essentials like Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby.
 

 
Tom O’Dell’s 2011 documentary From Straight to Bizarre tells the labels’ story in detail, through interviews with Pamela Des Barres, John “Drumbo” French, Sandy “Essra Mohawk” Hurvitz, Kim Fowley, Alice Cooper’s Dennis Dunaway and the Mothers of Invention’s Jeff Simmons, among many others. YouTube user Treble Clef has broken the feature-length doc into short chunks for your piecemeal viewing convenience. There’s a lot of illuminating stuff herein, so please, enjoy.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Captain Beefheart!
01.15.2014
12:17 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Captain Beefheart


 
Captain Beefheart aka Don Van Vliet was born on this day in 1941. The Cubist blues howler and great avant garde outsider composer and bandleader retired from his musical career in 1982, to become a widely respected abstract expressionist painter.

If you’ve never seen his paintings (aside from his album covers) why not click over to The Radar Station and have a look. Worth mentioning that most of them are quite big in person, and really impressive. His application of paint is practically as unique as his music is.
 

 

 

 

 
Below, Captain Beefheart & Magic Band performing “Sure ‘nuff ‘n Yes I Do” at the Midem Festival, Cannes, France, January 27, 1968:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Captain Beefheart’s gonna booglarize you, baby
12.17.2013
10:46 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Captain Beefheart

oh captain my captain
 
Today marks the third December 17th since the world lost Don “Captain Beefheart” Van Vliet, and it’s an anniversary that’s becoming something of a holiday for me. This is going to sound corny as all hell, and I’ll unabashedly cop to that, but the loss of an artist that contributed so much to how so many people understand not just popular music but the process of - and possibilities inherent in - artmaking itself seems a fit occasion for reflection. More than any other identifiably “rock” artist, Beefheart completely blew the lid off of my understanding of music’s construction, and his influence is manifest in punk and post-punk spanning decades from Pere Ubu to The Monorchid, in arty outliers like The Dog Faced Hermans and Stump, and most forwardly in U.S. Maple, the Magic Band fans that transcendeth all knowing. Tom Waits made and continues to make decades of great art by corralling and taming Beefheart’s signature New-Orleans-Blues-band-falling-down-a-flight-of-stairs sound and channeling it into a timeless hybrid of lowlife beat poetry and cocktail soaked after-hours decadence. The man has much great work to take credit for, and that’s before even considering his paintings.

One key thing I’ve always adored about Beefheart’s fandom is how hidden it is. Not that his fans are closeted or anything suchlike - it’s just that his enthusiasts come from a broad swath of types. There’s no fashion lexicon that comes with Beefheart the way it does with hippie, punk or metal; there’s no quick way to identify your tribe from across a room, so when you do find them, it can be in delightfully unexpected places. I’ve met a cop who collects Beefheart bootlegs. I once even served as a hired gun guitar player in a children’s band helmed by a pair of seemingly straight-arrow family men whose Beefheart obsessions (and collections) utterly dwarfed mine. Though he is a quintessential cult artist, his reach is surely deeper into this world than we commonly reckon.

Captain Beefheart effectively died in 1982, when Van Vliet gave up music and retired the persona. Van Vliet died on December 17, 2010, aged 69, after many years of struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. This excellent documentary, hosted by none other than the BBC’s legendary John Peel, does the man’s life far more justice than I can in a blog post.
 

 
Here’s the Captain and the classic Magic Band lineup in 1972, from an amazing German TV broadcast that constitutes some of the best footage available from that period.
 

 
More Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Zappa and Beefheart artist Cal Schenkel’s amazingly CHEAP art sale
11.04.2013
03:17 pm

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Art
Music

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Captain Beefheart
Cal Schenkel


Trout Mask Replica painting by Cal Schenkel

Even if the name Cal Schenkel doesn’t quite ring a bell, there is very little doubt that you’ve seen his illustrations, photography and collage work work adorning literally dozens of iconic album covers by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, The Fugs, Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart. He was basically Zappa’s visual partner for longer than a decade working on the covers for Straight/Bizarre releases and rented a wing of the Zappa family home in Laurel Canyon for his live-in art studio. Schenkel is the guy who hollowed out the carp for Don Van Vliet to wear on the Trout Mask Replica cover—that stinky photo shoot was said to have taken over two hours—and he’s the fellow who realized the Sgt. Pepper‘s goof for We’re Only In It for the Money. He’s got a primitive “ragged” illustration style (which predates punk graphics) that is distinctly his own and Schenkel a master of creating humorous and strikingly surreal images that have intrigued generations of record buyers, inspiring a certain meme in recent years and even Halloween pumpkins.

