Hats were an important part of the appearance of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. There were probably dozens of hats worn on stage and in photo-shoots over the years. Don Van Vliet even named the guitarist Richard Snyder after a hat. The most famous hat, the one Don wore on the cover of Trout Mask Replica, was allegedly last seen in the possession of a Jethro Tull band member.
Even today, Magic Band guitarist, Beefheart manager, and reader of Beefheart poetry, Gary Lucas, is rarely seen on stage without a hat.
In a rare moment of bare-headedness Gary has agreed to donate his hat to the winner of an auction whose proceeds will go to ‘People for the American Way’. Among other celebrities who have donated items to be auctioned for this cause are Patti Smith, Ry Cooder, Coldplay, Radiohead, Devendra Banhart, New Order, Robert Rauschenberg, Alec Baldwin, Randy Newman, Cindy Sherman, The Offspring, William Wegman and Robin Williams.