A Beefheart Connection – Songs

A collection of assorted compositions that have some connection to Beefheart but are not straight covers.

Anything missing? Let us know.

Acid Mothers Temple

2003 Finland CD St Captain Freak Out & The Magic Bamboo Request on Ektro Records EKTRO-015
This Japanese collective have soaked up most forms of rock music and then blast them back filtered through their own strange consciousness in a bewildering melange of sound. Their song titles are often based on well known songs – on this one the Captain gets a mention, which also includes Beatles, Stones and Mothers references.

There is the obvious ‘Captain’ and ‘Magic’ in the album title, plus there are tracks called :

A Bamboo is as Close as Miss Trout to Marshmallows
Sweet Lucille or Lick My Milk Off, Baby

The album cover is a parody of the Mothers parody of Sgt Pepper. Most of the people pictured are Japanese, although for some odd reason Abba, the 70’s Charlies Angels and Starsky & Hutch are included; there is also lot of bare flesh (another AMT trademark! ).

Steve Adams

American musician and composer, Steve Adams has referenced Don a couple of times in pieces he has written.

Owed T’Don
1995 CD Phantasmata (played by Marimolin) on GM Recordings

An interesting meditative composition of marimba and violin. Maybe the marimba is a nod to Don but there are no obvious musical references although a couple of times I thought I heard echoes of Beefheart tunes.

neon meat dream of a Beefheart machine
2019 CD The Philosophy of Air (Steve Adams / Vinny Golia Duo) on pfMENTUM PFMCD129

Adams wrote about this composition:

neon meat dream of a Beefheart machine is the second piece I’ve written that is dedicated to Captain Beefheart, along with the violin/marimba duo Owed t’Don, recorded by Marimolin on their CD Phantasmata. It’s based on a Reaktor ensemble created by Rick Scott that he graciously adapted for me. Here, I am triggering the changes in the electronics to fit the music, though each new pattern is a randomly generated surprise.

Thanks to brainpang for the heads up about Steve Adams.

Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias

“Peon in the Neck”
1977 UK vinyl Italians From Outer Space on Transatlantic Records TRA 349

The Albertos were a very funny live act well known in the UK during the mid to late 70s, specialising in parodies of other bands. Their song ‘Anadin’, for example, was a spoof on the Velvet’s ‘Heroin’. But often the humour was not so evident on the studio product. This pathetic attempt at spoofing ‘Hair Pie Bake 1’ complete with chat at the end is just not funny.

Alchemysts

“Electromagnetic North”
2000 US CD Zero Zen on Rubric Records RUB07

UK pyschmeisters include the line “the dust blows forward, and the dust blows back” on this track from a great album.

Angel Dust

“Spotlight Kid”
2007 US CD Border of Reality on Caroline Records

German power metal band. This song has nothing to do with the Beefheart one of the same name. Written by Blackmore and Glover (Deep Purple?)

Thanks to David Van Auken for confirming the information on this one.

Arcane Device

1993 US CD Trout on Silent Records SR9331
2000 US CDR Trout released by artist AD10

Arcane Device is/was the name used by electronics composer and performer David Lee Myers. On this CD he has named each track after some of Don’s lyrics:-

1. navel to the moon
2. squid
3. drazy hoops
4. where bees go in
5. a tin teardrop
6. meate rose
7. through a fly’s ear
8. the sun softly melts a nothing wheel

This is what David has to say about it:-

“Trout (Arcane Device 10) was created on the largest Feedback Machine, the ‘Feedback Workstation’. Most of these pieces could be called ‘industrial sound field’ music–ambient beds of dense, churning, fizzy sound zones. The last cut is more reminiscent of earlier Arcane Device, based around a gritty circular loop

“Those in the know will recognize the title references; I was having a bit of fun by giving a nod to one of my favorite musicians, and I do feel that the titles are descriptive of the sounds here. The original release on Silent Records had niftier cover art, but at least the original inside pictures of the Feedback Machines are now viewable on the Pulsewidth music tech page.

“The title / track titles were a lark, but I dearly love Don’s stuff and somehow his (okay, pirated) words said something about the sounds I was doing. Mostly just wanted to give a wink from a fan.”

 

Artificial

“Fallin’ Ditch”
2000 Australia vinyl Stoner Classix Volume One on Melbourne Underground Konsortium MUK # 002?

Described as a tribute to 30 years of psychedelic wobble-funk and Captain Beefheart. It samples Don reading Fallin’ Ditch, from the Stand Up To Be Discontinued CD, mixed with a dreary mama-heartbeat funk backing which gradually drowns out his voice.

Aztec Camera

“Vertigo”
1993 UK CD Dreamland on ??

This track has the lyrics:-

“Now that her smile has stuck, I cannot go back to your frownland
Now that her sun is up I cannot go back to your downland”

A definite borrowing of Don’s ‘Frownland’ lyric. At some point Aztec Camera mainman, Roddy Frame, nominated “My Head Is My Only House” among his favourite songs.

Thanks to Glyn Rogers for spotting this one.

Dwayne Bailey

“The Captain Beefheart Ceremonial Shuffle”
1982 US 7″ Revenge of the Nurds / The Captain Beefheart Ceremonial Shuffle on Finger Mobile Records FM 82982

Musicians: Dawayne Bailey: guitars, piano, vocals, Janis Liebhart: vocals, Craig Steward: harmonica, David Hinman: clarinet, Curt Sharkey: bass; Phil Bloch: drums, triangle

Dwayne Bailey went on to play with Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (1983-86) and Chicago (1986-1995).

