While standing outside the theatre waiting to get in to see Beefheart just after the release of The Spotlight Kid, the road crew was bringing the band’s equipment in through the side alley door. My friend and I were checking out the Magic Band’s drum cases and were confused by what was stenciled on them in large letters: CAUTION – LIQUID DRUM SET. What the hell is a liquid drum set?
Finally, after sitting through too many opening bands (including The Pure Food and Drug Act with Harvey Mandell and Sugar Cane Harris on electric violin – how’s that for a real 60’s rock and roll band name?) the curtain went up for Beefheart.
The stage is PITCH BLACK with only the power lights on the amps glowing. Soon a single guitar is heard. A black light is turned on the figure playing the guitar. It’s a very bizarre sight because the fellow is wearing a black and white diagonally stripped suit. The stripes are about 4 inches wide and his guitar is striped the same way, so it all sort of looks like you are looking through a set of window blinds at this guy. His guitar seems to be some weird part of his body, because of the stripes. A wonderful sight!
Anyway, when the lights go up so the band can be seen, it turns out that the drum set is constructed entirely of a clear acrylic. All that shows up from the first row on back is the chrome hardware.
Behold! A liquid drum set!