Over the weekend I ended up on Cal Schenkel’s website and it occurred to me that many DM readers would probably like to know about what’s on offer there. For starters, his prices are fantastic, more in line with what an Etsy crafts-person might sell their wares for than the price tags something for sale on the wall of an art gallery would have. The work is priced to sell. Schenkel’s a working artist living in rural Pennsylvania and this is how he pays his bills without having to deal with the rigmarole of the art world—he’s had just two solo exhibitions of his art in the past 20 years. More power to him, and to you, especially if you happen to be a Zappa fan—there are rumored to be many of you among DM’s readership—who likes art and getting a damned good bargain.

For as little as $200 you can get a portfolio of thirteen mostly Zappa-related prints. Individual Giclée prints sell for as little as $25. You can get a signed photograph of Captain Beefheart taken by Schenkel. He does hand-painted caricatures of one of your favorite mustachioed guitarists. He does hand-painted versions of some of his famous album covers, too. And like I was saying, the prices are right. Personally I feel like he’s underselling his work, but I happen to be a big admirer of Cal Schenkel’s art.
 

 

 

 

 
See more at Cal Schenkel’s website.

Below, Frank Zappa and Cal Schenkel invent Adult Swim back in 1971 with the “Dental Hygiene Dilemma” animation from 200 Motels:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Captain Beefheart ‘Trout Mask Replica’ Halloween pumpkin


 
It’s probably a wee bit early to post about Halloween-themed stuff, right? But hey, it might give you plenty of time to practice and master the skills that it took Shawn Feeney to carve this awesome Trout Mask Replica pumpkin. 

Feeney carved Beefheart in 2011 and writes:

Every Halloween, I carve into a pumpkin the likeness of a musician who died since the previous Halloween. The tradition began in 2008, and each jack-o-lantern is carved in 3D-style. Like those represented, the jack-o-lanterns soon decay and disappear, but the artifacts remain.

Last year he carved an Adam “MCA” Yauch pumpkin.
 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Captain Beefheart’s Ten Commandments of Guitar Playing: ‘Your guitar is not really a guitar’
09.03.2013
08:46 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Captain Beefheart

Captain Beefheart
Photo credit: Anthony Monaghan
 
Captain Beefheart hired Moris Tepper to be his full-time guitarist in 1976, a position he held until the Captain’s retirement in 1982. Along the way he imparted these handy guitar tips:
 

1. Listen to the birds.

That’s where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren’t going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar.

Your guitar is a divining rod. Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you’re good, you’ll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush.

Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil.

Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the “devil box.” And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you’re brining over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you’re guilty of thinking, you’re out.

If your brain is part of the process, you’re missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone.

Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key.

That’s your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He’s one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song “I Need a Hundred Dollars” is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty—making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he’s doing it.

8. Don’t wipe the sweat off your instrument.

You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place.

When you’re not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don’t play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine.

Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can’t escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.

 
Let’s see whether Tepper absorbed the precepts, shall we? Here’s the Captain and the Magic Band playing “Hot Head” and “Ashtray Heart” on Saturday Night Live, November 22, 1980, hosted by Malcolm McDowall:
 

 
(via Lists of Note)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Has Gail Zappa trademarked the name ‘Captain Beefheart’ and if so, WHY?
06.20.2013
02:05 pm

Topics:

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Captain Beefheart
Gail Zappa


 
Apparently the famously litigious Gail Zappa has trademarked the name “Captain Beefheart.” I read about this yesterday, after it was tweeted by WFMU but didn’t know what to make of it.

As Spin opined:

“To those who’ve followed the latter-day activities of the Zappa estate executrix, this latest move may seem a bit worrisome.”

Perhaps it does. Don Van Vliet died in December of 2010 and is survived by his wife Jan. If Gail Zappa is working on behalf of the widow Beefheart—and maybe she is—well, that’s one thing. If she’s not, that would be quite another. At this point no one seems to know exactly what’s going on.

Gail Zappa filed for the Captain Beefheart trademark in August of 2012. The Zappa Family Trust released the “original” 1976 version of his Bat Chain Puller album earlier that year. The tapes had gotten caught up in a legal dispute between Frank Zappa and his former business partner/manager Herb Cohen and Zappa refused to allow it to be released, causing Beefheart to rerecord the album as Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) for Warner Bros. Records in 1978.