Dawayne contacted the Radar Station and told us a bit more about the background to this song:-

“I’ve always been deep into the world of Zappa and Beefheart. When I moved from Wichita, KS to Los Angeles in 1980, I had been playing in a band with Craig Steward. At that time, Craig was flying to LA from Wichita to record with Zappa. He and I both moved to LA at the same time. I had also been given Jimmy Carl Black’s phone number in Albuqurque. I called him to see if he would sign my Mothers albums on my way to LA. He said yes and asked why I was moving. I explained that I was a songwriter/musician and wanted to give LA another chance after two previous attempts. Jimmy explained that he had moved from Wichita to LA right before joining The Mothers. He asked me to write a song for his upcoming JCB solo record. On the drive there, I wrote Jimmy a song (that he ended up recording and releasing on the A-side of a 45) called Albuqurque Bound. This began a songwriting partnership between Jimmy and me. And yes, he signed all my Mothers albums. He would send me lyrics and I would write the music. Some of these have been recorded by JCB as well as The Grandmothers.

During this time, I wrote the words and music to a song called The Captain Beefheart Ceremonial Shuffle, which I sent to Jimmy for possible release on a Grandmothers album. It was a tribute song to Beefheart-in 3 parts. Jimmy never got around to doing anything with the song, so I did.

In 1981, I had become close friends with an employee of Zappa named Gerald Fialka. He became my manager and in 1982, he proposed we release a Dawayne Bailey solo 45. I wrote a song called Revenge Of The Nurds, long before the 1984 movie of the same name. We decided to use Nurds as the A-side and the Beefheart tribute song as the B-side. I asked Craig Steward to play harmonica on the Beefheart song. I also asked him to be on the cover of the record. We dressed Craig up as “the Nurd” on the left, holding my dog’s leash as I’m wearing my dog’s collar on the right. All of it inspired by people like Bill Gates controlling everything in the future.

Right after the 45 was released, I was hired to tour and record with Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. During this same time, an LA newspaper, The Herald Examiner, did a story on the record and even had the picture sleeve featured in the article. Two years later, 20th Century Fox released a movie called Revenge Of The Nerds. We printed up only 500 copies of the record and 20 years later, it’s a serious rarity.”

The lyrics of the The Captain Beefheart Ceremonial Shuffle

Another day in–another day out
The captain’s getting older
The sunlight of his yesterday
Today seems a little less colder

Words arrive at his front door
Painting his conversation
Rising from his desert floor
He shapes his congregation

The ocean of his destiny
Where the past is always flowing
The man who denies his poetry
Is a man afraid of growing

l’m going down–that lonely highway
l’m going down–that lonesome road
Beside the man–who does it the hard way
To help him bear–his heavy load

There is a country–who understands me
There is a lady–who saves the day
Five hundred thousand–the true believers
That’s all you need–to stay away
He smokes a leaf from a rancid blend
The streets are dark and choking
Old gasoline pills in his ancient, circular belly
Accepts the occasional gift of ceiling gravel on a swollen chin

Kettle feet from too much pinching
Frozen corns and veins and poison blisters
Bloodshot eyeballs squint like tired oysters
His heart aches like a wet, empty old basement

He screams, “DON’T TAKE ME AWAY,
I KNOW WHAT A BEAR’S TOOTH LOOKS LIKE!”
He leaves the room vacant like an empty stomach
A child of the television generation

Too much formula and too much radiation
Too many forceps and barbed wire fences
Back seat strategy and lipstick sincerity
The old dealer’s doom was his conception

© Dawayne Bailey 1982

The Beatprophets

2000 Swedish CD Music From The Other Side of the Fence

A two man dub/soundsystem – are they really quoting from “Sam With the Showing Scalp Flat Top”?

Frank Black

“85 Weeks”
1995 US CD Pistolero on various labels over the years

A song about going without sleep for a year and a half written by Frank Black based on stories about Don told to him by Eric Drew Feldman.

“As to his fame, well he has two claims, he is a Don and as well a Captain un-somnambulist……………..”

Blossom Toes

“Electricity”
1986 Swedish vinyl The Psychedelic Sounds of …

This Swedish boot was apparently limited to 480 copies and is the only live Blossom Toes performance in existence – recorded at Club Felix in Stockholm in 1967. If this date is correct then it’s probably the earliest use of a Beefheart song by another band. It is not a cover of Don’s song but is a ten minute rambling jam with the title being repeated throughout. However thre is an obvious attempt to copy Don’s legendary phrasing of the word ‘electricity’.

Blossom Toes were a quintessential British psychedelic band who recorded sessions for John Peel’s radio show and released a couple of interesting and now much sought after albums. They played as support for the Magic Band on one of the 1968 European tours and loaned them their equipment too (it could be the equipment being used for the famous Cannes Beach performance).

Bog Lore

“Trash Can Blues”
19?? Baboon Rising on ??

Is this a nod to “Safe As Milk”? Maybe?
Does it even exist or is it a product of my imagination?

The Church

“Ripple”
1992 CD Priest = Aura on Arista Records 18683-2

Includes the line “Your hairdo is full of diamonds and lice …”, which must be a nod towards “The Dust Blows Forward…”.

