Captain Beefheart’s celebrity gate-crashers bring gift of beetle bones:
It would be hard to find two rock stars who are more fixated on Captain Beefheart than Alison Mosshart of The Kills and Jack White of The White Stripes.
Both groups have recorded Beefheart songs and continue to play them live. Jack White dressed up as Captain Beefheart on the photo shoot for Get Behind Me Satan and in interviews Alison Mosshart regularly expresses her yearnings to be with Don Van Vliet.
There’s one musician who’s alive but isn’t working any more that I would do anything to do something with – and that would be Don Van Vliet from Captain Beefheart. And I think it would be surprising just because he doesn’t do music any more (laughs). That’s my favorite band, you know… yeah, I’d like to just be in the same room as that man.
– Alison Mosshart in Sunfiltered, July 2009
Alison Mosshart has even become the latest celebrity collector of paintings by Don Van Vliet, one of which is the showcase piece of her art collection, though Mosshart clarifies: I collect for the money. – Alison Mosshart in Black Book, June 2009
So when Alison and Jack got together this year to record a video to promote Dead Weather, their joint project, it was hardly surprising that they decided to visit Don Van Vliet’s old stamping ground of Lancaster, California.
Having just pumped each other full of bullet holes, Dead Weather cohorts Jack White and Alison Mosshart decided to relax with a visit to the childhood home of their shared musical hero, Captain Beefheart.
“We were covered in blood,” Mosshart says fondly of the July pilgrimage. “Fake blood from head to toe, with 70 bullet holes through us. You know, we were just totally gross. We showed up at his house and left a bunch of beetle shells — dead beetles we’d found in the desert — and some burned sticks under his tree. It just seemed appropriate!”
Mosshart says the family now living in the Lancaster, Calif., house had never heard of the eccentric musical genius who had spent years there listening to R&B singles with schoolmate Frank Zappa.
“A bunch of dudes with no shirts came out of the house, and they had no idea who he was. And because we were all covered in blood and we had the film crew with us, all these kids were coming out of their houses and were like, ‘Is this an episode of Cops?'”
– from: Death becomes them: Alison Mosshart and Jack White kill some time with the Dead Weather by Bill Forman in The Colorado Springs Independent, 13 August 2009