This is from the Trademarkia website:

The description provided to the USPTO for CAPTAIN BEEFHEART is Audio and video recordings featuring music and concerts; musical sound recordings; musical video recordings; phonograph records featuring music; pre-recorded CDs, DVDs, audio tapes, video tapes, audio discs, video discs, audio cartridges, and video cartridges featuring music and concerts; downloadable audio recordings, downloadable video recordings, and downloadable MP3 files all featuring music and concerts; downloadable motion picture films, downloadable television shows and downloadable radio shows all featuring music and concerts; downloadable multimedia files featuring music and concerts; electronic publications, namely, books, magazines, manuals, journals, catalogs, brochures, newsletters, featuring music and concerts recorded on computer media; interactive multimedia computer game programs; music-composition software; software for creating music; software featuring musical sound recordings and musical video recordings; multimedia software recorded on CD-ROM featuring music and concerts; electronic game software; downloadable ring tones for mobile phones; downloadable graphics for mobile phones; sunglasses.

There’s bound to be more to this story… Stay tuned.

UPDATE: I found this on the GZ sez section of Zappa.com:

Re: Trout Mask Replica -Jan Van Vliet
Added: April 29th, 2013 in Questions
On Apr 11, 2013, at 2:11 AM, Odd Magnus Grimeland wrote:

I would think Jan Van Vliet has an interest in the estate of Don, similar to your own interest in the estate of Frank. I wonder how she is involved in the new issue of Trout Mask Replica and how her interests are taken care of?

Cordially,

O. M. Grimeland

GZ: There really isn’t a cordial way of not minding your own business and answering for anyone other than myself is not my business.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Drumbo’: One of a kind painting of Captain Beefheart sideman for sale on eBay
06.12.2013
01:01 pm

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Art
Music

Tags:
Captain Beefheart
John "Drumbo" French


 
John “Drumbo” French of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band is selling a one-of-a-kind portrait of himself on eBay to fund a new project.

This painting was painted using a post-card sized photograph.  It is very well-detailed and quite clear.  The light does not reflect as much as the photo shows. It was given to me as a birthday present and portrays me (John “Drumbo” French) playing a specially-designed kit by Gon-Bops (Mariano Bobadillo specially created the kick and floor toms for me) in 1970. The photo was taken at Ludlow’s Garage, which I believe was in Cincinnati Ohio, in 1971, in the month of January.

Opening bid is $500.

Thank you Jeff Economy!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Click Clack’: Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band live in Paris, 1972
02.19.2013
01:31 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Captain Beefheart


 
Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band filmed performing a manic “Click Clack” at the Bataclan club in Paris, on April 15, 1972 for the Culture Rock TV series.

With a very nice blues harp solo. Very similar to the better known 1972 German Beat Club clip. The Captain is even wearing the same rad cape.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Handwritten Captain Beefheart poem: ‘Progress is Chanel No. 5 on the rocks’
09.04.2012
08:28 am

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Art
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Captain Beefheart


 
This is from a now closed auction at Record Mecca, by way of the Zappateers site:

“A very large poem handwritten by Captain Beefheart on the back of a concert poster, signed “Don Van Vliet ‘75,” with a drawing of a foot surrounded by musical notes. This is the most extraordinary Beefheart item we’ve seen, and the letter of authenticity from music writer and label executive Bill Bentley explains it all: “In 1975 I interviewed Captain Beefheart at the Armadillo World Headquarters for the Austin (TX) Sun. Beefheart was appearing there with Frank Zappa’s band, recording a live album (Bongo Fury.) After the interview I asked Captain Beefheart to draw me a picture, since he was doodling as we spoke. He got a poster from another Armadillo show and on the back quickly wrote out this poem. The words flowed out of him spontaneously. He signed it and handed it to me, and then took it back. He added at the end, “Progress is Channel No. 5 on the rocks,” and then drew a foot around those words with notes circling it. He called it his “footnote.” As I got ready to leave, I started to fold the poster. He said very loudly, “No!” He took it from me and rolled it up before handing it back, and said “Some day you’ll thank me.” He didn’t want me to crease the poster, knowing it would adversely affect the value. We ran the poem along with the interview shortly after in the Austin Sun.” Written on the back of an Armadillo poster for the band Greezy Wheels, 11 1/2” x 17 1/2”, in very good plus condition with some tape pulling around the edges and a missing bit of paper on the top right edge. Unique. With our written lifetime guarantee of authenticity.”

Larger view here.