Lloyd Cole & The Commotions

“The Lost Weekend”
1985 LP Easy Pieces

Includes the line “Ashtray heart on your sleeve…”

Pascal Comelade

“Also Sprach Ed Marimba”
1993 CD Traffic D’Abstraction on 99 Records

“El Zoot-Horn Rrotllo Enmascarad”
2002 CD Psicotic Music Hall on Delabel/Virgin

No, that’s not a typo on my part. It is ‘Rrotllo’! Comelade has also done a cover of “Dali’s Car” on toy guitar

Coogans Bluff

“Beefheart”
2012 CD Poncho Express on Nois-O-Lution – INDIGO 965891

A German five piece that feature a sax and trombone on mainly funky instrumentals. The Beefheart track runs to nine minutes and includes some growlly vocals and a lengthy trombone coda. But there’s no clue as to why they use the name.

dEUS

“My Wife Jan”
1996 CD EP Little Arithmetics on Island/Bang CID 643/854 719-2

Is it about Jan van Vliet? Maybe, here’s some of the lyrics:-

“I sing you by the Big Eyed Beans
‘Cause big-eyed girls are better left unsung
Do you get it ?
Do you get it ? All you little sweet dolphines
Adapt me, draw me and your culture scene
‘Cause your niece said
But your niece said
And I just threw my harp away
I just threw my blues away
And I’ll just throw my life away,
but keep my head on straight ‘Cause my wife Jan – ain’t gonna like it !
My wife Jan – ain’t gonna like it ! (x2)
If I take it off today… no way”

The song also contains several samples from the song ‘Wildlife’.

A further Beefheart connection is that Eric Drew Feldman produced and mixed the four songs on this EP and played on three of them (but not ‘My Wife Jan’).

“Roses”
1996 In A Bar, Under The Sea on Island/Bang 314-524 296-2

These Belgian rockers include the following line in this song:-

“Rose said quote it’s time to make a mess
This one’s yours and yours is self obsessed
She’s painting on my back a green tom, the beefheart one
And she cuddles and she coos and she cuts the bullshit I confessed”

‘Green Tom’ is the name of the painting used on the cover of Shiny Beast. Another Beefheart connection is that Eric Drew Feldman produced the album as well as playing organ or piano on several tracks.

“Worst Case Scenario (First Draft)”
1994 CD Worst Case Scenario on Island
The bass line is taken from ‘Hot Rats’, but the lyrics include another Beefheart quote:-

“so if you’re too busy but with too much to offer
and you can not decide where to go
do the low yo yo, take a swing at the dynamo
on a day like this it’s hard to keep the animal from drifting away”

“Zea Intro Replica”
1993 Belgian CD single Zea on Bang Records

Includes a 30 second sample of Jeff Cotton’s voice from ‘The Blimp’.

The Fall

“Deerpark”
1982 UK vinyl Hex Enduction Hour on Line Records
2000 UK CD Hex Enduction Hour on Cog Sinister COGVP119CD

“Spare a thought for the sleeping promo dept.
They haven’t had an idea in two years
Dollars and deutchmarks keep the company on its feet
Say have you had a chance to meet
Fat Captain Beefheart imitators with zits?
Who is the King Shag Corpse?”

Thanks to Julian Ellis for reminding me of this one.

“Insult Song”
2007 UK CD Post Reformation TLC on Slogan Records B000IHY1E6

“We thought they wore masks
until we asked them to take them off
they took the trout replica a bit too far..”

“Scenario”
2007 UK CD Post Reformation TLC on Slogan Records B000IHY1E6

“It doesn’t get me high,
it only makes me cry
the November day poppy”

Early live versions of the track had Mark E Smith clearly singing “Veteran’s Day Poppy” but he’s changed it to “November” for the album.

Thanks to Rob from the Fireparty for alerting us to these quotes.

The Falling Wallendas

“Captain Beefheart”
1997 US CD Belittle on IMI Records

A four piece alternative rock band from LA that recorded 3 albums in the 90s. Not sure if they’re still active. This song tells of a visit to Don’s trailer in the desert.

Check out YouTube to see them perform it live:-

“Captain Beefheart
Written by Allen Keller and Scott Bennett

I wrote a letter to the new york rocker back in ’82
About the cia and vatican’s plan to silence you
I stole your address from a dealer at a soho gallery
And hitched a ride to the mojave
To find your silver argosy

Pleased to meet you
Captain beefheart
You’re my hero
Captain beefheart

They dragged me out of my bed
Into an unmarked police car
They tortured me at the mount sinai
Memorial abbatoir
My mother tried to seduce me
To find out what I wrote
But I floated out of the window
On zoot horn’s long lean note

Pleased to meet you
Captain beefheart
You’re my hero
Captain beefheart

And if the music is a sin
Baptize me in the water
With the radio
Plugged in”

Fleshquartet

“I can dig you when I smoke my cigarette (a tribute to Don van Vliet)”
1990 Sweden CD Goodbye Sweden on Mistlur Records

Includes some lines from “I Love You You Big Dummy”. This Swedish band included Morgan Agren (drums) and Freddie Wadling (vocals) who would get together in 1995 for the Beefheart tribute band that performed with the Swedish part of Don’s ‘Stand Up To Be Discontinued’ art exhibition.

Thanks to Magnus Ekstrom for this information.

Floydian Slip

“Opaque Melodies”
2001 US CD Field Trip on ???

An eclectic progressive-agressive psychedelic jam band mixing rock, reggae, and funky grooves. Not to be confused with the Pink Floyd tribute band of the same name!

The G.T.O.s

“The Captain’s Fat Theresa Shoes”
1969 US vinyl Permanent Damage on Straight Records
198(?) US CD Permanent Damage on Enigma Records

Miss Pamela et al set us straight about Don’s shoe fetish.

Giant Sand

“Swerver”
1990 US CD Swerve on BMG/Restless

Briefly quotes ‘Sue Egypt’: “Boing pung! Hocus pocus idiom.”

The Grails

“Corridors of Power”
2011 US CD Deep Politics on Temporary Residence Records TRR 169

This band specialise in atmospheric instrumentals and on this particular track have sampled “Trust Us”

P.J. Harvey

“Rid Of Me”
1993 UK CD Rid Of Me on Island Records
1993 UK CD 4-Track Demos on Island Records

In a section of the song Polly Jean sings/snarls “Don’t you wish you never met her?” several times, a direct quote from ‘Dirty Blue Gene’.

