Captain Beefheart Discography: Beefheart Covers Collection – Part 8

That Petrol Emotion

Hot Head

1988 UK 12″ Cellophane / Think of a Woman / Hot Head on Virgin Records VST 1116

see also Fast ‘n’ Bulbous Tribute Album

Zig Zag Wanderer

1985 UK 12″ Keen / A Great Depression on a Slum Night / Zig Zag Wanderer on Pink Records PINKY 13T

The Three Johns

Moonlight on Vermont

1988 UK vinyl The Death of Everything on Trance Records
1988 UK CD The Death of Everything on Line Records TCDD 9-00671

One of the Johns was Jon Langford, founder of Leeds punk legend The Mekons, who de-camped to Chicago and are still performing. Another Beefheart connection is that he played with Gary Lucas (and Tony Maimone from Pere Ubu) in The Killer Shrews.

Throwing Muses


1995 unreleased out-take from the Limbo album

Kristin Hersh had this to say about the recording:

“.. insanely difficult to learn, even for people who had been in Throwing Muses for a number of years. Learning it hurt our fingers and our brains and made us want to hurt “Captain Bee-Fart”. I sang the vocals into a bullet mic so that nobody could hear them and put a blanket over my head so that nobody could see me .. it ended up being not much fun .. sort of a ‘work in progress’ that never progressed. So we put it away and forgot all about it until, a few years later, Billy found this screaming off what he thought was a blank DAT. Now I think it sounds really cool .. a great, big math problem of a song.”

see their website to hear it

The Titanics

Out Of The Frying Pan

1990 US CD The Titanics on Taang! Records T41
1990 US vinyl The Titanics on Taang! Records

A Boston four piece, 2 guitars, bass and drums, led by Nat Freedberg who wrote all the songs on this album except for ‘Frying Pan’. A pretty straight hard rockin’ version with screaming guitar solo. Not to be confused with other bands of the same name – one from Atlanta, Georgia and another from Australia.

Treat Her Right

Nowadays a Women’s Gotta Hit A Man

1989 US CD Tied To The Tracks on RCA/BMG 9596-2-R

The only non-band written song on the album, it is actually listed as ‘Hit A Man’. This Boston band included the late Mark Sandman who went on to form the excellent Morphine.

The Tubes

Gimme Dat Harp Boy (live)

1976 tape – unknown location – not released

Is this a comment on the problems they had getting Don to play the harmonica on the ‘Now’ album?

The band dusted off this song and played it during their 2016 tour.

My Head Is My Only House…

1977 US vinyl Now on A&M SP4632
1977 UK vinyl Now on A&M AMLH64632
2001 US CD Goin Down on A&M

The Unknown Cases

I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby

1989 German 3″CD Play Bogota Boogie on Day
Glo Records DG CD2 – RTD CD24-2

Three mixes – Bogota Boogie (I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby) + Clubdub Mix + Fertig Mix. A German duo with a ‘guest artist’ do a dance mix of Booglarize which gets further away from the original the deeper the mix gets. Worth tracking down!

There are 12″ and 7″ vinyl versions around too apparently.

Van Goo

Bill’s Corpse
Fallin’ Ditch
Hair Pie
Hobo Chang Ba
Lick My Decals Off Baby
My Human Gets Me Blues
Pachuco Cadaver
She’s Too Much For My Mirror
Steal Softly Thru Snow
Sugar ‘n’ Spikes

2009 – 2011 live unreleased

These covers performed live at Freddy’s Backroom on 28 August 2009 can be found on YouTube. Freddy’s Backroom is a bar in Brooklyn.

The band do a great job of the instrumental parts. The Taiwanese girl singer does a valiant job with the lyrics although the vocals are mixed too low to hear properly on a couple of the songs which is a pity.

They have so far only played one other gig … same venue in October 2011.

Wade Ripka who plays guitar with Van Goo told the Radar Station about how they became “dedicated to the music of Captain Beefheart”:

van goo was initially formed by Michael Gittleman, our bass player and I after he had offered me the Oddities CD. On hearing the house tapes, I thought, this is doable. I’ve had Trout Mask since it was issued, and remained a lifelong fan. I saw the band in it’s many incarnations whenever they played NYC.

We approached Chris O’Neill, a guitarist with the idea. We played the material for a bit as a trio, and I was surprised at how wonderful it sounded with just the guitars, rather like chamber music, but loud!

We eventually found our drummer, Tahoma Hauptman, and the music got even more dense!

Aichi Lee, our singer was the last addition. She lived downstairs from our studio, and was always around and fascinated. She had no singing or musical experience, and I thought: perfect! In many ways, she has the hardest job, as she sounds nothing like Don, and lots of fans would not like this. It’s certainly an “end around” approach to Beefheart’s vocals. Personally, we love what she does…

Silvain Vanot

Bluejeans & Moonbeams

1993 French vinyl Silvain Vanot on Virgin France

1993 French ep La Bouche Herbue on Virgin France

Debut album from this French singer includes this cover.

