[alert_box type=”info”]This review for the Zappa / Mothers / Beefheart collaboration originally appeared in the January 1976 edition of Creem.[/alert_box] A classic Cal Schenkel cover surrounds one of the most listenable Zappa / Mothers records since the old days, but anyone coming to this set to hear Beefheart will be semi-disappointed. Semi because he does a lot of singing on Bongo Fury, but what he’s singing are the same old Zappa lyrics, which deal with the same old Zappa hang-ups. It’s a strange experience to listen to the album’s first cut, “Debra Kadabra,” and hear Beefheart singing like Beefheart, but realize a little way intoRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]Taken from the January 1973 edition of Creem.[/alert_box] “And that pantalooned duck / white goose neck / quacked, ‘Webcor, Webcor.’” Those are the last lines on Clear Spot, from a song called “Golden Birdies.” Not exactly “I Can See Clearly Now,” I know, but if you find it hard to make sense out of lyrics like that, or feel that you must, rest easy. Captain Beefheart has come out of the haze. Even though his music has always been solidly rooted in the blues, Beefheart has remained a sort of cult figure: to his followers, a supreme genius; to many others, inaccessible both musicallyRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article first appeared in the March 1971 edition of Creem.[/alert_box] Gazing across pop music’s stale horizons, past all the cynical ineptitude, pseudo-intellectual solemnity, neurotic regression and dismal deadends for great bands, there is one figure who stands above the murk forging an art at once adventurous and human: Don Van Vliet, known to a culture he’s making anachronistic as Captain Beefheart. Though there are still lots of people around who just don’t read the Cap at all, who think his music is some kind of private joke or failed experiment (or as a local teen band told me, “Most of that’s the kindRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from Creem, March 1981, Vol. 12 No. 10. Many thanks to our man in Mexico City, Jesus Quintero for kindly scanning this article and sending it to me.[/alert_box] *May 1970. High School kids in my living room. Singing. “Hot and slimy weenie, knocking at my door/Hot and slimy weenie, crawling ‘cross the floor/Hot and slimy weenie/hot and slimy weenie/hot and slimy weenie… WHERE ARE YOU NOW?!?” The tape still exists, us mindlessly wailing away over the same bass pattern with our 1970 rock band equipment, seconds later me grabbing the microphone and reciting the words to “The Blimp” from TroutRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This piece was taken from Creem magazine of April 1979[/alert_box] Don Van Vliet has just spent the last fifteen minutes wandering around the conference room at Warner Brothers’ New York headquarters, investigating the possibilities of undoing the corporate environment. He has painstakingly adjusted and readjusted the dimmer switch until the lighting in the room matches the twilight outside, and he has also managed to pry open one of those standard office building windows, the kind that no one who works in places like this ever even gets near for fear that if they do try and get some fresh air in, some alarm willRead More →

[alert_box type=”info”]This article was taken from Creem Magazine, mid 1972. Many thanks to Andrew for the info about this piece.[/alert_box] WHAT DOES one say to a man who, at the age of three, used to talk with lions inside their cages? How does one cope with a greeting – ‘Haven’t I met you somewhere before’ ‘No, I don’t think so, actually.’ ‘Weren’t you at my concert last night? Weren’t you sitting up there (he points) in a group of seven in a box. That’s where I’ve seen you.’ It’s all very easy when one is talking to Captain Beefheart. My journalist’s paranoia which had beenRead More →