Thanks, George Shirley for pointing this one out.

“To Bring You My Love”
“Meet Za Monsta “
“Down By The Water”
“I Think I’m A Mother”
1995 CD To Bring You My Love on Island Records CID8035

Polly Jean grew up listening to Beefheart’s music (her parents were fans) and talked to Don regularly on the phone. After listening to several albums of her music I found the songs rolling around in my head and changing into Beefheart songs – she’s definitely influenced on a subliminal level.

‘To Bring you My Love’ begins with “I was born in the desert…”.

‘Meet Za Monsta’ is a direct response to Don’s invitation on ‘Tropical Hot Dog Night’ for ‘all you young girls to come out n meet the monster tonight’

‘Down By The Water’ is melodically very similar to ‘Zig Zag Wanderer’ and ‘I Think I’m A Mother’ bears an uncanny resemblance to ‘Dropout Boogie’.

Thanks to Toby Manning for pointing out ‘Down By The Water’ and ‘I Think I’m A Mother’

2000 UK 7″ A Place Called Home
In the notes on the back Polly dedicates this record to Don & Jan van Vliet

All Polly’s songs are published by ‘Hothead Music Ltd’

Sven van Hees

“Too Many Captain Beefhearts”
2000 Belgium 12″ Tsunami (Inside My Soul) on Life Enhancing Audio

His music is described as downtempo, ambient, future jazz.

High Llamas

“Rotary Hop”
2003 UK CD ‘Beet Maize & Corn on Duophonic Super 45s DS45-CD35

According to High Llamas mainman, Sean O’Hagan, this song refers to Beefheart’s problems with UK Customs on the 1968 tour.

The song begins:

Take the Captain to the shore, flip the handle throw the door
Taken from a grey sky, what name are you known by
Shaken by a sense of play, these young men were led away
Captain of scandal, wicked words withstand all

The music has no discernible references though.

Steve Hillage

“Light In The Sky”
1977 CD Motivation Radio on Virgin Records

Miquette Giraudy space whispers: “It’s the Blimp, Frank, it’s the Blimp” on the track “Light in the Sky. ” She then goes off into her own little world on the saucer/blimp/light in the sky.

Thanks to brainpang for giving the album one last listen before selling it!

Hopewell

“Safe As Milk”
2001 7″ Safe As Milk / Contact on Cutty Sark/R&S REL011
2001 CD Safe As Milk (radio edit) / The Curved Glass / Contact / Safe As Milk (original version) on Cutty Sark/R&S REL011CD
2001 CD The Curved Glass on Cutty Sark/R&S

Hopewell include a couple of members of Mercury Rev who are also listed on this page and in the covers section. The track bears no similarity to the Beefheart song of the same name.

Glenn Jones

“One Jack Rose (That I Mean)”
2004 US CD This Is The Wind That Blows It Out on Strange Attractors Audio House SAAH024

Guitarist from Cul De Sac pays homage to another guitarist, Jack Rose, while adapting the title of one of Don’s guitar pieces.

Keit

“Eller Guru”
1996 German CD Keit on Keit Records

Two guys from Dusseldorf who play a variety of instruments. This CD contains “two dozen of miniatures a la van Vliet”. There are definitely some angular, fractured rhythms here that are reminiscent of the Magic Band. Apparently, Eller is the name of a quarter in Dusseldorf.

Denny King & The B.O. Boogie Band

“Bessie Mae”
1972 LP Evil Wind Is Blowing on Speciality SPS5003
2010 CD Evil Wind Is Blowing on Axis Records AXCD1012

This has a slide guitar riff lifted straight out of ‘Tarotplane’. Which is not so surprising when you know it’s Alex St Clair Snouffer playing it, although he doesn’t get any writing credit on this track. There are a number of other Beefheart connections to this rare album – more information here.

Knife & Fork

“Wild”
2000 UK CD Various Artists : The Hospital Radio Request List on Sink & Stove Records #2

This track ‘Wild’ is by Eric Drew Feldman. It has the ‘Gimme Dat Harp Boy’ riff appearing throughout. The compilation also includes a track by Bristol band, Big Joan, and by Terry Edwards (who has covered a Beefheart song elsewhere).

LCD Soundsystem

“Losing My Edge”
2002 US 12″ Losing My Edge / Beat Connection on DFA Records DFA2123
2002 UK 12″ Losing My Edge / Beat Connection on Output Records OPR DFA002
2002 US CD single Losing My Edge / Beat Connection on DFA Records DFA 1001
2005 CD LCD Soundsystem on DFA Records

This track, ‘a wry commentary on musical elitism’, includes the verse:

“I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band,
I told him don’t do it that way,
You’ll never make a dime”

Thanks to Nigel Wheatley for spotting this one

Joel Lewis

Joel Lewis is a poet based in Jersey and has had three major works published, two of which have poems with titles taken from Beefheart songs.

Rent House Boogie (Yellow Press 1992)
Light Reflected Off The Oceans of the Moon
Semi-Multicolored Caucasian

Vertical’s Currency (Talisman 1999)
Flavor Bud Living
One Red Rose That I Mean

Learning From New Jersey (Talisman 2007)
Does not include any borrowed titles but does make reference to Beefheart on the back cover as being an inspiration.

Thanks to Tim Hather for the heads up on this one.

