In early / mid 2000 John French called on Radar Station visitors for some help writing his book, Beefheart: Through The Eyes Of Magic…
Sent: Sunday, February 06, 2000 4:30 PM
Are train hopping references drawn from Mr. Van Vleit’s or another band members personal experience?
When Van Vliet’s family moved him to Mojave, he was about 13. Mojave is one side of the road, and the railroad tracks are on the other. Their only company was a few shacks, some cattle loadings pens and ramps, and a couple of hobo camps. Don claimed that as a young adolescent, he used to go hang out with these people, who he considered to be better company than the cowboys, truck drivers and “wingnuts” (Air Force guys) living in town, who he considered to be violent and barbaric ignormami (plural of ignoramus whether they like it or not.) He remembers tasting a stew they used to make from the scrapings of tin cans they’d find in the trash. Although I never recall Don saying he “hopped a freight,” he probably drew from these meetings with the real guys who lived this lifestyle.
– John French