Reagan Is The Back Of A Horse by Robert Cloos

Robert writes about seeing The Magic Band in the Netherlands, and meeting Don.

I first got to know about Captain Beefheart through the music of Frank Zappa. I didn’t know what to do with this strange music. The story of the Simpsons guy, Matt Groening, is very accurate. I had exactly the same experience: I got Trout Mask Replica on tape and it all sounded very messy, as if there were no different songs on the album. My recording was of a German Straight pressing which had no song seperation – confusing.

Then, in November 1980 the Captain was coming to the Netherlands. At the same time The Cure were touring, so I was hesitating. A good friend of mine who was really into Beefheart said if I went and didn’t like it, he’d give me the money back! Is that confident or what?!

Anyway we went along (Sittard, Schouwburg) and rushed to the front seats. Matt Groening was right again about the people attending a CB concert: I have never seen such a group of freaks, and I was proud to be one of them! At first a Dutch group played, Doe Maar. They were to become pretty famous in the Netherlands but that’s another story. After that a break, we smoked some stuff. And then we were in for the real treat.

It was completely dark. Then all of a sudden this big guy with curls and a bass guitar come out into the spotlight and started jumping and playing his bass. Then dark again. After a short while the lights went on and the band appeared. Don came out, poured some water over his mouthorgan and said: ok, I’m ready.

The concert that followed was the most impressive I’ve ever seen – total mind blowing experience. I loved it! After the concert we hung around a bit. To my surprise Don came over to have a smoke. He started conversation with some people and I decided to go over and listen. I was too afraid to say anything. First he was really happy that he could finally smoke, I guess it was forbidden during the concert. He talked also about Reagan, who was going to win the election. “Reagon is a horse, he is the back of a horse, he is an asshole!”

Time flew by and suddenly I heard my father screaming for me. I had totally forgotten that he had been waiting outside to take me home (I was 17 tears old and still going to high school). Too bad that I couldn’t stay. After that Sunday night I was totally into Captain Beefheart. I bought his albums and started to understand some of those freaky lyrics of his.

-Robert Cloos

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