Captain Beefheart Symposium – Echoplex, Los Angeles 13 January 2011 report by Michael Eivaz

I went to the symposium last night Jan 13 2011 with my neighbor Bret. It’s good we had the address because it was in a pretty much unmarked dark or black colored building. The address was covered with the same dark paint. The entrance was down an alley by a parking lot. Above the door was a big red sign that said absolutely nothing. The only thing that tipped us off was the line of people waiting outside. It was a pretty nice crowd.

The event started about 8:30pm with Gary Lucas talking a little about Don and about how he first heard of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band and how he desperately wanted to be part of it Then he showed some old videos like Electricity at Cannes, Diddy Wah Diddy, Bat Chain Puller, Ice Cream For Crow, and footage from the Grow Fins/Michigan footage. (Woe Is Uh Me Bop……..) on a big screen/sheet.

The second part of the night was guests telling stories about Don and reading some original poetry and some of Don’s. The backdrop was a slideshow of some of Don’s paintings projected on the screen behind them, as you will see in the photos. The guests included:

Pamela De Barres – She was reading parts of her book about Don (I’m With The Band) and about how he was a naughty boy. How they went to see the Rolling Stones. She also said it was because of him that she took out her breast implants. She showed a sign (painted by Victor Hayden – the Mascara Snake) that hung at Cleveland High advertising the Captain.

Next up was writer Kristine McKenna. She told a story about Johnny Rotten saying that Beefheart was a big influence. Kristine set up a meeting between Johnny and Don at the Continental Hyatt in Hollywood, but Johnny never showed! She also read a poem Don wrote about his cat. She said he loved animals.

Then was his Don’s cousin – Terry Vliet. He seemed pretty broken up. He told of them growing up and how Don sang a piece from The Magic Flute at the Roxy because Don knew that he liked that kind of music. Don’s music wasn’t his cup of tea, but Don did that for him. That’s the kind of guy Don was. He recited a poem he wrote about that show at the Roxy.

Next up was Matt Groening and told how his father, Homer, got TMR at the old hippie record store for him. How he hated it but played it over and over again because his record collection was pretty limited. How it grew on him until he thought it was the best record ever! He also, along with others, talked of how Don’s idea of a phone call was 3 hours!

Bill Moseley was next. He is an actor and had been in some of the movies Rob Zombie has made. He recited a poem of Don’s.

Next up was Robert Williams and told of how he auditioned playing drums for Don and how Don said that he was the man for the band! Robert also recited a poem –

See a video of Robert at the Echoplex

Next was Weba Garretson. She said she saw Don and The Magic Band in ’80 or ’81’ She did a sort of jazz improv of Lick My Decals Off, Baby.

David Lynch pre-recorded a recital of Pena for the symposium.

Gary Lucas also talked about how he was Don’s manager as well and how he helped out Don. How he got them on SNL, and how they did the ICFC video on a budget of $5000. Gary then proceeded to play some guitar for a little while and that concluded the night.

It was pretty dark there and Gary Lucas was wearing a hat that you really couldn’t see his face.


All photographs copyright Michael Eivaz 2011. Used with permission.

Michael took a whole bunch of photographs of the night, available online.

Leave a Reply

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