Voices of Africa

Abba Zaba

This track is included on the Genus Records’ Mama Kangaroos tribute album

Freddie Wadling

Grow Fins
Moonlight on Vermont

2005 live during solo Swedish tour

Punk singing legend from Sweden, Freddie Wadling, was the singer in the Swedish Tribute Band that accompanied the Stand Up To Be Discontinued art exhibition over there.

Denny Walley

China Pig (live)

1995 tape – unknown venue – not released

Mike Watt

Dirty Blue Gene

see the Neon Meate Dream tribute album

My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains

1998 live Iowa City – unreleased

A very gentle and sparse arrangement with gruff vocals. Watt changes some of the lyrics – ‘My heads my house only when it rains’ for example and paraphrases some of the others.

2020 / 2021 US 7″ on Nomad Eel Records NER-030

Recorded live at Olympia WA in November 1998. Released as a lathe cut vinyl single – clear, white and black versions – in a limited edition of 100 with striking sleeve by Scott Aicher with a strip cartoon of ‘My Head …’.

A further 200 copies in blue vinyl were released in 2021.

Hot Head

???? live – unknown venue – unreleased

I’ve been told that Mike Watt has also performed this song live but apart from that I have no other details

See also Black Gang

Whipped Cream

Observatory Crest

1992 Sweden CD Tune In The Century on Snap Records SNAP3
1992 UK CD Observatory Crest on Snap Records SNAPC8
199? US(?) CD Whipped Cream & Other Delights on Dali Records DALI61355
199? US(?) Cassette Whipped Cream & Other Delights on Dali Records DALI61355-4

A Swedish band formed in 1989 with pop/psychedelic leanings that got them a session on John Peel’s show in 1992.

Slowing this song down slightly works well with shimmering guitars and languid female(?) vocals. One of the better songs from the lacklustre ‘Bluejeans’ album, this cover (and that from Mercury Rev) show how much better it could have been.

White Stripes

Ashtray Heart
China Pig
Party of Special Things To Do

2001 US 7″ on Subpop SP 527

Subpop Singles Club only release which is much sought after. Three very fine covers on one disc.

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages

Zig Zag Wanderer

2015 UK 7″ on Easy Action EA45002

A straight ahead rocking version of the song with added sax, fine vocals and a bit of screaming.

Roger Hurricane Wilson

Sure Nuff N Yes I Do

2008 US CD Exodus on Blue Storm Records 6-54247-0732-2

Hurricane Wilson is joined by Magic Band members, Mark Boston on bass and Michael Traylor on drums on this country-tinged blues album.  Michael also produced it.


The Past Sure Is Tense

2001 Sweden 7″ Unwrapped on Promenade Records 005

A male/female duo from Philadelphia who play mainly synthesiser based pop. Only 200 copies pressed initially (although further copies were pressed during 2002). See the Promenade Recordings website or the Winterbrief site.

This track is also included on the Genus Records’ Mama Kangaroos tribute album.

Working Week

Too Much Time

1986 UK 7″ Too Much Time / Soul Train on Virgin Records VS887
1986 UK 12″ Too Much Time / Soul Train on Virgin Records VS887-12
1986 UK vinyl Campaneros on Virgin Records 207 880-630
1986 UK CD Campaneros on Virgin Records 257 880-223



1989 UK 12″ Mayor of Simpleton / One of the Millions
/ Ella Guru
on Virgin 1158, white label promo, no p/s, sticker.
1989 UK 12″ Mayor of Simpleton / One of the Millions / Ella Guru on Virgin VST 1158
1989 Canada 12″ Mayor of Simpleton / One of the Millions / Ella Guru on Virgin VSX 1472
1989 Japan CD Mayor of Simpleton / One of the Millions / Ella Guru on Virgin VJD-12034

1989 UK CD Mayor of Simpleton / Ella Guru / Living in a Haunted Heart (demo) / The Good Things (demo) on Virgin UK, VSCD 1158
1989 Germany CD Mayor of Simpleton / Ella Guru / Living in a Haunted Heart (demo) / The Good Things (demo) on Virgin 662 021 211 (VSCDT 1158)

1989 US 12″ Mayor of Simpleton / One of the Millions / Ella Guru / Living in a Haunted Heart (demo) / The Good Things (demo) on Virgin (Geffen) 9 21160-0, 31

198? UK CD Out Of Time – The Very Best of the Imaginary Tribute Series on Imaginary Records ILLCD031

XTC produce an almost identical copy of the original track and it has found its way onto a ridiculous number of different issues!

see also Fast ‘n’ Bulbous Tribute Album



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