Alan Licht

2001 CD Plays Well on Crank Automotive CAR09

A sample from ‘Well’ used on the 12 minute track called ‘The Old Victrola’. This is how the track is described in one review:-

“‘The Old Victrola’ is the disc’s comedy track, and really does need to approached with an open-ended conceptual mindset in order to achieve anything remotely resembling full appreciation. It splices together performances from 1995 and 2000, beginning and concluding with covers of Beefheart’s ‘Well’ – the first a choppily climactic rock instrumental, the second a vocal set against chord organ – and its bulk is taken up with a breathtakingly cheeky disco flirtation. Five minutes in, Licht cuts from droning noise to a loop of, yes, a disco beat and generic disco diva wailing, surely the first time the genre’s made any appearance on a “noise” record and definitely one of the more startling contextual reconfigurations any avant-guitarist’s dared attempt in recent years.”

In the same piece Alan Licht is descibed as a “post-hardcore pre-apocalyptic science-fiction drone-lovin’ renaissance man.” Lick that decal off!

The Loner

“Hominy’s Grotto”
2001 French CD The Loner on Non Mi Piace 05

An obscure reference to the song “The Spotlight Kid”. The Loner CD also includes a track called “Sugar Bowl” but I’m not sure if that is a nod to the Beefheart song or not (it’s definitely not a cover version).

The band includes bassist Algis Kizys, who’s played in the New York noise scene for years and one time member of Swans.

Helen Love

“Rollercoasting”
1994 UK 10″ Summer Pop Punk Pop on 500 fluorescent pink vinyl Damaged Goods Records DAMGOOD24
1997 UK vinyl Summer Pop Punk Pop on 1000 yellow glitter vinyl Damaged Goods Records
1997 UK CD Summer Pop Punk Pop on Damaged Goods Records

The first two lines of Helen Love’s “Rollercoasting” refer to what she’s listening to in her car:-

“I got the MC5, Suicide, Nancy Sinatra and Neil Young live, I got Heavenly, Peggy Lee, Captain Beefheart and the Vaselines”

Love Spit Love

“Well Well Well”
1997 UK CD Trysome Eatone on Maverick/Warner 9 46560-2

Richard Butler’s band after the demise of Psychedelic Furs. Includes the line “Mirror Man Mirror Me”

Gary Lucas

“Ah Feel Lik Ah Syd”
1997 US CD Evangeline on Paradigm Records

Lucas manages to acknowledge two of his musical passions – Beefheart and Syd Barrett – in one title. Neat!

“Hard Werkin’ Fucked Over Man”
1990 US CD Skeleton At The Feast on Enemy Records EMY126-2

Some amazing solo guitar work which sounds nothing like ‘Hard Workin’ Man’ but the title seems to nod in its direction.

Billy Mahonie

“Man With The Woman Head”
1999 UK 7″ Little Feet on Gold Hole Recordings GOLE003

This might have been one of the more obscure Beefheart covers except that it’s not a cover at all. Just the same title for an instrumental (reminiscent of Tortoise).

1999 UK CD Big Dig on Pure Records 94CDPURE

Album title with maybe a nod to Beefheart?

Mandible Chatter

“The Dust Blows Forward”
1997 UK CD Food For The Moon on Manifold Records ‎MANCD18

The track is apparently a “short ambient meditation” on an album of “sculptural ambiences” from an ambient-industrial duo. I guess it must be ambient music then?

Michael Marra

“Beefhearts and Bones”
1996 UK CD Pax Vobiscum (In Concert) on ECL CD9616

Recorded live in 1984. Marra is a singer/songwriter from Dundee in Scotland who also produced the Saint Andrew album (see below). In this song about divorce the important question of custody of the record collection is examined:-

“He gets the Beefheart, she gets the Stones
they’re willing to fight through every court in the land
For the Hearts and the Bones
They split the Motown, she sheds a tear
All the way down, and he sings the same old song
If you think you’re walking out that door with Loudon Wainwright
You’re wrong, baby, you’re wrong.”

Thanks to Derek Laskie for the information on this one.

Mercury Rev

“Meth Of a Rockette’s Kick”
199? CD Boces on Beggars Banquet Records BBQCD140

Miasma of Funk

“Radio Waves From Russia”
2004 CD Groove on the Mania! on Top Scrap Recordings TS0002

Thundering drums and bass with slashes of guitar, this is mainly an instrumental but sampled voices are mixed in towards the end including Don from ‘Dachau Blues’

Mint Royale

Blue Song
2002 UK CD Dancehall Places on Faith and Hope Records FHCD028
2002 UK triple vinyl Dancehall Places on Faith and Hope Records FHLP028

A dance track that samples heavily from the vocals of “Ah Feel Like Ahcid”. It has actually been played on BBC Radio One’s breakfast show – probably a first for any of Don’s music!

To coincide with the release of the single version (27 January 2003) Mint Royale put several different mixes of the song on their website – www.mint-royale.com (although they’re probably not there now!)

Thanks to Martin Webb for telling me about this one.

The Mongrels

“Laser Beans”
1997 UK 7″ Slingshots on Pelican Neck Records TUE002

Thanks to Derek Laskie, again, for this one.

Mono Blue

1999 Norway 10″ Safe As Milk on ?

Also, gave Beefheart a mention on their website

David Mooney

Opaque Melodies

Mooney composes and performs “computer music”. It would be easier for you to visit his Opaque Melodies website if you want to know more. He does quote Don’s “Opaque melodies that would bug most people.”

The Mormones

2003 Sweden CD Guide To Good And Evil on Trust Me Records

The bass player, Morton Lunde, has the cheek to call himself Rockette Morton!

Their record company describes their music as “World War Three in a telephone booth”. There are further tenuous Beefheart connections in the song titles “That’s It, I’m Calling The Mothership” and “GTO Society”.

Motorpsycho

1998 Norway CD Trust Us on Columbia 4897382

The cover includes a quote from the song – “You gotta hear without fear”

“We All Float Down Here”
1992 Norway 7″ep Soothe on VOW 027

This track is a ‘sound scape’ based on Captain’s “Fast & Bulbous” routine and ‘other weird shit’.

