Don Van Vliet interview from 1980

BBC 6Music broadcast an archive interview last week from 1980, conducted by David Hepworth.

Don was in bullish mood – not at his wittiest or most charming in my humble opinion, desperately asserting himself as a legitimate composer and artist and lashing out at those who he saw as a threat. Genius, without doubt, but not a very genial one on this occasion.

Nevertheless, it’s classic Beefheart and Michael Alderson has very kindly, painstakingly transcribed the whole thing for you. Many thanks to him for his trouble, and to Marc Riley’s Mint for making the air-time to broadcast it.

Incidentally, this week’s archive interview on Mint is with Neil Young, another one not to miss.


  1. I found that the interviewer as being very condescending to Don. Or is just my imagination?

  2. I listened to the interview several times during the course of transcribing it, and I think the interviewer may well have annoyed Don who seemed uptight and defensive throughout. He was usually very polite in interviews,and as far as I know he didn’t make a habit of terminating them abruptly as he did here. I must however take issue with Graham saying Don wasn’t at his wittiest. I think he stormed off very wittily indeed.


  3. I agree with you both about the interviewer. I thought it was quite humorous how he just up & left, if that’s how the interview stops…

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