The Magic Band will be performing live at the three-day Greg Dulli/All Tomorrow’s Parties-curated “I’ll Be Your Mirror” music festival in NYC on Sunday, September 23rd.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Making Love to a Vampire: Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band at Mudd Club, 1980
08.27.2012
11:58 am

Topics:
Heroes
History
Music

Tags:
Captain Beefheart
The Magic Band


 
This treasure currently has fewer than 60 views!

According to YouTube poster, bookheaven1thousand, the Captain and his band came onstage at 3:00 a.m. on the morning of December 10, 1980.

1. Hair Pie Bake 3
2. Best Batch Yet
3. Dirty Blue Gene (cut)
4. Sugar ‘n Spikes
5. Ashtray Heart
6. Doctor Dark
7. Sheriff Of Hong Kong (cut)
8. Making Love To A Vampire With A Monkey On My Knee
9. Suction Prints (cuts 20 seconds before end)
10. Big Eyed Beans From Venus

This set killed me. It’s one of the best and funkiest live performances I’ve ever heard from this band.

Some additional background from the YouTube post:

Peter Warner: Anyone ever come across a video of Captain Beefheart’s Mudd Club performance (the day [He means 2 days] after John Lennon’s death)? I was one of the handful of fans there and know it exists (Gary Lucas told me he confiscated the master: it was standard practice by the club for all performance to be taped). It was a wild night. Some girl in a big red sweater (good looking and drunk as all hell) was hangin’ all over me. She kept throwing change at the Captain telling him to shut up. I told the Cap I didn’t know who this chick was. (in hindsight, I shoulda gone for the chick.)

The Cap and I got into a stareing match—he singing away inches from my face as I growled back. What the hell, I was an obnoxious, drunk 17 year old. I actually made it to class the next morning.

Raymond Ricker: The band played there at 4 in the morning just a few hours after their Irving Plaza show concluded. I was about 1 of 30 people in attendance for that show (Don spent a good portion of the show putting up with an obnoxious girl who was drunk out her mind). If it wasn’t for Moris inviting me I would never have known there was going to be a performance there. As far as I know, this was the only time that band performed Making Love To A Vampire With A Monkey On My Back [He means “Knee”]

The Magic Band will be performing live at the three-day Greg Dulli/All Tomorrow’s Parties-curated “I’ll Be Your Mirror” music festival in NYC on Sunday, September 23rd.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Click Clack: Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band on German TV, 1972
08.24.2012
10:46 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Captain Beefheart


 
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (Zoot Horn Rollo, Ed Marimba, Roy Estrada, Rockette Morton and Winged Eel Fingerling) performing at Radio Bremen’s Funkhaus for German TV Beat Club, on April 12, 1972.

Zoot Horn Rollo (Magic Band guitarist Bill Harkleroad) recalls taping the show:

“I’m Gonna Booglarize You” got played an awful lot and was definitely part of our live show. Like “Click Clack” and “Alice In Blunderland,” “Booglarize You” was a staple part of the set on three basic tours - 1971, 1972 and 1973. I can specifically remember the band performing it on a German TV show called Beat Club. Like all TV shows at that time, they weren’t ready for loudly performed music. Our type of music was designed to be played loud, it didn’t have to be earsplitting, but it had to be played with a certain amount of volume just to push enough air to feel the excitement level of it - because we did have energy, no question about it!

I remember how difficult it was, beating the crap out of the instrument and jumping around, when you could hear people whispering over the low volume. ... Back then live TV shows were only one step better than lip-synching. It always felt funny playing to 30-odd people who were clapping politely while the TV producer was trying to make it look like a crowd 500. It was a very sterile environment and of course the Magic Band came over as being totally ‘over-the-top’ with our look - I remember stumbling around on my high heeled green shoes.

You’ll notice that the good Captain has two microphones bound together with tape, in order to amplify his deepest notes.

1. Hair Pie Bass Solo (The Mascara Snake) (0:00)
2. Click Clack Take 1 (3:08)
3. Click Clack Take 2 (6:51)
4. Golden Birdies and Band Intro (8:18)
5. I’m Gonna Booglaraize You Baby Take 1 (11:12)
6. I’m Gonna Booglaraize You Baby Take 2 (15:41)
7. Steal Softly Through Snow (Band Instrumental) (20:49)
8. I’m Gonna Booglaraize You Baby Take 3 (24:18)

The Magic Band will be performing live at the three-day Greg Dulli/All Tomorrow’s Parties-curated “I’ll Be Your Mirror” music festival in NYC on Sunday, September 23rd.

From the DVD of Lost Broadcasts.
 