“The Skies are full of…Wine”
1998 Norway ep Ozone on Columbia 6656442

“Captain Geebheart”
2000 Norway ep Walkin’ With J on Columbia 6991492

This is a Beefheartesque song with the band’s drummer, Haakon Gebhardt on vocals.

Thanks to Morten Lier for sending me these details.

Ninewood

“Elephant Cadaver”
1998 US CD New Can of Ice on Vaccination Records VAC017
This song uses some of the ‘Pachuco Cadaver’ lyrics, but not the music. Ninewood are a Bay Area band, two basses, no guitar, “drumbo”, and vocals.

Nocturnal Emissions

“The Woodbine I Smoked Because Captain Beefheart Gave It Me”
1996 ?? CD Friction and Dirt on Staalplaat Records STCD107
Nigel Ayres (aka Nocturnal Emissions) contacted the Radar Station to give to the backgound to this track:-

Captain Beefheart’s music was my favourite all the time I was growing up. I was lucky enough to see Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band perform live several times during the 70s and early 80s; at the Bickershaw Festival, Sheffield City Hall, Bristol Colston Hall and the Venue in London.

The night of the Beefheart show at Bristol Colston Hall, while the support act was playing, I went for a pee. A scruffy middle-aged man shuffled into the urinal beside me and said in an American accent- “real keen place this, man”. To my surprise it turned out that it was Don Van Vliet himself. Later outside on the steps we talked for a while and he drew me a little picture on a scrap of paper and offered me a Woodbine cigarette. Woodbine was a cheap and high-tar brand of plain tipped cigarette. I didn’t smoke at the time, but seeing as it was Beefheart, I made an exception, took his offer and smoked the thing.

Years later, I was making records myself.
Although Beefheart was a great influence on my music, I took a very different route in my compositions. Whereas he’s spoken out against repetition and hypnotic effects in music, I’ve tended to use a lot of loops and subliminal effects. I’ve also tended to use tapes, music concrete and computer–sequenced sounds; rather than live musicians. But I think my music shares the same kind of primal concerns to do with a relationship with nature and a playful freedom of expression. I’ll juxtapose instruments in an “outsider” way – there’s often the kind of mood you’ll find on Trout Mask Replica, as mutant jazz and blues themes seem to bubble beneath the surface of something absurd.

Well in 1996, on FRICTION AND DIRT I thought I’d like to dedicate something to the Captain. In the track THE WOODBINE I SMOKED, rather than to make a pastiche of the Beefheart sound, I attempted to record a musical impression of the sound that cigarette smoke had made all those years ago. It was about the effect it had on my consciousness – as its toxins tore through my young and delicate lungs.

The CD Friction and Dirt came out on the Staalplaat label in Amsterdam. It’s now deleted, but you can find further information on my work at:

www.earthlydelights.co.uk

Nurse With Wound

“Rockette Morton pt.1 & pt.2 “
199? CD Sucked An Orange 79-88

A seemingly endless repeating of “Rockette Morton” until you wish he’d answer and maybe they’d stop.

“Strain, crack, break “
2001 UK CD Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table on United Dairies

Included in this material from 1979 is a bonus 15 minute track of Steven Stapleton’s list of influences – a bizarre, multi-layered and repeated recitation. So, you get to hear “John Cage, Captain Beefheart” over n’ over again.

Thanks to Brainpang for the heads up on these.

Joan Osborne

“Right Hand Man”
1995 CD Relish on Blue Gorilla/Mercury

Joan Osborne had already covered one Beefheart song before this second album. The introduction to this song is based on the guitar intro to ‘Clear Spot’.

Gary Lucas plays guitar on some tracks.

Pain

“Feel n Good”
2007 CD Mary Jane on Mary Jane Productions

PAIN, aka D-Pain aka DeWayne PAIN labeled the Prince of Daytona Beach, is a rapper based in Florida. This track off his album samples the opening riff from ‘Low Yo Yo Stuff’ and uses it as the backing throughout the song..

Pere Ubu (David Thomas)

“Electricity”
“Mirror Man”

David Thomas has cited Beefheart as a major influence (along with Brian Wilson). His way of acknowledging this is to ‘borrow’ song titles without actually covering the song.

Petrified Alien Brain Blues Band & Co

19?? US CD Fast and Bulbous on Altenburgh 0009

This bunch really are a blues band, but not alien – they’re based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Don’t know if they cover any Beef songs though.

Placebo

“Brick Shithouse”
1998 UK CD Without You I’m Nothing on Virgin Records 46531

The song ‘Brick Shithouse’ quotes the line from Dirty Blue Gene – “don’t you wish you never met her”.

An early incarnation of this band were known as Ashtray Heart, so Doc At the Radar Station seems to have made an impression on them.

Thanks to Rik Green for the info about this.

Pugh and Painrock

“Långt ut på landet”
1975 Swedish LP Ett Steg Till on ???

“Långt ut på landet” (Far into the country) is credited to Rogefeldt and Van Vliet. The song is in Swedish and uses the backing from “Peaches”.

Ett Steg Till (One step) is a live album by Pugh Rogefeldt and the band Rain Rock, recorded in Kristianstad. Rogefeldt is a pioneer in Swedish underground rock playing folk, acid rock and blues but singing in Swedish. He was still going strong in 2009.

Steve Reich

“Come Out”
1987 Early Works on Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch 979 1692
1997 Works 1965 -1995 (10 CD set) on Nonesuch 79451-2

This looped and treated recording of a guy saying ‘come out to show them’ was originally released in 1966 and was the inspiration for the final section of ‘Moonlight on Vermont’.

