captain beefheart electricity

history - storyflits

tales from a hounslow rubbish-dump

from england 8 may 1986 CITY LIMITS
by duncan campbell
is 18 january 1968 report


immigration department documents found on a hounslow rubbish dump reveal that the work of those who keep our land free of dangerous foreigners is never done. one of the documents deals with the refusal of entry permission to one don glen vliet, better known in those days as the musician captain beefheart whose magic band was one of the major 'psychedelic' bands of the era. (by chance van vliet was back in london recently - no problems with immigration - for the showing of his expressionist paintings at the waddington gallery.)

the 'refusal of leave to land' report, dated january 18 1968, details why beefheart and his band were not allowed to enter england for a week. [follows a summary and some cites from the report, which follows below in full length / glory.] the group was duly refused permission to land and were bunged on a plane back to hannover.

we tried to contact captain b in america but have as yet had no response.


from scotland january 1987 EDINBURGH REVIEW 1986 ENCYCLOPAEDIA
is 24 january 1986 report


surname vliet forenames don glen born on 15.1.41 at glendale sex male nationality american occupation band master

h.m. chief inspector:

the above-named arrived as a
passenger at london airport (europe) by flight be 665 from hannover on 18.1.68 at 1030 hours, and was refused leave to land under the aliens order, 1953,
articles 4(1)(a)&(b)

directions as below were served on the owners:

* in pursuance of the powers conferred on me
by article 8 of the aliens order, 1953, i hereby direct that the above-named alien be removed by you from the united kingdom in flight be 664 at 1725 hours on 18.1.68

* left for hannover by flight be 664 on 18.1.68 at 1725 hours from london airport


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 specializes in so-called psychedelic music and is currently very popular with a certain section of the population of the west coast of the united states. the group arrived together and presented a very strange appearance, being attired in clothing ranging from 'jeans' to purple trousers, with shirts of various hues, and wearing headgear varying from conical witches' hats to a brilliant yellow safety helmet of the type worn by construction engineers.

like some of his friends, mr. vliet sported a bushy beard. the other members of the group whose refusal of leave to land is reported separately, are:
french, john stephen - born 29.9.48 - american;
handley, gerald wayne - born 9.2.46 - american;
snouffer, alexis clair - born 14.9.41 - american;
cotton, jeffrey ralph - born 31.5.40 - american.

officers on the control were given ample opportunity to form an initial assessment of the group, as they took fully ten minutes to complete the relatively simple operation of filling in their landing cards. when they eventually approached the desks, it proved somewhat difficult to interview them, as they appeared to think on a completely different mental plane and found it difficult to grasp the rudiments of a passport control. however, it was eventually established that they had gone to hannover (in germany - t.t) from the united states to attend a musical convention and that they were now en route to a similar festival in nice (should be cannes, also located in france) .

all five members of the group possessed tickets from london to nice and on to los angeles and they said that they merely wished to spend up to a week in this country on the way to france. none of them appeared very certain what the purpose of the visit to this country was, some saying that it was purely for a rest and others saying that they were to meet representatives of the press. however, all of them dented emphatically that they had any intention of taking any form of employment during their stay. examination of the funds carried by the group showed that they had very little money, mr. vliet having £2.10.0 and 20 german marks (£2).

alex snouffer / alex st. clair, jerry handley, don van vliet / captain beefheart, john french / drumbo, jeff cotton / antennae jimmy semens - england january 1968 - record collector #90 england additional picture from england 1 february 1987 record collector #90

at this stage, a gentleman dressed in the american style, with long unkempt hair and with a cigarette dangling from his lower lip, approached the control and introduced himself as mr. peter alexander edwin meaden, born 11.11.41, british and described in his passport as an artistes manager. mr. meaden said that he represented new wave records ltd., 17-19 stratford place, london, which firm was sponsoring the group's visit to the united kingdom, in conjunction with the group's american recording company, kama sutra / buddha records ltd., new york.

he offered to give any guarantees that might be required to facilitate the group's entry into the country but when asked to establish his authority to do so, he was unable to prove his connection with these companies beyond producing a press handout and some blank headed notepaper. mr meaden denied vehemently that the group would be taking any form of work during their stay here and said that he had only brought them over for press appearances.

at this stage, all five members of the group were escorted to the baggage hall, where their luggage was examined by his majesty's customs. however, despite the fact that one member of the group had a large number of patent medicines in his case nothing of interest was found. a search of the group's instruments and their cases was also negative.

on return to the arrivals hall, i was informed by an officer of the special branch that mr. meaden was known to have convictions for illegal possession of a bren gun, taking and driving away a motor vehicle and selling intoxicating liquor without a licence. in view of this, it was felt that any assurances given by the gentleman would have to be treated with considerable reservations.

it was strongly suspected that the group was going to take engagements in this country and reference to the 'new musical express' showed that they were billed to appear at two establishments the next weekend, namely the middle earth club and the speakeasy club, both in the west end of london. these clubs were telephoned and confirmed that the group would be playing on stage as a professional engagement.

reference to the ministry of labour showed that mr. meaden had applied for ministry of labour permits for the middle earth club engagement but that none had been issued, as he had claimed that the group was only to meet the press at the club and would not be playing - denied by the club which was expecting a full show. faced with this, mr. meaden at first protested his innocence but finally both he and the group admitted that the engagements had been arranged. mr. meaden then pleaded for clemency on the grounds of his own stupidity, a plea which was rejected.

the case was referred to the chief immigration officer, mr. armstrong, who directed that the group was refused leave to land on the grounds that they had come to this country to take unauthorized employment and with insufficient funds. they were informed that they were at liberty to contact whomsoever they wished and spent some time on the telephone before going to the detention suite, where they were given a meal.

as it seemed that the group was to a considerable extent the innocence in what was by now a very tangled web woven largely by mr. meaden, it was decided to make some effort on their behalf beyond the call of duty. to this end, the chief immigration officer, mr. r.a. macdowall, spent some four hours on the telephone liaising with the home office, the ministry of labour, pye records and equity.

pye came into the picture because the president of kama sutra records, mr artie ripp, an american, was with the company negotiating some form of takeover bid by pye for his company. mr. macdowall spoke with mr. ripp and with mr. wise of pye and advised them that they should contact the ministry of labour and equity and apply for permits. should they be issued, then the position would be reconsidered in a favourable light.

mr. noreiko, chief immigration officer, headquarters, was informed of the case, lest there should be any representations. these soon materialized, from mr. meaden's solicitor, who asked that the group was admitted for a visit. this proposal was rejected. later in the afternoon his majesty's assistant chief inspector mr. t.w.e. roche telephoned for details of the case, as the press officer had approached him for information.

despite all their efforts, which were considerable, mr. ripp and mr. wise were unable to secure the issue of ministry of labour permits and the group was therefore returned to hannover as directed. mr. meaden, on whose shoulders the blame for the whole incident must rest, was told by mr. ripp that his association with kama sutra ceased forthwith and he was a dejected man as he departed, muttering under his breath.

landing card attached. an copy of this report is attached for the ministry of labour.

[texte trouvée - dated 24th january, 1968]

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