Kristine McKenna is an American music journalist who has written for Wet, NME, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other publications. Over the years she has often written about Don, having interviewed him a number of times she was trusted by him and became a friend of his. In 1987 she had Don take part in a phone-in programme with her on her late night KCRW show. Some of this show is included in ‘Electricity: Conversations With Captain Beefheart’ available as part of KCRW’s ‘Lost Tapes’ series. In this Kristine talks about her encounters with Don and also
Don Van Vliet was born in Glendale California on January 15 1941, the Only child of Glenn and Sue Van Vliet. Don began showing artistic talent at a very young age, but Glenn and Sue were none too keen on the prospect of having an artist in the family (“‘Cause you know, all artists are faggots,” is how Don explained their rationale), so they moved to the Mojave Desert, an isolated, harsh environment guaranteed to bleach the creative juice out of anybody. But Don Van Vliet just had too much to dry out. The drive to translate the world around him (and the one inside
18th October 1987 interview with Don’s friend Kristine McKenna. Hear it!
He is alive. A recluse. Painting in seclusion up near the Oregon border. There have been weird signals through the ether since he stopped making music 11 years ago, but they were faint, confused, unintelligible. But now Dave DiMartino has finally made contact with the man who used to be Captain Beefheart. It is entirely fitting that Don Van Vliet, painter of international repute, and one of a handful of truly legendary figures in rock ‘n’ roll, gifted us with a song entitled The Past Sure Is Tense on the last album of his career; 1982’s Ice Cream For Crow. While the former Captain Beefheart
Don Van Vliet was born in Glendale, California, on January 15, 1941, the only child of Glenn and Sue Van Vliet. Don began showing artistic talent at a very young age but Glenn and Sue were none too keen on having an artist in the family. “Cause you know, all artists are faggots,” Don explains. When he was young, the family moved to the Mojave Desert, an isolated, brutal environment that they hoped would bleach the creative juice out of their son. But Van Vliet’s drive to translate the world around him into art only intensified; in 1966 he introduced himself to the world as
Captain Beefheart is a visionary / madman / genius who makes remarkably original music. A sculptor / painter / poet / philosopher of the primitive surrealist persuasion, Beefheart has never confined himself to the commonly accepted realm of possibilities. Perceiving the universe with magic and gleeful eyes, he tosses conventional approaches to language and music out of the window, and replaces them with an astonishing system of his own design. His startlingly irregular music marries rural folk tales , voodoo, free association, Dada, and Americana to a spectrum of sound that stretches from Charles Ives, jazz and blues, to the natural sounds of the Mojave
Once known as avant-garde musician Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet has quickly won the art world’s attention as a painter The art world tends to regard popular entertainers with a peculiar mix of infatuation and disdain. Though artists, musicians and movie people amiably rub elbows on the cocktail-party circuit, artists bare their teeth when actors or any of that ilk seek legitimacy as practicing visual artists. Maybe it’s jealousy or territorialism, or maybe they figure the commitment required to create good art makes it impossible to simultaneously maintain a second career. There are, however, occasional exceptions to what we’ll describe here as the Red Skelton