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Has Gail Zappa trademarked the name ‘Captain Beefheart’ and if so, WHY?
05:05 pm
Has Gail Zappa trademarked the name ‘Captain Beefheart’ and if so, WHY?

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

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?


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
05:05 pm



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