 

 
Thank you, Brad Laner, WFMU and to bookheaven1thousand who uploaded this treasure to YouTube.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
My Human Gets Me Blues: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, live onstage in Belgium, 1969
05.23.2012
12:33 pm

Topics:
Heroes
History
Music

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Captain Beefheart


 
Yesterday’s Interstella Zappadrive: When Frank Zappa jammed with Pink Floyd post led me to some more footage from the Actuel Rock Festival, held in late October of 1969 in Amougies, Belgium, of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band.

Zappa was supposed to be the MC of the festival, but when the language barrier made that impossible, opted to jam with a few of the groups on guitar, including, of course, The Magic Band.

Bill Harkleroad (“Zoot Horn Rollo”) told Hal’s Progressive Rock Blog:

“All I can remember is playing in front of thousands of people huddled together in sleeping bags at three in the morning in this huge circus tent. It’s 27 degrees out, and there’s frost on my strings! It was Don, Victor, Mark, me and Jeff Burchell on drums. Frank was sitting in with us, because he was supposed to be the festival MC - a difficult job when he spoke no French and most of the audience spoke no English. Having Frank play with us made me a little more nervous than normal. I think we played five tunes - the five tunes Jeff knew and that was it. Pretty weird flying us all the way over there and playing one gig!

Don Van Vliet’s recollection of the festival:

“We had a good time. I don’t know, what they were doing; they were throwing what looked like birds nests at us, and then one fellow out of the audience - between one of the compositions - said my name was Captain Bullshit, and I said: “well, that’s all right baby, you’re sitting in it.” You know what I mean? I don’t know if he was an American; I’m not sure, because he was using early Gary Cooper movie talk. Like “yep,” things like that. I think they did well in five days and moving it from France to Belgium. But it was awfully cold… the people in the audience, I don’t know how they did it. I think it was probably pretty nice for them to leave their bodies… but the amplifiers were blown out by the time we got to them, and we need clarity for that, and there wasn’t any. I don’t know. I hope they enjoyed it. I enjoyed it.”

Naturally, as with the Pink Floyd footage that has slipped out of the vault to collectors (and YouTube) there’s no Festival Actuel footage of Zappa actually jamming with Captain Beefheart! Fwustrating! Was Zappa strapping on a guitar the signal to turn the camera off? Of course not, so where is this priceless footage?!?!?

In any case, there’s 5:32 seconds of sync-sound footage of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band in 1969 on my computer screen, so what am I complaining about? They do “She’s Too Much For My Mirror” and “My Human Gets Me Blues.”

The lineup for this concert was Don Van Vliet, vocals, tenor & soprano sax, bass clarinet; Victor Hayden (“The Mascara Snake”) bass clarinet; Bill Harkleroad (“Zoot Horn Rollo”) guitars; Mark Boston (“Rockette Morton”) bass; and Jeff Burchell (“Imposter Drumbo”) drums & percussion. Frank Zappa sat in on guitar on “When Big Joan Sets Up’” at the end of their set.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa lectures at Syracuse University, 1975
05.21.2012
02:36 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Captain Beefheart
George Duke


 
Frank Zappa lecturing at the Gifford Auditorium of Syracuse University on 23rd April 1975, along with George Duke and Captain Beefheart. The talk is about how he first discovered music, the economics of the music business, shooting 200 Motels (and getting paid from the movie industry) and his creative process. It opens up to questions after about 15 minutes.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
After 35 years, Captain Beefheart’s original ‘Bat Chain Puller’ album released
04.19.2012
01:18 pm

Topics:
Heroes
History
Music

Tags:
Frank Zappa
Captain Beefheart


 

“This train with grey tubes that houses people’s thoughts. Their very remains and belongings!”

After being promised a while back, and then delayed a few times, the Zappa Family Trust have given the world the original Bat Chain Puller album by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. It’s only for sale at Zappa.com.

Stuck in the vaults due to legal limbo for some 35 years, this is the 1976 vintage Bat Chain Puller of legend (and furiously traded bootlegs of varying quality). Van Vliet re-recorded the Bat Chain Puller tracks for Warner Bros. Records in 1978 and that album was titled Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller).

This official release sounds pristine and has far less tape hiss compared to all previous versions. Apparently Beefheart himself didn’t want these recordings released. There are three bonus tracks.

Don Van Vliet died on December 17th, 2010 of complications from MS.

The title number, “Bat Chain Puller,” was based upon the rhythm of Van Vliet’s car windshield wipers.
 

 
An awe-inspiring live “Bat Chain Puller” from French TV, 1980.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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