From Steve Reich’s sleeve notes to EARLY WORKS CD 979 1692:-

“….Come Out. Composed in 1966, it was originally part of a benefit …. for the retrial, with lawyers of their own choosing, of the six boys arrested for murder during the Harlem riots of 1964. The voice is that of Daniel Hamm, now aquitted and then 19, describing a beating he took in Harlem’s 28th precinct station. The police were about to take the boys out to be “cleaned up” and were only taking those that were visibly bleeding. Since Hamm had no actual open bleeding he proceeded to squeeze open a bruise on his leg so that he would be taken to the hospital. “I had to like open the bruise up and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them.”

Ret Marus

“Deodah”

I don’t know if this has been officially released. The song is based, apparently, on the Beefheart poem “I like the way the doodads fly”. So it’s not quite a cover is it?

Zoogz Rift

“Ah Peeked In Duh Devil’s Secret Hell Files”
1987 US vinyl Water II: At Safe Distance on SST Records SST137

The late Zoogz Rift (aka The Liquid Moamo) was another eccentric Californian musician, artist and former professional wrestler who with his band The Shitheads and other musicians has issued a large number of albums over the past 20-25 years. His primary influence would appear to be Frank Zappa but his work could do with better quality control as he has a tendency to indulge in too many adolescent fantasies.

However this particular song, with it’s nod to Beefheart in the title, is pretty funny with him musing on why he’s ended up with a particular job:-

“Oh why, God?
Oh why did those assholes at the employment agency
get me this job cleaning up this office?
Why? Somebody tell me already…
Was this the best they could do at short notice?
Am I being punished for over-eating and using
too many cuss words?
Or is it for sounding too much like some pale,
cheap imitation of Captain Beefheart?
[instrumental break with marimba, guitar and drums a la Magic Band]
Or am I too much like Frank Zappa?
[‘Hot Rats’ era Zappa style break]”

The answer is probably ‘yes’.

Michael Roe

1995 US CD Safe As Milk on Via Records
The song is not covered and there is no other obvious Beefheart connection. Michael Roe is the lead singer of the alternative Christian band The 77’s

Ruby

“Beefheart”
2001 UK CD Short Staffed at the Gene Pool on Wichita WEBB006
2001 on a CD given away free with German music magazine ‘Musikexpress’
2001 UK CD Beefheart (four mixes) on Wichita WEBB019

What is the point of this song?

(The) Safe As Milk

1968 US 7″ Eeny Meeny / We Know That Everybody Knows on Roulette Records R-7027.

Produced by Paul Leka, arranged by Joe Messina. Have also seen this listed as being released in 1966.

Absolutely no connection between this slice of bubblegum pop and Beefheart apart from the use of the term ‘safe as milk’ which could have been picked up independently of each other.

Saint Andrew

“Wullie Thon Mink”
1999 UK CD The Word On The Pavey on MINK3

‘Willie The Pimp’ with alternative lyrics drawn from the Dundee (in Scotland) dialect and sung in a Dundonian accent. The last verse pays homage to ‘Big Eyed Beans’ too.

“Eh’m a little mink wi m’hair gassed forrit
You’re a specky geht and they roar him Horace
Tattoos on m’knee caps
Tide mark on m’hoop la
You’re a bra loon and you got eau levels
[…snip…]
Distant cousins lets git merried
Kreist knows thurs enough o’ it about.”

Thanks to Derek Laskie again for this little gem.

Screeper

“Bone Crazy”
“Can Fever”
1998 UK CD English Meltdown on Mouthy Records Mouthy008CD
These two songs have been bugging us here at The Radar Station for some time. They are both listed on the BMI website as being composed by Don van Vliet and Herb Bermann. No mention could be found of them elsewhere, they’ve not appeared on any out-takes tapes that circulate and Herb Bermann himself had never heard of the songs or the co-writers, Coffin and Jones.

But some detective work by Radar Station sleuth, Derek Laskie, has finally solved the puzzle.

It seems that a band called Screeper simply sampled ‘Sure ‘Nuff ‘N Yes I Do’ on their song ‘Can Fever’ and used part of Beefheart’s song, ‘Electricity’, on ‘Bone Crazy’.

Being conscientious about the use of other people’s property, Screeper then spent a year in complicated legal negotiations before they could release a CD with these tracks on it. NME called it, “the best album ever by a Portsmouth band.”

Screeper eventually morphed into a band called Autons. In June 2005 The Autons supported The Magic Band in Portsmouth. For this concert they reprised their old hit, ‘Can Fever’, complete with Captain Beefheart sample.

There’s a great write up about the band and their support gig for the Magic Band here.

Sex Pistols

“New York”
1977 Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols
This spirited attack on the Heartbreakers contains the lines:

Think it’s swell playing in Japan
When everybody knows Japan is a dishpan

John Lydon has often mentioned he’s a Beefheart fan.

Thanks to Justin Flude to this addition

Sixteen Hooves

“Snake Attack”
2008 unreleased

A drums and guitar two piece based in Sheffield who described themselves as experimental, blues, grindcore. This particular track has Don’s vocals from ‘Old Black Snake’ with the band supplying the backing which references ‘Click Clack’ at times.

Spatula

“Peony”
1998 US CD Despina By Land on Squealer Records Squealer025

Ptolemaic Terrascope editor, Phil McMullen reviewed the album thus, “pieces such as ‘Snake of One Hundred Paces’ are guided by slide guitar, backbeats and anti-rhythms through a magical museum of Magic Band miscellany (‘Lasko’ and ‘Peony’ likewise throw distant shadows onto post-Magic Band works in progress by Mallard)”

Stretchheads

“23 Skinner”
1991 UK CD Pish In Your Sleazebag on Blast First
This Glasgow based ‘spazz-punk’ band are described by Trouser Press as ‘a band that’s instantly diagnosable as hyperactive, hungry and completely strange’.

