The Pittsburgh City Paper blog has a lovely item about some unusually literate graffiti: On a Liberty Avenue pole, near the Bloomfield Bridge, somebody has carefully pencilled the lyrics to Captain Beefheart’s “Orange Claw Hammer.” A tribute to the late musician? Or just bored waiting for the bus? Is it still there? If you’re in the vicinity please send us a snap. View Bloomfield Bridge in a larger map
This was very kindly sent to me by Brainpang – many thanks to him for this bizarre curio. Joan Lobell is a Beefheart fan who, in 1973, thought it would be amusing to announce her engagement to none other than ‘Captain Don Van Vliet Beefheart, USAF’ in the local paper. Five years later she ended up meeting Don at a Magic Band gig and presented him with a copy of the newspaper article to sign, which, as you can see above, he did, presumerably amused / baffled at the content of the article. This is probably one of the strangest items that I’ve ever been
On the 18th January 1968, The Magic Band were involved in a bizarre and humorous incident which resulted in their being refused entry to the UK and deported to Hanover. Here is the cover sheet and text of the official report – the text originally came from the Edinburgh Review no. 86. Refusal of Leave to Land (Remarks) Mr VLIET was detained in the approved detention quarters in the Queen’s Building from 1230 hours until 1700 hours. He had previously remained in the Arrivals Hall. Mr VLIET is the leader of an american “pop group” known as Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, which specialises in so-called
The Pittsburgh micro-brewery, East End Brewing Company, have recently produced a new beer called Blabber & Smoke. It’s a Rauchbier type lager. If it tastes as good as the label looks then you’re in for treat – If anyone gets to try some please let us know what it tastes like. It’s not the first brew to be inspired by Beefheart. I know of two others – the bottled beer Old Fart and the draught China Pig. Do you know of any others?
The other day, I was grinding and polishing a stony meteorite (as one does), and after polishing, there, leering out from the polished surface, was the captains face. I know this sounds rather like those names of Allah found in aubergines and such, but I’ll get a friend to photo this and send you the image in case you might want to put it on your site – it really is quite astonishing. The image is best viewed small on the screen, about 10 cm x 10 cm, otherwise the detail obscures the image. The meteorite is a piece of one called NWA869. Thanks to
That Don Van Vliet’s compositions are danceable is without question. Two German comedians, Ulan & Bator, have formalised that pleasure by getting close to a diamond (or a rabbit) at YouTube. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8qS9RpSL-c]
A review at IGN.com of a new HD version of WipEout, a Play Station game, contains some tantalising information about the custom soundtrack, “which is a cinch to port over, though from our experience Captain Beefheart doesn’t make the best accompaniment to the world of anti-G racing and homing missiles.”
Sandy Dillon has previously covered at least a couple of Don Van Vliet’s compositions. Now, the cheeky Beefheart botherer has hijacked Don’s name to promote a programme of “Blues 20s/30s style” which she is performing with Ed Harcourt, among others, at a Dashiell Hammett night in London next month. Click on the picture for full details.
Here’s a photograph of the Van Vliet Flower Group’s tour waggon parked up at one of northern Englands newest music venues, the Don Van Vliet Lounge (click on the pictures for larger images). Sadly, the Van Vliet Flower Group is a multinational wholesaler of flowers and is not yet the name of a Captain Beefheart tribute band. The Don Van Vliet Lounge is just one of a suite of rehearsal rooms named after old musicians at the newly opened Rock and Roll Circus in Leeds.
On August 31st, I noticed in The Salt Lake City Weekly that The State Governor of Utah was, “eager to discuss his love of Captain Beefheart albums and Grateful Dead concerts.” Had Captain Beefheart become part of a political demographic, a conservative icon like Jerry Garcia? I was intrigued. The only politician of note who had previously declared for Captain Beefheart was Czechoslovakia’s President Vaclev Havel, although even that story came from Don Van Vliet himself. I wrote immediately to Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr’s office in Utah to find out just how eager he might be to discuss Captain Beefheart. I included a few
I recently received a tip off from Colin B Morton about an item on PJ Harvey’s message board which features an unusual interpretation of a tune from Trout Mask Replica which is, apparently, racist. Any idea which song on TMR features prejudiced beliefs that one race is superior to others? Have a look at the posts from “pollyfan” on the PJ Harvey message board to find out. I think someone is a little confused… [sadly, “pollyfan” has since removed the text of all his / her posts but you can still get a gist of sorts from the responses]
Walt Michelson mailed with news of his 50 synesthesia-musicboxes. Each of these pays homage to a different musician. His Beefheart musicbox, Ant Man Bee Massacre in Beeftroutwinter, is currently on show at Galerie Otto Schweins in Köln. Which particular Beefheart music you hear when you look at it is, I suppose, entirely up to you. For further explanation see Dr Michelson’s email.