Many thanks indeed to Angel for sending along these splendid pictures and story of her and husband Chris’ visit to Woodland Hills to see the house where the Magic Band lived and Trout Mask Replica was endlessly rehearsed.
See also John French aka Drumbo’s response to these photographs!
Well the whole thing was more exciting than I thought it would be. Just getting to the house is an adventure. It’s tucked away in a canyon(!) with very steep, narrow windy roads (not yer typical LA neighborhood, to be sure).
We made a right off Canoga Avenue onto Arcos which took us straight to Ensenada, Beefheart’s old street. We wound over hill and dale for what seemed like a long time, the LA sunshine beating down it’s full 80 degrees on us and lo, perched on a sloping side, there it was. Pink (!) trim, wooden, desperately needing much repairs, it was quite a haunting visage. Surrounded by unkempt brambles, grass, and shaded neath massive looming trees that cover all the area (the trees in Woodland Hills – that’s a story in itself!) I snapped many photos and nosed around.
It seemed abandoned, but on closer inspection, I saw a thin strand of xmas lights hanging from the eaves that were switched on. So I climbed the narrow stone steps to the front porch, and peered around, but was too chicken to knock on the door – in LA people have guns, and oftentimes don’t like surprise guests! There was a cactus plant off to the side of the porch, and a small shed (garage?) out front.
That house has quite a presence. It’s very intense, and not just because it’s the Trout house. It’s definitely unique and I suppose what adds to its aura is the fact that it’s so out-of-place compared to most homes in the area. Why, the house across from it was pretty new, white and typical, and then you have this thing!
It was fun and we were blasting a tape of Trout in the car and giggling.
Many thanks to Angel for sending these splendid snaps along.
Copyright held by the photographer. Used by permission, not to be reproduced for commercial use.
In ‘69 we visited Don Van Vliet at this house fulfilling the desire of east coast DJ Meatball Fulton to interview Captain Beefheart. A desire he mentioned more than once on air. His friends, Max and Miles, contrived to purchase transportation and a driver to accommodate him.
After seeing them at Woodstock I had expressed a desire to drive a school-bus cross-country to visit the Hogfarm’s remote location in New Mexico. I drove their their just purchased a 35’ 1953 Reo School-bus after many culturally significant detours up into the Woodland Hills(hair-raising), with the aforementioned DJ, the two kidnapping accomplices, my girlfriend, and my estranged wife and our daughter.
I’ll never forget that during the interview my five year old daughter kept making a fuss interrupting the recording. Don showed her into his recording studio and the drum kit where she happily banged away in the soundproof room. Little did we know at the time he was recording her and sampled a scrap of this recording on Trout Mask Replica. The other thing that happened was a phone call that he answered – the thing was – it didn’t ring! I asked him how he knew there was a call and he replied “I can feel the vibration coming up the hill.” I don’t think we were tripping.