On ’23 Skinner’ they’ve used many samples from Trout Mask Replica plus a few from Strictly Personal

Thanks to Marcin Siehankiewicz for alerting us to this one

Sun Zoom Spark

“Last Blues”
2001 US CD Electricity on Slowburn Records
As well as taking their name from the ‘Clear Spot’ song (see band names connections) the band have sampled Don saying ‘Sun Zoom Spark’ and repeated it a number of times on this track.

The Tommys

Grow Fins
2001 Australia CD Grow Fins on Fryup Records T41
Described as “an exciting mix of surf inspired slackobilly tunes” this mini album is titled after and includes a song called ‘Grow Fins’ but is not a cover.

Another track on the album is called ‘Nowhere Round’ which seems to echo the line ‘When it blows its stacks he ain’t nowhere around’.

UFO

1972 UK vinyl Live on Decca Records
I’ve been told this song quotes ‘Dropout Boogie’, but as I’ve not heard the album I can’t confirm this.

Uncle Fester

“Gasoline”
19?? UK [no further details available]
This band from Lancashire in the UK play ‘total sonic mayhem’. The song “Gasoline” includes the line ‘Lick My Decals Honey, Burn Me Down”

Undergirl

2001 US CD She’s Too Much For My Mirror on Scarlet A Records
A four piece punk outfit from Philadelphia with a wild girl singer. They’ve named their first album after this song as a nod to Beefheart but they admit themselves that they’re not up to covering any of his stuff.

Unwound

“Kandy Korn Rituals”
1992 US 7″ Kandy Korn Rituals on Kill RockStars KRS205
Apart from it being a 3 track vinyl single – the other tracks being Against and Hiding in D – I know nothing else.

Urban Dance Squad

“The Devil”
1989 German CD Mental Floss For The Globe on ARIOLA 260.325

This hip-hop/rock collective from Holland use a sample from ‘Orange Claw Hammer’ – “…come little one with yer little old dimpled fingers/…/’n show you the wooden tits on the Goddess/…/’n here it is I’m with you my daughter/Thirty years…”.

Thanks to Werner Ahrensfeld for info on this one

Various Artists

Ashtray Heart – a Sorted label compilation
2000(?) UK CD on Sorted Records SRCD1
Frownland – the second Sorted EP
2000(?) UK 7″ on Sorted Records SRS005
Suction Prints
UK vinyl on Sorted Records SRLP04

Here are three compilations from the UK indie label Sorted which are all named after Beefheart songs. There are no cover versions or any other Beefheart connection on these as far as I can see!

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

“Willie The Wimp”
1986 CD Live Alive on Sony
1999 CD Vol. 2 – Real Deal Greatest Hits on Sony
2000 3CD Box Set SRV on Sony

I haven’t heard this so I don’t know if there is any similarity apart the obvious wordplay on the title.

Vibracathedral Orchestra

“Rain Gutter Teasing Rusty Cat Sneezing”
2005 Norway 7″ Rain Gutter Teasing Rusty Cat Sneezing on Safe As Milk Records

The title is a quote from the song Safe As Milk and it was released in connection with the annual Norwegian music festival also called Safe As Milk. It is described as a great wash of electronic/acoustic surge. The other side of the single is a track by a band called Phonophani which has no Beef connection.

Thanks to Daniel Payne for spotting this one.

Vibracore

“Beefheartmania”
199? UK CD The Emerald Sessions on ?

A ‘skunk groove’ band who write their own material. The bass player, Tom Prine, is known as ‘High Voltage Man’.

Martha Wainwright

“The George Song”
2008 CD I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too on Drowned in Sound

This song from Loudon’s daughter includes the following:-

“And I will never understand
Why you love the Beefheart
More than you could love the common man”

Leslie Winer

“1nce Upon A Time”
1993 UK CD Witch on Transglobal Records GLOBAL 1CD

The introductory riff from ‘Clear Spot’ is sampled, looped and used as the backing track along with added drum and dub bass (probably Jah Wobble) while Leslie Winer whisperingly recites lyrics over it.

Winer used to be a fashion model with attitude, had some relationship with William Burroughs, recorded in the UK and then practically disappeared.

Wrong

“Achy Breaky Beefheart”
1996 US 7″ Achy Breaky Beefheart / Wild Up on Destroy All Music/Sunship DAM68/SunOne
1995 US CD Various Artists : When I’m Hungry I Eat on Courmandizer Records 001.

Two distorted guitars and some drums on a crash and burn course in the key of R#. Wrong are from Minneapolis and they share the 7″ with a band called Tranquil. The various artists CD compilation consists of other bands from Minneapolis and 31 songs about food(!)

John Zorn / Naked City

“Vliet”
1994 US CD Heretic on Avant

Thanks to Steven LaCombe for pointing this one out which he describes thus:

‘Vliet’ is a guitar-and-bass duet, with the bass pacing out a semi-Seinfeldian pluck and pop while the guitar grinds and sears out a Hendrix quaalude trip. Ironically, “Vliet” is one of the least Beefheart-esque tracks on a disc that is otherwise packed with wonderful avante-garde weirdness bound to appeal to any fan of TMR and Decals.

Help us out
If anyone is able to complete or update any of the information above, then please do get in touch.

1 Comment

  1. Hello how are you? I have a band from Argentina that in 2012 we recorded a simultaneous EP and for the love that we have the captain in one of the songs we put ” well ” and a solo of the captain’s sax that was from a session ‘side B’ by trout mask replica. In case you are interested in adding it, I will leave you my email so that I can pass the data to you. Thank you very much

    danilobaldo1988@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *