captain beefheart electricity

history - interviewflits


from england 12 december 1969 FRIENDS #1
by dick lawson
is 31 october 1969 interview

note: appropriate pages are misdated 22 november 1969

part 1 - THIS is part 2


is playing the furthest you get from it?

i don't think so. playing through an instrument? i, i don't think that's the furthest, because when you're playing the physical comes into it.... when you can completely abandon the physical, it's a lot nicer.

recording must be ultimately physical then. is that like putting your toe in the water?

very near. i think they did very well on this album, because of that.

what about the other two?

well, i think they tried to hold us responsible for what we were doing - the producers and the engineers - and that can't be done. but with 'trout mask replica' i'm not going to stop and think "we've done something", because i've done nothing.

and that's the achievement?

there are a few toes in the album though.... a few short arms and famous web-like figures.

are frank's cold toes a help in recording situations?

i wouldn't say that he was a help to me or i was a help to him. do you know what i mean?

it has taken you two a long time to work together....

well, he was near me and i was near him.... but i must say that he had certain people with him that i was only willing to put my faith on at times, you know.

captain beefheart / don van vliet - press meeting england 31 october 1969

american music papers don't seem to be able to pin anything on you....

i don't think that they can pin dollars and cents on us.... i think we're probably playing up.

in the straight sense?

i don't know any senses are... i suppose it's probably my contamination coming out. we all have it. i don't have to be dangerous.

are your compositions dangerous?

i'm not really composing.... maybe you should say that i was inventing when i put my foot down, you know; maybe these are inventions. pictorial living type inventive inventions.

the visual trip is most important then?

right..., it's nice. but then words are obsolete when it comes to feeling.

putting the words down on paper is too physical?

i go into these words, or these words go into me, and somebody else writes them down.... i don't write them down; i record them on the tape. i think that's the best musical part of me, with the word-writing. part of my love - the other is the other.

rockette morton told me he hadn't seen a woman in a year, living in the desert.

in london, he's trying to make those little girls feel.

you've had trouble with that?

yes.... i've been attacked a few times.... wow.... it's there, but they're awfully clever, which breeds anxiety. everybody has to have a little bottle of neuroses to sprinkle on people: neurosis cologne.

(looking at a bottle on his suitcase:) 4711?

right. i do that so people can sense me.

are those neuroses an environmental thing?

well, i think it's a thing you don't get with tree-dwellers.

it's not a thing to escape from through drugs.

i don't think anybody needs drugs. i think if they need to, they need some bread - not money, bread.... maybe we can make some butter-sculptures. better than those dough-sculptures, you know.

captain beefheart / don van vliet - press meeting england 31 october 1969

the first magic band sounded like an acid-band to me.

i don't know, like the first album i was singing "thunderbolts caught easily / shouts the truth peacefully / electricity / high voltage might / kisses night / to bring the light / to those who need / to hide their shallow day / get into bright / find the light / and know that friends don't mind / just how you grow...." i really don't think that acid had anything to do with that.

not in the spoken way perhaps.... maybe it was the band behind you, a sound trip?

perhaps the people that were playing it confused it.... like one of them now is throwing papers and rolling them, and one is punching papers for the 'l.a. times'. one of them, ry cooder, is doing studio work and one of them took his mother home his navel: the half-human antennae jimmy semens.... he's at home in a trailer with his mother, the desert psalms, plastic ferns and paraphernalia. i think he freaked in or something or out. i think he freaked in and out and knew about it. it was very important that he knew he was freaking in and out.... heavy business.... he's a good boy though. i think he's looking through his mother's tiny eyes. one of those tiny-eye round-ups like 'general motors'.

does communication ever worry you?

no. if it did i'd probably be just another 'parker pen' casualty; pen and ink people - can you see them? pen and ink gram-cracker animals. they dance up out of the pages.... what do you think of the mural on the ceiling? it's almost like a rust smoke drawing.... like a cave-animal painting using lead pipes as their vehicles.

technology put to a good use?

well, yes. if the young people (ooh) can show the scientists how to use things then it'll be a lot better.... we need cities and things, but if there are more cities than trees, that's a bad thing.

it would stop people running naked?

i've got a song for the next album, called 'the world in a cement hat', you know what i mean, it doesn't mean everybody should go around with no clothes, but at least minds should be naked. lift off that cement hat from their minds.... i must get some toothpaste. (lifts telephone to hotel switchboard.) could you put me through to mr. zoot horn rollo... mr. zoot horn rollo... i've been through all the numbers... fifty, i think... (gets toothpaste from zoot horn.) would you like to visit captain beefheart this evening?... captain beefheart... in his cabin... oh, you're going to a party... can't we go with you... oh... mmm... yes, we're with a group... captain beefheart and his magic band... never?... don't listen out for us, feel out... bye.... she's a pretty nice girl that.

'the important thing is to turn yourself inside out and look at the world with a fresh view....' - 'marat's liturgy' from 'marat sade'.

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flits captain beefheart electricity
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