van vliet SINGING INK
poetry and fine arts - 'brown star'
BROWN STAR / KISS ME WHERE I CAN'T abandoned album 1972
CLEAR SPOT audio exhibit
THIS is part 1 - part 2 - part 3
15 january 1972 captain beefheart and the magic band went on a world wide tour to promote the newly released record 'the spotlight kid'. soon after the start, a 'brown star' in a 'clear spot' in the night sky inspired don van vliet to create a new album he talked about in several interviews from that time:24 january 1972 interview AMERICA IS BULLISH ON CAPTAIN BEEFHEART usa 31 january 1972 warner/reprise CIRCULAR vol.4 #14
what are you doing with your time off? is it all interviews?
yeah, and i'm writing. i wrote the new album last night on the way over to yale (university, in new haven, connecticut - t.t).
in a car? you wrote the whole album?
the name of it is brown star.
is there a song on it called brown star?
yeah. i've got that written and i've got..., let's see, what else did i write? i can't remember the names of any of them. they're sure good.
during the three-weeks break in early march between the north-american part of the tour and the shows in europe the band couldn't explore the fresh tunes: they had to embed their latest asset, bassist roy estrada, into their live act
the next album is 'brown star'. can you tell us something about it?
on that album big eyed beans from venus is one thing: 'don't let anything get between us' - meaning to love people.... you know, big eyes as opposed to... (narrows eyes). another song is 'blue..., er..., sómething' (her eyes are a blue million miles? - teejo).
the captain wrote the next album during a car journey on the american tour. it is called 'brown star' and there is to be a beautiful percussion and horn track between ed (marimba, real name: art tripp - t.t.) and the captain (spitball scalped a baby - t.t.).
when are you going to record your next album 'brown star'?
probably when i go back. i may record some of it here (so, in england - t.t.).
i like to wear silk. i have silk suits, silk shirts, silk socks. air, you know. i've done a song for my next album 'brown star', called shiny around the edges with a breathing top. it's a beautiful song, it's like a cheer. it's a good cheer though, not a bad cheer.
his next album - 'brown star' - though yet to be recorded, is completely worked out in beefheart's head. it was written during an eight-hour car journey between boston and yale. amongst the numbers to be featured are 'big eyed beans from venus' - 'which says you don't have to go back into the past. all the past in the world doesn't go to make up a man of the present' - and happy blue pumpkin, written by jan van vliet, don's wife and constant companion.
beefheart is planning on using some of the tapes of interviews he has made in this country for inclusion on 'brown star'.
but i am a super star. as a matter of fact i'm writing an album called 'brown star'. i have it done now, and it'll be the next one out. it's not avoiding being a super star that i saw 'brown star'. at the end of the poetry or whatever you call it, it says: 'you ask a child if he's seen a brown star around / and he'll laugh and jump up and down and say: / i found a brown star right on the ground'. i think we're living on a brown star. [...] i think this planet is as bright as sirius. but i think it is the 'on the other side of the fence the grass is greener' element that is ruining this paradise.
does your new elpee resemble 'the spotlight kid' or any earlier record?
nothing i've done till now sounds much like 'brown star'; it's - i hope - the warmest elpee i've ever made. the band is more played-in to each other now, they sense each other better than ever before and i believe that's the gorgeous feeling on this album. we now also have a good engineer, ted templeman.
april 1973 interview A QUICKIE CHAT england 1 february 1974 ZIG ZAG #38
i've been told that you wrote crazy little thing in about an hour. is that right?
yeah. it was in a car. i wasn't driving, bill (harkleroad) was - from boston to yale university, where we were doing a gig. that's all it took.
both at the same time really: words are music to me and vice versa.
when they returned from the european continent an extra usa tour had been arranged, starting a few days later. according to the record company's 'weekly news device' it was supposed to be accompanied by a coloured brochure:
BROWN STAR booklet
usa 17 april 1972 warner/reprise CIRCULAR vol.4 #15
the booklet actually isn't much of a tour program, but rather an off-topic collection of fine art by don van vliet.... no wonder it never was distributed at those concerts meant to buy the 'spotlight kid' album in stead of a future one for which not a single note had been recorded yet. to that, if the brochure had been available at the gigs, copies of it regularly would have been offered for sale over time - but such is an exceptionally rare happening! ultimately, a few left-overs later were hidden in a number of signed copies of the pre-release promo single 'clear spot' with 'wolfman jack' front....
by the way, given the subject of the 'catalogue' it is no surprise it's printed on brówn paper.
[technical note: as the magazine was posted folded, the scans suffer from a crease]
drawing don van vliet february 1972
lyrics / poem don van vliet 23 january 1972
page reproduced in liner notes 1999 2ceedee the dust blows forward (an anthology)
drawing reproduced on white background in liner notes 1990 ceedee the spotlight kid / clear spot
poem reprinted in magazine germany 1 june 1972 sounds
real name: don van vliet
lyrics reproduced in liner notes 1990 ceedee the spotlight kid / clear spot (really!)